A Higher Dimension of Consciousness: Constructing an empirically falsifiable panpsychist model of consciousness


Panpsychism is a solution to the mind-body problem that presumes that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality instead of a product or consequence of physical processes (i.e., brain activity). Panpsychism is an elegant solution to the mind-body problem: it effectively rids itself of the explanatory gap materialist theories of consciousness suffer from. However, many theorists and experimentalists doubt panpsychism can ever be successful as a scientific theory, as it cannot be empirically verified or falsified. In this paper, I present a panpsychist model based on the controversial idea that consciousness may be a so called higher physical dimension. Although this notion seems outrageous, I show that the idea has surprising explanatory power, even though the model (as most models) is most likely wrong. Most importantly, though, it results in a panpsychist model that yields predictions that can be empirically verified or falsified. As such, the model's main purpose is to serve as an example how a metaphysical model of consciousness can be specified in such a way that they can be tested in a scientifically rigorous way.

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Jacob Jolij
University of Groningen


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