Consciousness: not explained by panpsychism (General)

by dhw, Sunday, November 19, 2017, 14:41 (330 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “Panpsychism offers no distinctive predictions or explanations. It finds a place for consciousness in the physical world, but that place is a sort of limbo. Consciousness is indeed a hard nut to crack, but I think we should exhaust the other options before we take a metaphysical sledgehammer to it.
"Rather than thinking that this is a fundamental property of all matter, I think that it is an illusion. As well as senses for representing the external world, we have a sort of inner sense, which represents aspects of our own brain activity. And this inner sense gives us a very special perspective on our brain states, creating the impression that they have intrinsic phenomenal qualities that are quite different from all physical properties. It is a powerful impression, but just an impression. Consciousness, in that sense, is not everywhere but nowhere. Perhaps this seems as strange a view as panpsychism. But thinking about consciousness can lead one to embrace strange views."

DAVID's comment: What I present is disjointed, therefore, read the whole essay, but I don't think consciousness is an illusion.

If he thinks consciousness is an illusion, then of course panpsychism is a non-starter. And I agree with him completely when he says his view is every bit as strange as panpsychism. Many panpsychists are theists, but there is no need for a God if one takes the view that all matter already contains some rudimentary form of consciousness. Then it would be a matter of that rudimentary consciousness evolving step by step as matter begins to organize itself into living forms, which themselves become increasingly conscious. Yes indeed, it is an idea that is every bit as strange as no consciousness at all, or as chance engendering consciousness, or as a conscious mind that never had a source at all and was capable of creating a universe. Once again, it’s enough to drive a person to agnosticism.


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