Panpsychism is the view that mind or soul is a universal feature of all things; this has been a common view in western philosophy going back to the Presocratics and Plato. Log in. Subscribe now and get one month free access to this article and thousands more like it. Yet, we know that it does occur; all the time. As Hoffman puts it about one “interpretation” of Kant: “This interpretation of Kant precludes any science of the noumenal, for if we cannot describe the noumenal then we cannot build scientific theories of it.”, Yet Hoffman’s own conscious realism isn’t a scientific theory either. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Philosophers often use the term qualia to refer to these subjective experiences. We don’t need special laws of nature to bring statues into being; you just need to mold the clay in the right shape and – bingo – you’ve got a statue. And that’s still the case even if those contents belong to some kind of collective of consciousnesses (i.e., that of a collective of what Hoffman calls “conscious agents”). In other words, disassociation doesn’t entail that there is more than one mind. Panpsychism, Idealism, and the unified conscious energy of the universe. It’s still the case that according to Christianity God had a physical body. It isclaimed that Thales went m… Instead, some panpsychists would say that tables and chairs are made up of entities which contain (or instantiate) “phenomenal properties/qualities” (or “(proto)phenomenal properties”). (Three words which many panpsychists often use together — see here.) Hoffman often applies the Copenhagen interpretation to the “classical” (or macro) scale. In a general sense, panpsychism may be defined as the view that all things possess mind, or some mind-like quality. According to D. S. Clarke, panpsychist and panexperientialist aspects can be found in … This chapter asserts that panpsychism is not a form of materialism. Thalesnotes that magnets and, under certain circumstances, amber, can movethemselves and concludes that they therefore possess minds. Clear indications of panpsychist doctrines are evident in early Greekthought. Panpsychism also rejects the emergence of consciousness from the physical and stresses, instead, that it’s not the case that (to use Hoffman’s words) it’s “a latecomer in the evolutionary history of the universe” that “aris[es] from complex interactions of unconsciousness matter and fields”. Most panpsychists would be very happy with Hoffman’s sentence above. I’m really looking forward to continuing the discussion! I turn now to Bernardo’s own view: analytic idealism. Staying undecided and undefined instead of latching to ideology. But it doesn’t seem to me at all plausible that the former could be deduced from the latter. Hoffman then makes various distinctions between his own position of conscious realism and panpsychism. Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Google to get started: Iain McGilchrist, Steve Fuller and Roger Penrose discusse the philosophy and science of consciousness, Most of the objections Bernardo has put forth. Consider the following analogy. Bernardo and I are booked in to debate the Consciousness Live YouTube channel later this summer. Hoffman will deny this and he’ll do so for various reasons. That being said, not many (if any) panpsychists argue that tables and chairs are “conscious agents”. Of course it can now be said that even if Hoffman’s conscious realism (CR) isn’t identical to panpsychism — and also that it doesn’t “entail panpsychism”, that still doesn’t mean that it has nothing in common with it at all. If there was just one mind, and that mind came to have certain of its experiences inferentially isolated from the others, all that would logically follow – in the absence of some further principles of nature – is that there is one mind with certain experiences inferentially isolated from the others. Public exchange of letters with Massimo Pigliucci,' Letter Wiki. Sign in There’s a good chance that none of the theories currently being proposed are correct. The specific meanings of “all things” and “mind” vary widely among particular thinkers, but there is a broad consensus on three points. Both interpretations of panpsychism imply that every inanimate object has its own subjective inner life. My claim is that Bernardo has not provided us with that explanation. Afterall, cognitive integration is just a matter of causal relationships (Bernardo confirmed this in our discussion). Theories of consciousness aim to remove explanatory gaps: bits of the theory where you move from one fact to another without giving an intelligible account of how the transition happens. There are also cosmopsychist versions of idealism where the whole universe is conscious, and on. However, this is still not idealism because Kant’s noumena exist. If it is a fact that disassociation gives rise to multiple subjects, then a naturalistic dualist will simply tailor the psychophysical laws to account for that fact. David Chalmers’ naturalistic dualism, for example, accounts for consciousness by postulating special psycho-physical laws that bridge the gap from the physical to the mental. Panpsychists aspire to account for human and animal consciousness in terms of more fundamental forms of consciousness. Bernardo objects that none of the equations of physics refer to qualities, which he takes to entail that: if physicalism is true, qualities have no role to play in the causal story of the universe. For example, it might just be a basic law of nature that when you have conscious particles arranged in certain ways, consciousness corresponding to the whole emerges. The world isn't in your head, the world is your head. These two commitments, in conjunction with Leibniz’s law (if X and Y are identical, then X and Y share all of their properties), entail that conscious states have causal efficacy: (A) Conscious states are identical with physical brain states(B) Physical brain states have causal efficacy(C) if X and Y are identical, then X and Y share all of their properties(D) Therefore, conscious states have causal efficacy. Indeed, the most influential argument against physicalism, the knowledge argument, would seem to support me in this contention. Hoffman then expresses a position that isn’t at odds with either anti-realism or Kant’s transcendental idealism. Bernardo points to real-world cases of disassociation and suggests that they do seem to involve distinct subjects within the one person. Thus most scientists have little time for phrases like “objects exist even if they’re not perceived”. The second explanatory gap concerns an aspect of Bernardo’s view I haven’t mentioned yet, and this is that the transition from universal mind to organism mind involves a move from thoughts to sensory qualities. access to that reality. This thread is archived. Or, less strongly, he believes that Kant’s position doesn’t look promising from a scientific perspective. Nonetheless, although they believe that “consciousness is fundamental”, panpsychists and Hoffman have very different takes on those three words. This difference between panpsychism and Idealism/Nondualism is critical: the former proposes fragmentation as the fundamental reality, while the latter proposes unity, fragmentation being just an illusion arising from dissociative processes. It does not claim, nor entail, that tables and chairs are conscious or conscious agents.”, That last sentence (“[Conscious realism] does not claim, nor entail, that tables and chairs are conscious or conscious agents.” ) is of course directly and clearly aimed at panpsychism. Attending to our experience, it is clear that we are cognitively set up such that sensory experiences are followed by certain thoughts and vice versa. In addition, what does Hoffman mean when he states that brains and neurons “have no causal power”? In addition, scientists aren’t philosophers. Of course many current theorists disagree.”, The wording in the above isn’t quite right. The approaches of dualism and idealism can be seen as alternates to panpsychism too, but certain varieties are complementary. It’s the other way around. Thus, four versions of panpsychism are distinguishable: dualistic atomistic panpsychism, dualistic holistic panpsychism, idealistic atomistic panpsychism, and idealistic holistic panpsychism. panpsychism: One-to-mapping of physical entities and minds. Yet, as is the case on so many occasions, anti-realism is basically seen as idealism (or, at the least, as a variety of idealism). That is: i) If we describe things as “brains and neurons”. Bernardo can’t assume without argument that dissociation alone is sufficient to produce a new subject because that would be to assume without argument the truth of his view. The argumentdepends upon the idea that enminded beings are self-movers. Similarly, the qualities of personal perception (such as, say, pleasant warmth and white hues) could, at least in principle, be deduced from the transpersonal phenomenal states they are associated with (such as e.g. In addition, if conscious realism really “offers a scientific theory of the noumenal”, then it’s not the noumenal that it’s offering a scientific theory of. join now (only takes a moment). There have been (for many years) many physicists working on the non-existence of both space and time, for example. there is no such detectable substrate that is not an experience within consciousness. I’m not 100% sure what ‘modulation’ means. And yet we know there is more than one mind: there are at least 7.5 billion of them. So this is transcendental idealism; not immaterialism or subjective idealism. Thus there’s no need for (radical/strong) emergence. As Bernardo puts it (p. 140 of this): If we take the human psyche as a representative sample of how cosmic consciousness operates — which is the best we can do, really — we can infer that, ordinarily, these phenomenal contents are internally integrated through cognitive associations: a feeling evokes an abstract idea, which triggers a memory, which inspires a thought, etc. Most of the objections Bernardo has put forth against panpsychism seem to be directed at the reductionist version. But merely attending to our experience doesn’t reveal to us the metaphysical underpinnings of our being set up in this way (just as empirical reflection on cases of dissociation doesn’t reveal to us its metaphysical underpinnings). In his book Mind and Cosmos, Thomas Nagel refers to the former as a historical explanation and the latter as a constitutive explanation, and gives a compelling argument for the necessity of both. Whereas, PG's premise is that there is a realm out there, but that realm consists of some notion of a detectable substrate, as in QFT, that inherently has consciousness. The crucial question for deciding whether there is an explanatory gap from X to Y is: could we can deduce Y from X? With this claim of Kant, conscious realism and MUI theory agree. However, there are very clear and strong similarities too. 'Can panpsychism explain why the universe is fine-tuned for life?' In addition, they aren’t the contents of consciousness. Instead, panpsychists believe that there’s consciousness (or there are phenomenal properties) all the way down to the particle and all the way up to the animal brain. This difference between panpsychism and Idealism/Nondualism is critical: the former proposes fragmentation as the fundamental reality, while the latter proposes unity, fragmentation being just an illusion arising from dissociative processes. The fact that panpsychism admits of these two interpretations already deflects one of Bernardo’s criticism, namely that it employs a particle ontology, which Bernardo takes to be utterly refuted by contemporary science. In terms of panpsychism… And, because of that, it can be argued that Hoffman’s position is idealist rather than anti-realist. Idealism, on the other hand, seems to have it that literally everything is in the minds of subjects (or agents). That route leads to idealism, subjectivism, solipsism and woo. Similarly, it seems to me that Bernardo owes us an explanation of how sensory consciousness comes into existence from thought-like states of consciousness. Leading philosophers at HowTheLightGetsIn Global. There is no “correct” definition of panpsychism, there are only the various definitions particular philosophers construct to assist their positive or negative portrayals of a more or less vague school of thought. 2 comments. Already a subscriber? My approach is via survival metaphysics. (This echoes, to some extent at least, the debate which surrounded Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics — see later section.) (Though DNA is determined by — and dependent upon — quantum phenomena.) According to micropsychism, the fundamental conscious subjects are particles, such as electrons and quarks. In other words, disassociation doesn’t entail that there is more than one mind. This disassociated set of experiences, in virtue of its disassociation from the universal mind, then becomes a conscious subject in its own right. It doesn’t follow that we’re wasting our time. Suppose they’re right about that. Thoughts feel completely different than feelings, so there is an obvious qualitative transition taking place when this modulation occurs. He opposes that position to panpsychism and to Kant’s transcendental idealism. However, there are also very clear and strong similarities. For example, there are panpsychist versions of idealism where fundamental microphysical entities are conscious subjects, and on which matter is realized by these conscious subjects and their relations. It’s equally plausible that she won’t be able to deduce red no matter what thoughts she has. Scientists (or at least some/most of them) do believe that objects exist even when not perceived. However, one part of Hoffman’s story does seem to chime in with panpsychism. Hoffman’s main problem with Immanuel Kant’s position on noumena is that he believes that it’s not scientific. In his post-discussion blog post, Bernardo gave some interesting responses to my charge of an explanatory gap between thoughts and sensory qualities: We witness the modulation of qualities by other, different qualities every day: our thoughts constantly modulate our feelings, and the other way around. However, we only gain access to that world through our brains, consciousnesses, concepts, languages, etc. It could be that naturalistic dualism is true, and there are fundamental psycho-physical laws governing this transition. Stoic q&a: shouldn’t a Stoic be something of a dick to get things done? Both interpretations of panpsychism imply that every inanimate object has its own subjective inner life. They simply argue that tables and chairs (or their many parts!) Here, Philip defends panpsychism against the criticisms outlined by Bernardo in that discussion, and presents his own arguments against analytic idealism. I hate to say it because the answer is 20th-century philosophical handbook knowledge: the big alternative came with the so called linguistic turn: the step into the world of statements. Pragmatism is a philosophical approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application. animal consciousness in terms of more fundamental forms of consciousness To be clear: I reject materialism as much as Bernardo does. Idealism • Idealism: We project mental qualities onto the world. In fact, in my first book I defended a cosmopsychist form of panpsychism and the view I am currently developing is a form of cosmopsychism. That said, he’s hardly the first person to have done so (see here). On the face of it, this is a transition between two radically different categories of phenomenology. Therefore, it is entirely plausible that transpersonal states qualitatively different from colors and flavors could give rise to the colors and flavors on our screen of perception, through some form of modulation. Panpsychism is the all-pervading consciousness as the ground or true nature of reality directly from our soul energy that supports the illusion of material, but also gives rise to the Idealism of the Mind. Donald Hoffman’s philosophical position is called conscious realism.He opposes that position to panpsychism and to Kant’s transcendental idealism. Of course this may be terminological pedantry in that, to Hoffman, the noumenal isn’t in fact noumenal at all. Actually, I prefer idealism to panpsychism, my personal opinion is that reality is analogous to a computer program being computed by consciousness. Similarly, if qualitative pain is identical with quantitative c-fibres firing, then qualitative pain has all the same causal powers that quantitative c-fibres firing has. Donald Hoffman’s philosophical position is called conscious realism. However, when they are perceived, then they’re given (as it were) a determinate form — a form which is down to our contingent theories, experiments, perceptions/observations, concepts, languages, etc. What is the difference between idealism (such as, subjective idealism) and panpsychism? Don't have an account? Regarding the physics, I think things are not as cut and dried as Bernardo thinks. I would argue that it can’t do, precisely because I don’t think disassociation alone entails the existence of a new conscious subject (by ‘new’ I simply mean that there are now two rather than one). In terms of panpsychism: there are clear distinctions between Hoffman’s conscious realism and panpsychism. (Indeed Hoffman himself mentions the Copenhagen interpretation on a few occasions and at one points says that “most proponents of the Copenhagen interpretation embrace it only for the microscopic realm”.) However, why embrace the idealist conclusion that everything that exists only does so in the minds of persons? Marcus Aurelius: How To Live Without Fear, Beyond resilience: Toward ‘antifragile’ urbanism, On Definitions of the Word ‘Consciousness’ (1). (Admittedly, that’s a question of the very existence of space and time and it has nothing to do with our perceptions.) That’s an interesting proposal. Professor Donald Hoffman is explicit about his position on panpsychism. save hide report. Take this passage: “The story that there was first the Big Bang and then, billions of years of later, life, and then, hundreds of millions of years later, consciousness, is fundamentally wrong. For example, here’s Hoffman applying it to DNA: “For instance, [conscious realism] entails that DNA does not exist when it is not perceived. In our debate, Bernardo responded to this point by saying that, according to materialism, consciousness has no causal efficacy, and hence its presence could not possibly be conducive to survival. In claiming there is an explanatory gap between thoughts and sensory qualities, I am claiming that one could not deduce sensory qualities from thoughts. Bernardo defends a form of idealism: roughly the view that the physical world is grounded in a more fundamental, mind-involving reality. I’ve tackled it here.). To say that there is an explanatory gap from the quantitative to the qualitative is to say that we cannot deduce qualities from quantities. Bernardo directly addresses the issue of deducibility in the next paragraph: In our own personal minds, the qualities of the thoughts induced by certain feelings are certainly deducible from the feelings: for instance, the feeling of fear will lead to conservative, pessimistic thought processes and accompanying decision making. Of course there are different types of panpsychism and not all panpsychists would be keen on using the precise words “tables and chairs are conscious”. Surely someone who is born blind will never form the idea of white, no matter how much they meditate on peace and kindness. Bernardo tries to account for this transition by giving an evolutionary account of the survival pressures that necessitate compressing complex thoughts into simpler sensory qualities. He writes: “Many interpretations of Kant have him claiming that the sun and planets, tables and chairs, are not mind-independent, but depend for their existence on our perception. “brains and neurons do not exist unperceived”, “most proponents of the Copenhagen interpretation embrace it only for the microscopic realm”, https://www.paulaustinmurphyonphilosophy.com/, http://poetrycomedyandstuff.blogspot.com/. Nonetheless, Hoffman also argues that we haven’t got direct (or even indirect?) Hoffman’s position can be seen as a take on panpsychism in that he states that “consciousness is fundamental”. Intelligence and symmetry in nature and what it might tell us about reality Afterall, if it was sufficient to give a historical explanation of the emergence of a given phenomenon, in terms of the adaptive value of its emergence, then how could we object to a materialist accounting for consciousness in such terms? First, the mind in all things is something internal to, or inherent in, things themselves (as opposed to being injected or sustained by some outside entity). Panpsychism, the view that consciousness is fundamental to reality, is gaining new support in science and philosophy. There are obvious similarities to cosmopsychism, but the difference is that for the analytic idealist the universal mind is a reality which underlies the physical world, whereas for the cosmopsychist the universal mind is the physical universe. 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