Can Subjects Be Proper Parts of Subjects? The De‐Combination Problem

Ratio 31 (2):137-154 (2018)
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Abstract

Growing concern with the panpsychist's ostensive inability to solve the ‘combination problem’ has led some authors to adopt a view titled ‘Cosmopsychism’. This position turns panpsychism on its head: rather than many tiny atomic minds, there is instead one cosmos-sized mind. It is supposed that this view voids the combination problem, however I argue that it does not. I argue that there is a ‘de-combination problem’ facing the cosmopsychist, which is equivalent to the combination problem as they are both concerned with subjects being proper parts of other subjects. I then propose two methods for both theorists to avoid the problem of subject-subject proper parthood relations: a distinction between absolute and relative phenomenal unity, and a modification of the essential nature of subjects. Of these two options, I find the latter option wanting and propose that the first should be adopted.

Author's Profile

Gregory Miller
University of Liverpool

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