Introduction to Monist Alternatives to Physicalism

Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):7-18 (2012)

Max Velmans
Goldsmiths College, University of London
This Introduction to a Journal of Consciousness Studies Special Issue on Monist Alternatives to Physicalism summarises some of the basic problems of Physicalism and common fallacies in arguments for its defence that are found in the philosophical and scientific literature. It then introduces six monist alternatives: 1) a form of emergent panpsychism developed by William Seager; 2) a novel introduction to the process philosophy of A.N. Whitehead by Anderson Weekes; 3) a review of current developments in Russellian Monism by Torin Alter and Yujin Nagasawa; 4) an analysis of dual-aspect monism and its relation to quantum mechanics originally proposed developed by Pauli and Jung and given a modern interpretation by Harald Atmanspacher; 5) a form of processing monism that might help to resolve ontological differences in Indian philosophy and psychology between dualist Samkya Yoga and nondualist Advaita Vedanta by K. Ramakrisna Rao; and 6) an account of Reflexive Monism, which, viewed as a global system, can incorporate many of the seemingly opposed “isms” that currently populate Consciousness Studies by Max Velmans. Whatever the fundamental nature of Nature might be, it must have the power to give rise to its observable manifestations. Consequently, all the papers in this issue are concerned to give a “natural” account of the relationships among consciousness, mind, and the material world that is entirely consistent with the findings of science, and they all accept that for a unified understanding, mind, consciousness and the material world must have a common base. The aim of the Special Issue is to contribute to a deeper understanding of that base, and to stimulate novel thinking about its nature.
Keywords non-physicalist monism  anti-materialist arguments  emergent panpsychism  Whitehead's process philosophy  Russellian monism  dual-aspect monism  reflexive monism  Samkhya  Advaita Vedanta
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