Jun 05 2012

Problems with Panpsychism

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I know a panpsychist. It’s his take on things that “everything possesses consciousness”, and that it is the “interiority” of matter/energy.

But, it’s interesting to note that he cannot answer the following questions to my satisfaction:

1. Where does “interiority” end and “exteriority” begin?
-“there’s no barrier.”
–“then why posit the separation?”

2. Why aren’t rocks conscious?
-“their atoms and molecules are, but there is no overall ‘rock consciousness'”
–“why not?”
—“a rock is a ‘heap’ or an ‘aggregate’, and not a complex organism like we are.”
—-“so what is the difference between the atomic structure of a ‘heap’ or ‘aggregate’ and a human, for instance? on a molecular level, surely they share the same kind of bonds?
—–[no satisfactory answer, at least not one that satisfies me]

3. You assert that consciousness must be an interior aspect of matter/energy inextricably linked with matter/energy, but not equal to matter/energy?
-“yes, because per Descartes, matter is res extensa, extending outward into space, whereas mind or consciousness isres cogitans, and non-physical. The non-physical cannot affect the physical.”
–“but what about the Placebo Effect? or Yogis who can lower their body temperatures or heart rates at will? or neuroplasticity?”

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