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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Panpsychism, physicalism and supernaturalism

If there is no real interiority and no more than physical interiority - consciousness is any kind of physical black box - then there could be physical interiority everywhere. If there is no non-physical interference making sure humans are the only existents capable of interiority, no physics can do the job. Physicalism itself paves the way for panpsychism. If we go for a reductive or eliminative form of physicalism, this takes the form of understanding consciousness or its ingredients in physical terms. In this case, it can arise everywhere. Such take is what I used to call supernaturalism while discussing Descola's Par delà nature et culture last year. Supernaturalism has that nature can explain away interiority. There is ultimately no proper room for culture in the naturalist disposition - it is either an epiphenomenon or a façon de parler. No matter the plausibility of supernaturalism, it entails open doors to panpsychism.

Galen Strawson's argument in "Realistic Monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism" as that there are fragments of subjectivity everywhere. His is not a potential panpsychism (i.e. everything could have a consciousness) but rather an actual one where consciousness is at least in embryo everywhere. His physicalism also is not of an eliminative kind and farther from a reductive kind. Still, panpsychism shows up. I guess both variants of the argument - not to get into details yet - suggest how difficult it is to hold the notion of nature as something alien to all interiority and yet understandable. To be sure, it could be the repository for the absolute other. But then, why would we conceive a special realm for whatever is the absolute other?

1 comment:

  1. This is a fascinating blog & I am just beginning to dwell in the realm of metaphysics. I never really thought about alternative science, however, since a few weeks ago, I got interested in these topics because I'm looking for something new to research, etc. & these kinds of topics are taking me by storm. I hope you'll enjoy my own blogs & maybe follow them. Just click on my username & you should find it.