Panpsychism - a philosophy with a future

by slimboyfat 140 Replies latest social current

  • OrphanCrow

    No, Hanged man, that is not what I was speaking about. I was speaking about "animism" - the ancient belief that all things (including rocks) are alive and animated.

    Simple. Not complicated. Ancient belief system. Existed long before any woohoo "sacred text"

    Philosophy of the future? I don't think so. Resurrection of an ancient belief system, maybe

  • cofty
    the idea is getting more popular - because it makes sense

    How can the idea that a rock is conscious make any sense at all?

  • jp1692

    Anyone genuinely and seriously interested in this topic should read this brief summary and statement from the 2012 Francis Crick Memorial Conference On Consciousness:

    You may not agree with their conclusions, but at least you’ll get an idea of what it looks like when real scientists use real scientific methods to address these types of questions.

    Enjoy ... or not!

  • cofty

    jp1692 that statement is about the consciousness of non-human animals. That is not very controversial but it has nothing to do with the insane proposal that rocks have consciousness which is what SBF is proposing.

  • jp1692

    From whence does consciousness arise?

    There’s your question.

    Even if the universe is conscious, it does not follow that every rock (or whatever) is conscious and self-aware.

    You might be conscious, but your toenail is not—particularly not after you’ve trimmed it and tossed it in the dustbin.

  • slimboyfat

    As I understand it, panpsychists don't typically argue that "rocks are conscious". Galen Strawson, for example says it's a misconception that he "thinks the chair is conscious".

    Rather what we're talking about is whether matter is experiential in some sense, so that awareness is a continuum rather than a special property of some beings.

    So for example we can agree that humans are conscious. And most can probably agree that cats and dogs possess some form of consciousness. Probably the same with mice. But where do you draw the line? Are spiders and flies conscious? We might say they probably have a very low level of awarenss, but not consciousness as such. What about tad poles? Single cell animals? Plants? They are not conscious but do they have any level of awareness? And obviously when we talk about plants or even rocks having "awareness" we are not talking about high order "thinking". The basic point is that awareness is a property of all matter, not that all matter has the same level of awareness. Like how a candle and the sun are both combusting, but the gulf between the two is unimaginably huge. This might illustrate the difference in awareness between a human and an ant. The gulf between an ant and a rock may be larger still. But the point is that consciousness isn't something that arises magically when matter reaches a certain order of complexity. Rather awareness is a property which is already present in matter to begin with, so that the potential for consciousness is already there, and we need not invoke mysterious notions of "spirit" as in dualism, or "radical emergence" as in materialism.

  • jp1692

    Cofty, yes I understand what it is about and what it I is not.

    My point in sharing that is how scientists address the question. Hopefully posters will read it and notice the scientists involved did not even include all living things in their statement because they found no evidence to say that a flower, for example, is conscious and aware.

    If flowers aren’t conscious then certainly the dirt in which they grow is even less so.

    All elements are different and have unique properties, but apparently as far as we know all sub-atomic particles, of which all atoms are comprised, are identical one to another.

    In other words, a helium atom is different from an oxygen atom or a calcium atom. Yet they are all made of protons, neutrons, electrons which in turn are constructed of even smaller, more elementary particles: leptons, quarks, bosons and neutrinos.

    All current evidence indicates they these sub-atomic and more fundamental quantum level particles are identical one to another (within their classification).

    To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, “A quark is a quark is a quark.”

  • cofty
    The basic point is that awareness is a property of all matter

    That is nothing but an evidence-free bald assertion.

    It is not even wrong.

  • jp1692
    The basic point is that awareness is a property of all matter

    Okay. Please give me a working definition of “awareness” and then provide evidence to support this claim arguing coherently for example that a quark or a lepton is aware.

  • waton
    Sbf: "..we talk about plants or even rocks having "awareness" we are not talking about high order "thinking"..."
    "...Like how a candle and the sun are both combusting, but the gulf between the two is unimaginably huge..."

    re examine these 2 assertions please.

    lumping plants and rock into one sentence blurs the lines too much. I can imagine that the breaking forth, of flowers, leaves in spring is triggered by euphoria-like inducing chemicals, but is the plant aware? Many processes work in our bodies, that we are not aware of. or?

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