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Thread: Panpsychism in the Academic Community

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    Avalon Member
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    Default Panpsychism in the Academic Community

    Monism is the view that fundamental reality is made of one kind of "stuff" - that is there is only kind of thing that the universe/world is fundamentally comprised of.

    Panpsychism is the view that the fundamental components (whatever they turn out to be) are conscious.

    Mash those two views together and you get 'cosmopsychism' - roughly the view that the universe is comprised of one fundamental thing, and that thing is conscious.

    Exploration of these ideas has been on the rise in the academic community for the last decade or so, originally driven by a few key names amongst both analytic philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists and neurophilosophers (David Chalmers, Galen Strawson et al). They've now gained so much purchase within the literature that they're being taken very seriously by huge percentages of researchers in those fields.

    I take it that many of us in the Avalon community already subscribe to some version of that view (that is, consciousness is built into the fundamental base of reality). However, we often appeal to these ideas in a rather intuitive way. That is, we conclude this on the basis of our relationship to our own subjective experience, or else we might simply decide that one of these views just aligns with what we feel we've always known.

    However, it seems that many Avalon users prefer to ground their views in robust, analytic arguments, rather than trusting pure intuition. In that spirit I offer Philip Goff on this topic.

    Goff is Professor of Philosophy at the Central European University and, in this video, presents part of his very detailed case for believing in cosmopsychism. He's a very clear speaker and, although he uses a lot of jargon from the consciousness literature, his presentation style is accessible to both academics and non-academics.

    I'd be very interested to hear Avalon's thoughts!

    Last edited by panpsych; 18th October 2017 at 14:50.

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    Canada Avalon Member Ernie Nemeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panpsychism in the Academic Community

    I would explain this theory as: the fact of existence proves the condition of existence as irreducible; existence always exists because there is existence now.

    Consider. There is nothing. Every thing is not. Every notion is naught. Even naught is naught. By logical analysis there then must be something because even nothing is not nothing. Negation negates itself. Therefore, nothing reduces to something.

    And upon further reflection it can be seen that if something then everything: if something must exist then everything must exist.

    The universe is like a constant question: Anything? And reality, the ground of being, replies: Yes!

    Zero is a question. Its answer is always One.
    Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water...Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Bruce Lee

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