I present an argument for panpsychism: the thesis that everything is conscious, or at least that fundamental physical entities are conscious. The argument takes a Hegelian dialectical form. Panpsychism emerges as a synthesis of the thesis of materalism and the antithesis of dualism. In particular, the key premises of the causal argument for materialism and the conceivability argument for dualism are all accommodated by a certain version of panpsychism. This synthesis has its own antithesis in turn: panprotopsychism, (...) the thesis that fundamental physical entities are protoconscious, also accommodates the key premises. Panpsychism and panprotopsychism are synthesized under Russellian monism, and then face an antithesis, the combination problem. The question of whether there is a new synthesis remains open. (shrink)
Panpsychism is the view that every concrete and unified thing has some form of phenomenal consciousness or experience. It is an age-old doctrine, which, to the surprise of many, has recently taken on new life. In philosophy of mind, it has been put forth as a simple and radical solution to the mind–body problem (Chalmers 1996, 2003;Strawson 2006; Nagel 1979, 2012). In metaphysics and philosophy of science, it has been put forth as a solution to the problem of accounting (...) for the intrinsic nature of the physical itself (Strawson 2006, Seager 2006). In this thesis, I show that panpsychism can also be defended on the basis of an argument from our (arguable) acquaintance with the nature of causation in agency. This argument has made frequent appearances throughout the history of philosophy, with philosophers such as Leibniz, Schopenhauer and James, and I construct and defend an updated version of it. Furthermore, I offer a solution to the combination problem: how can complex (human and animal-type) consciousness result from simple (fundamental particle-type) consciousness? This is generally regarded as the most serious problem facing contemporary panpsychism. I propose that mental combination can be construed as kind causal process culminating in a fusion, and show how this avoids the main difficulties with accounting for mental combination. (shrink)
Panpsychism is viewed by its advocates as resolving the main sticking points for materialism and dualism. While sympathetic to this approach, I locate two prevalent assumptions within modern panpsychism which I think are problematic: first, that fundamental consciousness belongs to a perspectival subject and second, that the physical world, despite being backed by conscious subject, is observer-independent. I re-introduce an argument I’d made elsewhere against the first assumption: that it lies behind the well-known combination and decombination problems. I (...) then propose a new argument against the second assumption: that it leads to an equally pernicious difficulty I call the “Inner-Outer Gap Problem.” The variant of panpsychism I continue to develop and defend, Perennial Idealism, avoids these assumptions and their problems, allowing real progress on the mind-body problem. Perennial Idealism is a type of panpsychist idealism rather than panpsychist materialism. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for a version of panpsychist idealism on first-person experiential grounds. As things always appear in my field of consciousness, there is prima facie empirical support for idealism. Furthermore, by assuming that all things correspond to a conscious perspective or perspectives (i.e., panpsychism), realism about the world is arguably safeguarded without the need to appeal to God (as per Berkeley’s idealism). Panpsychist idealism also has a phenomenological advantage over traditional panpsychist views as it does not (...) commit perceptual experience to massive error by denying that perceived colours are properties of things. Finally, I argue that the subject combination problem for panpsychism has been motivated by the problematic assumption that consciousness is in things. Thinking about subject combination from the first-person perspective is fruitful for reframing the subject combination problem and for seeing how subjects could potentially combine for the idealist. (shrink)
A contemporary form of panpsychism says that phenomenality is prevalent because all physical ultimates instantiate phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. According to priority cosmopsychism, an alternative to panpsychism that we propose in this chapter, phenomenality is prevalent because the whole cosmos instantiates phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. It says, moreover, that the consciousness of the cosmos is ontologically prior to the consciousness of ordinary individuals like us. Since priority cosmopsychism is a highly speculative view our aim in this chapter remains (...) modest and limited. Instead of providing a full defense of priority cosmopsychism, we try to show only the theoretical advantage of the view over panpsychism. Tis, however, by no means entails that we develop the view in logical space merely for its own sake. We offer instead a blueprint for a new alternative to panpsychism and explain how such a view avoids some of the most persistent problems for panpsychism while maintaining several of its strengths. (shrink)
Recent debates in philosophy of mind seemingly have resulted in an impasse. Reductive physicalism cannot account for the phenomenal mind, and nonreductive physicalism cannot safeguard a causal role for the mental as mental. Dualism was formerly considered to be the only viable alternative, but in addition to exacerbating the problem of mental causation, it is hard to square with a naturalist evolutionary framework. By 1979, Thomas Nagel argued that if reductionism and dualism fail, and a non-reductionist form of strong emergence (...) cannot be made intelligible, then panpsychism-the thesis that mental being is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the universe-might be a viable alternative. But it was not until David Chalmers' The Conscious Mind in 1996 that debates on panpsychism entered the philosophical mainstream. Since then the field has been growing rapidly, and some leading philosophers of mind as well as scientist have argued in favor of panpsychism. This book features contemporary arguments for panpsychism as a genuine alternative in analytic philosophy of mind in the 21st century. Different varieties of panpsychism are represented and systematically related to each other in the volume's 16 essays, which feature not only proponents of panpsychism but also prominent critics from both the physicalist and non-physicalist camps. (shrink)
This paper starts from the assumption that panpsychism is counterintuitive and metaphysically demanding. A number of philosophers, whilst not denying these negative aspects of the view, think that panpsychism has in its favour that it offers a good explanation of consciousness. In opposition to this, the paper argues that panpsychism cannot help us to explain consciousness, at least not the kind of consciousness we have pre-theoretical reason to believe in.
In _Panpsychism in the West_, the first comprehensive study of the subject, David Skrbina argues for the importance of panpsychism -- the theory that mind exists, in some form, in all living and nonliving things -- in consideration of the nature of consciousness and mind. Despite the recent advances in our knowledge of the brain and the increasing intricacy and sophistication of philosophical discussion, the nature of mind remains an enigma. Panpsychism, with its conception of mind as a (...) general phenomenon of nature, uniquely links being and mind. More than a theory of mind, it is a meta-theory -- a statement about theories of mind rather than a theory in itself. Panpsychism can parallel almost every current theory of mind; it simply holds that, no matter how one conceives of mind, such mind applies to all things. In addition, panpsychism is one of the most ancient and enduring concepts of philosophy, beginning with its pre-historical forms, animism and polytheism. Its adherents in the West have included important thinkers from the very beginning of Greek philosophy through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the present. Skrbina argues that panpsychism is long overdue for detailed treatment, and with this book he proposes to add impetus to the discussion of panpsychism in serious philosophical inquiries. After a brief discussion of general issues surrounding philosophy of mind, he traces the panpsychist views of specific philosophers, from the ancient Greeks and early Renaissance naturalist philosophers through the likes of William James, Josiah Royce, and Charles Sanders Peirce -- always with a strong emphasis on the original texts. In his concluding chapter, "A Panpsychist World View," Skrbina assesses panpsychist arguments and puts them in a larger context. By demonstrating that there is panpsychist thinking in many major philosophers, Skrbina offers a radical challenge to the modern worldview, based as it is on a mechanistic cosmos of dead, insensate matter. _Panpsychism in the West _will be the standard work on this topic for years to come. (shrink)
Panpsychism is a plausible theory of the fundamental nature of reality. It is fully compatible with everything in current physics, and with physicalism. It is an error to think that being physical excludes being mental or experiential. Anyone who endorses the following three views – [i] materialism or physicalism is true, [ii], consciousness is real, [iii] there is no ‘radical emergence’ – should at least endorse ‘micropsychism’ or psychism, the view that [iv] mind or consciousness is a fundamental feature (...) of concrete reality, already present in the most basic forms of concrete reality. And given [v] the interconvertibility (fungibility) of all fundamental forms of physical stuff, panpsychism appears to be the most plausible form of psychism. (shrink)
This article argues that if panpsychism is true, then there are grounds for thinking that digitally-based artificial intelligence may be incapable of having coherent macrophenomenal conscious experiences. Section 1 briefly surveys research indicating that neural function and phenomenal consciousness may be both analog in nature. We show that physical and phenomenal magnitudes—such as rates of neural firing and the phenomenally experienced loudness of sounds—appear to covary monotonically with the physical stimuli they represent, forming the basis for an analog relationship (...) between the three. Section 2 then argues that if this is true and micropsychism—the panpsychist view that phenomenal consciousness or its precursors exist at a microphysical level of reality—is also true, then human brains must somehow manipulate fundamental microphysical-phenomenal magnitudes in an analog manner that renders them phenomenally coherent at a macro level. However, Sect. 3 argues that because digital computation abstracts away from microphysical-phenomenal magnitudes—representing cognitive functions non-monotonically in terms of digits—digital computation may be inherently incapable of realizing coherent macroconscious experience. Thus, if panpsychism is true, digital AI may be incapable of achieving phenomenal coherence. Finally, Sect. 4 briefly examines our argument’s implications for Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory theory of consciousness, which we contend may need to be supplanted by a theory of macroconsciousness as analog microphysical-phenomenal information integration. (shrink)
This collection of papers centres around a novel approach to the problem of phenomenal consciousness called cosmopsychism. A simple version of cosmopsychism says that the cosmos as a whole is conscious. In this collection, I focus on a comparison between arguably the most promising versions of cosmopsychism and panpsychism, called constitutive cosmopsychism and constitutive panpsychism, respectively. -/- The first paper, ‘A Blueprint for Cosmopsychism’ offers a blueprint for a cosmopsychist approach, comparing it to the panpsychist approach. It highlights (...) how following the blueprint allows one to sidestep the most serious of panpsychism’s problems, the combination problem, while also avoiding the problem of infinite decomposition. However, it notes that the approach must address a serious problem of its own in the derivation problem. -/- The second paper, ‘Beyond Panpsychism and Cosmopsychism? Focuses’ on two related views that reject subjects of experience at the fundamental level, thus avoiding the subject aspects of the combination and derivation problems. Albahari’s perennialism is touted as the natural successor to cosmopsychism; avoiding its subject derivation problem while maintaining a cosmic consciousness. Meanwhile, Coleman’s panqualityism is touted as a natural successor to panpsychism; avoiding its combination problem while maintaining that phenomenality is present at the level of microphysical ultimates. However, I show both views seem to face problems equal in measure to those they seek to avoid. -/- The third paper, ‘The Subject Problem for Panpsychism and Cosmopsychism’ targets the hardest problems for constitutive panpsychism and constitutive cosmopsychism; the subject combination problem and the subject derivation problem, respectively. I show that the two problems are almost identical, both hinging on the entailment of what I call synchronous perspectives scenarios. I formulate broad arguments from metaphysical impossibility and epistemic implausibility against both views, based on such scenarios. However, I provide a possible model of how to understand synchronous perspective scenarios unproblematically. I also provide several alternative responses. -/- The fourth, and final, paper in the collection provides an account of, and motivation for, a version of cosmopsychism I call CRP cosmopsychism. This version of cosmopsychism is created on the priority cosmopsychism blueprint and has three further key commitments: simple panpsychism, priority monism and Russellian monism. The paper motivates each of these commitments both in isolation and in partnership, before responding to each of the derivation problems; the subject derivation problem, the quality derivation problem and the structure derivation problem. Furthermore, I argue that cosmopsychism should be preferred over panpsychism owing to considerations concerning internal relations. (shrink)
Some philosophical theories of consciousness imply consciousness in things we would never intuitively think are conscious—most notably, panpsychism implies that consciousness is pervasive, even outside complex brains. Is this a reductio ab absurdum for such theories, or does it show that we should reject our original intuitions? To understand the stakes of this question as clearly as possible, we analyse the structured pattern of intuitions that panpsychism conflicts with. We consider a variety of ways that the tension between (...) this intuition and panpsychism could be resolved, ranging from complete rejection of the theory to complete dismissal of the intuition, but argue in favour of more nuanced approaches which try to reconcile the two. (shrink)
As some see it, an impasse has been reached on the mind- body problem between mainstream physicalism and mainstream dualism. So lately another view has been gaining popularity, a view that might be called the 'Russellian theory of mind' (RTM) since it is inspired by some ideas once put forth by Bertrand Russell. Most versions of RTM are panpsychist, but there is at least one version that rejects panpsychism and styles itself as physicalism, and neutral monism is also a (...) possibility. In this paper I will attempt to sort out these different versions with a view to determining which, if any, have a chance of breaking the perceived impasse. The unsurprising conclusion will be that there are a lot of challenges ahead for the RTM theorist. The surprising conclusion will be that it's not clear that pan- psychist RTM holds an advantage over the other versions in this regard. (shrink)
Much of contemporary philosophy of mind is marked by a dissatisfaction with the two main positions in the field, standard materialism and standard dualism, and hence with the search for alternatives. My concern in this paper is with two such alternatives. The first, which I will call non-standard materialism, is a position I have defended in a number of places, and which may take various forms. The second, panpsychism, has been defended and explored by a number of recent writers. (...) My main goals are: (a) to explain the differences between these positions; and (b) to suggest that non-standard materialism is more plausible than panpsychism. (shrink)
The problem of consciousness arises when we depsychologize consciousness—that is, conceptualize it in terms of phenomenal feel rather than psychological function. Panpsychism offers an elegant solution to the problem, which takes depsychologization seriously. In doing so, however, it also illustrates the perils of depsychologization. Nagasawa highlights one dead end for panpsychism, and I shall argue that there are more. Panpsychism consigns consciousness to a metaphysical limbo where it is beyond the reach of science and lacks ethical and (...) personal significance. The moral is that we should retrace our steps and question the depsychologized conception itself. (shrink)
Physicalism dominated Anglo‐American philosophy in the latter half of the twentieth century, and is perhaps still the most popular view among analytic philosophers. Panpsychism is increasingly being seen as a serious option, both for explaining consciousness and for providing a satisfactory theory of the natural world. Perhaps the most popular form of panpsychism at present is constitutive panpsychism. At least some fundamental material entities are conscious; facts about human and animal consciousness are grounded in facts about the (...) consciousness of their fundamental material parts. This chapter equates panpsychism with constitutive panpsychism. In considering responses to the notorious combination problem for panpsychism, the chapter moves onto other forms of panpsychism to examine whether they fare any better against this challenge. It adopts the via negativa definition of physicalism. Panqualityism is the only form of panprotopsychism which offers a clear positive proposal as to what protophenomenal properties are. (shrink)
Some philosophers, like David Chalmers, have either shown their sympathy for, or explicitly endorsed, the following two principles: Panpsychism—roughly the thesis that the mind is ubiquitous throughout the universe—and Organizational Invariantism—the principle that holds that two systems with the same fine-grained functional organization will have qualitatively identical experiences. The purpose of this paper is to show the tension between the arguments that back up both principles. This tension should lead, or so I will argue, defenders of one of the (...) principles to give up on the other. (shrink)
Deferential Monadic Panpsychism is a view that accepts that physical science is capable of discovering the basic structure of reality. However, it denies that reality is fully and exhaustively de- scribed purely in terms of physical science. Consciousness is missing from the physical description and cannot be reduced to it. DMP explores the idea that the physically fundamental features of the world possess some intrinsic mental aspect. It thereby faces a se- vere problem of understanding how more complex mental (...) states emerge from the mental features of the fundamental features. Here I explore the idea that a new form of aggregative emergence, which I call 'combinatorial infusion', could shed light on this problem and bolster the prospects for this form of panpsychism. (shrink)
The most pressing worry for panpsychism is arguably the combination problem, the problem of intelligibly explaining how the experiences of microphysical entities combine to form the experiences of macrophysical entities such as ourselves. This chapter argues that the combination problem is similar in kind to other problems of mental combination that are problems for everyone: the problem of phenomenal unity, the problem of mental structure, and the problem of new quality spaces. The ubiquity of combination problems suggests the ignorance (...) hypothesis, the hypothesis that we are ignorant of certain key facts about mental combination, which allows the panpsychist to avoid certain objections based on the combination problem. (shrink)
This paper presents a novel argument against one theoretically attractive form of panpsychism. I argue that “idealist panpsychism” is false since it cannot account for spacetime’s structure. Idealist panpsychists posit that fundamental reality is purely experiential. Moreover, they posit that the consciousness at the fundamental level metaphysically grounds and explains both the facts of physics and the facts of human consciousness. I argue that if idealist panpsychism is true, human consciousness and the consciousness at the fundamental level (...) will have the same metrical structure. However, as I demonstrate, human consciousness does not exhibit the same metrical structure as spacetime. Consequently, the idealist panpsychist faces an explanatory gap between the fundamental consciousness she posits and spacetime. Idealist panpsychism is incompatible with the existence of such an explanatory gap. Thus, idealist panpsychists must close this explanatory gap (which I argue they lack the resources to do), or idealist panpsychism is false. (shrink)
Analytic Panpsychism has been brought into contact with Indian philosophy primarily through an examination of the Advaita Vedānta tradition and the Yogācāra tradition. In this work I explore the relation between Rāmānuja, the 12th century father of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta tradition, and analytic panpsychism. I argue that Rāmānuja’s philosophy inspires a more world affirming form of cosmopsychism where there are different kinds of reality, rather than one fundamental reality of pure consciousness and an ordinary wrold that is illusory (...) from the perspective of fundamental reality. (shrink)
Galileo’s Error is a superlative work of public philosophy, particularly as a way of introducing modern academic panpsychism to a broader audience. In this commentary, I reflect on an issue that is prominent, though often with different background concerns, in both academic and popular discourse: what it means to be ‘scientific’ or ‘unscientific’. Panpsychism is not itself a scientific hypothesis, but neither is it (as critics sometimes claim) in conflict with science. Indeed, Goff argues, and I agree, that (...)panpsychism is an eminently scientific worldview, in the sense of a way of viewing reality that accords with and embraces what science reveals. But what exactly it means to ‘accord with and embrace’ science is disputed; this paper tries to untangle some of the threads. (shrink)
Panpsychism has received much attention in the philosophy of mind in recent years. So-called constitutive Russellian panpsychism, in particular, is considered by many the most promising panpsychist approach to the hard problem of consciousness. In this paper, however, I develop a new challenge to this approach. I argue that the three elements of constitutive Russellian panpsychism—that is, the constitutive element, the Russellian element and the panpsychist element—jointly entail a ‘cognitive dead end’. That is, even if constitutive Russellian (...)panpsychism is true, we cannot ascertain how it might solve the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
Panpsychism claims that the vast majority of conscious subjects in our world are inanimate and physical. Ensemble explanations account for striking phenomena by placing them within an ensemble of outcomes, most of which are not striking. This paper develops an explanatory problem for panpsychism: panpsychism renders two appealing ensemble explanations unsatisfactory. Specifically, we argue that panpsychism renders unsatisfactory the multiverse explanation of why a universe supports life and the many-planets explanation of why a planet supports life.
Russellian panpsychism puts basic conscious properties at the bottom level and then grounds lowestlevel physical entities in them. This paper offers arguments against the view. The explanatory gap cuts both ways, making it as hard to get the physical out of consciousness as to get consciousness out of the physical. Russellian panpsychism can't explain how basic conscious properties yield high-level consciousness. Other non-physicalist views can evade the causal argument for physicalism at least as well as Russellian panpsychism. (...) Simplicity and beauty don't supply reasons for Russellian panpsychism. (shrink)
It is frequently claimed that panpsychism is unable in principle to generate evidence or predictions. After exploring how this impasse owes to panpsychism's commitment to brute physicalism, I argue that organismic panpsychism (OP) can retain this commitment and yet be empirical in principle. I then explore ways in which OP can be defended against a range of objections. These objections primarily relate to OP's metaphysics, its dependency on string theory, and its appeal to future states of science. (...) Finally, OP's ability to avert a worrying consequence of Russellian panpsychism is discussed. (shrink)
Although panpsychism and pantheism were seen as natural allies in the past, in contemporary philosophy it is widely common to stress differences rather than similarities between them. As a result, only few panpsychists (e.g. so-called cosmopsychists) acknowledge that their view may imply pantheism. In my paper, I argue that at least some popular versions of panpsychism do lead to pantheism. My main argument is that panpsychism meets the minimal requirements for pantheism, defined as a view that the (...) world is identical to all-encompassing Unity and that this Unity is divine. Although there are kinds of panpsychism that allow one to avoid these consequences, the most popular versions of this view pave the way to pantheism. Many philosophers will find this a serious challenge for panpsychism. On the other hand, it can be argued that this conclusion is not as grim as it seems. An all-encompassing Cosmic Mind has little to do with the God of Abrahamic religions, so it does not necessarily deprive panpsychism of its naturalistic flavor that many find non-negotiable. Be that as it may, the aim of this paper is to turn the attention of proponents of panpsychism to yet another problem they need to solve. (shrink)
This paper starts from the assumption that panpsychism is counterintuitive and metaphysically demanding. A number of philosophers, whilst not denying these negative aspects of the view, think that panpsychism has in its favour that it offers a good explanation of consciousness. In opposition to this, the paper argues that panpsychism cannot help us to explain consciousness, at least not the kind of consciousness we have pre‐theoretical reason to believe in.
Panpsychism, the view that the material elements of the universe have mental properties, has until quite recently remained in the periphery of the philosophical mainstream due to its blatant contradiction of normative Cartesian dualities, which divided the world into mental properties and material properties, that are devoid of value and sentience. The recent geological shift to the Anthropocene Age, in which human culture can be found in pesticide resistant mosquitoes and the ozone heavens, has undermined the foundations of Cartesian (...) dualism, making panpsychism a credible alternative. Yet some panpsychists go too far by conflating all distinctions between living and nonliving, human and nonhuman, evolved and made entities. Using Whitehead's process philosophy, this article will defend panpsychism and develop the philosophical criteria of causation, relationality, unity and intentionality to differentiate between natural living forms, natural nonliving forms, and human artifacts. (shrink)
1 Non-reductive physicalists deny that there is any explanation of mentality in purely physical terms, but do not deny that the mental is entirely determined by and constituted out of underlying physical structures. There are important issues about the stability of such a view which teeters on the edge of explanatory reductionism on the one side and dualism on the other (see Kim 1998). 2 Save perhaps for eliminative materialism (see Churchland 1981 for a classic exposition). In fact, however, while.
I shall be concerned in this paper with the consideration of panpsychism and of materialism in new forms as alternatives. Extended reference will be made to C. S. Peirce's view of perception as realistic in intention and yet not quite clear as to its mechanism and how it attains objective import. I shall say little about Whitehead as a representative of panpsychism as I have just finished a detailed criticism of his epistemological framework. I shall, however, make comments (...) on William James's radical empiricism as tied in with his view of perception as direct and immediate--roughly speaking, the alternative to Locke's representation of "unperceived things" --and bring in my own theory of sensations as guiding perceiving. Russell's neutral monism, connected historically with James's radical empiricism, will be touched on here in connection with his rejection of materialism. Phenomenalism and materialism exclude each other. Materialism, as an ontology, requires a realistic epistemology. I shall also make some comments on Dewey's biological experientialism. One can often best explain a perspective by means of contrasts. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Einar Bohn [AJP 2019] has proposed a version of panpsychism on which consciousness is fundamentally a property of pluralities of basic objects. I argue that this pluralized panpsychism is structurally similar to emergentism, and faces the problem of explaining how a plurality of basic objects could be a subject of experiences. Because of these issues, pluralized panpsychism is not a substantial improvement on orthodox panpsychism.
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. (shrink)
Panpsychism is the view, found in ancient and modern, Eastern and Western philosophies, that mind is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the universe. This article explores the use of panpsychism to support different views of God. It is seen that as a family of views, panpsychism is a theologically flexible position that has been used to support atheism, pantheism, panentheism, and traditional monotheism. However, the relationship between panpsychism and philosophy of religion is not infinitely flexible. (...) Different versions of panpsychism constrain these models of God, and vice versa. The different motivations for linking panpsychism to (dis)belief in God reveals the range of ways of interpreting the spiritual import of positing mentality in nature. (shrink)
In contemporary philosophy of mind, the conceivability argument against physicalism is often used to support a form of dualism, which takes consciousness to be ontologically fundamental and distinct from physical matter. Recently, some proponents of the conceivability argument have also shown interest in panpsychism, which is the view that mentality is ubiquitous in the natural world. This paper examines the extent to which panpsychism can be sustained if the conceivability argument is taken seriously. I argue that panpsychism’s (...) ubiquity claim permits a strong reading or a weak reading. This presents a dilemma. On the one hand, the strong reading, which is typically characterised as a form of monism, is undermined by the conceivability argument. On the other hand, the weak reading, while compatible with the conceivability argument, turns out just to be a special case of dualism. I also show that the related position of panprotopsychism cannot provide a tenable monist position because it too cannot withstand the challenge of the conceivability argument. Therefore, if the conceivability argument is taken seriously, then we are committed to a dualist metaphysics, regardless of whether or not we accept the ubiquity claim. (shrink)
Panpsychism is the view that all things have a mind, or a mind-like quality. Contrary to the common view that panpsychism is a fringe or 'absurd' theory of mind, it in fact has a long and noble tradition within western philosophy. In the forms of animism and polytheism, panpsychism was the dominant view for most if not all of the pre-historical era. In the early years of western thought it was widely accepted though not often explicitly argued (...) for. The emergence of Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology subverted it for a number of centuries, but it made a comeback with early Renaissance naturalist philosophers of the sixteenth century. Though still a minority view, it grew steadily in support through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reaching a zenith in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With the advent of logical positivism and linguistic/analytic philosophy, panpsychism was once again driven down to a relatively low status. In the past few years, however, panpsychism has once more become the topic of serious philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
This article summarizes the principal arguments for panpsychism given by Charles Hartshorne by separating it from Whitehead's event metaphysics and Hartshorne's natural theology. It sorts out the plausible reasons for panpsychism given by Hartshorne from those less plausible. Among the plausible reasons are those based on analogical reasoning and the impossibility of explaining how mentality originated. Among the implausible ones are those that postulate a type of psychic causation between wholes and parts. The conclusion is that the plausible (...) reasons tip the balance in favor of the doctrine. (shrink)