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« Peter Singer on Life and Death Decision-Making | Main | Nick Bostrom on the Status Quo Bias »

May 05, 2012



I am no philosopher, but this sounded like a crank idea to me. Maybe I missed the subtlety of the argument?

Panpsychism seems to be a proposed answer to the hard problem of how we can have conscious experience if we're made of stuff that cannot. To assume the latter statement is false - and that all the stuff of the universe has some kind of internal experience - seems to be no help. It simply assumes away the problem.

I don't see why one should need to abandon the idea that conscious experience is an 'emergent' phenomenon. (To use an overused term.) Working computers are made from components that cannot compute anything by themselves. Cells can reproduce and preserve information (in the technical sense), while being made from atoms that cannot.

I'm not even sure it's well defined once you think through the physics. At the bottom of mordern quantum physics there aren't even discrete 'things' like electrons that could have experience. These are local excitations of a certain quantum field. What is it here that can have experience?


Here's a nice discussion about panpsychism, emergence and related stuff:

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