Can Subjects Be Proper Parts of Subjects? The De‐Combination Problem

Ratio 31 (2):137-154 (2018)
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Abstract

Growing concern with the panpsychist's ostensive inability to solve the ‘combination problem’ has led some authors to adopt a view titled ‘Cosmopsychism’. This position turns panpsychism on its head: rather than many tiny atomic minds, there is instead one cosmos-sized mind. It is supposed that this view voids the combination problem, however I argue that it does not. I argue that there is a ‘de-combination problem’ facing the cosmopsychist, which is equivalent to the combination problem as they are both concerned with subjects being proper parts of other subjects. I then propose two methods for both theorists to avoid the problem of subject-subject proper parthood relations: a distinction between absolute and relative phenomenal unity, and a modification of the essential nature of subjects. Of these two options, I find the latter option wanting and propose that the first should be adopted.

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Gregory Miller
University of Liverpool

Citations of this work

Beyond Combination: How Cosmic Consciousness Grounds Ordinary Experience.Itay Shani & Joachim Keppler - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):390-410.
Real acquaintance and physicalism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception, and Consciousness. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
The incoherence challenge for subject combination: An analytic assessment.Itay Shani & Heath Williams - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
A Panpsychist Dead End.Yujin Nagasawa - 2021 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 95 (1):25-50.

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References found in this work

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
The Combination Problem for Panpsychism.David Chalmers - 2017 - In Brüntrup Godehard & Jaskolla Ludwig (eds.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.

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