Author Topic: A new book on panpsychism  (Read 75 times)

Offline Sena

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The book is "Galileo’s Error" by Philip Goff. The book is a defence of the idea of panpsychism, meaning that consciousnes is everywhere. Although Seth did not use the term panpsychism, I thnk his ideas are close to it. It is opposed to the conventional scientific idea that human brains evolved from "dumb" matter and then mysteriously became conscious.

Panpsychism is an idea which has been around for a long time, but it is very much a minority view in academic philosophy. Philip Goff is an academic philosopher who appears to make a convincing argument for it. This is a review of the book:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/27/galileos-error-by-philip-goff-review

Philip Goff's website:

https://conscienceandconsciousness.com/
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 02:09:33 AM by Sena »

Offline jbseth

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Hi Sena,

By Panpsychism, do you mean something like what Seth says in the following quote from DEaVF1, Ch2, S884:

"Once again, in terms of your equations, energy and consciousness and matter are one. And in those terms—in parentheses: (the qualifications are necessary)—consciousness is the agent that directs the transformation of energy into form and of form into energy. All possible visible or invisible particles that you discover or imagine—meaning hypothesized particles—possess consciousness. They are energized consciousness."


-jbseth

Offline Sena

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Quote from: jbseth
Once again, in terms of your equations, energy and consciousness and matter are one.
jbseth, yes that is what I mean by panpsychism, although I am not sure whether Philip Goff would exactly agree. Panpsychism does NOT mean that a stone is conscious in the same way that a human, dog, or cat is conscious. There is a fierce scientific debate going on as to whether or not plants are conscious:

https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/plants-have-awareness-intelligence-scientists?rebelltitem=5#rebelltitem5

A couple of years ago we decided to have a mango tree in our garden cut down. Two of the men who tried to cut it down got injured in the process. The third man did succeed in cutting it down.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 01:47:37 PM by Sena »

Offline jbseth

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Hi Sena,

My personal interpretation of what Seth says about consciousness is that, for example, a stone is conscious and so is a human, and so is a dog and so is a cat.

However, these different expressions of consciousness are not all the same. Seth also talks about the gestalts of consciousness and in this regard, I believe that he too would say that a stone is not conscious, in the same way that a cat or a dog or a human is conscious. Furthermore, I also believe that he would also say that a cat or a dog is not conscious in the same way that a human is conscious.

Again, it is my personal interpretation of what Seth says about consciousness is that trees and plants are also conscious.

Would Philip Goff not say, for example, that a plant, or a tree, or a stone was conscious?  I’m trying to figure out exactly how panpsychism differs from my personal interpretation of what Seth says about consciousness.

I took a look at the sites you posted and I even went to Amazon and did a “look inside” at Mr. Goff’s book (Galileo’s Error) but this is the first time I’ve ever heard about panpyschism, so I’m kind of new to this philosophy. I’m hoping that maybe you can share with me some of your insights on how it differs.

Thanks.


- jbseth


Offline Sena

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Quote from: jbseth
I took a look at the sites you posted and I even went to Amazon and did a “look inside” at Mr. Goff’s book (Galileo’s Error) but this is the first time I’ve ever heard about panpyschism, so I’m kind of new to this philosophy. I’m hoping that maybe you can share with me some of your insights on how it differs.
jbseth, I have glanced through the book, but I don't have the energy to read it in detail. Goff is an academic philosopher, so he is not going to make categorical statements like Seth did. What Goff does is ask questions. For instance, one of his sub-headings is "Has science proved that reality is entirely physical?". It is up to the reader to conclude that science has NOT proved this.

Offline jbseth

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Hi Sena,

Thanks for your reply.

I gather from what I learned from your links that panpsychism has been around for perhaps at least 200 years or more.  Since I've never heard of it, I was just wondering how it differs from Seth's ideas.

That's may not be an easy question to answer given the nature of philosophy.

Thanks again.

- jbseth

 

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