Michael Egnor and Bernardo Kastrup: Why consciousness couldn’t just evolve from the mud
Kastrup, a philosopher and computer scientist, does not accept a Darwinian account of the evolution of consciousness:
Michael Egnor: And so can consciousness have evolved by a Darwinian mechanism?
Bernardo Kastrup: I think by definition it cannot. By the way we define matter, it could not have evolved because it performs no function. Our physicalist account of reality entails that it is the measurable quantitative properties of matter that are causally efficacious. In other words, it’s mass, spin, charge, momentum that leads to effects, that leads to the dynamisms of nature, to the chains of cause and effect. And consciousness, that qualitative state that seems to accompany the quantitative dynamics of physicality, by definition cannot have causal efficacy…News, “Why consciousness couldn’t just evolve from the mud” at Mind Matters News
Kastrup, a panpsychist, is also sympathetic to the basic intuitions behind the idea that there is design in nature (intelligent design theory)
Michael Egnor: What do you think of intelligent design theory?
Bernardo Kastrup: I do not know enough about it to really make an intelligent comment. I am ashamed to confess to this. But what I read about it, the limited reading I spent on this, suggests to me that there is nothing crazy about it. It seems a very reasonable thing to imagine that there are organizing principles in nature that have a causal influence on the organization of genomes in the course of evolution. And that we may not be aware of these organizing principles yet. I mean, that’s a fundamental assumption in science, that there are patterns of organization out there that we don’t know yet. That’s why we do research. That’s why you try to find out more about how the universe works.News, “Why consciousness couldn’t just evolve from the mud” at Mind Matters News
Further reading on panpsychism:
Consciousness cannot have evolved. How many joules of consciousness would make you a human instead of a chimpanzee? How many more joules of consciousness would make you a genius?
Why is science growing comfortable with panpsychism (“everything is conscious”)? At one time, the idea that “everything is conscious” was the stuff of jokes. Not any more, it seems.
Why some scientists believe the universe is conscious. They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around
No materialist theory of consciousness is plausible. All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention. (Eric Holloway)
Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug. Materialists have a solution to the problem of consciousness, and it may startle you.
How can consciousness be a material thing? Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness.
Can machines be given consciousness? A prominent researcher in consciousness studies offers reasons for doubt.