Panpsychism - a philosophy with a future

by slimboyfat 140 Replies latest social current

  • jp1692

    Asimov was the man, but he died 25 years ago. We’ve learned a thing or two about biology, chemistry and physics since then.

  • jp1692
    SBF: I've not used my PC since circa 2012

    And I’ve only used a Mac since 2007

    WTF is that supposed to mean?

  • slimboyfat

    It means I only tend to access the Internet on iPad or iPhone these days. I know it means some sites are not fully accessible but I can't be bothered turning on the PC or laptop.

  • jp1692

    Well, you can’t be bothered ... you’re pondering the very nature of ultimate reality but are too lazy to use every tool at your disposal.


    I really don’t understand you. Over the many years we’ve known each other you’ve constantly pushed me to dig deeper, look longer, think harder. As a result I have learned so much BECAUSE YOU PUSHED ME!

    I’ve achieved great things because you pushed me.

    You know I would never have presented at that conference in Bordeaux if you hadn’t both pushed and encouraged me. And I’m grateful for that.

    But now you give me this!

    What the fuck is that about?

    Get up off your lazy ass and look! Turn on your PC or your goddamned laptop or whatever you have to do.

    Do what you’ve pushed me to do for the last eight years.


    No fucking excuses. None.

    Do it.

  • Xanthippe
    What I meant to say is that the idea that consciousness arises from unconscious matter is just as unprovable as panpsychism. This may be difficult to grasp because reductive materialism is pretty much taken for granted in our culture. But just because it's taken for granted doesn't mean it's true, or that it should be let off the hook in terms of requiring evidence.

    I totally understand what you've been saying about panpsychism SBF and find the above very interesting. We do take the rise of consciousness for granted. Nobody understands it.

    I did understand what you said about the leap to consciousness in animals may be a matter of degree, a leap forward in the life of subatomic particles. I know you're not saying rocks can think, talk or mow the bloody lawn and I think it's really annoying people keep going on about rocks.

    Personally I am interested to know what else you have to say and what other links you can give on here. I think people are reaching for something here that is fascinating. Who doesn't want to know how consciousness is possible?

  • Ruby456

    Xanthippe - here is a link. Personally I think we can only theorise. Terrence Deacon below has some interesting perspectives and if we treat them as perspectives or as thought experiments then at least we can go some way towards conceptualising and working with with how mind or consciousness or awareness comes into the picture. I honestly don't think slimboyfat can say definitively that panphycism is true and I don't think anyone can - I do have a problem with this too but I am willing to dip my toe into the fray.

  • Ruby456

    edits for spelling mistakes and other corrections don't seem to appear is another link from the same author

    okay that edit appeared - so maybe the editing time is more reduced?

  • slimboyfat

    jp I'm so glad you had a good time in Bordeaux and I really regret I couldn't make it. Until the last weeks I hoped to travel but in the end it was not possible and I was disappointed. I should have said so at the time.

    Ruby of course I can't prove panpsychism is true. Even those who promote the idea say it simply fits the facts best, or makes sense logically, not that it can be proved. Although some scientists have apparently talked about the feasibility of empirical tests in the future, it's theoretical and well beyond my understanding. I've suspected there may be some merit to the theory for a few years, and I admit I find it amusing how Cofty will dismiss anything he (currently) doesn't agree with as outrageous nonsense. Especially since I recently discovered his favourite "thinker" Sam Harris deems panpsychism worth discussing.

    Thanks Xan for the thoughtful response, especially since I've been not so generous in my own responses in the past.

    I think panpsychism makes a lot of sense but I'm not 100% convinced. Maybe around 30% convinced, if I had to quantify it. But I think it's an idea worth thinking about. There are other possibilities as well, including theistic explanations of course.

  • cofty

    Just listened to David Chalmers talk.

    Panpsychism is analogous to the way christians waffle meaningless platitudes about god being "the ground of all being".

    Asserting that consciousness is the basic property of all matter is nothing but a linguistic slight of hand that sounds clever but actually contributes nothing to the problem of consciousness.

  • Ruby456

    Hi slim

    yes I agree that theists can find something in this theory and I wouldn't,t ridicule them (thinking of Kate,s excellent points from her breakthrough in her study of chemistry - sadly she does not post here anymore).

    apart from that, self organising complexity (from which Terence deacon takes his line of argument re consciousness) offers lots of food for thought if we don,t go too far towards determinism and can conceive of a place for autonomy, free will and choice.

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