Can Panpsychism Save Naturalism From Itself?

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Can Panpsychism Save Naturalism From Itself?

Denyse O'Leary


Quote:Why panpsychism is likely gaining ground on materialism

Panpsychism is probably gaining ground on materialism because, as Strawson told Wright, it seems more reasonable to say that everything is conscious — to at least some degree — than to deny that one is conscious oneself.

Panpsychist notions are showing up in the research literature and books by scientists. University of Chicago biochemist James Shapiro titled a recent journal paper “All living cells are cognitive.” Similarly, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, in a book excerpt at The Scientist, says that we cannot deny viruses some fraction” of intelligence, based on the similarity between their strategies and those of insects. Viruses?

It is possible that future debates over origins of intelligence, consciousness, etc., may feature panpsychists vs. theists rather than materialists vs. theists.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Its always felt to me that Panpsychism had an evidence-fitting feel to it.  Sorta the same way I feel about the multi-verse and string theory.
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(2022-09-30, 01:38 PM)Silence Wrote: Its always felt to me that Panpsychism had an evidence-fitting feel to it.  Sorta the same way I feel about the multi-verse and string theory.

Do you mean that the evidence supports it ? Or rather it's a handy way out of the problem?
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-10-01, 10:48 AM)tim Wrote: Do you mean that the evidence supports it ? Or rather it's a handy way out of the problem?

Most definitely the latter.
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(2022-09-30, 01:38 PM)Silence Wrote: Its always felt to me that Panpsychism had an evidence-fitting feel to it.  Sorta the same way I feel about the multi-verse and string theory.

Agreed, and the concept that an electron contains a glimmer of consciousness within it simply doesn't make sense - because all electrons have to be interchangeable by the rules of QM.

Now, I have seen it suggested that the glimmer of consciousness has to exist within the actual electron field - postulated by Quantum Field Theory (QFT). Whether this would sidestep the problem with QM, I am not sure!

At a more practical level, nobody who postulates Panpsychism seems to do an awful lot with it.

David
(2022-10-01, 10:46 PM)David001 Wrote: At a more practical level, nobody who postulates Panpsychism seems to do an awful lot with it.

Curious what you mean by this?

Personally I have trouble with how all the little particle consciousness could make a human consciousness, but I feel like once we reject the obviously wrong answer - Physicalism/Materialism - the other answers aren't necessarily great either.

Where I feel all of these answers - Idealism, Panpsychism, Theism - go wrong is they want to explain how we get the first person perspective and thus all assume these PoVs themselves can't be eternal/immortal. But given how poor all the answers are this seems as much a live possibility as any other.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2022-10-02, 05:35 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Curious what you mean by this?

Personally I have trouble with how all the little particle consciousness could make a human consciousness, but I feel like once we reject the obviously wrong answer - Physicalism/Materialism - the other answers aren't necessarily great either.

Well exactly - you have said it! My hunch as I've said before, is that Dualism is the most useful approach, although this is really an exercise in finding the best approximation and really we aren't near to the ultimate theory of reality because mankind has neglected the mental component of reality for so long.

Stone age philosophers contemplating the nature of fire could make the same sort of mistake regarding physical matters:

Ug1: Clearly matter still has some kind of spiritual essence that shines forth for a short while as it burns - then all you have is ashes with no spiritual essence left!

Ug2: I basically agree with Ug1, but shouldn't we find some way to actually study the phenomenon?

Ug1: I would have thought the process I have described above is self evident!

Ug3: In the context of Ug2's remark, I have been trying a few experiments. I set some wood on fire and then placed a large bowl over it. The fire went out leaving part of the wood unburned!

Ug1: I think if you want to be a philosopher, you should give up nonsense like that!

etc.

What I am trying to say, is that trying to fit an abstract philosophical conception around a poorly understood phenomena is totally unproductive.

Dualism seems to fit so much - ordinary life, NDE's, mental life, etc. Clearly one day Dualism would need to be superseded, (just as Newtonian Gravity had to be superseded), but hopefully not before we understand the mind-matter problem in a lot more detail than we do now.
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(2022-10-02, 05:35 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Curious what you mean by this?

Personally I have trouble with how all the little particle consciousness could make a human consciousness, but I feel like once we reject the obviously wrong answer - Physicalism/Materialism - the other answers aren't necessarily great either.

Where I feel all of these answers - Idealism, Panpsychism, Theism - go wrong is they want to explain how we get the first person perspective and thus all assume these PoVs themselves can't be eternal/immortal. But given how poor all the answers are this seems as much a live possibility as any other.

I don't think that panpsychism goes anywhere that is really useful, because it doesn't and can't explain what actually is subjective sentient consciousness and awareness, and it can't solve Chalmers' Hard Problem. It's a philosophical device used by materialists to allow them to continue in all practical ways to be materialists, while proclaiming (falsely) that they have a handle on the mystery of conscousness, and therefore have a handle on and have the prospect of developing a scientific theory of everything. Voila - science can explain absolutely everything! All while of course ignoring and denying the reality of the paranormal and a whole world of phenomena that fundamentally can't be explained through the scientific method.
(This post was last modified: 2022-10-03, 12:10 AM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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(2022-10-03, 12:05 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: I don't think that panpsychism goes anywhere that is really useful, because it doesn't and can't explain what actually is subjective sentient consciousness and awareness, and it can't solve Chalmers' Hard Problem. It's a philosophical device used by materialists to allow them to continue in all practical ways to be materialists, while proclaiming (falsely) that they have a handle on the mystery of conscousness, and therefore have a handle on and have the prospect of developing a scientific theory of everything. Voila - science can explain absolutely everything! All while of course ignoring and denying the reality of the paranormal and a whole world of phenomena that fundamentally can't be explained through the scientific method.

What do you mean by Hard Problem? You mean human consciousness?

edit: I ask b/c Chalmers seems to at least consider Panpsychism / Neutral Monism as a "solution" to the "Hard Problem" he coined.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-10-03, 04:39 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2022-10-02, 07:06 PM)David001 Wrote: Dualism seems to fit so much - ordinary life, NDE's, mental life, etc. Clearly one day Dualism would need to be superseded, (just as Newtonian Gravity had to be superseded), but hopefully not before we understand the mind-matter problem in a lot more detail than we do now.

The problem with Dualism is that academia is unlikely to accept there are two substances that only interact at convenient points, or don't interact at all.

A sort of functional Dualism is how most people already separate the contents of their heads and the external "physical" world, but academia at least generally seems to insist that at the "bottom" level of reality there is only one "stuff" everything is made of.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-10-03, 04:41 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)

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