Panpsychism, intuitions, and the great chain of being

Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2991-3017 (2019)
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Abstract

Some philosophical theories of consciousness imply consciousness in things we would never intuitively think are conscious—most notably, panpsychism implies that consciousness is pervasive, even outside complex brains. Is this a reductio ab absurdum for such theories, or does it show that we should reject our original intuitions? To understand the stakes of this question as clearly as possible, we analyse the structured pattern of intuitions that panpsychism conflicts with. We consider a variety of ways that the tension between this intuition and panpsychism could be resolved, ranging from complete rejection of the theory to complete dismissal of the intuition, but argue in favour of more nuanced approaches which try to reconcile the two.

Author Profiles

Luke Roelofs
New York University
Jed Buchanan
Australian National University

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