Everything is conscious, many now say. From Olivia Goldhill at Quartz:
The materialist viewpoint states that consciousness is derived entirely from physical matter. It’s unclear, though, exactly how this could work. “It’s very hard to get consciousness out of non-consciousness,” says Chalmers. “Physics is just structure. It can explain biology, but there’s a gap: Consciousness.” Dualism holds that consciousness is separate and distinct from physical matter—but that then raises the question of how consciousness interacts and has an effect on the physical world.
Panpsychism offers an attractive alternative solution: Consciousness is a fundamental feature of physical matter; every single particle in existence has an “unimaginably simple” form of consciousness, says Goff. These particles then come together to form more complex forms of consciousness, such as humans’ subjective experiences. This isn’t meant to imply that particles have a coherent worldview or actively think, merely that there’s some inherent subjective experience of consciousness in even the tiniest particle.
Panpsychism doesn’t necessarily imply that every inanimate object is conscious. “Panpsychists usually don’t take tables and other artifacts to be conscious as a whole,” writes Hedda Hassel Mørch, a philosophy researcher at New York University’s Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, in an email. “Rather, the table could be understood as a collection of particles that each have their own very simple form of consciousness.” More.
So this is naturalism (nature is all there is) today: Particles have consciousness (and rocks have minds) but human consciousness is an illusion.
And the naturalist’s biggest problem, to hear him tell it, is the persistence of stubborn doubt about naturalism.
See also: The universe may be conscious?
Evading hard problem of human consciousness: Consciousness is in everything!
Latest consciousness theory: Rocks have minds
The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.
13 Replies to “At Quartz: Materialists are converting to panpsychism”
What’s really funny about this is that they don’t seem to realize that in converting to panpsychism, they are also agreeing with Intelligent Design.
“…there’s some inherent subjective experience of consciousness in even the tiniest particle.”
Are we are to consider or not that a universe composed of particles with said (immeasurable) property may constitute a Mind?
It just keeps getting clearer and clearer, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God”
Perhaps the entire Universe is the mind of God. But if there’s a multiverse, maybe He has multiple personality disorder. That would explain the inconsistent behavior.
Not panpsychism, just honest science. There is no logical reason to EXCLUDE anything from consciousness. We don’t even know the exact mechanism that gives us awareness, so we can’t begin to exclude other mechanisms. We’ve been looking for this mechanism for about 200 years, and its location or function is growing LESS certain, not more.
Actually besides consciousness being unexplainable by physics, there is a ‘gap’ in biology also. i.e. Biology cannot be explained by physics. He states that “Physics is just structure” and yet the question of how macroscopic “structures” and/or biological forms come about will forever be beyond the explanatory power of physics.
In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
In fact as the following video shows, there is now fairly compelling evidence that immaterial information is coming into a developing embryo from outside spacetime
Chalmers goes on to state,,,
Chalmers main mistake is that he presupposes causation to be less mysterious than volition.
Chalmers then goes on to state:
There is a huge evidential “gap” in Chalmers reasoning. Namely, it is now shown that physical matter does not exist until someone looks at it. ,,, Here is a delayed choice experiment that was done with atoms:
A few more notes:
Quote, Verse and Video
All: To clarify, we do not make this stuff up.
My mom would say, of a crackpot: He has rocks in his head.
Today, crackpot: It’s true! Everything is conscious rocks!
In Mom’s day (1924-2016), that wasn’t science. Things have sure changed.
This is more serious than one might think, for those to whom ID is not an end in itself, but a challenge to materialist atheism. I wrote a piece only last month predicting that, if scientists were compelled to accept teleology in life without a deeper study of that teleology, the prevailing worldview was likely to become a form of atheistic panpsychism.
If Intelligent Design fails to develop any program to distinguish intrinsic teleogy (teleonomy) from extrinsic teleology (a truly intelligent being) it will only have itself to blame for the development of a more robust secularism.
Seversky @ 4:
Not everyone views God through the lens of Jeffersonian deism.
Jon Garvey –
Yes and no. I agree that, if there is any group who would be able to create such a distinction, it would be the ID movement. Nonetheless, I don’t think that the ID movement is necessarily a “responsible party” for its lack of development. Intellectual development doesn’t follow a predictable path, much less a dictated one. We jump from knowledge to knowledge as it presents itself to us.
I almost agree that ID could lead to a more robust secularism. However, consider this. If secularism starts to embrace teleology, then upon what will it base its claim for superiority over other ideas? Right now, secularism is winning because they feel they can lay claim to be more-or-less “above it all”.
Once that is gone, then secularists are merely one party among many in the conversation.
So, I do cheer for a more robust secularism, precisely because that will include more participants in the discussion, and will remove the inappropriate deference paid to secularism in the modern era.
Additionally, ID will help in the move towards an extrinsic teleology, simply because ID is currently the only game in town with explicit tools dealing with any notion of teleology whatsoever. The others are behind by several decades, and I imagine their pride will stand in the way of building on what ID has done during that time.
I would judge that things depend on whether the “scientific establishment” in its role as Custodian of Truth is able to spin panpsychism as merely a development of Science™, rather than a volte face in metaphysics.
Seems to me they could claim it’s just following on from Ernst Mayr’s teleonomy, which they have accepted for decades, and wave their hands about “emergent phenomena” as is currently the case with the human mind. In that way, they still appear, at least, to be just doing materialism.
Bear in mind how many of the early theistic evolution theorists, like Barbour and Griffin, were influenced by process theism, partly because it enabled them to remain loyal to methodological naturalism and keep in the scientific mainstream. Keep the Whitehead philosophy, and lose God, and perhaps atheism can still maintain the naturalistic high ground.
So it sounds to me like the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic teleology is a big, proactive, research project for now, rather than a reactive one once teleology in biology becomes the new orthodoxy. One for a philosopher, maybe.
As a philosopher masquerading as a computer programmer, I think that most jobs are best suited for philosophers 🙂
This is just another version of the Song of the Dammed.
Maybe sung up a half step or to a different melody but agnostics & atheists are just continously shoveling the same steaming pile of earth shattering, mind numbing, crap that now it’s just embarrassing.
“Free will is an illusion and here’s why you should freely change your mind and believe me ”
“Time is an illusion & BTW the universe is 13 billion years old”
“I don’t believe in things I can’t see or prove so God didn’t create the universe .. BTW there’s a magic everything maker machine that just so happens to pop out universes that look designed ”
“My life’s work is about a pandas thumb. I’m the goodest at being rational ” haha
At some point we must realize we’re not actually conversing with legitimate thinkers– but the town drunk.