Sean Carroll vs. Philip Goff on panpsychism

Since we’ve been talking about panpsychism lately—that’s the theory that the entire Universe and its constituents are in some way conscious—I thought I’d post a podcast in which two opposing academics hash out the issues. I’ll be posting a bit more about panpsychism in the weeks to come as I read and learn more about … Continue reading Sean Carroll vs. Philip Goff on panpsychism

Panpsychism: a big bag of nothing

I was suckered by the Courtier’s Reply of panpsychists like Philip Goff, and so have finished his popular (i.e., trade) book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. I am not going to summarize it or review it at length, as it says little beyond what I’ve summarized previously. It has not convinced … Continue reading Panpsychism: a big bag of nothing

A good critique of panpsychism but a lousy alternative

The article at hand was published by the Institute of Art and Ideas, a British organization that I hadn’t heard of but is described by Wikipedia thusly: The Institute of Art and Ideas is an arts organisation founded in 2008 in London. Its programming includes the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn and the online channel IAI TV, where … Continue reading A good critique of panpsychism but a lousy alternative

Panpsychism makes a sneaky return

Panpsychism is the theory—or rather, a hypothesis, since there’s not a shred of evidence supporting it—that every bit of matter in the Universe is conscious in some way.  Given the lack of evidence, though, that atoms, rocks, and buckets of water are conscious, we must ask why this crazy hypothesis was proposed, and why it’s … Continue reading Panpsychism makes a sneaky return

Oy! LiveScience touts panpsychism as the solution to the hard problem of consciousness

Until I read this piece, I always thought that LiveScience was a rigorous science site. Indeed, most of it is, but here’s an exception: a paean to “panpsychism”, the view that everything in the Universe, from electrons to elephants—indeed, the Universe as a whole—has a form of consciousness. The author of the article is Philip … Continue reading Oy! LiveScience touts panpsychism as the solution to the hard problem of consciousness

Panpsychism hangs around like an unwanted guest

I’ve written a fair few critical posts about panpsychism, the idea that the “hard problem of consciousness” is solved by positing that all matter in the Universe is conscious. Advocates of panpsychism say that understanding consciousness in an organism like humans is impossible with present approaches, for figuring out how the feeling of “subjective experience”, … Continue reading Panpsychism hangs around like an unwanted guest

Philip Goff returns with panpsychism: now claims that a non-goddy “conscious Universe” explains the “fine-tuning” of physical constants permitting life

I’ve written two critical posts about the ideas of Philip Goff (a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest): here and here. In both places (Aeon and NPR, respectively), Goff argues for “panpsychism”—the idea that in some sense the entire Universe is conscious. He waffles on exactly how that consciousness is manifested, or where it … Continue reading Philip Goff returns with panpsychism: now claims that a non-goddy “conscious Universe” explains the “fine-tuning” of physical constants permitting life

A BBC show on panpsychism once again shows that there’s no “there” there

UPDATE: In the first comment on my thread below, reader Coel calls our attention to a year-old critique of panpsychism by physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, “Electrons don’t think.” It makes some physics-related criticisms of panpsychism that I could not have made, but also adds a nice comment, a response to the claim (made by Goff among … Continue reading A BBC show on panpsychism once again shows that there’s no “there” there

Anil Seth on the “real” problem of consciousness—and his hypothesis

Scholarpedia defines the “hard problem” of consciousness this way: The hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers 1995) is the problem of explaining the relationship between physical phenomena, such as brain processes, and experience (i.e., phenomenal consciousness, or mental states/events with phenomenal qualities or qualia). Why are physical processes ever accompanied by experience? And why does a given physical process generate the … Continue reading Anil Seth on the “real” problem of consciousness—and his hypothesis

Panpsychism: an interview and a critique

Yes, we’re gonna have more on panpsychism today, and, after I read Goff’s book (coming via interlibrary loan) I think I’m pretty much done. I’ve now finished Annaka Harris’s book book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind, and, as I said yesterday, it’s a good read but suffers from her … Continue reading Panpsychism: an interview and a critique