Panpsychism

By: BenOh | December 06, 2015

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality" -Carl Sagan


It appears that we are approaching a unique time in the history of man and science where empirical measures and deductive reasoning can actually inform us spiritually. Integrated Information Theory (IIT)--put forth by neuroscientists Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch--is a new framework that describes a way to experimentally measure the extent to which a system is conscious.

As such, it has the potential to answer questions that once seemed impossible, like "which is more conscious, a bat or a beetle?" Furthermore, the theory posits that any system that processes and integrates information, be it organic or inorganic, expe...

Category: Philosophy 

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By: BenOh | November 29, 2015

Excerpts from talk: 


09:25

"The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. Physicists sometimes take some aspects of the universe as fundamental building blocks: space and time and mass. They postulate fundamental laws governing them, like the laws of gravity or of quantum mechanics. These fundamental properties and laws aren't explained in terms of anything more basic. Rather, they're taken as primitive, and you build up the world from there. Now sometimes, the list of fundamentals expands. In the 19th century, Maxwell figured out that you can't explain electromagnetic phenomena in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, Newton's laws — so he postulated fundamental laws of electromagnetism and postulated elec...

Category: Philosophy 

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By: BenOh | November 16, 2015

In this article I will present an argument for panpsychism. Like most philosophical arguments, this argument is not entirely conclusive, but I think it gives reason to take the view seriously. Speaking for myself, I am by no means confident that panpsychism is true, but I am also not confident that it is not true. This article presents what I take to be perhaps the best reason for believing panpsychism. A companion article, “The Combination Problem for Panpsychism”, presents what I take to be the best reason for disbelieving panpsychism. 


I call my argument the Hegelian argument for panpsychism. This is not because Hegel was a panpsychist. He seems to have been far from it, perhaps except insofar as he believed in a “world-soul” (which sugge...

Category: Philosophy 

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By: BenOh | November 15, 2015

The recent intersection of analytic philosophy and philosophical Buddhism has been a very heartening sign for me. Not only does it move the discussion away from what I’ve always felt to be the dead-end of Kripkean essentialist metaphysics, but it’s also produced some serious thinking about logic and selfhood and mind that manages to respect the problems of language without being wholly overcome by them.

I take it that Nagarjuna, originator of the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism, was himself doing this almost 2000 years ago. This mindset is most useful in approaching questions about consciousness and the self, where appeals to intuition seem to break down and there seem to be a lack of first principles even by the usual standards of philosophic...

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By: BenOh | November 13, 2015

Gao Shan, University of Sydney


ABSTRACT

As we know, the explanation of consciousness presents a uniquely hard problem for science (Chalmers, 1996). It forces us to reexamine the physical and metaphysical foundations of present scientific world view. This retriggers the debate about the long-standing dilemma of panpsychism versus emergentism. It is generally accepted that an essential separation of consciousness and matter will preclude any real integration of consciousness with the present scientific picture of the physical world, and panpsychism and emergentism are the only two main positions that can complete the integration. Then we must decide whether and how consciousness emerges from mere matter or whether consciousness is a fundamental...

Category: Philosophy 

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