Erkenntnis (1):1-26 (2013)
Taking their motivation from the perceived failure of the reductive physicalist project concerning consciousness, panpsychists ascribe subjectivity to fundamental material entities in order to account for macro-consciousness. But there exists an unresolved tension within the mainstream panpsychist position, the seriousness of which has yet to be appreciated. I capture this tension as a dilemma, and offer advice to panpsychists on how to resolve it. The dilemma is as follows: Panpsychists take the micro-material realm to feature phenomenal properties, plus micro-subjects to whom these properties belong. However, it is impossible to explain the generation of a macro-subject (like one of us) in terms of the assembly of micro-subjects, for, as I show, subjects cannot combine. Therefore the panpsychist explanatory project is derailed by the insistence that the world’s ultimate material constituents are subjects of experience. The panpsychist faces a choice of giving up her explanatory ambitions, or of giving up the claim that the ultimates are subjects. I argue that the latter option is preferable, leading to neutral monism, on which phenomenal qualities are irreducible but subjects are reducible. So panpsychists should be neutral monists.
|Keywords||Panpsychism Neutral monism consciousness combination problem|
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References found in this work BETA
Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Without Phenomenal Concepts.Michael Tye - 2009 - MIT Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility?David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Subjective Consciousness: A Self-Representational Theory.Uriah Kriegel - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
The Problem of Consciousness: Easy, Hard or Tricky?Tom McClelland - forthcoming - Topoi:1-14.
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You are definitely right in your skepticism about the possibility of the unification of many micro-consciousnesses into macro-consciousness. However, it is surprising for me that overhelming majority of philosophers ignore the possibility that human consciousness is among these micro-consciousnesses. In my paper http://philpapers.org/rec/ARGNCO I argue that even a single electron might contain the whole current human experience (without long- and mid-term memory). I suggest a hypothesis, where such electrons might be located in a real brain