The Argument for Panpsychism from Experience of Causation

In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge (forthcoming)
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Abstract
In recent philosophical literature, panpsychism has been defended by appeal to two main arguments. First, an argument from philosophy of mind, according to which panpsychism is the only view which successfully integrates consciousness into the physical world (Strawson 2006; Chalmers 2015). Second, an argument from categorical properties, according to which panpsychism offers the only positive account of the intrinsic, categorical nature of physical reality (Seager 2006; Adams 2007; Alter and Nagasawa 2012). Historically, however, panpsychism has also been defended by appeal to a third argument, an argument based on considerations about the nature and observability of causation. This argument has not been much discussed in recent times. Here is a concise version from William James: […] The concrete perceptual flux, taken just as it comes, offers in our own activity-situations perfectly comprehensible instances of causal agency. […] If we took these experiences as the type of what actual causation is, we should have to ascribe to cases of causation outside of our life, to physical cases also, an inwardly experiential nature. In other words, we should have to espouse a so-called ‘pan-psychic’ philosophy. (James 1911: 218) James here suggests that we have direct experience of causation in our own agency. He thereby directly contradicts David Hume, who notoriously denied that we experience causation anywhere. James goes on to claim that if this experience is representative of causation in general, it follows that all causation is mental, and that panpsychism is true. This argument can be called the argument from (experience of) causation. This paper offers, first, a history of this argument and arguments closely related to it. Second, an analysis of the argument: is it valid, are its premises in any way defensible, and how does it relate to the other, more popular arguments for panpsychism from philosophy of mind and categorical properties?
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A Treatise of Human Nature.Hume, David & Lindsay, A. D.
What is Russellian Monism?Alter, Torin & Nagasawa, Yujin

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