“Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit." (C.G. Jung) -/- Dans le Liber Novus, la résonance des champs archétypiques, qui se manifeste dans dans le primat de l'imago et de l'imaginal, explose dans toute sa « pathique » évidence. L'archétype jungien semble contenir en soi l'écho du telos omniprésent qui parcourt la coincidentia oppositorum. On est alors amené à penser à la conception de Nicola Cusano.
The most central metaphysical question about phenomenal consciousness is that of what constitutes phenomenal consciousness, whereas the most central epistemic question about consciousness is that of whether science can eventually provide an explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Many philosophers have argued that science doesn't have the means to answer the question of what consciousness is (the explanatory gap) but that consciousness nonetheless is fully determined by the physical facts underlying it (no metaphysical gap). Others have argued that the explanatory gap in (...) the sciences entails a metaphysical gap. The explanatory gap exists, they say, because there are two fundamental properties in the world that do not reduce to one another: Phenomenal and physical. This position is also known as 'property dualism'. A famous argument, formulated and defended at great length by David Chalmers, uses conceptual tools to argue for a metaphysical gap. When we just look at what the notion of phenomenal consciousness implies, we will find that it doesn't rule out that there could be entities functionally and physically identical to us but without phenomenal consciousness. A couple of further argumentative steps can get us from here to the conclusion that laying down the physical facts of our world does not necessitate phenomenal consciousness. I argue that this argument is compelling but that accepting the conclusion doesn't have the implication that science cannot discover what consciousness is. I begin by outlining and assessing a number of different positions philosophers and scientists have recently defended regarding the link between neurological systems and consciousness, I then argue that even if property dualism is true, that doesn't necessarily prevent the sciences from discovering what constitutes consciousness. That is, there may be no explanatory gap even if there is a metaphysical gap. (shrink)
The history of philosophy is a history of moral circle expansion. This history correlates with a history of expansionism about consciousness. Recently, expansionism about consciousness has exploded: to invertebrates, to plants, to logic gates, and to fundamental entities. The last of these expansions stems from a surge of interest in panpsychism. In an exploratory spirit, this paper considers some largely uncharted territory: the ethical implications of panpsychism. Our conclusion is that while panpsychism probably does significantly expand our moral circle, it's (...) also probably short on anything of practical significance. (shrink)
Russellian monism is the doctrine according to which physical properties, usually described as structural and dynamic, are grounded in categorical properties, often characterised as phenomenal or proto-phenomenal properties, of which physics leaves us ignorant, and therefore often called inscrutables or quiddities. Several authors claim that this doctrine derives its raison d’être from an attempt to overcome the insuperable difficulties posed to physicalism by the conceivability and knowledge arguments. There are several versions of this doctrine, the best known of which is (...) panprotopsychism, but which has turned out to be affected by modified versions of the arguments against the competing doctrines. In this paper, after having introduced some main themes related to Russellian monism, I will discuss the reasons for understanding it as a form of physicalism. (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)
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.
According to panqualityism, a form of Russellian monism defended by Sam Coleman and others, consciousness is grounded in fundamental qualities, i.e. unexperienced qualia. Despite panqualityism’s significant promise, according to David Chalmers panqualityism fails as a theory of consciousness since the reductive approach to awareness of qualities it proposes fails to account for the specific phenomenology associated with awareness. I investigate Coleman’s reasoning against this kind of phenomenology and conclude that he successfully shows that its existence is controversial, and so Chalmers’s (...) critique is inconclusive. I then present a critique of panqualityism that avoids this controversial posit, arguing that the panqualityist treatment of awareness faces an explanatory gap, failing to account for the intimate cognitive access to qualities which we are afforded, i.e. for our ‘strong awareness’ of qualities. The real worry for panqualityists is thus not the contested phenomenology of awareness, which Chalmers relies on, but rather the special way in which we are aware of qualities. (shrink)
In this journal S Siddharth has recently argued that the phenomenal bonding response to the subject summing argument for panpsychism is question begging, therefore we should reject constitutive forms of panpsychism. The argument specifically focuses on the proposals of Goff and Miller. In this reply, I show that the argument is unsound.
In the marketplace of opinions concerning the metaphysics of mind and consciousness panqualityism (PQ) occupies an interesting position. It is a distinct variant of neutral monism, as well as of protophenomenalism, and as such it strives to carve out a conceptual niche midway between physicalism and mentalism. It is also a brand of Russellian monism, advocated by its supporters as a less costly and less extravagant alternative to panpsychism. Being clearly articulated and relatively well-developed it constitutes an intriguing view. Nonetheless, (...) the present paper takes a decisively critical stance towards PQ. In particular, it challenges it on two principal grounds. First, I argue that PQ's analysis of experience, and of the qualities tasked with constituting the phenomenal character of experience, is fundamentally flawed. Second, I argue that PQ's attempt to explain phenomenal consciousness as a function of reflective awareness is equally misguided. Along the way, the paper also points the shortcomings of previously established critiques of PQ. All in all, the discussion identifies some difficulties that are likely to generalize beyond PQ's specific circumstances, raising concerns regarding the viability of a "middle of the road" solution to the mind–body problem. (shrink)
In my paper, I shall provide a reading of Diogenes of Apollonia such that his understanding of the metaphysics of differentiation and of individual ensoulment may constitute an ingenious answer to the problems of his time. To this extent, I will argue that Diogenes' worldview solves the difficulties of Anaxagoras' metaphysics and successfully integrates mentality in a causally closed conception of nature. Finally, I will suggest that a Diogenes-inspired approach might be relevant to treat some pressing concerns in the contemporary (...) philosophy of mind – thus demonstrating how his production might offer some interesting solutions for the problems of our time too. (shrink)
My purpose in this paper is to challenge the continued exclusion of Indian philosophies from the Western philosophical canon on the supposed basis that such philosophies are really religion, mysticism, and mythology. I argue that many schools of Indian philosophy, such as Advaita Vedānta, resist and problematize historically particular Euro-Western conceptions of both philosophy and religion, and the conceptual borders between them, where philosophy is understood as grounded in various substantive notions of reason and rationality, defined as a purely theoretical (...) enterprise. In addition, I question the predominant tendency to see philosophy as opposed to “religion”, which is often presumed to rest on faith in a Judeo-Christian conception of God: The singular and wholly other, creator of all souls, ex nihilo, the ultimate judge of humankind, where salvation is granted in proportion to the intrinsic value of faith. I suggest that Advaita challenges these prevailing conceptions. A part of my larger purpose is to dislodge the view that the Euro-Western philosophical enterprise constitutes the universal, neutral, and objective standard from which all other approaches to philosophy are to be judged as legitimate. My hope is to lay some of the groundwork required to re-think dominant historical and conceptual categories from a broader global perspective, with the aim of developing a deeper and more plural understanding of the diverse nature of both philosophical and religious inquiry. (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)
I explore some surprising convergences between apparently opposite theories of consciousness—panpsychism and eliminativism. I outline what a ‘Dennettian panpsychism’ might look like, and consider some of the challenging but fertile questions it raises about determinacy, holism, and subjecthood.What unites constitutive panpsychism and the multiple drafts model is that both present the unitary consciousness we can report as resting atop a multiplicity of independent processes; both reject as misguided the search for a definite threshold between processing that is truly conscious and (...) that which is merely preconscious. What divides them is that Dennett regards it as unreasonable to posit inaccessible consciousness, but reasonable to doubt or deny the existence of consciousness, while panpsychists think the opposite. (shrink)
Panpsychism has many sides in common with Jung and Pauli's thinking, and analytical psychology is also a form of panpsychism. In this article we want to lay the foundations for a psychophysics that has an adequate onto-epistemology for the complex phenomenology of the relationship between quantum physics and consciousness. This onto-epistemology is a monism in which an informational-spiritual atemporal dimension, completely entangled in itself and teleologically anthropic, precedes and “informs” instantaneously and constantly matter-energy, space-time and consciousness.
Panpsychism, the view that phenomenal consciousness is possessed by all fundamental physical entities, faces an important challenge in the form of the combination problem: how do experiences of microphysical entities combine or give rise to the experiences of macrophysical entities such as human beings? An especially troubling aspect of the combination problem is the subject-summing argument, according to which the combination of subjects is not possible. In response to this argument, Goff (2016) and Miller (2017) have proposed the phenomenal bonding (...) relation, using which they seek to explain the composition of subjects. In this paper, I discuss the merits of the phenomenal bonding solution and argue that it fails to respond satisfactorily to the subject-summing argument. (shrink)
This chapter examines the integrative nature of reflexive monism (RM), a psychological/philosophical model of a reflexive, self-observing universe that can accommodate both ordinary and extraordinary experiences in a natural, non-reductive way that avoids both the problems of reductive materialism and the (inverse) pitfalls of reductive idealism. To contextualize the ancient roots of the model, the chapter touches briefly on classical models of consciousness, mind and soul and how these differ in a fundamental way from how mind and consciousness are viewed (...) in contemporary Western philosophy and psychological science. The chapter then travels step by step from such contemporary views towards reflexive monism, and towards the end of the chapter, to more detailed comparisons with Hindu Vedanta and Samkhya philosophy and with Cosmopsychism (a recently emergent, directly relevant area of philosophy of mind). According to RM there never was a separation between what we normally think of as the “physical world” and what we think of as our “conscious experience”. In terms of its phenomenology, the phenomenal physical world is part-of conscious experience not apart-from it. This phenomenal world can be thought of as a biologically useful representation of what the world is like, although it is not the world as-described-by modern physics, and it is not the thing itself—supporting a form of indirect (critical) realism. The analysis then outlines how 3D phenomenal worlds are constructed by the mind/brain, focusing specifically on perceptual projection, and then demonstrates how normal, first-person conscious experiences (e.g. of phenomenal worlds) and their associated, third-person viewable neural correlates can be understood as dual manifestations of an underlying psychophysical mind, which can, in turn, be understood as a psychophysical form of information processing. This dual-aspect monism combines ontological monism with a form of epistemological dualism in which first- and third-person perspectives on the nature of mind are complementary and mutually irreducible—a principle that turns out to have wide-ranging applications for the study and understanding of consciousness. The chapter then considers the evolution and wider distribution of consciousness (beyond humans) through a brief analysis of the many forms of discontinuity theory versus continuity theory and argues that to avoid the “hard problem” of consciousness one may need to treat its existence as fundamental, and, as co-evolving with the evolution of its associated material forms. This, in turn, takes one to a central issue: What does consciousness actually do? The analysis argues that its central function is to real-ize existence (to know it in a way that makes it subjectively real). With these foundations in place we then come to the heart of the essay—the ways in which reflexive monism provides a very different view of the nature of the universe to those offered either by dualism or materialist reductionism. As summarised in the last paragraph of this section, “In this vision, there is one universe (the thing-itself), with relatively differentiated parts in the form of conscious beings like ourselves, each with a unique, conscious view of the larger universe of which it is a part. In so far as we are parts of the universe that, in turn, experience the larger universe, we participate in a reflexive process whereby the universe experiences itself.” The essay then considers the precise ways in which this reflexive monist understanding of “consciousness” and “mind” relates to later developments in Vedic philosophy and suggests a way of bridging contemporary Western and classical Vedic ways of understanding consciousness and mind. Finally, the chapter considers what can be said of mystical experience and the ground of being, following the principle that this ground must have the power to both manifest the universe in the form that science shows it to be and our ability to experience the universe in the way that we do. In this, RM is shown to be a dual-aspect monist form of cosmopsychism—a recent area of development within philosophy of mind. The essay compares and contrasts this with idealist versions of cosmopsychism and argues that RM allows for an integrated understanding of realism versus idealism, dualism versus monism, how ordinary experience relates to mystical experience, and how consciousness relates to mind. RM also provides an ‘open’ conceptual system that can, in principle, incorporate a range of parapsychological effects. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Constitutive panpsychism is the doctrine that macro-level consciousness—that is, consciousness of the sort possessed by certain composite things such as humans—is built out of irreducibly mental features had by some or all of the basic physical constituents of reality. On constitutive panpsychism, changes in macro-level consciousness amount to changes in either the way that micro-conscious entities ‘bond’ or the way that micro-conscious qualities ‘blend’. I pose the ‘Selection Problem’ for constitutive panpsychism—the problem of explaining how high-level functional states of (...) the brain ‘select’ micro-conscious qualities for bonding or blending. I argue that there are no empirically plausible solutions to this problem. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism about consciousness, a view that has not previously been explored in any detail. We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions: first, a theory might be physicalist or dualist; second, a theory might endorse any of the three following views regarding causal relations between phenomenal properties (properties that characterize states of our consciousness) and physical properties: nomism (the two kinds of property interact through deterministic laws), acausalism (they do not causally interact), and (...) anomalism (they interact but not through deterministic laws). I suggest that a kind of anomalous dualism, nonreductive anomalous panpsychism, promises to offer the best overall answer to two pressing issues for dualist views, the problem of mental causation and the mapping problem (the problem of predicting mind-body associations). (shrink)
The human mind is constituted by inner, subjective, private, first-person conscious experiences that cannot be measured with physical devices or observed from an external, objective, public, third-person perspective. The qualitative, phenomenal nature of conscious experiences also cannot be communicated to others in the form of a message composed of classical bits of information. Because in a classical world everything physical is observable and communicable, it is a daunting task to explain how an empirically unobservable, incommunicable consciousness could have any physical (...) substrates such as neurons composed of biochemical molecules, water, and electrolytes. The challenges encountered by classical physics are exemplified by a number of thought experiments including the inverted qualia argument, the private language argument, the beetle in the box argument and the knowledge argument. These thought experiments, however, do not imply that our consciousness is nonphysical and our introspective conscious testimonies are untrustworthy. The principles of classical physics have been superseded by modern quantum physics, which contains two fundamentally different kinds of physical objects: unobservable quantum state vectors, which define what physically exists, and quantum operators (observables), which define what can physically be observed. Identifying consciousness with the unobservable quantum information contained by quantum physical brain states allows for application of quantum information theorems to resolve possible paradoxes created by the inner privacy of conscious experiences, and explains how the observable brain is constructed by accessible bits of classical information that are bound by Holevo's theorem and extracted from the physically existing quantum brain upon measurement with physical devices. (shrink)
In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...) complex. These logical principles determine the existence of a virtual ideological matrix that contains the sequence of the preformed and folded morphogenetic fields. In this manner, the evolutionary process consists of the sequential unfolding and actualization of these fields, which is motorized by a process of teleologization carried out by the opening consciousness of the forms included in the fields of the ideological matrix. This theory leads to a radical change of perspective regarding the materialist worldview, and places life at the center of the evolutionary process as an activity carried out by a consciousness that seeks to fulfill a purpose by actualizing its own potentialities. (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)
We pose a foundational problem for those who claim that subjects are ontologically irreducible, but causally reducible (weak emergence). This problem is neuroscience’s notorious binding problem, which concerns how distributed neural areas produce unified mental objects (such as perceptions) and the unified subject that experiences them. Synchrony, synapses and other mechanisms cannot explain this. We argue that this problem seriously threatens popular claims that mental causality is reducible to neural causality. Weak emergence additionally raises evolutionary worries about how we’ve survived (...) the perils of nature. Our emergent subject hypothesis (ESH) avoids these shortcomings. Here, a singular, unified subject acts back on the neurons it emerges from and binds sensory features into unified mental objects. Serving as the mind’s controlling center, this subject is ontologically and causally irreducible (strong emergence). ESH draws on recent experimental evidence, including the motivation of a possible correlate (or “seat”) of the subject, which enhances its testability. (shrink)
Neutral monism aims at solving the hard problem of consciousness by positing entities that are neither mental nor physical. Benovsky has recently argued for the slightly different account that, rather than being neutral, natural entities are both mental and physical by having different aspects, and then argued in favour of an anti-realist interpretation of those aspects. In this essay, operating under the assumption of dual-aspect monism, I argue to the contrary in favour of a realist interpretation of these aspects by (...) showing that the anti-realist interpretation collapses into neutral monism and that the realist interpretation is an interesting alternative. I close with a discussion of the realist interpretation of the aspects and its relation with panpsychism. (shrink)
The Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (IIT) claims that consciousness is identical to maximal integrated information, or maximal Φ. One objection to IIT is based on what may be called the intrinsicality problem: consciousness is an intrinsic property, but maximal Φ is an extrinsic property; therefore, they cannot be identical. In this paper, I show that this problem is not unique to IIT, but rather derives from a trilemma that confronts almost any theory of consciousness. Given most theories of consciousness, (...) the following three claims are inconsistent. INTRINSICALITY: Consciousness is intrinsic. NON-OVERLAP: Conscious systems do not overlap with other conscious systems (a la Unger’s problem of the many). REDUCTIONISM: Consciousness is constituted by more fundamental properties (as per standard versions of physicalism and Russellian monism). In view of this, I will consider whether rejecting INTRINSICALITY is necessarily less plausible than rejecting NON-OVERLAP or REDUCTIONISM. I will also consider whether IIT is necessarily committed to rejecting INTRINSICALITY or whether it could also accept solutions that reject NON-OVERLAP or REDUCTIONISM instead. I will suggest that the best option for IIT may be a solution that rejects REDUCTIONISM rather than INTRINSICALITY or NON-OVERLAP. (shrink)
The Integrated Information Theory is a leading scientific theory of consciousness, which implies a kind of panpsychism. In this paper, I consider whether IIT is compatible with a particular kind of panpsychism, known as Russellian panpsychism, which purports to avoid the main problems of both physicalism and dualism. I will first show that if IIT were compatible with Russellian panpsychism, it would contribute to solving Russellian panpsychism’s combination problem, which threatens to show that the view does not avoid the main (...) problems of physicalism and dualism after all. I then show that the theories are not compatible as they currently stand, in view of what I call the coarse-graining problem. After I explain the coarse-graining problem, I will offer two possible solutions, each involving a small modification of IIT. Given either of these modifications, IIT and Russellian panpsychism may be fully compatible after all, and jointly enable significant progress on the mind–body problem. (shrink)
In recent literature, panpsychism has been defended by appeal to two main arguments: first, an argument from philosophy of mind, according to which panpsychism is the only view which successfully integrates consciousness into the physical world (Strawson 2006; Chalmers 2013); second, an argument from categorical properties, according to which panpsychism offers the only positive account of the categorical or intrinsic nature of physical reality (Seager 2006; Adams 2007; Alter and Nagasawa 2012). Historically, however, panpsychism has also been defended by appeal (...) to a third argument based on considerations about the nature and observability of causation. This argument has not been much discussed in recent times. Here is a concise version from William James: "… the concrete perceptual flux, taken just as it comes, offers in our own activity-situations perfectly comprehensible instances of causal agency … If we took these experiences as the type of what actual causation is, we should have to ascribe to cases of causation outside of our life, to physical cases also, an inwardly experiential nature. In other words, we should have to espouse a so-called “pan-psychic” philosophy" (James 1911: 218). James here suggests that we have direct experience of causation in our own agency. He thereby directly contradicts David Hume, who famously denied that we have any experience of causation. James goes on to claim that if this experience is representative of causation in general, it follows that all causation is mental, and that panpsychism is true. This kind of argument for panpsychism can be called the argument from (experience of) causation. This chapter offers, first, a history of this argument and arguments closely related to it, and second, an analysis of the argument – is it valid, are its premises in any way defensible, and how does it relate to the other, more popular arguments for panpsychism from philosophy of mind and categorical properties? (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)
The thesis that follows proffers a solution to the mind-matter problem, the problem as to how mind and matter relate. The proposed solution herein is a variant of panpsychism – the theory that all (pan) has minds (psyche) – that we name pansentient monism. By defining the suffix 'psyche' of panpsychism, i.e. by analysing what 'mind' is (Chapter 1), we thereby initiate the effacement of the distinction between mind and matter, and thus advance a monism. We thereafter critically examine the (...) prevalent view, antithetical to a pansentient monism, that mind is not identical to matter but emergent therefrom (Chapter 2). This anti-emergentist critique acts also as a fortification of the Genetic Argument for panpsychism: if mind is not emergent (nor distinct) from matter, mind must always have existed with matter. But what is 'matter'? Chapter 3 investigates what we understand by 'matter', or 'the physical', and exposes it as a highly deficient concept and percept that in concreto points to its identity with that denoted by 'mind'. This also acts as a fortification of the Abstraction Argument for panpsychism, employing a new taxonomy of physicalism and a new taxonomy of the varieties of abstraction. Thus do we reach a monism that is a parsimonious psycho-physical identity theory. But here we face what can be called The Identity Problem for Panpsychism: if our panpsychism is a psycho-physical identity theory, how can it respond to the powerful objections that beset the identity theory of the twentieth century? In Chapter 4 it will be argued that, like emergentism, this psycho-neural identity theory presupposed a deficient concept of 'matter', down to which mind was reduced away, let alone identified. But to identify down phenomena to what is actually an abstraction is to commit failure of explanation. When the theory is amended accordingly, we move from a psycho-neural identity theory to a genuine psycho-physical identity theory that as such can overcome the aforementioned identity problem. Furthermore, as Chapter 5 clarifies, our pansentient monism has, in addition to parsimony, the explanatory power to resolve the problem of mental causation that afflicts both the reductive physicalism of psycho-neural identity theory and the non-reductive physicalism of emergentism, by genuinely identifying physical and mental causation. Jaegwon Kim considers the place of consciousness in a physical world and the nature of mental causation to be the two key components of the mind-matter problem. Through the critical analysis of our prosaic understanding of mind and matter in this thesis, which incorporates the thought of both classical and contemporary thinkers through a novel fusion, it is hoped that both components are addressed and redressed. That is to say that I present this pansentient monism as a plausible, parsimonious, explanatory, and thus, I think, powerful position towards this ever-perplexing mind-matter mystery. -/- [This thesis was passed in January 2019 with viva examination from Galen Strawson and Joel Krueger. (shrink)
In this book, Jiri Benovsky takes a stand for a variant of panpsychism as being the best solution available to the mind-body problem. More exactly, he defends a view that can be labelled 'dual-aspect-pan-proto-psychism'. Panpsychism claims that mentality is ubiquitous to reality, and in combination with dual-aspect monism it claims that anything, from fundamental particles to rocks, trees, and human animals, has two aspects: a physical aspect and a mental aspect. In short, the view is that the nature of reality (...) is 'phental' (physical-mental). But this does not mean, according to the author, that rocks and photons think or have conscious experiences, in the sense in which human animals have experiences. This is where pan-proto-psychism enters the picture as being a better theoretical option, where the mental aspects of fundamental particles, rocks, and trees are not experiential. Many hard questions arise here. In this book, Benovsky focuses on the combination problem: in short, how do tiny mental aspects of fundamental particles combine to yield macro-phenomenal conscious experiences, such as your complex experience when you enjoy a great gastronomic meal? What makes the question even harder is that the combination problem is not just one problem, but rather a family of various combination issues and worries. Benovsky offers a general strategy to deal with these combination problems and focuses on one in particular – namely, the worry concerning the existence of subjects of experience. Indeed, if standard panpsychism were true, we would need an explanation of how tiny micro-subjects combine into a macro-subject like a human person. And if panprotopsychism is true, it has to explain how a subject of experience can arise from proto-micro-mental aspects of reality. Benovsky shows that understanding the nature of subjectivity in terms of the growingly familiar notion of mineness in combination with a reductionist/eliminativist view of the self, allows us to have a coherent picture, where this type of combination problem is avoided, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (shrink)
Physical processes manifest an objective order that science manages to discover. Commonly, it is considered that these processes obey the “laws of nature.” Bergson disputes this idea which ultimately constitutes a kind of Platonism. In contrast, he develops the idea that physical processes are a particular case of automatic behaviors. In this sense, they imply a motor memory immanent to matter, whose actions are triggered by some perceptions. This approach is obviously panpsychist. It gives matter a certain consciousness, even if (...) the latter is different in nature from our consciousness. In some respects, this approach is similar to contemporary panpsychism because it claims that the psychic is a fundamental characteristic of nature, causally active. But it is also original because it does not constitute a theory of the origin of mind in nature. (shrink)
This memoir recalls friendly discussions with Hermínio Martins regarding the essential character of the furniture of the universe. Physicalism, despite the successes of the natural sciences, fails to account for experiences such as pain. As will be shown, Martins and the writer preferred alternative metaphysical systems that avoid such pitfalls.
I propose an idealist ontology that makes sense of reality in a more parsimonious and empirically rigorous manner than mainstream physicalism, bottom-up panpsychism, and cosmopsychism. The proposed ontology also offers more explanatory power than these three alternatives, in that it does not fall prey to the hard problem of consciousness, the combination problem, or the decombination problem, respectively. It can be summarized as follows: there is only cosmic consciousness. We, as well as all other living organisms, are but dissociated alters (...) of cosmic consciousness, surrounded by its thoughts. The inanimate world we see around us is the extrinsic appearance of these thoughts. The living organisms we share the world with are the extrinsic appearances of other dissociated alters. (shrink)
Final instalment of a book-review symposium on: Jeff Kochan (2017), Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge UK: Open Book Publishers). -- Author's response to: Paolo Palladino (2018), 'Heidegger Today: On Jeff Kochan’s Science and Social Existence,' Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7(8): 41-46; and Adam Riggio (2018), 'The Very Being of a Conceptual Scheme: Disciplinary and Conceptual Critiques,' Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7(11): 53-59.
The paper critically discusses the treatment of Russellian monism in Tomáš Hříbek’s monograph Jaké to je, nebo o čem to je? (What It’s Like, or What It’s About?). According to Hříbek, Russellian monism, the approach to phenomenal consciousness inspired by the insights of Bertrand Russell, is not a real alternative to materialism, dualism and idealism. I argue that Russellian monism, on the contrary, can be viewed as a self-standing philosophical position which, moreover, avoids the main problems of these traditional approaches. (...) I first address the objection that the fundamental entities of neutral monism have a mental, rather than neutral nature. In connection with neutral monism, I also express some worries concerning Hříbek’s via negativa definition of physicalism. Thereafter I explain why the causal closure of the physical which poses a serious difficulty for dualism is not a problem for Russellian monism and emphasize that Russellian monism is able to tackle challenges, such as the conceivability argument and the knowledge argument, better than materialism. While then Russellian monism has certain affinities with materialism, dualism and idealism, it avoids the most serious challenges for these approaches and we therefore have a good reason to view it as a self-standing and promising approach to phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
According to recent arguments for panpsychism, all physical properties are dispositional, dispositions require categorical grounds, and the only categorical properties we know are phenomenal properties. Therefore, phenomenal properties can be posited as the categorical grounds of all physical properties—in order to solve the mind–body problem and/or in order avoid noumenalism about the grounds of the physical world. One challenge to this case comes from dispositionalism, which agrees that all physical properties are dispositional, but denies that dispositions require categorical grounds. In (...) this paper, I propose that this challenge can be met by the claim that the only dispositional properties we know are phenomenal properties, in particular, phenomenal properties associated with agency, intention and/or motivation. Versions of this claim have been common in the history of philosophy, and have also been supported by a number of contemporary dispositionalists. I will defend a new and updated version of it. Combined with other premises from the original case for panpsychism—which are not affected by the challenge from dispositionalism—it forms an argument that dispositionalism entails panpsychism. (shrink)
I argue for the primacy of the mental from recent physicalists’ endorsements of phenomenal transparency and the non-transparency of the physical. I argue that the conjunction of these views shows that (1) arguments for dualism from introspection are difficult to resist; and (2) a kind of Hempel’s dilemma that removes constraints that block substance dualism. This shows that (1) raises the probability of the primacy of the mental, while (2) lowers the probability of the primacy of the physical. Lastly, I (...) argue that the conjunction of (1) and (2) raise the probability of substance dualism. (shrink)
Philip Goff has recently argued that due to the ‘subject-summing problem’, panpsychism cannot explain consciousness. The subject-summing problem is a problem which is analogous to the physicalist's explanatory gap; it is a gap between the micro-experiential facts and the macro-experiential facts. Goff also suggests that there could be a solution by way of a ‘phenomenal bonding relation’, but believes that this solution is not up to scratch because we cannot form a positive not-merely-role-playing concept of this relation. In this paper, (...) I argue that the phenomenal bonding solution is up to scratch. I argue that the panpsychist, by carefully inspecting their phenomenology and scrutinising their concepts, can form a positive concept of the phenomenal bonding relation. By doing this they can start to get around their explanatory gap. (shrink)
This is an important collection in that it fleshes out the vague postulate of panpsychism with a detailed analysis of how it might be understood (if not exactly what it might mean). For the many skeptics who simply dismiss the very idea as ridiculous, there is much here to demonstrate that a good deal of serious thought has gone into this ancient proposal. There are many ways to interpret panpsychism, and they are well represented in this group of philosophers, each (...) speaking for a unique take on the subject or one of its variations– from cosmopsychism to panprotopsychism to panexperientialism to neutral monism, etc. The combination problem is fully interrogated, as is panpsychism associated with dualism, idealism, physicalism, theism, etc. Anyone reading this book is bound to gain some respect for the complexity of such subject matter and the compelling logic for approaching it. (shrink)
Music is often described in anthropomorphic terms. This paper suggests that if we think about music in certain ways we could think of it as conscious. Motional characteristics give music the impression of being alive, but musical motion is conventionally taken as metaphorical. The first part of this paper argues that metaphor may not be the exclusive means of understanding musical motion – there could also be literal ways. Discussing kinds of consciousness, particularly “access consciousness” (Block 1995), the second part (...) proposes ways in which music could (hypothetically) be conscious. The conclusion states that a greater understanding of the interactions of “phenomenal consciousness” and “access consciousness” is important in conceptualizing non-human consciousnesses, such as music might be conceived to be. (shrink)
Western philosophy and science have a strongly dualistic tradition regarding the mental and physical aspects of reality, which makes it difficult to understand their possible causal relations. In recent debates in cognitive neuroscience it has been common to claim on the basis of neural experiments that conscious experiences are causally inefficacious. At the same time there is much evidence that consciousness does play an important role in guiding behavior. The author explores whether a new way of understanding the causal role (...) of mental states and consciousness could be provided by the ontological interpretation of the quantum theory (Bohm and Hiley, Phys. Rep. 144:323–348, 1987; Bohm and Hiley, The undivided universe: An ontological interpretation of quantum theory. Routledge: London, 1993). This interpretation radically changes our notion of matter by suggesting that a new type of active information plays a causal role at the quantum level of reality. The author thus considers to what extent the alleged causal powers of consciousness involve information, and then moves on to consider whether information in (conscious) mental states can be connected to the information at the level of quantum physics. In this way he sketches how quantum theory might help to throw light upon one of the grand challenges facing the social sciences and the humanities, namely the question of whether consciousness plays any genuine causal role in the physical world. (shrink)
To explain the origin of anything, we must be clear about that which we are explaining. There seem to be two main meanings for the term consciousness. One might be called open in that it equates consciousness with awareness and experience and considers rudimentary sensations to have evolved at a specific point in the evolution of increasing complexity. But certainly the foundation for such sensation is a physical body. It is unclear, however, exactly what the physical requirements are for a (...) “central experiencer” to emerge in the course of evolution. Some suggest that it would require a basic brain, others a central nervous system, and others stipulate only a cellular membrane. The open definition is most often assumed by the so-called hard sciences. -/- The closed meaning of consciousness differentiates between a special sort of experience, i.e., conscious experience, and a special sort of awareness (i.e., self-awareness). This is the approach of psychoanalysis and psychology that accepts the existence of an unconscious mind. It is also the view of most phenomenological philosophers and psychologists (Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jacques Lacan, etc.). This entry discusses several scientific and philosophical views of consciousness and its origins. (shrink)
In this article, I am interested in dual-aspect monism as a solution to the mind-body problem. This view is not new, but it is somewhat under-represented in the contemporary debate, and I would like to help it make its way. Dual-aspect monism is a parsimonious, elegant and simple view. It avoids problems with “mental causation”. It naturally explains how and why mental states are correlated with physical states while avoiding any mysteries concerning the nature of this relation. It fits well (...) with our ordinary picture of the world, as well as with the scientific picture. It gives its rightful place to the phenomenal, qualitative, subjective character of experience, instead of reducing it or eliminating it. It does not unnecessarily multiply ontological categories. It can come in many versions, and is compatible with other interesting views, such as panpsychism. (shrink)
From the perspective of many philosophers of mind in these early years of the 21st Century, the debate between dualism and physicalism has seemed to have stalled, if not to have come to a complete standstill. There seems to be no way to settle the basic clash of intuitions that underlies it. Recently however, a growing number of proponents of Russellian monism have suggested that their view promises to show us a new way forward. Insofar as Russellian monism might allow (...) us to break out of the current gridlock, it's no wonder that it's become "hot stuff." To my mind, however, the excitement about Russellian monism is misplaced. Though some version of Russellian monism might well be true, I do not believe that it enables us to break free of the dualism/physicalism divide. As I will argue, once we properly understand what's required to flesh out an adequate monistic story, we will see that we are in an important way right back where we started. (shrink)
The thesis of the paper maintains it is impossible to disregard a change in the statue of analytical psychology involving the notion of psychoid and its correlation to quantum physics, being psyche not separable from matter. This change finds its most accomplished and impressive epicentre in C.G. Jung and W. Pauli’s theory of synchronicity, in which the Jungian Self becomes the psyche’s quantum psychoid regulatory center, in a Spiritual sense.
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)