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One (1) “Original Post” addressing one of the three question choices. Minimum of 250 words.. Your Original Post must answer the question fully in all its parts and address possible objections to your reasoning. You must also connect your Original Post to the course by having at least one full sentence quote and citation from one of the Required Readings of the week. The quote should be word for word and contained inside quotation marks and then followed by an inline citation. Once you quote something or even reword something you did not originally write then you need to have it in a reference section at the end of the post (again in MLA format). Please refer to the following resources for help on MLA citation. 

· MLA Citation:


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DISCUSSION QUESTION CHOICE #1: Nagel on panpsychism. Pick one particular argument by Thomas Nagel for panpsychism in Reading 6.1. and argue whether you agree or disagree with it. Use your own knowledge, experiences and judgments to make your argument. Make sure to address possible objections to your reasoning.

DISCUSSION QUESTION CHOICE #2:  Chalmers on panpsychism. Pick one particular argument by David Chalmers for panpsychism in Reading 6.2. and argue whether you agree or disagree with it.  Use your own knowledge, experiences and judgments to make your argument. Make sure to address possible objections to your reasoning.

DISCUSSION QUESTION CHOICE #3:  Is Panpsychism plausible? If you think panpsychism is plausible, which arguments of Chalmers and Nagel seem most effective to you. If you don’t think panpsychism is plausible, what are some counterarguments to Chalmer’s and Nagel’s arguments? Use your own knowledge, experiences and judgments to make your argument. Make sure to address possible objections to your reasoning.

Supplemental Online Readings


Goff, Philip, et al. “Panpsychism.” 
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2017) 

This article contains the most up to date views on panpsychism after Chalmer’s 2015 article.


Moore, Thomas. “Panpsychism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 2 Dec. 2021


An early 20th century view of panpsychism.

(3) Skrbina, David, “Panpsychism.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2021) 

Another introduction to panpsychism that clarifies some issues that the Goff article above doesn’t

Supplemental Online Audio/Video

(1) “How Panpsychism Explains Consciousness | Phillip Goff.” YouTube, uploaded by The Institute of Art and Ideas, Jul 21, 2020. [10:09] 



By panpsychism I mean the view that the basic physical
constituents of the universe have mental properties, whether or
not they are parts of living organisms. It appears to follow from
a few simple premises, each of which is more plausible than its
denial, though not perhaps more plausible than the denial of

1. Material composition
Any living organism, including a human being, is a complex
material system. It consists of a huge number of particles
combined in a special way. Each of us is composed of matter that
had a largely inanimate history before finding its way onto our
plates or those of our parents. It was once probably part of the
sun, but matter from another galaxy would do as well. If it were
brought to earth, and grass were grown in it, and milk from a
cow that ate the grass were drunk by a pregnant woman, then
her child’s brain would be partly composed of that matter.
Anything whatever, if broken down far enough and rearranged,
could be incorporated into a living organism. No constituents
besides matter are needed.

2. Nonreductionism

Ordinary mental states like thought, feeling, emotion, sensation,
or desire are not physical properties of the organism –
behavioral, physiological, or otherwise – and they are not
implied by physical properties alone.1

1 Strictly speaking, the argument requires only that some mental states are
not reducible.































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182 Mortal questions

3. Realism

Nevertheless they are properties of the organism, since there is
no soul, and they are not properties of nothing at all.2

4. Nonemergence

There are no truly emergent properties of complex systems. All
properties of a complex system that are not relations between it
and something else derive from the properties of its constituents
and their effects on each other when so combined. Emergence is
an epistemological condition: it means that an observed feature
of the system cannot be derived from the properties currently
attributed to its constituents. But this is a reason to conclude that
either the system has further constituents of which we are not
yet aware, or the constituents of which we are aware have
further properties that we have not yet discovered.

Panpsychism seems to follow from these four premises. If the
mental properties of an organism are not implied by any
physical properties but must derive from properties of the
organism’s constituents, then those constituents mast have
nonphysical properties from which the appearance of mental
properties follows when the combination is of the right kind.
Since any matter can compose an organism, all matter must have
these properties. And since the same matter can be made into
different types of organisms with different types of mental life
(of which we have encountered only a tiny sample), it must have
properties that imply the appearance of different mental
phenomena when the matter is combined in different ways. This
would amount to a kind of mental chemistry.

The conclusion has its attractions as a general explanation of
how conscious life arises in the universe. But there are three
problems about the argument that I want to discuss.

1. Why call these inferred properties of matter mental? What
is meant by a physical property and why does that concept
not apply to them?

2. What view of causality is involved in the denial of

2 Some of them, like belief and perception, are relational properties, but all
involve some nonrelational aspect.

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Panpsychism 183

3. Do the features of mental phenomena that argue against
reduction also argue against Realism?3

To deal with the first question, we must consider what makes a
newly discovered property or phenomenon physical. Since the
class of known physical properties is constantly expanding, the
physical cannot be defined in terms of the concepts of contem-
porary physics, but must be more general. New properties are
counted as physical if they are discovered by explanatory
inference from those already in the class. This repeated process
starts from a base of familiar, observable spatio-temporal
phenomena and proceeds to take in mass, force, kinetic energy,
charge, valence, gravitational and electromagnetic fields, quan-
tum states, anti-particles, strangeness, charm, and whatever
physics will bring us next.4

What the argument claims is that a similar chain of explana-
tory inference beginning from familiar mental phenomena
would lead to general properties of matter that would not be
reached along the path of explanatory inference by which
physics is extended. Let us put aside for the moment the
uneasiness that one may well feel about the suggestion that
mental phenomena should derive from any properties of matter
at all.

The claim is that if such properties exist, they are not physical
in the sense explained. No properties of the organism or its
constituents discovered solely by physics will be the familiar
mental properties with their conscious or preconscious aspects,
nor will they be the more basic proto-mental properties that
imply these; for it will never be legitimate to infer, as a
theoretical explanation of physical phenomena alone, a property
that includes or implies the consciousness of its subject. We do
infer explicitly mental explanations of physical behavior, but
these employ concepts understood independently and not intro-
duced through physical theory. Theories constructed on the
basis of physical observations and parallels alone will not include
terms that imply the consciousness of the system.

3 I shall capitalize this term when using it in the special sense of premise 3.
4 This is roughly equivalent to Feigl’s ‘physical2\ See H. Feigl, The

“Mental** and the “Physical** ‘, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of
Science, vol. II, ed. H. Feigl, M. Scriven, and G. Maxwell (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1958).

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184 Mortal questions

It is this assumption about inference that underlies the position
that the physical will never include the mental. If it is true, then
in the event that any properties of matter are discoverable by
explanatory inference from observable mental phenomena, they
will have mental implications of a kind that physically inferred
properties will never have. In that sense the ultimate properties
inferred to explain mental processes would be mental and not

However, this needs modification, for there is a third possibil-
ity. Perhaps there are not two chains of inference, but one chain
leading from the mental and the physical to a common source. It
is conceivable in the abstract that if mental phenomena derive
from the properties of matter at all, those may be identical at
some level with nonphysical properties from which physical
phenomena also derive.

This merits a brief digression. Such reducibility to a common
base would have the advantage of explaining how there could be
necessary causal connexions in either direction, between mental
and physical phenomena. It would also make less problematic
the possibility that a single event like a bodily movement could
have both a mental cause and a complete physical explanation.
The mental cause, sufficiently analyzed, could be part of the
physical cause, sufficiently analyzed. But if- this were so, the
common reducing properties would not be physical. They could
not be reached by a chain of explanatory inference from physical
phenomena alone, for physical data alone would provide no
grounds for postulating explanatory theories that also had
mentalistic consequences. The theories that physical data pro-
vide grounds for may take extraordinary leaps which permit the
deduction of radical physical consequences (the convertibility of
matter and energy, the deflection of light by gravity). But
without any mentalistic evidence there is no reason to give
mental content to the explanation of physical events. (Someone
who infers from a drought that the rain god is angry is not
basing his hypothesis on physical evidence alone. He is making a
psychological interpretation of the drought, based on familiarity
with human motivation. Any inference of this kind, reasonable
or unreasonable, does not belong to physics.) Therefore even if
there are common ultimate properties underlying both the
mental and the physical, they do not lie on the path of physical

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Paupsychism 185

discovery, the path of explanatory inference from observable
physical phenomena alone, and so they are not physical proper-

If there were such properties, they would be discoverable only
by explanatory inference from both mental and physical
phenomena. This seems in fact somewhat less implausible than
that there are two quite distinct chains of explanation leading
back to two distinct sets of basic properties. If it were true, then
it would be improper to describe the basic properties as mental
for the same reason that they could not be described as physical.
Strictly, only what is inferred to explain mental phenomena
(including actions) should be called mental. This clearly admits
concepts like repression and utility function, or perhaps univer-
sal grammar.5 They appear at a level of psychological theory not
far removed from familiar mental processes. But even if by some
criterion the. fundamental particles had properties that were not
mental but neither mental nor physical, the conclusion of the
argument would survive in a modified form. There would be
properties of matter that were not physical from which the
mental properties of organic systems were derived. This could
still be called panpsychism.

The second question is about causality and emergence. What
is the view of causal explanation frorn which it follows that true
emergence is impossible? I have said that the properties of a
complex system must derive from the properties of its con-
stituents, plus the way they are combined. The argument
assumes that uniform correlations cannot provide an adequate
basis for the explanation of complex phenomena. It therefore
rejects what is often called, inaccurately, a Humean analysis of
causation. According to Hume, our idea of causal necessity is a
kind of illusion, because all we ever observe are natural regu-
larities and correlations, and never necessary connexions of cause
and effect. Hume did not think that our idea of cause was that of
an instance of a constant conjunction in nature.

5 I have discussed the sense in which such concepts of psychological theory
arc mental in ‘Linguistics and Epistemology’, in Language and Philosophy,
cd. Sidney Hook (New York: New York University Press, 1969), and in
‘Freud’s Anthropomorphism’, in Freud, cd. Richard Wollheim (New
York: Doubleday, 1974).

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186 Mortal questions

He was right, in my opinion, to say that if this were all there
was, then causality would be an illusion. But I do not believe it is
an illusion. True causes do necessitate their effects: they make
them happen or make them the case. Uniform correlations are at
best evidence of such underlying necessities. This seems to me
clearly true in elementary cases: heat causing water to boil, rocks
causing glass to break, magnets inducing electric current, the
wind making waves. Given what heat is and what water is, it is
literally impossible for water to be heated beyond a certain point
at normal atmospheric pressure without boiling.

Causal necessity operates even at the most fundamental levels.
An electron is a particle with a certain charge and a certain mass.
Those properties imply that it will interact in a definite way with
fields and with other objects. Some of the implications will be
probabilistic, but that does not affect the point. And similar
things are true of other subatomic particles. Ordinary physics
and chemistry explain macroscopic phenomena, so far as they
can be explained, as the necessary consequences of the properties
of the particles (sometimes essential properties) and their interac-
tions. They do not rely merely on contingent correlations.

This is particularly clear when we consider the relation
between properties of complex systems and properties of their
components at the same time. Consider the physical properties of
a diamond. Some of them, like shape, size, weight, and crystal
structure, are directly entailed by the physical properties and
relations of its constituents and their effects on each other when
they are so combined. Others, like color, glitter, and hardness,
involve interaction between the diamond and other things, and
must be explained in terms of the effects of the diamond’s
constituents on those other things.

The supposition that a diamond or an organism should have
truly (not just epistemologically) emergent properties is that
those properties appear at certain complex levels of organization
but are not explainable in terms of any more fundamental
properties, known or unknown, of the constituents of the
system. If causal connexions were nothing but instances of
contingent regularities, such a situation would be compatible
with the existence of causal explanations of the emergent
properties at a complex level. There would probably be many
uniform psycho-physical correlations of the form; ‘Whenever an

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Panpsychism 187

organism is in exactly physical state P it is also in mental state M.f

This may be true of my present total physical and mental states,
for example. No doubt more general correlations also exist.

On a correlation view that should be enough for M to be
causally explained by P. But it is not enough on a stronger view
of causation. A stronger view requires that P somehow necessitate
M; but at this complex level, no necessary connexions can be
discovered. There is no sense in which my body’s physical state
by itself makes it the case that I am in mental state M. It is of
course obvious that what is going on in my brain causes my mental
state, just as it is obvious that when I touch a hot pan it causes pain.
There must be some kind of necessity here. What we cannot
understand is how the heat, or the brain process, necessitates the
sensation. So long as we remain at the level of a purely physical
conception of what goes on in the brain, this will continue to
appear impossible. The conclusion is that unless we are prepared
to accept the alternative that the appearance of mental properties
in complex systems has no causal explanation at all, we must
take the current epistemological emergence of the mental as a
reason to believe that the constituents have properties of which
we are not aware, and which do necessitate these results.

The demand for an account of how mental states necessarily
appear in physical organisms cannot be satisfied by the discovery
of uniform correlations between mental states and physical brain
states, though that is how psycho-physical laws have tradition-
ally been conceived. Instead, intrinsic properties of the compo-
nents must be discovered from which the mental properties of
the system follow necessarily. This may be unattainable, but if
mental phenomena have a causal explanation such properties
must exist, and they will not be physical.6

The third question, about Realism, is the most difficult. What
is the reason to deny that mental properties can be entailed by
physical ones? It is certainly conceivable that the physiological
and behavioral characteristics of a living organism should follow
necessarily from the physical properties of fundamental particles

6 The inference to such properties is not trivial, like the statement that
opium puts people to sleep because it has a dormative virtue. Although
the causes are formulated so as to entail their effects, the reverse
implication does not hold, as it does in the joke.

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188 Mortal questions

when they are combined in that way, though we can never
expect to possess more than fragments of such an explanation.
This is true also of functional states, so called, if they are defined
in terms of their relations to one another, to stimuli, and to
behavior. If the definition is general enough, the functional state
could appear in a wide variety of physical systems, including
organisms whose behavior took widely different forms. But its
presence could still be entailed by the physical micro-properties
of any organism in which it appeared.

A physical explanation of behavioral or functional states does
not explain the mental because it does not explain its subjective
features: what any conscious mental state is like for its possessor.
Let me say briefly what I mean by this, though it is too large a
topic for proper discussion here.7 A feature of experience is
subjective if it can in principle be fully understood only from one
type of point of view: that of a being like the one having the
experience, or at least like it in the relevant modality. The
phenomenological qualities of our own experiences are subjec-
tive in this way. The physical events in our brains are not.
Human physiologists may take a special interest in them; but
they can, in principle, be understood just as well, or even better,
by creatures totally unlike us in physical and mental structure-
To understand them such creatures need not take up our point of
view. Physical brain processes can be understood objectively,
from the outside, because they are not subjective phenomena.
And no description or analysis of the objective nervous system,
however complete, will ever by itself imply anything which is
not objective, i.e. which can be understood only from one kind
of viewpoint, that of the being whose states are being described.
One cannot derive a pour soi from an en soi.

Not all mental states are conscious, but all of them are capable
of producing states that are. So any derivation of the mental
properties of an organism from the properties of its components
would have to show that subjective states necessarily arise from
them. Of course if, as was suggested earlier, the explanation of
behavior leads ultimately to properties that are neither mental
nor physical, then a sufficiently basic explanation of the physical
aspects of behavior might also explain subjective experience as a

7 I try to give a fuller account of this idea in chapter 12 above.

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Panpsychism 189

necessary part of the process. But physical properties alone could
not give this result; they explain not how things are from a
particular subjective point of view but how they are objectively,
in ways that can be apprehended from different points of view
and do not belong to any.

This gap is logically unbridgeable. If a bodiless god wanted to
create a conscious being, he could not expect to do it by
combining together in organic form a lot of particles with none
but physical properties.8 Given an account of the phenomeno-
logy of a particular kind of perception, it may be possible to
deduce how a particular objective state of affairs would appear
from that point of view. But the subjective premise seems
essential. And this is no less true when the objective state is a
physical brain state, and the appearance is what it is like to be in
that brain state, rather than what it is like to observe it.

That, in brief, is the argument against reductionism. Because
of the way in which it relies on the subjectivity of the mental, I
believe that it casts doubt on Realism, though I find this hard to

For Realism as I have defined it to be true, physical organisms
must have subjective properties. What seems unacceptable about
this is that the organism does not have a point of view: the
person or creature does. It seems absurd to try to discover the
basis of the point of view of the person in an atomistic
breakdown of the organism, because that object is not a possible
subject for the point of view to which the person’s experiences
appear. And if it makes no sense to ascribe subjective states to
the complex whole, there will be no basis for ascribing proto-
mental states to its constituents; so they cannot be appealed to in
explanation of what it means for an organism to have experi-
ences. I simply record this feeling of impossibility because I have
no more to say about it. When a mouse is frightened it does not
seem to me that a small material object is frightened.

The trouble with this intuition is that it leads nowhere. What
is the alternative? I assume that neither I nor the mouse has a
soul, to bear these mental properties. And even if we did, it
would not remove the problem, because insofar as it is possible

8 Cf. Saul Kripke, ‘Naming and Necessity’, in Semantics of Natural
Language, ed. D. Davidson and G. Harman (Dodrecht: Reidel, 1972), pp.

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190 Mortal questions

to grasp the idea of a nonmaterial thing, there is just as much
difficulty in understanding how it could have a point of view.
But if the occurrence of a subjective experience is not the
possession of a property by something, what is it? And what
connexion does it have with the organism? Evidently in some
way experiences depend on the material organism even if they
are not states of it.

The only view I know of that may qualify as an alternative is
found in the Philosophical Investigations. According to Wittgens-
tein as I understand him the person (or mouse) who is the subject
of mental states is not to be identified with an organism or a soul
or anything else. He holds that all kinds of familiar propositions
about the mental states of individual living beings are true, but
that there is almost nothing to be said about what property must
be possessed by what thing if one of these ascriptions is to be
true. All such specifications of truth conditions are trivial. What
can be more fully described, however, are the kinds of circum-
stances, including evidential grounds, that make the ascription
appropriate: criteria rather than truth conditions. For third-
person ascriptions the grounds are behavior, stimuli, circum-
stances, and testimony (once the subject has learned the relevant
mental vocabulary). For self-ascriptions no evidential grounds
are needed.

Although facts about the body are among the criteria for
ascribing mental states to others, and also for ascribing to them
an understanding of the terms they use to ascribe mental states to
themselves, the mental states are not states of the body. The
view is not reductionist. Mental states are no less real than
behavior, physical stimuli, and physiological processes. In fact
their situation with respect to one another is symmetrical,
because physical processes have mental (specifically observa-
tional) criteria just as mental processes have physical criteria.
According to Wittgenstein, everything there is must be sys-
tematically connected with other things in a way that permits
public agreement, or at least public disagreement, about whether
it is there or not. Mental phenomena meet this condition
through their connexion with behaviour and circumstances, but
they are perfectly real in their own right. They cannot be
analyzed as dispositions to behavior or properties of the organ-
ism, any more than physical phenomena can be analyzed as

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Panpsychism 191

multiple possibilities of sensation or of observation. If asked to
say what any of these kinds of thing really is, or what statements
about them really assert, we can give no reply that is not trivial.

In some ways that is an attractive position. It does justice to
the subjectivity of the mental, because of the central place it
assigns to criterionless mental self-ascriptions. How things
appear to someone must hang together with how they appear to
others to appear to him; but these facts are inextricably con-
nected with his point of view, as this can be publicly identified.
There is clear support for the idea that mental states are
subjective if they are ascribed to creatures who can ascribe them
to themselves without observation, by other creatures who can
ascribe similar states to themselves in the same way. And since it
does not seem correct to describe these states of the individual as
states of the organism, this idea provides an alternative to

My difficulty with the view is that it depends too heavily on
our language. Essentially its account of mental phenomena is an
account of how they are ascribed, particularly in the first person.
But not all conscious beings are capable of language, and that
leaves the difficult problem of how this view accommodates the
subjectivity of their mental states.

We ascribe experience to animals on the basis of their
behavior, structure, and circumstances, but we are not just
ascribing to them behavior, structure, and circumstances. So
what are we saying? The same kind of thing we say of people
when we say they have experiences, of course. But here the
special relation between first- and third-person ascription is not
available as an indication of the subjectivity of the mental. We
are left with concepts that are anchored in their application to
humans, and that apply to other creatures by a natural extension
from the behavioral and contextual criteria that operate in
ordinary human cases.

This seems definitely unsatisfactory, because the experiences
of other creatures are certainly independent of the reach of an
analogy with the human case. They have their own reality and
their own subjectivity. They are not, I assume, of indeterminate
character in cases where the natural extension from human
behavior and circumstances gives no determinate result. To take
a very clear case, if things emerged from a spaceship which we

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192 Mortal questions

could not be sure were machines or conscious beings, what we
were wondering about would have an answer even if the things
were so different from anything we were familiar with that we
could never discover it. It would depend on whether there was
something it was like to be them, not on whether behavioral
similarities warranted our saying so.

This seems true quite apart from the question of what the
subject of mental states is. They may not be states of the body,
but they certainly exist in forms beyond the reach of our
language. So they cannot be analyzed in terms of human criteria
for their ascription. And since human experiences have the same
kind of reality, must not the same be true of them? What they are
is not fully captured by an account of the conditions under
which first- and third-person ascriptions of experience are

I will mention that this raises problems about whether the
concept of experience, as I am applying it, meets basic conditions
of publicity that it must meet to be well-defined at all. It is
widely accepted that one cannot always define a type of similar-
ity or a type of thing simply by pointing to an instance and
saying ‘the same as this’. And it may be doubted whether
someone who wonders whether the things coming out of the
spaceship have experience, without any idea of the possibility of
determining whether they do or not, is really asking a well-
defined question. I think that in this case the conditions of
meaning are met, but I will not try to defend the claim here.
Experience must have systematic connexions with behavior and
circumstances in order for experiential qualities and experiential
similarity to be real. But we need not know what these
connexions are in order to ask whether experience is present in
an alien thing.

I therefore seem to be drawn to a position more ‘realistic’ than
Wittgenstein’s. This may be because I am drawn to positions
more realistic than Wittgenstein’s about everything, not just the
mental. I believe that the question about whether the things
coming out of the spaceship are conscious must have an answer.
Wittgenstein would presumably say that this assumption reflects
a groundless confidence that a certain picture unambiguously
determines its own application. That is the picture of something
going on in their heads (or whatever they have in place of heads)

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Panpsychism 193

that cannot be observed by dissection.
Whatever picture I may use to represent the idea, it does seem

to me that I know what it means to ask whether there is
something it is like to be them, and that the answer to that
question is what determines whether they are conscious – not
the possibility of extending mental ascriptions on evidence
analogous to the human case. Conscious mental states are real
states of something, whether they are mine or those of an alien
creature. Perhaps Wittgenstein’s view can accommodate this
intuition, but I do not at the moment see how.

Where does this leave us? I have now expressed dissatisfaction
with three alternative interpretations of mental states: that they
are states of the body, that they are states of the soul, and that all
we can say about their essence is to give criteria or conditions for
their ascription. But what is left? If they are real states of
something in the world, if they depend on what is going on in
the creature’s body, if they are intimately connected with stimuli
and behavior, and if the creature does not consist of a body plus
something else, what can experience be but states of the organ-
ism? If one accepts realism in a broad sense about mental states,
it is very difficult to avoid Realism in the more specific sense that
forms a premise of the argument for panpsychism.

This of course expresses that fatal step in the philosophy of
mind, the argument by elimination. There is no reason to think
that all possibilities have been thought of, so there is no reason to
assume that a view is correct if all currently conceivable alterna-
tives are even more unacceptable. Still, when a mouse or a fly or
a man comes to exist because matter has been combined in
certain ways, the resulting mental states seem to have to belong
to the organism for want of a better home. Realism may be the
weakest premise in the argument, but it is more plausible at the
moment than its denial.

I therefore believe that panpsychism should be added to the
current list of mutually incompatible and hopelessly unaccept-
able solutions to the mind-body problem. It can be avoided by
denying any of the premises of the argument. Denial of the first
results in dualism. This still leaves problems about the causal
connexions between mind and body: either (a) those connexions
are pure correlations and not necessary; or (b) the body will have
properties that necessitate mental effects in the soul and effects of

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194 Mortal questions

the soul on the body; or else (c) the soul will have properties that
enable it to be acted on by the body and vice versa. If (b), then
the body will have mental or at least non-physical properties. If
(c), then the soul will have physical properties as well as mental

Denial of the second premise is fairly common among con-
temporary philosophers, but the only motive I can see for
accepting any of the resulting kinds of reductionism is a desire to
make the mind-body problem go away. None of them has any
intrinsic plausibility.

Denial of the third premise, Realism, is more attractive but
awaits the development of a viable alternative, some way of
admitting the reality of mental occurrences without ascribing
them to either organisms or souls as subjects.

Denial of the fourth premise, nonemergence, involves accept-
ing the existence of irreducible contingent laws connecting
complex organic states with mental states. In a sense this would
mean that mental states had no causal explanation: that they
were not necessitated by anything. I do not believe the world is
like that, but here, as with the other premises, one can take that
escape route. It would be useful to develop all the alternatives
more fully.

As for panpsychism, it is difficult to imagine how a chain of
explanatory inference could ever get from the mental states of
whole animals back to the proto-mental properties of dead
matter. It is a kind of breakdown we cannot envision, perhaps it
is unintelligible. Presumably the components out of which a
point of view is constructed would not themselves have to have
points of view. (How could a single self be composed of many
selves?) Yet they would have to be recombinable to form
different points of view, for not only can a single organism have
different experiences, but its matter can be recombined to form
other organisms with totally different forms of experience. The
mental properties of all matter, therefore, would have to be not
species-specific but universal, since they would underlie all
possible forms of consciousness. In a sense, they would be less
subjective than any of the specific forms.

Panpsychism in this sense does not entail panpsychism in the
more familiar sense, according to which trees and flowers, and
perhaps even rocks, lakes, and blood cells have consciousness of

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Panpsychism 195

a kind. But we know so little about how consciousness arises
from matter in our own case and that of the animals in which we
can identify it that it would be dogmatic to assume that it does
not exist in other complex systems, or even in systems the size of
a galaxy, as the result of the same basic properties of matter that
are responsible for us.9

9 My ideas on this topic, especially on the concept of the physical and the
role of necessity in causal explanation, have been strongly influenced by
Rebecca Goldstein and William L. Stanton. Their own views are
developed in Stanton’s ‘Anomalous Monism and The Mental Qua
Mental’ (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1975) and Goldstein’s
‘Reduction, Realism, and Mind’ (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton
University, 1976).

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