Fine-Tuning and Panpsychism

8 Feb

This admittedly speculative attempt to give a panpsychist explanation of fine-tuning just out:

https://aeon.co/essays/cosmopsychism-explains-why-the-universe-is-fine-tuned-for-life

It feels crazy, but I can’t as yet see the problem with the argument…

52 Responses to “Fine-Tuning and Panpsychism”

  1. danielpaulmarshall February 8, 2018 at 10:36 pm #

    Really appreciate you putting all this Panpsych stuff up, it’s an interesting theory. i first found out about it through Tononi, which was tough going for me. But with more articles about it coming out i’m getting my head round Tononi a little more.
    It concerns me a little that the New Agers might get their mitts on it & interpret it as God consciousness spread through the cosmos, but most ideas are liable to distortion. It’s innocent enough, i just know a lot of New Age people, so i have to listen to it a lot, haha.

    • Rory Carr February 9, 2018 at 10:54 am #

      The “New Agers” already have their mitts on this – they paid for this article. “This essay was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust to Aeon and a separate grant from the Templeton funded ‘Pantheism and Panentheism’ project to the author.”
      The Templeton Foundation is all about getting smart people like Dr. Goff to make it look like scientific research supports religion, spirituality and the existence of God.

      • danielpaulmarshall February 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

        I don’t mean this spitefully at all, but are you ok with that?

      • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

        Rory: Similarly the charge of ‘new ager’ is meant to dismiss a certain set of views without argument. Why don’t we just drop the rhetoric and have the arguments in a civilised fashion?

      • danielpaulmarshall February 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

        Sorry i wrote that as if you’re Dr. Goff, sorry my mind is elsewhere.
        What are your thoughts about this?

      • Rory Carr February 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm #

        I’m not sure who is addressing who at this point 🙂

        “are you ok with that?”
        I am OK with this, yes. I would prefer that Aeon put the note about Templeton sponsorship at the top of the article where everyone can see it, rather than at the end where many will not, since it does sort of imply that the article is a Templeton “advertorial” of sorts, and would not have been published by Aeon had they not been paid to do so.
        I’m quite OK with Dr. Goff taking their money too. I don’t get the impression that he is tailoring his output to match their views, and academics tend to be underpaid, so it’s all good.

        Regarding the implications around the terms New Agers, well, I only used it because danielpaulmarshall used it first, implicitly defining it to include people who “interpret [Dr. Goff’s ideas] as God consciousness spread through the cosmos”, which is essentially a description of the Templeton Foundation.

        I must say that I find the accusation from our host that I am somehow uncivilised is quite insulting, and as a result I don’t think I’ll be posting on this blog again.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

      thanks for your comment Daniel, I’m glad you got something out of it!

    • NickyG April 14, 2018 at 9:55 pm #

      Maybe they’re right…

  2. Klaus Rohde February 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm #

    This is a very well written and interesting article. I have commented on the problem of consciousness in several posts of my blog http://krohde.wordpress.com/

    in particular https://krohde.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/intelligence-and-consciousness-artifical-intelligence-and-conscious-robots-soul-and-immortality/
    and
    https://krohde.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/space-time-and-causality-in-kants-and-schopenhauers-philosophy-and-in-physics/

    I find several problems in your article: 1) If the universal constants are adjusted during the Planck time by some superior entity (I assume intelligence) which has ‘values’, at a ‘time’ when complexity did not exist, why then aiming for a universe in which complex life becomes possible? No need! Plenty of intelligence and ‘moral’ insights apparently already exist. 2) It seems to me that some circular reasoning is involved in claiming that only in our universe with its constants can complex intelligent life evolve. For example, stars may be smaller and time for evolution will be shorter. So, you claim, time is insufficient for intelligence to evolve. However, could evolution not be vastly faster in such a universe? I don’t know. 3) There is no deep discussion of philosophical forerunners. It seems to me that classical philosophy culminating in Kant and Schopenhauer leads to conclusions similar to some sort of panpsychism. This was discussed in depth by Bernhard Rensch in various papers and books. 4) Leibniz claimed that we live indeed in the best of all possible worlds, for which he was ridiculed by Voltaire (Candide). Did you consider Leibniz’s theory of monads in this context? 5) Ockham’s razor. Very good if we want to make predictions based on science. However, why should it be valid in the conscious side of the universe? Strictly taken, the most parsimonious view would be solipsism.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

      (i) I take the fine-tuning to be evidence of a designer of limited power, and hence I take it that the universe was constrained even in the Plank epoch. This is explained in more detail in the full length academic piece http://www.philipgoffphilosophy.com/uploads/1/4/4/4/14443634/did_the_universe_design_itself_.pdf, (2) I’m not saying that only a universe with our laws is compatible with life. The claim is more nuanced: For any universe with the same form of laws as us, the numbers have to be fine-tuned (again see full length article). I’m just going with the overwhelming consensus of physicists. In most case, other numbers would have meant no chemical complexity. 3-4, sure there is philosophical precedent, but you can’t cover everything in short piece! (5) There is no clear distinction between ‘science’ and ‘metaphysics’. I’m justifying something on the basis of empirical evidence, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t appeal to Ockham’s razor.

  3. Klaus Rohde February 9, 2018 at 1:06 am #

    You write on your website:

    “My main research focus is trying to explain how the brain produces consciousness.”

    I rather follow Schopenhauer and consider the material world as one side of a coin and consciousness as the other. Therefore, the brain cannot ‘produce’ consciousness, rather consciousness runs parallel with nervous processes.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

      It seems like we have roughly the same view (there is indeed Schopenhauer influence in the Russell-Eddington view I defend). I admit the ‘produce’ talk is a bit loose.

  4. Luke McGowan February 9, 2018 at 1:38 am #

    Doesn’t the “basic disposition of the Universe to represent the complete potential consequences of each of its possible actions” require a functional organization of matter not present during the Planck epoch?

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

      Why can’t it just be a basic disposition?

      • Luke February 9, 2018 at 8:15 pm #

        If we assume a constitutive cosmopsychism (in Chalmers’ sense), which you appear to do in the article, mustn’t all content of the Universe’s representations be isomorphic with some functionally derived representational content on the universe? (Assuming Chalmers’ structural coherence and organizational invariance.) But then given that the universe doesn’t have that functional organization during the Planck epoch, isn’t it impossible that the universe could have the kind of conscious representation you’re talking about?

      • conscienceandconsciousness February 10, 2018 at 11:37 am #

        Yeah, so the thought would be that these conscious states are not the intrinsic nature of any physical states. So I admit that isn’t ideal, it’s an extra ontological cost. But I would argue that it’s more parsimonious than the other explanations, and avoids the false predictions of those views.

  5. RONALD POKATILOFF February 9, 2018 at 3:45 am #

    DNA CODE has to originate from intelligence, through a computer stimulating our universe. Gravity is weak because it comes from OUTSIDE the universe. When it goes subatomic, ir becomes the other forces. It is the only force, and it projects all mass. Email me. Ronaldapok@gmail.com

  6. Wm. Burgess February 9, 2018 at 7:24 am #

    Given:
    1. Possibly the best model for the universe is the holistic, top down, view that you mention in the article.
    2. the fact that quantum entanglement implies not only non-locality of the universe at the quantum scale but its non-temporality as well,
    3. the human brain is the most complex known object in the universe

    Then time and evolution are emergent properties culminating in the human (and probably millions of other configurations of matter similarly evolved in the universe) brain. Thus time and evolution is whereby the “agentive cosmopsychism” you speak of manifests. An analogy is the human body itself, which when functioning properly, values itself as an end in itself precisely because it is capable of values.

    But this analogy is like the analogy of the brain itself when we conceive of it as an agent sitting in our skull directing our bodies. This analogy falsely separates our brain as something distinct from our bodies when it, in fact, emerges from our bodily processes. LIkewise, our bodies emerge from the universe. The universe is, in fact, our larger body.

    The universe has value only because intelligent life values it but this intelligent life is a culmination of time/evolution which emerges from the non-local, non-temporal quantum world.

    So, finally, we’re back to the stoics and neo-platonism which posits a temporal world of matter indivisible from an eternal logos which shapes it into it’s final purpose: the most complex configuration of matter in the universe–one that values and gives meaning.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 12:45 pm #

      How do you explain the fine-tuning?

      • Wm. Burgess February 10, 2018 at 9:18 am #

        I think it is not coherent to say the universe has an agency which chose the fine-tuned laws that describe it and yet is constrained by those laws.

        My current view (subject to change upon more info) is that fine-tuned laws are the Necessary Being of this universe. Asking how they happened is like asking how God happened. Or like asking what came ‘before’ the big bang. These questions are incoherent because the words ‘happen’ and ‘before’ cannot have any meaning except in space-time which emerges at the big bang.

      • conscienceandconsciousness February 11, 2018 at 11:32 am #

        The idea is that the laws change. So there were different laws in the Planck epoch (during which we know our current models break down), laws which allowed the universe a certain flexibility to determine the laws which would govern after the Planck epoch. Why is that not coherent?

        What’s the argument that the laws are necessary? It’s clearly logically coherent to suppose that gravity could have been a bit weaker or electrons a bit heavier.

    • RONALD POKATILOFF February 10, 2018 at 3:39 pm #

      The holistic theory presents no real evidence. A computer universe has overwhelming proof. Big bang, dark and airless universe because it is inside a spherical enclosure, entanglement, DNA, artificial evolution (Meyer), 3 dimensional intercept of gravity to form all mass (NASA GRACE PROJECT), antimatter is a reflection (Quinn); so matter must be a projection, there is a center of gravity for all spherical objects: suns, planets, moons, galaxies, and atoms, which supports a 3 dimensional projection, and much more.

  7. James Cross February 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    I have been gravitating to another approach to the fine tuning problem; however, not sure I have thought through it completely.

    The gist of it is there is as aspect to entropy that leads the universe maximize the overall diversity of accessible future paths of the world. The result is that universe has been fine tuning itself as it has evolved from the Big Bang.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 9, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

      Sounds interesting. But the fine-tuned laws have been in operations from the first second after the big bang.

      • James Cross February 9, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

        Certainly correct according to currently accepted theory. Of course, there has for a long time been out there theories about constants changing over time. Still little concrete evidence for it.

        BTW I did like your article quite a bit.

        I try to disconnect intelligence from consciousness, believing intelligence to be a physical process possibly arising from networked systems and natural selection (in nature at least). This gets around the awkward discussions about how slime molds seemingly display intelligent behavior. It also allows for artificial intelligence but not necessarily artificial consciousness. It also allows for how human beings can seemingly do intelligent things without consciousness of doing them.

      • conscienceandconsciousness February 11, 2018 at 11:34 am #

        Glad you got something out of the article. I personally think thought is a kind of consciousness, but I can see the advantage of not thinking this. String theory allows for the possibility of the constants changing, but I don’t think anyone thinks they’ve actually changed in our universe since the first second after the big bang.

  8. John Borstlap February 9, 2018 at 11:36 pm #

    Very interesting essay. And what a luxury to be paid 2 grants to write a text of 3.223 words. That a religiously-minded organisation paid for it, has nothing to do with the meaning of the text, obviously, because there is no hint in it that the aim is to ‘prove’ the existence of God, it has its own inherent logic.

    I am not a scientist but an artist with philosophical interests… it struck me that in the treatment of subjects like this one is hindered by the limitations of language, since in this field so much we try to define can only be hinted at metaphorically. For instance, the idea that there may or may not be a ‘God’, is burdened with many ages of anthropomorphic metaphors for something that is intuited and experienced but not understood, in different degrees and with different meanings. So, the claim that theist theory would make ‘false predictions’ accepts an implied simple image of what would be a ‘God’. But what if ‘God’ were some totally different agent, unimaginable by the traditional religions which are mere temporary metaphors for certain times, places, peoples? Metaphors can still be entirely correct, but on another level than the literal one. The multiverse theory seems to me superfluous anyway, we can never know its reality and the metaphorical quality is minimal.

    The concept of cosmopsychism as described in the mentioned essay seems entirely convincing, if one realizes that matter is, in the end, not much material anyway (as quantum entanglement demonstrates), and that descriptions are provisional – like ‘consciousness’ – what do we mean by that, exactly? (Wittgenstein would have had something to say on that, I believe.) But there are also other non-material phenomenae which are part of human, real experience but which seem to contradict the fundamental laws of physics. In a cultural sense, the human creative mind is dealing with metaphorical / imaginary reality all the time, with products that become part of the real world out there, functioning within a cultural network of all kinds of different forms of consciousness. When a classical composer like JS Bach writes complex musical architecture which conveys meaning and value to numerous people living in entirely different times and cultures, he may merely translate an awareness of cosmic consciousness in a certain artistic form; in that music an experience of ‘truth’ can be related to the inborn religious human instinct, which may be just the connection with the cosmic consciousness that the essay describes. The question of evil and suffering is moot in this context, because it is quite possible that this cosmic consciousness has embedded meaning in forms of meaninglessness. Again, these things can only be described metaphorically.

    A holistic vision of a conscious universe seems to be a natural and logical hypothesis, as long as we consider any description of it as provisional and metaphorical.

  9. Peter Belanger February 10, 2018 at 12:33 am #

    Very interesting article. It seems more are taking to this possibility.
    Someone who shares a similar view and has spoken a lot on the subject is Dr. Amit Goswami.

    One thing though that seems to lack, proper definition of terms.
    “Life”? What are we calling “Life” are we sticking with the hard, matter based biological, established definitions? Or are we considering the full matter-energy spectrum where neither is created or destroyed, just converts from one to the other.
    And I suppose we are all still going with the linear conception of time here, ignoring the possibility of mathematically complex space among the many flavors of matter and energy and their interplay?
    Waves and ripples continue on along infinite limits, beyond the capabilities of our still primitive measuring devices.

    Science needs a little humility, yes we have advanced a lot and we as a species “know” a whole LOT, but lets be honest with ourselves here folks, it is a very big universe, we don’t know it all. So many will reject new ideas out of the arrogance of modern advancement.

    At the quantum level “dimension” takes on a whole new character.

    And what is “Time” and “dimension” anyway? More mental constructs to establish some sense of order in an otherwise chaotic realm where everything is happening all at once.

    It is a mind constructing a system of organization to explore this space.
    Is the universe the mind doing the exploring, or is it the chaotic realm the mind reaches out to? Or is it both? And is that all there is?

    Here’s the thing, I don’t think it will be a question ever fully answered. The question itself is it’s own universe within a fractal multiverse of greater dimensional space.

    But really, we have to ask ourselves, what is “life”? what is “time”? What is “dimension”?

    And an old well known saying…..

    “I think, therefore, I am.”

  10. J February 10, 2018 at 4:43 am #

    I don’t see how the universe should hold the conditions now present as ‘more valuable’ than any other set of possible conditions. Seems to me like the author is imposing that ‘value’ factor onto the universe only because he himself thinks that humans are more valuable lifeforms since they are ‘intelligent life’.
    Another thing that irks me is (though I admit I know not the necessary physics) how do we know that, under different conditions, different lifeforms (even intelligent lifeforms) couldn’t have come to be? If the universe had a different set of constants, that is.

    • Wm. Burgess February 10, 2018 at 7:58 am #

      Of course the author thinks humans are more valuable than say roaches, or rats or monkeys. After all, he appears to be sane.

      • Alan February 10, 2018 at 9:59 am #

        And there is the convergence towards intelligence, whether humans here or some other carbon-based creature on planets going around other stars. An inevitable chain of evolution on many sites – some fail, get destroyed (e.g. nearby supernovae) but this universe seems tuned for intelligence somewhere.
        I’d expect an answer from something like the multiverse to get the tuning but for the issue of mystical/religious experience pointing to a reality not derivable from multiverse physics (fairly sure). I’d say the multiverse could be falsified on these grounds.

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 11, 2018 at 11:36 am #

      Yes, it relies on the common-sense view that intelligent life is more valuable than hydrogen. Do you have an argument against that thesis? As I made clear in the examples I gave, many of the alternatives to fine-tuning contain no chemical complexity whatsoever. Hard to see how you could have like in a universe with just hydrogen.

  11. Maria Rigel February 10, 2018 at 11:22 am #

    Just came across this blog because it was linked to an article on panpsychism you wrote. There’s something I just don’t get about panpsychism, and it’s simply: how does it explain anything? As far as I’m concerned, saying that fundamental particles are conscious at some extremely basic level does no more to explain consciousness than saying that neurons create consciousness in some way. You are just dividing the problem into very small pieces, but the problem still remains.

  12. Evan February 10, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Thought the article was excellent. I feel like among those who think seriously about these issues, there’s pretty widespread recognition of the shortcomings of theism, and some (though definitely less) recognition of the shortcomings of multiverse theory…but there seems to be very little public writing that’s sort of brave enough to say look, really neither of these is tenable, and yet the puzzle really does need explaining, so we have to get serious about searching for alternatives. Nagel probably counts in that camp. But it’s sparse. So thanks for making that case.

    I can never quite decide how I feel about the razor. It’s clearly a good rule to apply when constructing systems of inference, or making claims to know something in particular, but I’m less comfortable taking the razor as a deep principle of ontological reality itself. It’s certainly true that we can get ourselves into trouble if we claim to know complex specific things when the data informing those beliefs is not sufficiently rich to support them. And it’s certainly true that we therefore do better when we limit the complexity and specificity of our claims as much as possible consistent with the data. But it seems it’s not always true that the underlying reality is simple. Indeed we seem to find that as we gain access to increasingly rich information, we often become able to confidently discriminate among an increasingly large set of increasingly complex and specific theories. So I think I would say I feel comfortable with the idea that we should make simple claims, less comfortable with the idea that we should claim things are simple.

    I’m not entirely sure what to do with that though. Perhaps, according to that principle of parsimony, the best possible claim might be something like “There seems to be a great explanatory need for some sort of creator with bounded power, but at present it’s hard to be sure exactly what that might be.”

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 11, 2018 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks. Yeah, there’s a definite similarity with Nagel. But my worry with Nagel is that he doesn’t offer a truth-maker for the teleological laws (ie. something that makes the law statements true). You can think of my view is Nagel but with a truth-maker for the teleological laws.

      Yeah, it’s certainly difficult to understand why simplicity should be thought of as a guide to truth. But if we take science to be truth conducive, I think we can’t avoid simplicity being somehow truth conducive. And without be able to rely on Ockham’s razor, I think we’d be led to radical skepticism. History too, and proof in a court case, involves appeal to simplicity. So I’m happy to rely on it, but I don’t know why it works.

  13. Alan February 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm #

    Prof. Goff

    You said that mass (and other physical properties) is a form of consciousness (C), then via Einstein so is energy. So this is what is going on now everywhere in the universe, this C is behind every object. Just one first point that this does seem a bit of a sparse view in that you might expect something more from this C, i.e. to just sit in the background being intrinsic behind everything and not doing anything else (I don’t know whether you’ve said anywhere this C could be doing much, much more, like as we speak).

    As to universe creation … when the universe began, this C was even then the intrinsic nature of everything that existed and then before that, but this now could be in a kind of timeless realm (pre Planck era). So C can operate in a timeless realm and organise to then create and is this where it operates even now, like there’s still a timeless realm.
    Maybe this could be related … that David Bohm said something on human intuition (to do with an energy in space itself but I guess with your view, since C is intrinsic, it’s the intrinsic that is behind all thinking) that … “energy is pervaded with a kind of intelligence, out of which perhaps insight comes, or deeper perceptions of truth. That’s the suggestion.” Just before this comment in his book “Thought As A System” he talks of matter being “ripples on some vast energy which is circulating” (so this is the physics) but since you are speaking of intrinsic stuff this energy would identify with this C. We can’t separate the matter from the energy.

    One point he has said (which I’m aiming to connect) was that this intuition can actually act on the brain to give a perception of truth. And it can be a timeless act. So there is an actual action of this intuition or whatever we want to call it to give a change in some physical sense. Now, maybe (speculative), in this timeless realm before the universe there was this similar massive act of intuitive perception acting on something physical, pre-physical – I don’t know what we can call this stuff … and something got created – a universe, but not just *any* universe. Something meaningful. I’m trying to argue on the same lines as Bohm here, if he’s right the way intuition acts on the physical.
    (when he says “energy is pervaded with a kind of intelligence” that would mean, I suppose, that in respect of my point in my first para that there is a constant action of this energy/intelligence, i.e. ongoing now, which can translate for us as something beyond a mechanical kind of thinking if, that is, we are open to it)

    So somehow, this whatever-it-was got the fine-tunings right to give a universe but … still there’s this consciousness behind every physical thing. Physicists seem to agree the four forces we know unified at some early epoch so there’s this physics going on with consciousness as intrinsic then (but, on a timeline, this would be after this creative act and after the Planck era).

    I thought this rather nice re the ocean/circulating energy analogy with a universe somewhere on this surface

  14. Orin Hargraves February 13, 2018 at 3:42 am #

    I read it and like it very much. I felt at every moment that I was about to find a reference to physicist David Bohm, but I did not. Surprised also not to find him in the index of your book. Check him out, especially Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Thank you for the essay.

  15. optimisticcynic2 February 13, 2018 at 7:30 am #

    The question, “Why does the universe appear to be fine tuned for the possibility of life?” could be answered by asking a different question, “What is this universe tuned for?” It appears, to me, that this universe is tuned for maximum complexity. My knowledge of the physics and accompanying math is very limited, so I cannot point to any evidence in that field of study. You “postulate a basic disposition of the Universe to represent the complete potential consequences of each of its possible actions.” It seems simpler to postulate that the Universe values complexity. This avoids the need to represent anything. Complexity is askew from the order – randomness continuum. Given the possible ranges of constants, are we close to the maximum complexity sweet spot? Life, a fine example of complexity, need not be imagined beforehand.
    A Boltzmann’s brain requires a certain level of complexity to form. This complexity level is irregardless of what materials may be arranged to form it. Thus, such a brain could form before the Planck era, before matter as we know it. Such a consciousness, by its nature, requires complexity of perceptions to continue to exist. Therefore any active intelligence must value complexity.
    You mentioned micropsychism in your article. The view that the smallest parts of the physical world have consciousness. In regards to the lower end of the continuum of complexity of consciousness, I offer this definition => “Awareness” consists of changes occurring as a result of a stimulus. It sounds awkward as a definition, but it implies a simple meaning, “You are only aware of a stimulus while you are changing in response to it.” When you stop changing, you stop being aware. This definition / meaning has predictive value.
    Holism: “Ultimately, everything that exists derives its existence from the ultimate complex system: the Universe as a whole.” The Universe is not the ultimate complex system. That would be information. The reality not derivable from physics -as Alan put it in his comment. Or as Klaus Rohde mentioned, consciousness runs parallel with nervous processes. Where matter and information come together is in the bounce. The ‘hidden’ intrinsic nature of matter that explains consciousness is, matter bounces. (I’m putting energy in with the word “matter” for conciseness.) Every stimulus is a touch. For every touch, there is a resistance and a rebound. Awareness of that stimulus. Every touch conveys multiple bits of information. The complex system of information moving within an active network system is far more complex than the collection of parts and movements which make up that network.
    To relate the idea, of consciousness being the system of information, to our experience of our own consciousness, I ask, “Who am I, when I am alone?” Every answer to the question, “Who am I?”, is a relating of “I” to some one or some thing distinct from “I”. “I”, alone, does not exist. Information does not exist with less than two somethings to relate each to the other. A touch requires two somethings. Space, or location, exists only in the information which indicates a relationship between objects, or matter.
    There is more to my TMI theory, but it’s past my bedtime. Great article! Please tell me where my answers to some of the questions you raised might be disproven or improved. Thanks for the stimulating level of complexity.

  16. Justin February 14, 2018 at 8:25 am #

    Great paper Philip!

    I made the same argument a decade ago:

    https://panexperientialism.blogspot.com.au/2008/08/goldilocks-enigma.html

    Seemed crazy to me too, but now that you have jumped down the rabbit hole you may be led like I was to consider the implications of cosmopsychism for such things as Intelligent Design, Marxism and the possibility of Utopia.

    Incidentally, I am recognised in the academic literature as being the originator of the term ‘cosmopsychism’. Refer Luke Roelof’s Phd thesis: “The conjunction of monism with panpsychism, holding that the fundamental reality is a conscious cosmos, has recently been labelled ‘cosmopsychism’ (coined by Gaudry, 2008)”

    https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/69449/3/Roelofs_Luke_201506_PhD_thesis.pdf

    Happy cosmopsychic travelling!

    • conscienceandconsciousness February 14, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

      This is great! Wow, you beat me to it by 10 years… It’s interesting how similar our ways of thinking about it are…it must be convergence to the truth! I’ll check out more of your blog!

  17. Lee Roetcisoender February 24, 2018 at 10:18 pm #

    Dr. Goff, I really appreciate your insight on the cosmophsycist perspective, I think you are really close to something here. Meta-physically cosmopsychism is on solid ground, yet there are two fundamental aspects of the theory which need to be addressed in order to overcome the problems inherent within the theory. First, one has to establish what consciousness is exactly and second, one has to establish first cause without falling prey to the infamous God deference mechanism. The generalized theory of panpsychism as a whole is also problematic for the same two reasons. I just finished a book, not yet published, which solves both of those problems as well as David Chalmers “hard problem of consciousness”. The books will be titled “The Immortal Principle”. I self published a book in December of 2015, but I was thinking of a more traditional venue for this book because of its profound implications, so it may be a while before it is seen in print.
    Keep up the good work Philip, and keep focusing on the idiom value. Value is the key to unraveling the vexing riddle of the universe and our place within it.

    • NickyG April 15, 2018 at 2:38 am #

      Why must we prove what consciousness “is?” We don’t have a similar definition for “the collapse of the wave function,” do we?

  18. Alan March 6, 2018 at 7:15 pm #

    Can I say there how do you get content out of this approach, i.e. predict quantum particle properties, e.g. hypercharge? There’s stacks to explain here.

  19. MPG April 6, 2018 at 11:56 am #

    Thank you Dr Goff for a fascinating piece. I have to say, from my agnostic point of view, your argument struck me as a live possibility, along with naturalism and theism, until you tried to tie it to fine tuning. The agentive turn strikes me as not only unparsimonious, it feels as ad hoc, if indeed they are, as theistic fine tuning and naturalistic multiverse theory. But, as I wrote earlier, your general cosmopsychism does seem like a speculation worth taking seriously. Many thanks.

    • conscienceandconsciousness April 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

      I don’t feel comfortable with the view, but I can’t help thinking fine-tuning needs explaining. I feel about this view how Churchill felt about democracy: this is the worst explanation of fine-tuning, apart from all the others.

      • MPG April 7, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

        I see your point. You are trying to solve fine tuning without the problems that vine tuning brings to theism and naturalism. And your’s is like an analytical analogue of ancient cosmic egg cosmologies it seems to me, which is very cool indeed.

        I’d like to read more about this, but on first view I worry that rather than overcoming the weaknesses of theism and naturalism,, I think your cosmic egg imports both weaknesses. I am admittedly an amateur (though I read philosophy at university) so I assume I will be corrected once I’ve learned more.

        Again, many thanks for such an innovative idea.

      • MPG April 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

        Sorry for the additional comment, but having reread your article, you seem to acknowledge that the agentive (I would argue personal) turn is problematic. I would concur in that it seems to me the natural conclusion of cosmopsychism is that the universe at T0, while having the potential for all physical and conscious reality, is not itself a complex thing like galaxies and stars, or indeed animal or human consciousness. So to suggest that cosmopsychist universe at T0 IS closer in consciousness to something as complex as a human, seems not just ad hoc, it seems self contradictory.

        Do you deal with this in your book? If so I will happily read it.

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