Mind under Matter

In David Skrbina (ed.), Mind that Abides. Benjamins (2009)
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Abstract

Panpsychism is an eminently sensible view of the world and its relation to mind. If God is a metaphysician, and regardless of the actual truth or falsity of panpsychism, it is certain that he regards the theory as an honest and elegant competitor on the field of ontologies. And if God didn’t create a panpsychist world, then there’s a fair chance that he wishes he had done so, or will do next time around. The difficulties panpsychism faces, then, are not metaphysical ones. They are, instead, difficulties of understanding, and of acceptance by philosophers. The main difficulty of this sort the theory faces is that its ontology – with consciousness in some sense at the heart of all that exists1 – is deemed too bizarre, frankly, too humano-centric to be taken seriously. Why should anyone think that consciousness, widely held to be the preserve only of ourselves, plus the most recently evolved organisms, infuses the basement level of all existence? Such a thought seems to many – especially, to scientifically scrupled philosophers of mind – a narcissistic (or at best hopelessly anti-realist) folly, which doesn’t even deserve its day in court. Panpsychism..

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Sam Coleman
University of Hertfordshire

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