Panpsychism

By: BenOh | March 01, 2017

Common sense tells us that only living things have an inner life. Rabbits and tigers and mice have feelings, sensations and experiences; tables and rocks and molecules do not. Panpsychists deny this datum of common sense. According to panpsychism, the smallest bits of matter – things such as electrons and quarks – have very basic kinds of experience; an electron has an inner life.


The main objection made to panpsychism is that it is ‘crazy’ and ‘just obviously wrong’. It is thought to be highly counterintuitive to suppose that an electron has some kind of inner life, no matter how basic, and this is taken to be a very strong reason to doubt the truth of panpsychism. But many widely accepted scientific theories are also crazily counter to co...

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By: BenOh | February 24, 2017

Here's a TED talk by Stefano Mancuso on how plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities ... But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

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By: BenOh | February 23, 2017

The chapter presents the Hegelian Argument for panpsychism. It is inspired by Hegel’s dialectical method in exploring the possibility of a conceptual middle-ground between materialism and dualism. It seeks a ‘synthesis’ between these two antithetical positions. The chapter establishes this synthesis by elucidating the opposition of materialism and dualism, as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses: Materialism is supported by causal arguments, which claim that causal explanations must be grounded in physical properties. If phenomenal properties are to be causally relevant, they have to be grounded in physical properties. This entails the truth of materialism. Conceivability arguments undermine the truth of materialism: There is n...

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By: BenOh | December 28, 2016

The oozing yellow organism has no neurons, but it can solve mazes, make decisions, and learn by merging together.


Sometimes, Audrey Dussutour enters her lab in Toulouse to find that one of the creatures within it has escaped. They tend to do so when they’re hungry. One will lift the lid of its container and just crawl out. These creatures aren’t octopuses, which are known for their escape artistry. They’re not rats, mice, flies, or any of the other standard laboratory animals. In fact, they’re not animals at all.


They are slime molds —yellow, oozing, amoeba-like organisms found on decaying logs and other moist areas. They have no brains. They have no neurons. Each consists of just a single, giant cell. And yet, they’re capable of surprisingl...

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By: BenOh | December 11, 2016

This article aims to bridge phenomenology and the study of plant intelligence with the view to enriching both disciplines. Besides considering the world from the perspective of sessile organisms, it would be necessary, in keeping with the phenomenological framework, to rethink

 (1) the meaning of being-sessile and being-in-a-place;

(2) the concepts of sentience and attention;

(3) how aboveground and underground environments appear to plants;

(4) the significance of modular development for our understanding of intelligence; and

(5) the concept of communication within and between plants and plant tissues. What emerges from these discussions is the image of a mind embodied in plant life.

Introduction
Recent advances in plant neurobiology and plan...

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