Panpsychism - a philosophy with a future

by slimboyfat 140 Replies latest social current

  • LoveUniHateExams

    He funny that you included trees! - it's consistent with what I've previously said.

    Trees are living organisms so the possibility remains that they might, however unlikely, have consciousness.

    I'm not sure the same can be said of crystals or rocks.

  • waton

    sbf: Saw a science piece last night ( cant find it now, ), that shows original forest's intertwined roots, and explained how trees talk to each other. I actually believe that plants experience internally a kind of euphoria, of well being, as the procreate, exhale oxygen, but to bring that down the line into the inorganic level is too much of a stretch.

  • slimboyfat
    I'm not sure the same can be said of crystals or rocks.

    I’m not sure either. But the idea is not ridiculous. Is it part of a spectrum, or is there a clear cut off point? Some would place the cut off before trees, or before insects, or some other creatures, for that matter.

    The fact is that the only thing we can be absolutely certain about is that we exist. In that sense the experiential precedes the physical. We can be surer that we exist as thinking beings than we can be about the existence of the external world.

    The existence of the external world, and its nature as either experiential in character or without awarensss, are matters for speculation.

    Plus there’s something a bit troubling about the coherency of materialism taken to its reductionist extreme. Have you ever read Daniel Dennett on consciousness? He argues that consciousness is purely a physical process and consciousness is a sort of illusion. But if we are suffering from an illusion that we exist, then who is suffering the illusion? If we want to talk about nonsensical philosophical positions that would be a better example.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Is it part of a spectrum, or is there a clear cut off point? Some would place the cut off before trees, or before insects, or some other creatures, for that matter - for me, what matters is ... is it alive?

    In those series of questions you asked, everything from trees upwards is living.

    We can only be sure that living things have consciousness - me, you and every other poster is individually sure that they have consciousness.

    Now, what happens when a frog hasn't eaten any invertebrates for a while? Something drives that frog to catch invertebrates for food. In a shorthand kinda way, we would say that the frog is hungry. But do frogs feel hunger the same way humans do and are they aware of it? We don't know for sure but it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely.

    Trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and nutrients from the soil and, given sufficient sunlight, make sugars and starch via photosynthesis. If plants can't do this on a regular basis, they wither. Are they 'starving'? Do they feel hunger? It doesn't seem likely but as they are living organisms I should be open-minded and allow for this possibility, however silly it may seem.

    Now consider rocks. They don't take in nutrients to sustain themselves (feeding) so rocks cannot feel hungry as they have no concept of it ... i.e. what cannot feed cannot feel hungry. Neither can they feel satiated for the same reason - because they're not alive.

    So, rocks don't have consciousness ...

  • slimboyfat

    We can only be sure that living things have consciousness? How can we be sure they have consciousness? Or that nothing else has awareness?

    Consciouness necessitates hunger and feeding? Maybe, I don’t know. How can you prove that?

    Like I said above, it seems panpsychists like Strawson make a distinction between. consciounesss and awareness. Beetles, flies, and plants may not be conscious, but have different kinds of awareness. Then crystals and atoms different kinds still, who knows?

  • Finkelstein

    Since awareness is synonymous with consciousness your just promoting circular reasoning or a logical fallacy.

    What I think your doing Slim by review of many of your recent topic threads you've started is your trying to support intelligent creation as a underling objective.

    What we have as empirical evidence is there is molecular evolution, leading to biological evolution, leading to consciousness of advanced living organisms.

    Come on Slim your a deism promoter be honest.

  • slimboyfat

    Is awareness synonymous with consciousness? I’d say it’s like green and turquoise: similar but not identical.

    Even if they were lexically identical it’s not the point. Strawson says matter may be minimally aware rather than conscious. Or have a “mental” quality, or some other formulation.

    Is an ant conscious, or aware in the same way as a dog? Many would probably say there is a significant difference. Whether you want to describe that difference as between consciousness and awareness, or some other linguistic distinction, the underlying point seems clear enough.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Consciouness necessitates hunger - consciousness and hunger are linked, I think.

    Will get back to this after a good night's sleep and if I can be bothered.

    Can we agree on just one thing: that which cannot feed, cannot feel hungry. It is impossible for rocks to feel hungry.

  • slimboyfat

    I think it’s possible for humans not to feel hungry (with medical conditions that interfere with digestion and/or appetite) but doesn’t mean the person isn’t conscious.

  • Ruby456

    I'm not sure that panpsychism is compatible with an evolution without God at the top.

    But if we argue in terms of emergence via complex systems interacting and looping back from bottom up and top down causality and evolution as process then it is possible to think through and speculate how consciousness and awareness comes about.

    The problem for me regarding panpsychism is that of being given orders by a superior intelligence and the political implications of this. I'd prefer to see that we are more or less on an equal footing with as much potential as the next person or thing or whatever. If we were to speculate on this it would correlate more with a suffering god who suffers with us and one who emerges just as we do. There are lots of philosophers who would speculate in this way to make space for theology or for mysticism or something like that. Bertram Russell speculated like this, for example.

    Bertram Russell made space for "knowledge" gained through acquaintance or experience and this he suggested was different from propositional knowledge or knowledge about something in that sometimes when we experience something there may not be a way to describe it. This would certainly counteract the accusation of intellectual dishonesty that you JP have levelled against slimboyfat and this would come from Bertram Russell's philosophy no less.

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