E-Int: “The View From Everywhere: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism?”

The View From Everywhere: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism?

Simon Bowes
4:30 p.m. 21 June 2007 – Pevensey I 1A1

I will be examining Galen Strawson’s (2006) argument that a realistic physicalism (one that takes the phenomenal seriously) entails panspsychism — the view that all matter, no matter how basic, must have some kind of experiential dimension. This argument relies on the view that the emergence of subjectivity from inert matter is incoherent.

I will examine some reactions to Strawson’s thesis (Papineau & McGinn), and will tease apart the largely unanalyzed notion of emergence being talked about. My argument will be an inference to the best explanation: that if we have to choose between emergence and panpsychism we should accept the former. I will also be introducing an extension of Strawson’s argument (due to Stephen Voss) which leads to an even more radical conclusion that some will find even less palatable (or maybe not) – but I won’t spoil the surprise by saying what that is.

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