Russell’s Neutral Monism and Panpsychism

In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge. pp. 87-102 (2019)
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Abstract

Bertrand Russell’s writings on neutral monism continue to exercise a profound influence on much work on panpsychism. In fact, many interpret his neutral monism as ultimately constituting, entailing, or strongly suggesting some form of panpsychism. But the relationship between Russell’s theory and contemporary panpsychism is complicated. On one hand, his analysis of matter has a number of features that are congenial to panpsychism. On the other hand, his naturalistic analysis of mind is largely at odds with panpsychism. Though Russell agrees that mental phenomena are likely present to some degree wherever there is biological life, he takes the overall evidence to suggest that mind and experience are neither ubiquitous nor fundamental features of the natural world.

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Donovan Wishon
University of Mississippi

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