Bayle and Panpsychism

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Abstract
Pierre Bayle shows that, in order to avoid devastating objections, materialism should postulate that the property of thinking does not emerge from certain material combinations but is present in matter from the start and everywhere—a hypothesis recently revived and labelled “panpsychism”. There are reasons for entertaining the idea that Bayle actually considers this enhanced materialism to be tenable, as it might use the same line of defence that Bayle outlined for Stratonism. However, this would lead to a view similar to Locke’s superaddition theory, and I contend that such cannot be Bayle’s position because he embraces the Cartesian principle that each substance has only one principal attribute. This makes untenable, in his eyes, any system that conjoins thought with matter in the same simple substance. By contrast, this makes clear which kinds of metaphysics and epistemology panpsychists need to adopt to defend their view.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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2015-04-28

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