• frank
    5.8k
    Panpsychism has been around for centuries. As part of an approach to answering the hard problem, it has gained ground in recent years. What accounts for this shift? Is it related to confusion about quantum theory?
  • bert1
    580
    I think it's a lot to do with conceptual difficulties around the emergence of consciousness from what has been presumed to be severally non-conscious things.

    EDIT: Whatever emergentist theory is proposed, the question "Yes, but why can't all that happen without consciousness?" is often not satisfactorily answered.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    has been around for centuries. As part of an approach to answering the hard problem, it has gained ground in recent years. What accounts for this shift? Is it related to confusion about quantum theory?frank

    I believe David Chalmers and the formalization of the Hard Problem of Consciousness has probably helped that come into more popularity. Could be wrong. I do know that strict materialism is usually monistic, yet as we were discussing in Incomplete Nature, there is some sort of "hidden" dualism, a homunculus that is usually added at the end, where mental events occur at some point. Panpsychism is kind of holding them to this. Emergence becomes tricky when moving from a third-person view of forces and matter to a first person perspective. Emergence can inadvertently become dualistic when trying to remain monistic. Panpsychism kind of says "fuck it" if we want to be monistic, ditch the emergence of mental events and keep it from the beginning. Thus one can say that it is all first person perspective or something of that nature. This is something like Whitehead or process philosophy.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Emergence is logically incoherent at a fundamental level. Rejection of emergence seems to leave two basic approaches, dualism and panpsychism. Dualism has been seriously beaten down in modern times, so it is rejected out of prejudice, and this leaves panpsychism as the favourable option.
  • StreetlightX
    6.4k
    Presumably because people lack imagination.
  • frank
    5.8k
    think it's a lot to do with conceptual difficulties around the emergence of consciousness from what has been presumed to be severally non-conscious things.bert1

    So it's a reiteration of the Democratic dilemma:



    "The Presocratics were struck by a dilemma: either mind is an elemental feature of the world, or mind can somehow be reduced to more fundamental elements. If one opts for reductionism, it is incumbent upon one to explain how the reduction happens. On the other hand, if one opts for the panpsychist view that mind is an elemental feature of the world, then one must account for the apparent lack of mental features at the fundamental level." --SEP
  • frank
    5.8k
    EDIT: Whatever emergentist theory is proposed, the question "Yes, but why can't all that happen without consciousness?" is often not satisfactorily answered.bert1

    :up:
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    If one opts for reductionism, it is incumbent upon one to explain how the reduction happens. On the other hand, if one opts for the panpsychist view that mind is an elemental feature of the world, then one must account for the apparent lack of mental features at the fundamental level." --SEPfrank

    Looks like you have a pretty good answer right there.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Deacon had stated that it's "mostly" to do with quantum theory. I hadnt heard that claim before.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Dualism has been seriously beaten down in modern times, so it is rejected out of prejudice, and this leaves panpsychism as the favourable option.Metaphysician Undercover

    Until the other half of the dilemma appears and then it's back to dualism?
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    Deacon had stated that it's "mostly" to do with quantum theory. I hadnt heard that claim before.frank

    Hmm, if that's the case, not sure. It could be that whole "microtubles" thing that physicists proposed a while back... like a hologram theory of mind or something. But that doesn't seem panpsychist as much. Certainly, what is in vogue now is "information theory" but how "information" is not hidden dualism, is interesting in itself. Deacon probably falls somewhere along that information theory. I'd like to see how he will account for how material shapes the information, etc.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k

    I would say that dualism, though it is more complicated, is the only true solution.
  • Mr Bee
    367
    I think it's a lot to do with conceptual difficulties around the emergence of consciousness from what has been presumed to be severally non-conscious things.bert1

    In addition it is also because deflationary accounts of consciousness that don't involve emergence are also taken to not be treating consciousness seriously enough.

    By the process of elimination that would lead to a substantive theory of non-emergent consciousness, which panpsychism seems to fit the mold of.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.7k
    The Presocratics were struck by a dilemma: either mind is an elemental feature of the world, or mind can somehow be reduced to more fundamental elements. If one opts for reductionism, it is incumbent upon one to explain how the reduction happens. On the other hand, if one opts for the panpsychist view that mind is an elemental feature of the world, then one must account for the apparent lack of mental features at the fundamental level." --SEPfrank
    This is a strange quote. What do mental features look like compared to physical features at any level, fundamental or not?
  • frank
    5.8k
    This is a strange quote. What do mental features look like compared to physical features at any level, fundamental or not?Harry Hindu

    They look like tiny rainbow-striped unicorns.
  • Olivier5
    1.3k
    Emergence is logically incoherent at a fundamental level. Rejection of emergence seems to leave two basic approaches, dualism and panpsychism. Dualism has been seriously beaten down in modern times, so it is rejected out of prejudice, and this leaves panpsychism as the favourable option.Metaphysician Undercover

    In other words, it's an easy way out of the problem, which avoids dealing with emergence.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.7k
    Why would by big toe be conscious when my brain is conscious of the state of my big toe? Is it my brain that is conscious or my neurons? Are you the consciousness of your whole brain or just one neuron? Panpsychism is just another type of anthropomorphic projection.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Octupi can see with their tentacles.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.7k
    Actually, they see with their skin. They question is, how does what they see with their skin integrate with what they see with their eyes, smell with their nose, feel with their skin, taste with their tongue, hear with their ears, and the intent to tease out useful information from this sensory data, into a whole that we refer to as a conscious experience?

    Does each of my eyes have a seperate conscious experience? What about the lenses in each eye, what about each cone and rod, etc.? Does the upper layers if consciousness emerge from the lower layers? How do the various layers integrate? What is a fundamental mental layer compared to a non-fundamental mental layer?
  • bert1
    580
    In other words, it's an easy way out of the problemOlivier5

    That's good isn't it?
  • frank
    5.8k
    The question is, how does what they see with their skin integrate with what they see with their eyes, smell with their nose, feel with their skin, taste with their tongue, hear with their ears, and the intent to tease out useful information from this sensory data, into a whole that we refer to as a conscious experience?Harry Hindu

    Well put.

    do the various layers integrate?Harry Hindu

    A common strategy is to see the whole living, conscious thing as abiding naturally and some parts of it, individual humans for instance, identify with tiny bits of it and disidentify with the rest.

    We can see why identity has to work this way on reflection. This picture explains a sense of depth to the psyche, and why direct experience is often accompanied by a sense of desire, expectation, curiosity, in short: an absolute lust to know about.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    :up: :100:

    On the other hand, if one opts for the panpsychist view that mind is an elemental feature of the world, then one must account for the apparent lack of mental features at the fundamental level." --SEPfrank

    That is easily accounted for by recognizing that the kind of “consciousness” that is everywhere (phenomenal consciousness, the subject of the hard problem) is not really “mental” in the substantive sense we usually mean, but just a trivial metaphysical thing that doesn’t add anything to the predicted functionality of anything as observable in the third person — it just posits that there is also a first-person perspective on that exact same functionality.

    The substantive sense we usually nean is instead access conscious, the subject of the “easy” problem, which is philosophically easier because it doesn’t require anything metaphysically strange, just ordinary functionalism. But it is substantially harder because it requires an understanding of precisely what function fulfills our ordinary understanding of “consciousness”, which is an empirical question beyond the purview of philosophy.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.7k
    Emergence becomes tricky when moving from a third-person view of forces and matter to a first person perspective. Emergence can inadvertently become dualistic when trying to remain monistic. Panpsychism kind of says "fuck it" if we want to be monistic, ditch the emergence of mental events and keep it from the beginning.schopenhauer1

    I don't see the difference between the 3rd and first person perspective. Which part of some perspective is 3rd person vs first person? The information within any perspective is always from, or relative to, a particular point.

    The problem is that panpsychism doesn't ditch emergence, rather it applies it by positing degrees of consciousness at varying levels of reality that equate to the same levels of emergence in the physical sense - i.e. neurons to brains, to bodies, to social structures.

    Mind, with all of its intricate parts, cannot be fundamental. The parts, the sounds, colors, smells, sensations, urges, etc. would be more fundamental as mind is made up of, or emerges from, those things.

    Information is what is fundamental and mind would is just a complex arrangement of information.
  • Olivier5
    1.3k
    In other words, it's an easy way out of the problem
    — Olivier5

    That's good isn't it?
    bert1

    It works wonders. Should be used more often if you ask me, on scores of other problems. Whence art? Panaesthetism is the answer: atoms love beauty too, you know. Whence morality? Panmoralism of course! Electrons followed rules too, after all. Whence politics? Panpolitism, what else? Quarks know how to spin. Etc.
  • bert1
    580
    It works wonders. Should be used more often if you ask me, on scores of other problems. Whence art? Panaesthetism is the answer: atoms love beauty too, you know. Whence morality? Panmoralism of course! Electrons followed rules too, after all. Whence politics? Panpolitism, what else? Quarks know how to spin. Etc.Olivier5

    :100:
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Definitely worth looking at Galen Strawson's Realistic Monism: Why Physicalism Entails Panpsychism in this context.

    He starts by saying that 'I take physicalism to be the view that every real, concrete phenomenon in the universe is … physical. ' His argument is, then, that (1) everything is physical (i.e. he's defending an essentially materialist ontology) but that (2) experience, 'what-it-is-likeness', is an apodictic reality, i.e. cannot plausibly be denied. He says that (3) most materialists, like Daniel Dennett, believe in PhysicSalism, which is the view, or faith, that the nature or essence of all concrete reality can in principle be fully captured in the terms of physics'. But, he says, 'The physical is whatever general kind of thing we are considering when we consider things like tables and chairs and experiential phenomena' - and as physics has nothing to say about the latter, then physicsalism must be forever incomplete. From this, he argues that because experience is physical, then 'there's a lot more to neurons than physics or neurophysiology can record'.

    It seems to me that his argument is concerned with creating a conceptual space for 'experience' (I would use the term 'being') in the objective domain - to say that, because he can't doubt the reality of experience, and because he's committed to the view that every real phenomenon is physical, then the physical must also be experiential. 'That is what I believe: experiential phenomena cannot be emergent
    from wholly non-experiential phenomena... Assuming, then, that there is a plurality of physical ultimates, some of them at least must be intrinsically experiential, intrinsically experience-involving....Given that everything concrete is physical, and that everything physical is constituted out of physical ultimates, and that experience is part of concrete reality, it seems the only reasonable position, more than just an ‘inference to the best explanation’.

    In my view, Strawson is wrong from the get go, because of his insistence that whatever is real is a 'concrete phenomena'. In fact, even that term is self-contradictory, because 'phenomena' is 'what appears', and 'what appears' implies the existence of an interpreting subject. Strawson also claims as an axiom that 'the universe is spatio-temporal in its fundamental nature' whereas it is not hard to make the case that both time and space are at least in part constituted in the mind of the observing subject (per Kant's 'primary intuition' - Strawson acknowledges in a footnote that physics now considers that time and space may not be actually fundamental, but dismisses this with a facile argument.) I think Stawson is wrong about the constituents of reality: they are neither concrete, nor phenomena. They appear concrete to the observer, but that is dependent on the intellectual constitution of the observer, not on any intrinsic property of phenomena. What if there are no 'physical ultimates' or 'ultimate constituents' after all? Which seems eminently feasible in the light of current physics. It might turn out that the 'ultimate constituents' really are experiential: that is to say, the ultimate constituent is a form of being, not any type of object. And how would you go about looking for that?

    A saying springs to mind about putting lipstick on a pig. That is what I think he's doing. :-)
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    In other words, it's an easy way out of the problem, which avoids dealing with emergence.Olivier5

    Well no, emergence doesn't have to be dealt with, it just needs to be rejected as illogical. That's very simple, and it doesn't really require any substitute or anything like that unless the person is inspired to seek reality. But when people reject emergence it's usually because they are inspired to seek reality, then an alternative to emergence is required.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Why do you say emergence is illogical?
  • Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    Obligatory note to differentiate between strong and weak emergence, here.

    Weak emergence is uncontroversial.

    Strong emergence is tantamount to magic.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Strong emergence is tantamount to magic.Pfhorrest

    For instance, consciousness?
  • frank
    5.8k
    A number of posters explained the answer to the OP. The SEPs words reflect theirs:

    "Recent developments have gone some way to reversing the aversion to panpsychism that has dominated Western philosophy in recent times. From the 1970s onwards hostility to metaphysics slowly withdrew, and most philosophers in the analytic tradition now accept the inevitability of metaphysics. And towards the end of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the continuing failure of physicalists to come up with a satisfying account of consciousness has led many to look for alternatives. As a result of both of these things, a significant and growing minority of analytic philosophers have begun seriously to explore the potential of panpsychism, both to provide a satisfying account of the emergence of human consciousness and to give a positive account of the intrinsic nature of matter."
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