Mod+ Panpsychism - Strawson, Koch, and more! [Resources] [Panpsychism]

Discussion in 'Consciousness & Science' started by Sciborg_S_Patel, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Like other resources threads, idea here is mostly to provide material for people wishing to investigate the topic.

    Some commentary/debate is useful but please, if such discussion seems to be getting long [over 3-5 posts] create a separate thread and link to continue.

    =-=-=

    1) Dr. Christof Koch, who has been interviewed by Skeptiko:

    Experience is as fundamental as matter & energy and space & time.

    2) Galen Strawson: Realistic monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2016
    EthanT likes this.
  2. Kai

    Kai New

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,546
    I have a lot of time for Galen, though one of the main possibilities is not terribly kind to our idea of continuity of an integrated consciousness after death...that we break up into primary experience elements, akin to primary physical elements.
     
  3. I've wondered about this, if shards of ourselves reincarnate into new conscious identities. It's not what people would usually liken to immorality of the soul, but it is an interesting hypothesis for dedicated panpsychists like Koch to ponder.

    Panpsychism 'Proved' by Rudy Rucker

    A more formal argument in Edge 2006:

    Panpsychism. Each object has a mind. Stars, hills, chairs, rocks, scraps of paper, flakes of skin, molecules — each of them possesses the same inner glow as a human, each of them has singular inner experiences and sensations.


    I'm quite comfortable with the notion that everything is a computation. But what to do about my sense that there's something numinous about my inner experience? Panpsychism represents a non-anthropocentric way out: mind is a universally distributed quality.


    Yes, the workings of a human brain are a deterministic computation that could be emulated by any universal computer. And, yes, I sense more to my mental phenomena than the rule-bound exfoliation of reactions to inputs: this residue is the inner light, the raw sensation of existence. But, no, that inner glow is not the exclusive birthright of humans, nor is it solely limited to biological organisms.


    Note that panpsychism needn't say that universe is just one mind. We can also say that each object has an individual mind. One way to visualize the distinction between the many minds and the one mind is to think of the world as a stained glass window with light shining through each pane. The world's physical structures break the undivided cosmic mind into a myriad of small minds, one in each object.


    The minds of panpsychism can exist at various levels. As well as having its own individuality, a person's mind would also be, for instance, a hive mind based upon the minds of the body's cells and the minds of the body's elementary particles.


    Do the panpsychic minds have any physical correlates? On the one hand, it could be that the mind is some substance that accumulates near ordinary matter — dark matter or dark energy are good candidates. On the other hand, mind might simply be matter viewed in a special fashion: matter experienced from the inside. Let me mention three specific physical correlates that have been proposed for the mind.


    Some have argued that the experience of mind results when a superposed quantum state collapses into a pure state. It's an alluring metaphor, but as a universal automatist, I'm of the opinion that quantum mechanics is a stop-gap theory, destined to give way to a fully deterministic theory based upon some digital precursor of spacetime.


    David Skrbina, author of the clear and comprehensive book Panpsychism in the West, suggests that we might think of a physical system as determining a moving point in a multi-dimensional phase space that has an axis for each of the system's measurable properties. He feels this dynamic point represents the sense of unity characteristic of a mind.


    As a variation on this theme, let me point out that, from the universal automatist standpoint, every physical system can be thought of as embodying a computation. And the majority of non-simple systems embody universal computations, capable of emulating any other system at all. It could be that having a mind is in some sense equivalent to being capable of universal computation.


    A side-remark. Even such very simple systems as a single electron may in fact be capable of universal computation, if supplied with a steady stream of structured input. Think of an electron in an oscillating field; and by analogy think of a person listening to music or reading an essay.


    Might panpsychism be a distinction without a difference? Suppose we identify the numinous mind with quantum collapse, with chaotic dynamics, or with universal computation. What is added by claiming that these aspects of reality are like minds?


    I think empathy can supply an experiential confirmation of panpsychism's reality. Just as I'm sure that I myself have a mind, I can come to believe the same of another human with whom I'm in contact — whether face to face or via their creative work. And with a bit of effort, I can identify with objects as well; I can see the objects in the room around me as glowing with inner light. This is a pleasant sensation; one feels less alone.


    Could there ever be a critical experiment to test if panpsychism is really true? Suppose that telepathy were to become possible, perhaps by entangling a person's mental states with another system's states. And then suppose that instead of telepathically contacting another person, I were to contact a rock. At this point panpsychism would be proved.


    I still haven't said anything about why panpsychism is a dangerous idea. Panpsychism, like other forms of higher consciousness, is dangerous to business as usual. If my old car has the same kind of mind as a new one, I'm less impelled to help the economy by buying a new vehicle. If the rocks and plants on my property have minds, I feel more respect for them in their natural state. If I feel myself among friends in the universe, I'm less likely to overwork myself to earn more cash. If my body will have a mind even after I'm dead, then death matters less to me, and it's harder for the government to cow me into submission.
     
  4. From the biosphere to the species is nothing but an immense ramification of psychism seeking for itself through different forms. That is where Ariadne's thread leads us if we follow it to the end.
    --The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin

    Christof Koch goes deeper into panpsychism for Scientific American.

    I think Koch is almost there, he just needs to make the leap Valera did and extend some causal power to the mental ahead of the physical...
     
  5. Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

    Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,486
    But he is not a dualist, so that wouldn't make sense.

    "I will defend a narrowed, more nuanced view: namely that any complex system, as defined below, has the basic attributes of mind and has a minimal amount of consciousness in the sense that it feels like something to be that system. If the system falls apart, consciousness ceases to be; it doesn't feel like anything to be a broken system. And the more complex the system, the larger the repertoire of conscious states it can experience."

    ~~ Paul
     
  6. In Chalmer's Panpsychism papers he discusses how certain models of panpsychism might allow for mental causation.
     
  7. Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

    Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,486
    If it's a physicalist version of panpsychism, then the "mental" is just physical. So there is no reason the mental can't be causal. We're not going for epiphenomenalism, after all.

    ~~ Paul
     
    Sciborg_S_Patel likes this.
  8. The Phenomenal Bonding Solution to the Combination Problem

     
  9. Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

    Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,486
    "Everything natural science has to tell us about electrons concerns their behaviour; we learn nothing about what an electron is independently of what it does. The only thing each of knows for certain about the categorical nature of natural entities is that at least some of them, for example me and you, are conscious."

    I have no idea what "categorical nature" is, but this sounds like there is some fundamental difference between electrons and consciousness. Do we know what consciousness is independently of what it does?

    ~~ Paul
     
  10. Well categorical qualities are characteristics that have no ordering, so categorical nature is basic the description of something from the outside.

    I think the distinction is between outside description versus the internal "What is Like to be Something" description.

    =-=-=

    Ecp posted this in C&S:

    Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas

     
  11. What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?


     
    MysticG likes this.
  12. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Messages:
    737
    Steve and Sciborg_S_Patel like this.
  13. RadicalPolitik mentioned Gao on another thread:

    A quantum physical argument for panpsychism

     
  14. IMPLICATIONS OF A FUNDAMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS

    The challenge, as I see it, is to explain what "proto-mental"/"proto-consciosuness" really means - why does the kind of fundamental awareness he talks about give rise to all the other qualia we experience? Are all possible qualia within the proto-mental awareness, even the various subjective feelings that seem so different from the kind of Eastern transcendental states McDonald apparently identifies with the proto-mental part of the firmament alongside energy as the proto-physical?

    Perhaps it's me that misunderstood the description of the proto-mental, but how is there awareness of any kind without a mind/Mind to have the experience?..Which is how we end up back at the Pansychist-or-Idealist position...which I still feel is a way point to some kind of Neutral Monism...which perhaps is simply beyond our ability to describe...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2014
    radicalpolitik likes this.
  15. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Messages:
    737
    I imagine it's something like pure awareness, if consciousness is fundamental.
     

Share This Page