Is Panpsychism Inconsistent with Physics?

comments 36

I’ve been commenting on this piece that tries to argue in a not particularly sophisticated way that panpsychism is inconsistent with physics. For some reason, my comments have come up under the name “Art Uncut,” which was a now defunct campaigning group I was involved in 8 years ago. Here is my final comment:

I’ll try to explain the view one more time. Physics gives us behavioural structure; panpsychism is a proposal about what underlies that behavioural structure. Think about a mathematical model in economics that’s just a bunch of equations that abstracts away from the concrete realities of labour, prices, etc. The reality of labour doesn’t add to the reality specified by that model; to the contrary, labour is the very thing one of those symbols refers to! Similarly, according to panpsychism, physics gives us mathematical models that abstract away from the concrete reality of a universe filled with consciousness. The term ‘mass’ refers to something that physics characterises in terms of its behaviour but which in its intrinsic nature is a form of consciousness. If that view makes sense, then there’s no conflict with physics. There are all sorts of ways you could (and people do) challenge it, but you haven’t given us one.

Indeed, the very reason philosophers like David Chalmers, Sam Coleman and myself are interested in this form of panpsychism is that, in contrast to dualism, it avoids a conflict with physics. There’s been a significant number of peer reviewed articles published in academic journals on this view in the past 10 years or so. Do you really think that if there were such a basic conflict with physics, it would not have been picked up on before? Philosophers working on this stuff may be profoundly misguided, but we’re not idiots.

I’ll leave it there.

The Author

I am a philosopher and consciousness researcher at Durham University, UK. My research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview.


  1. I found her comments, especially in the comments really rather distasteful. Among other juvenile barbs she openly questioned why you deserve to have your job.

    Given that her entire article was based upon a grotesque (one might say quite embarrassing/naive) misreading of what panpsychism, both in in ancient and modern forms, is arguing for I found really distasteful.

    (I also came across her article from a philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci, who retweeted it approvingly!)

  2. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Everyone is entitled to a narrow, bigoted opinion, even Sabine. I can appreciate the work that you and others are doing on the panpsychism front, nevertheless, as long as you and others insist upon grounding all potential theories in a form of “Realism”, those theories are dead on arrival. Realism as a grounding architecture is an albatross, the only model that will avoid dualism in one form or another is an architecture grounded in the reality-appearance distinction, a model which asserts strict monism.


  3. Marco Lin (@marcolin91) says

    Dear Philip,

    While I personally lean towards a form of monism congruent with panpsychism (although I’m not sympathetic to most formulations), I was wondering if there is a justification for calling it panpsychism. As I see it the most compelling argument is that a priori we cannot justify a distinction between different forms of reality at the fundamental level, only how it manifests. With the irrefutable reality of quantum mechanics and thus indeterminism at (what is at the moment closest to) the fundamental level, all possible grounding for the distinction has fallen away.

    But anyone who would hold a panpsychist or monist view along these lines, can also not a priori justify anything that suggests a primacy of the mental or conscious. In other words it *implies* a similar mistake present in a dualist view, or any other view that rejects panpsychism: that there is an ontological primacy of either one or the other. Although I admit it does not mean that people truly believe so, but I cannot see the justification for even the (strong) implication that they do, not to mention that the implication should have non-trivial effects on those exposed to the idea, either being unnecessarily attractive to those unsympathetic, and unnecessarily disposing to the fallacy for those sympathetic.

    Would love to hear your thoughts, cheers!

    • The form of panpsychism I defend is not dualistic: it’s not there are physical properties on the one hand and mental properties on the other. Physics describes ‘mass’ in terms of its behaviour, but in and of itself mass is a form of consciousness. I don’t think quantum mechanics makes that picture problematic.

      • Lee Roetcisoender says

        Is your current model still based upon a version of cosmo-panpsychism or has your position been revised to reflect micro-panpsychism? And also: Is your model predicated upon property dualism like Chalmers?


      • Marco says

        Sorry I think I might have no made clear what issue I’m exactly raising. I’m aware you do not defend a form of dualism, nor as if QM makes the picture you are defending problematic.

        I was purely curious about your take on what I believe is sort of a pragmatic issue in terms of communication. I’m sure you’re aware Panpsychism is getting too diverse to be placed in a single umbrella term, especially in terms of distinguishing an implicit adherence to a primacy of a mental or conscious ontology, versus a primacy of neither.

        My point is that simply calling a theory or view pan*psychism* or implying it is an appropriate characteristic description, implicitly suggests that there’s a primacy of the mental or conscious, rather than a primacy of something neutral.

        Of course maybe I misunderstood and that’s actually what you’re adhering too, but I was hoping to get an explicit answer on that matter.

        Thanks, and good luck with the Papineau debate!

      • @Marco, I do favour a primacy of consciousness, rather than a neutral base.
        @I think I’m now more attracted to an emergentism micro view, but I think we should keep all options on the table. It’s early days! It’s not property dualism though: there are only the properties denoted by the terms of physics, e.g. mass charge, etc. It’s just that those properties are forms of consciousness.

      • Lee Roetcisoender says

        Regarding my posts on January 30 & 31: If you or any of your colleagues are interested in reviewing my work, I can be reached at (… With that said, I will not trouble you any longer.


  4. brodix says

    I think there are various issues humanity needs to clarify, before going that deep.
    For instance, as mobile organisms, we evolved a sequential thought process and memory storage. Which makes the resulting past to future narrative foundational to our comprehension of reality, that even physics codifies as measures of duration.
    Yet the cause is change turning future to past. Potential>actual>residual. Tomorrow becomes yesterday, because the earth turns.
    Which makes time an effect of action, similar to temperature, pressure, color, frequency, etc. Duration is the present, as events form and dissolve.
    Different clocks can run at different rates because they are separate actions. The turtle is still plodding along, long after the hare has died, because it has a slower metabolic clock rate and no space travel is necessary.
    Time is asymmetric because action is inertial. The earth turns one direction, not both.
    There is no physical dimension of time because the present consumes the past, in order to be informed by it. Causation/conservation of energy.
    Basically reality is a dichotomy of energy and the form it manifests. As energy is constantly changing form, it creates the effect of time. So energy goes from past to future forms, as these forms coalesce and dissolve, go future to past.
    This goes to processes and entities. Consider a factory, where the product goes from start to finish, future to past, while the production line goes the other way, consuming material and expelling product. Life is similar, as individuals go birth to death, being in the future, to being in the past, while the species moves onto future generations, shedding old.
    As does our consciousness go from prior to succeeding thoughts, as these thoughts form and dissolve. Which suggests that consciousness functions as a form of energy.
    Which gets to the premise of monotheism. The logical fallacy of which is that a spiritual absolute would logically be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of knowledge, wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. More the new born baby, than the wise old man. The Ancients did tend to invoke this emotion and nature into heir theological models, but we have settled on this top down, father figure lawgiver and his Ten Commandments. Which, not coincidently, validates authority and order over all else.
    Consider as well, that galaxies are energy radiating out, as mass(form) coalesces in, in a cosmic convection cycle.
    Consider as well that as these mobile organisms, we developed a central nervous system to process the information/form of our environment, along with a digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems to process the energy driving they information gather onward. Motor and steering.
    Consider as well the tendency to associate the heart and gut with emotions.
    I would also argue the left, rational side of the brain amounts to a clock, while the right, emotional side amounts to a thermostat.
    Those most professionally involved in formalizing reality have settled into mathematical formalization, as foundational, rather than the dynamics driving it, so while God might be dead, we still live in its shadow.
    Just some thoughts to consider.

  5. Lee Roetcisoender says


    Thanks for responding. “…there are only the properties denoted by the terms of physics, e.g. mass charge, etc. It’s just that those properties are forms of consciousness.”

    Your are preaching to the choir now Philip. My models are grounded in the reality-appearance distinction, a model I’ve coined the “immortal principle”. The immortal principle is a revision of transcendental idealism without the built in paradox of the “thing-in-itself” being unknowable. What makes the immortal principle an ideal model is that the ontological primitive of the “thing-in-itself” is both knowable and quantifiable. Subsequently, the underlying, qualitative properties of the ontological primitive are easily recognizable as the convergent point of singularity responsible for causation. It’s a profoundly “ideal” model, one that can be articulated, and one that is fully capable of overcoming the infamous combination problem because of my universal axioms, distinctions and theorems.

    My work is complete; but to date, it has not been published and I have not shared my models with anyone because it’s my intellectual property. If my models can be apprehended and validated by other leading theoretical philosophers, the immortal principle will rival in both scale and scope the geo-centric universe and the flat earth syndrome. The time has come for a dramatic change in understanding…


  6. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Here’s an additional caveat…

    Consciousness is a feature of the “thing-in-itself”. Consciousness is “not” a qualitative property of the ontological primitive as such. This distinction needs to be firmly established and rigorously maintained. As a feature of Reality, consciousness is the continuous, linear system that the discrete systems of appearances run on. According to this model, mass, spin and charge, etc, are all discrete systems that are forms of consciousness.

    Furthermore, every discrete system without exception is a self-contained, solipsistic self-model. Therefore, every discrete system is nothing more than a “condition”, and that condition is the possibility of other discrete systems. These emergent discrete systems make up the fundamental building blocks of our phenomenal world, the same emergent, discrete systems which coalesce into the diversity and novelty of the entire expression.

  7. Wes Hansen says

    I left a reply to your comment on the Backreaction blog but Sabine tends to moderate my comments due to my support of William Tiller’s PsychoEneregetics. So I would reproduce the comment here. Your comment on backreaction:

    “I’m not using the word ‘identity’ in a funny way. I’m just talking about what spin is. My view is: Physics tells us what spin *does* but doesn’t tell us what spin *is*. You haven’t told me what’s wrong with that view.”

    This is not necessarily true: David Hestenes tells us what “spin” is and William Tiller tells us what causes “spin.” From Hestenes’ paper, Electron time, mass, and zitter:

    “Basic features of the zitter model can now be summarized as follows:

    The spacetime history of electron is a lightlike helix.
    Electron mass (≈ zitter frequency) is a measure of helical curvature.
    Electron phase (≈ zitter angle) is a measure of helical rotation.
    Electron spin is a measure of helical orientation.
    Electron zitter generates a static magnetic dipole and rotating electric dipole!
    All this fits together neatly into simple picture of the working mechanism in the electron clock:

    Electron motion is governed by the spin S, which confines its lightlike history to the surface of a timelike zitter tube aligned with the momentum p. The momentum determines an intrinsic decomposition of the spin (22) into a spatial part is specifying the tube cross section and a temporal part mr specifying the temporal pitch of the helix. As this constitutes the essential core of the zitter model, let’s call it the spin-zitter mechanism. […]”

    From Tiller’s paper, Some Initial Comparisons Between the Russian Research on “The Nature of Torsion” and the Tiller Model of “Psychoenergetic Science”: Part I:

    “From the Tiller Model Perspective, Where Does An Electric Matter Particle’s Spin Come From?

    For any electric matter particle, whether quark, nucleon, photon, atom, etc., my working hypothesis is that a de Broglie, particle-pilotwave plus deltron construct must form first as discussed somewhat in White Paper VII(4) and applied to the dark matter and dark energy question in White Paper VI(5). This construct with a deltron cloud is illustrated in Figure 1 where it is understood that the system has cylindrical symmetry about the distance axis. Most simply, taking the electric particle to be an electron, its trajectory along the x-axis at velocity, vp, constitutes an electric current flow in the reverse direction so that, by the right-hand rule, a circulating magnetic field in the counter clockwise direction is induced in the plane perpendicular to the x-axis. Since the de Broglie pilot-wave is of magnetic information wave origin, it will rotate in the B-field of the medium. It is this rotation that generates the property of spin in the de Broglie particle-deltronpilotwave-system. If the net magnetic monopole charge of the pilot wave is of a negative nature, then the pilot wave rotation will be in the counter clockwise direction constituting a positive magnetic current which, in turn, generates an axial electric field that increases the velocity of the electron to v′p>vp. If, on the other hand, the net magnetic monopole charge of the pilot wave is reversed then the pilot wave rotation will be in the counter-clockwise direction constituting a negative magnetic current and ultimately generating a slowing down of the electron. It is presumed that some type of friction force from interactions with the surrounding medium will lead to some stable electron velocity, vp∗, and some stable pilot wave spin rate.”

    In the Tiller model it is the deltron moiety which demonstrates characteristics of consciousness in the form of information manipulation and this deltron moiety is necessitated by the incompatibility of relativity and the Pre-stimulus response experiments – explained by Tiller with his analysis of the de Broglie pilot wave.

  8. Wes Hansen says

    I would add, I explain all of this and link to the relevant papers and empirical data, data which Hossenfelder and company conveniently ignore and have since 2012 or longer, in a short Quora answer of mine, should you be interested. Actually, there are two relevant Quora answers:

    In the quantum realm, what exactly is the description of spin?

    Do magnetic monopoles exist?

    Also I might add, I came here from your article in Aeon, “Is the Universe a Conscious Mind,” and you might also find another short Quora answer of mine related to that article interesting:

    Why does the universe seem comprehensible and why should beings like us be here to comprehend it?

    Hossenfelder and those who generally comment on her blog have very little intellectual integrity; I’ve been interacting with her for a few years until she stopped posting my comments. Those Pre-stimulus response experiments, which are hosted by the U. S. National Institutes of Health and have all appeared in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals, show that the human heart and brain become aware of an emotionally stimulating event 4.5 to 18 seconds prior to that event taking place. Tiller’s PsychoEnergetics model is the only model I’m aware of which explains those experiments but they ignore them because of the panpsychism implications! And there are two meta-analyses, one in 2012 the other in 2018! Lawrence Crowell and Phil Hellbig are terrible – very closed minded, very close minded!

  9. Steven Evans says

    “The term ‘mass’ refers to something that physics characterises in terms of its behaviour but which in its intrinsic nature is a form of consciousness. ”

    But you had this explained to you, Philip Goff. The only properties of matter that can be invoked to explain consciousness at the energy levels in the human brain are those described in the Standard Model. You can assume matter’s “intrinsic nature is a form of consciousness” all you like, but you cannot invoke that to explain consciousness in the human brain (not that you’ve made any progress on that front). Panpsychism has been empirically refuted.

    “but we’re not idiots.”
    Prove it by responding to the criticism of panpsychism by Sabine Hossenfelder. You haven’t so far.

    • Thanks Steven. In a sense I agree with you that the only properties in the brain ‘are those described by the standard model’. But the standard model doesn’t tell you what those properties *are*, it just tells you what they *do*. My view is that those very properties denoted by the terms of the standard model are forms of consciousness.

  10. Steven Evans says

    And assuming they are forms of consciousness has not told you one single fact about the natural world, nor has it even provided you with a satisfactory explanation of consciousness in the human brain, the one thing it was supposed to achieve. And yet bizarrerly you claim this theory is likely true. This is pure delusion. Compare with the sextillions of correct predictions of natural phenomena by successful theories like quantum theory and GR. You find it impossible to accept that physical matter can produce consciousness, and probably have a philosophical “proof” that it can’t, but mountains of data don’t agree with you.

  11. Thanks Steve. You’re making a lot of different points. Can we just stick to Sabine’s claim, which I take it you are supporting, that panpsychism is empirically refuted? If I’m right that physics doesn’t tell us what physical properties are but only what they do, and hence that it’s consistent with observation to suppose that physical properties are forms of consciousness, then Sabine’s objection fails. Do you have a counter-response to my response to Sabine’s objection?

  12. Steven Evans says

    (1) At the level of collider experiments the claim that properties of matter are intrinsically forms of consciousness is an empirically superfluous theory from the point of view of physics and also I wonder what you might mean by spin, say, being a form of consciousness (presumably definitions are laid down in the panpsychic literature, but anyway there are further problems…)

    (2) At the energy levels of the human brain, one can only invoke the physical properties of matter as in the Standard Model to explain behaviour of the brain. So even if panpsychic matter had physically observable consequences at high energies, say, panpsychism can’t be invoked in any physical explanation of consciousness in the human brain.

    (3) So this leaves you with the claim that human consciousness is a non-physical phenomenon which can be explained non-phsyically by panpsychism in some space of consciousness. But panpsychism provides no explanation; what it calls its combination problem. There is just the vague appeal to the idea that everything is made up of consciousness “therefore” consciousness appears in the brain.

    So panpsychism is superfluous at the sub-atomic level, it is empirically refuted as a *physical* explanation of human consciousness, and as some sort of reductionist theory in some realm of consciousness it tells us absolutely nothing we don’t already know.

    Does this mean precisely that panpsychism is inconsistent with physics rather than just superfluous? Who cares? What it says is that the theory is useless and you are in the same position as the neuroscientists: they have to explain why consciousness only emerges from physical matter arranged in the form of a brain; and you have to explain why consciousness only emerges from panpshycic matter arranged in the form of a brain. Except the neuroscientists can continue the study of the physical structure of the brain which is not complete. You can sit there with your 1 assumption and 1 fact about the realm of consciousness – matter is intrinsically consciousness and brains are conscious. I can’t see how panpsychism can move forward from this position and indeed it hasn’t.

    • Thanks Steve. This post is not about whether there is any reason to believe panpsychism (I’ve made that case at length elsewhere); it’s about whether there is empirical reason to doubt panpsychism. As far as I can see in your last response you’re focusing entirely on the former rather than the latter.

  13. Steven Evans says

    There is empirical reason to doubt panpsychism means anything. Panpsychic matter empirically speaking has only the properties of matter, so in any empirical explanation of brain functions only the properties of matter can be invoked even if you want to pretend it’s ontologically panpsychic. All you are doing is assuming an ontology of matter such that panpsychic matter has exactly the properties of matter including that when you arrange it in the form of a complex brain it exhibits consciousness. We already have a word for this though – matter. And despite your random assumption it is not known empirically speaking to require an ontology. Empirically you are not pointing to anything different and the empirical data is vast – consciousness has never been observed in anything but a complex brain.

    In short, empirically panpyschic matter is nothing but matter. The key point is that if I ask you to explain what on Earth you might mean by matter being a form of consciousness, all you can answer is that it means that when it is arranged in the form of a brain it is conscious! You can’t say anything else, so in fact you have nothing to say. (You might hint at a world of proto-consciousness building up to various kinds of consciousness, but empirically all you have is the consciousness of complex brains.)

    (This is also what Sabine Hosssenfelder said: if panpsychism implies structure in elementary particles, this can’t be accessed at the energy levels of the human brain; and if you are simply saying that spin, for example, is a “form of consciousness”, then empirically you are literally not adding anything, it’s just a renaming, a null ontology.)

  14. As far as I can understand this, you still seem to be attacking the motivation for believing panpsychism, rather than defending Sabine’s claim that panpsychism has been empirically refuted. You also seem to be drifted into the verificationalism of the logical positivists (‘there is empirical reason to doubt panpsychism means anything)’, which is almost universally rejected not least because it’s self-refuting (verificationalism can’t be verified). I agree that consciousness has never been observed in particles, but that’s only because it has never been observed anywhere. Consciousness is unobservable: you can’t look inside someone’s head and see their feelings and experiences. We know about consciousness not through observation and experiment but through the immediate awareness each of us has of her or his own consciousness. So if you were just going off what can be know on the basis of observation and experiment, you wouldn’t postulate consciousness at all (Daniel Dennett, to his credit, is consistent on this).

    Crucially, I think you haven’t quite understood the position I’m defending. I’m not saying ‘panpsychist matter happens to have exactly the same properties of matter’, I’m saying physical science doesn’t tell us what the properties of matter are (only what they do). You haven’t provided any reason to doubt this claim, nor any reason to doubt the coherence of supposing that they are forms of consciousness. You just keep attacking the motivation for panpsychism, which is not really relevant to this post. If you’re really interesting in understand the position, so can you can attack it more effectively, maybe have a look at this section of the panpsychism entry of Stanford encyclopedia:

    As always, Steve, it’s been a delight to chat, but I’m off on holiday tomorrow so I think we’ll have to park this one for now. You can have the last word if you like.

  15. Steven Evans says

    I have been slack with my wording. Of course, an “observation” of consciousness is currently simply a self-reported experience and not the same as a physical measurement. But Sabine Hossenfelder’s criticism in the comments of your actual position, namely that properties of matter are “forms of consciousness”, was that this was just a renaming that provided no explanation of consciousness.

    I can see no difference between what you describe as panpsychic matter and what you describe as matter, just when you call it pansychic matter you axiomatically no longer have an issue with it exhibiting consciousness when arranged as a brain. But bunging on an axiom is not an explanation. This is the criticism of your position.

    To refute it you simply have to provide a property of panpsychic matter that is different to matter. Can you do that?

  16. Steven Evans says

    “You also seem to be drifted into the verificationalism of the logical positivists”
    But in drawing up panpsychism, panpsychists, too, are acting as logical positivists. The pansychic ontology is set up to accept *any* empirically observed properties of matter as part of the theory, including any future quantum-gravitational properties that may come along. And you will *only* posit conscious behaviour where it is reported to exist (human brains) or where phenomenological empirical tests suggest that it exists (animal brains).

    Panpsychism is completely subservient to empiricism in the broad sense (i.e. including self-reported consciousness).

    Let’s face it, no panpsychist, in particular, and no philosopher, in general, is *ever* going to go to a physicist and say, “my philosophical argument shows that your observation confirmed 1 quintillion times is wrong”.
    (Not that I am arguing for logical positivism.)

  17. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Steven Evans,

    Excuse me for interrupting Steven, but being a scientist, you know the grounding tenet of the church. The standard model explicitly postulates: “Give me my first miracle and I’ll take over from there.” Unless the church of science can account for causation, the standard model itself is grounded in mysticism. That mysticism lies in the architecture of this mysterious, ethereal some “thing” called the laws of nature, a discrete architecture which commands unwavering, unquestioning obedience from its unknowing and unsuspecting subjects. Talk about magic, WOW!!

    It’s well into the twenty-first century and all that the scientific community has effectively done is replace the immortal gods of the Greeks with the immortal laws of nature. It’s time to move out of the dark ages of mysticism and postulate a theory that has a chance of explaining what the properties of matter actually are. And a model grounded in panpsychism offers the best hope for bridging that gap. Philip does not currently have a working model for panpsychism, nevertheless, panpsychism offers the best option for a reasonable, coherent explanation of what matter actually is, not what it does.

    I know, I know Steven; it’s easier to believe in magic than it is to accept a parsimonious explanation of this phenomenon known as consciousness by postulating that it “magically” pops into existence when elementary particles align in a certain structure. But a grounding tenet of magic is no foundation for serious scientific research, a discipline whose objective is to understand the underlying architecture of our material world. The resolution to that inquisition resides in the camp of metaphysics and philosophy, not in mysticism nor the naive grounding tenet of the scientific community which is more that comfortable with “magic” being its paradigm.

    Good luck,

  18. Steven Evans says

    Lee Roetcisoender
    You are using a computer with a chip design based on the quantum behaviour of electrons. Do you think people could have built a computer based on fairy tales about the Greek gods? You are making a fool of yourself.

    Instead of writing reams of nonsense, why don’t you tell me how panpsychism explains consciousness in complex brains? You can’t and neither can Phillip Goff.
    Why don’t you tell me *anything*, one single property or phenomenon, that this so-called ontology of matter tells us about matter?
    You can’t and neither can Phillip Goff. A theory that literally tells us nothing. LOL!!!

    Yet Phillip Goff is claiming in public that the universe is almost certainly panpsychic. A theory that tells us nothing about anything – it is the ultimate crankery, and also the ultimate in dodging any clashes with science.

    How do you people get to be this thick? It’s a level of stupidity beyond anything I could have imagined. You ignore electricity, aeroplanes, the internet, computer chips, gravitational wave detectors, space telescopes, and tell us science is nonsense and you’ve made up some meaningless gobbledegook which tells us nothing but you claim explains everything. You people are delusionally insane.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      I’m going to throw you a bone Steven,

      According to the standard model, physics cannot account for gravity other than stating that gravity is a property of mass. That statement is a paradoxical contradiction which postulates that mass is the cause of gravity, and then it turn around and states that mass is subject to its own cause. According to the standard model, gravity is a self caused cause which is an argument to absurdity.

      My model, which is grounded in panpsychism, accommodates gravity and explicitly states what the cause of gravity actually is, a postulate that can be scientifically verified through observation. Therefore, my model has something of exceptional value to add to our current understanding of the standard model. I’m no fool Steven, so I am not going to reveal any of my trade secrets because as it stands, they are intellectual property. If my model of panpsychism is ever published, it will rock the world of physics. The only question one needs to ask themselves is: Who wants to be a part of this revolution, and who is willing to be on the right side of history? Some of the more intelligent candidates who make up my short list include Sabine, Phillip Goff, David Chalmers, and/or Neil deGrasse Tyson.

      • Steven Evans says

        Matter warps space-time, and other matter is affected by the warping e.g. the orbit of the Earth due to the depression in space-time made by the Sun.

        Your posts are completely insane, so I suggest you ask Phillip Goff to get you some funding from the Templeton Foundation and a post at the prestigious Durham University Philosophy Department. You can literally write and say any nonsense that pops into your head, no reason or evidence required, so you will be perfect for the role.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      “Matter warps space-time, and other matter is affected by the warping e.g. the orbit of the Earth due to the depression in space-time made by the Sun.”

      Marketing general relativity (GR) as a model that reflects the true nature of reality is irresponsible, and as far as I am concerned it’s an outright fraud. Physicists venerate GR the same way Catholics revere the trinity, but thankfully not all of the church members are so loyal. There is plenty of dissent within their ranks. A model grounded in panpsychism supersedes the need for super-natural, magical laws that command unwavering, unquestioning obedience from its unknowing, unsuspecting subjects. With panpsychism, there are no laws of nature, just meaningful relationships, relationships which are underwritten by correspondence.

      Whenever a new model comes along that challenges long held traditions and beliefs, it can be very de-stabilizing for the church members, and I get that Steven. But resorting to insults and name calling does nothing to defend your current position which quite frankly is indefensible. But at the end of the day, because this is the internet, I don’t know if you are a scientist or just some crackpot with an axe to grind.

      • Steven Evans says

        Nobody is claiming GR is the “true nature of reality”. In fact, physicists know that the concept of time in quantum theory and that in GR are incompatible, thus the search for a quantum-gravity theory. However, GR did predict and does describe subtle phenomena confirmed by observation e.g. a clock in Earth orbit runs faster than a clock on the Earth’s surface due to the difference in the strength of gravity.

        Panpsychism on the other hand tells us nothing.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      I do not and have never challenged the predictive power of GR, it is a very useful tool. Nevertheless, the simple point is this Steven: Panpsychism is not incompatible with physics; in fact, panpsychism is capable of contributing explanatory power which can add new information and understanding to our current model. The phenomenon of gravity itself is the greatest example of panpsychism’s explanatory prowess. My model concisely and succinctly identifies the cause of gravity and that is something our current model does not do, and it is an achievement that research in quantum theory will never be able to attain. A clear and concise understand of the actual cause of gravity, one that can be scientifically verified will open the floodgates for the discipline of physics which in turn will resolve the mysteries which currently plague us. Some of those mysteries including but are not limited to black holes, dark matter and dark energy.

      For the record, Phillip Goff nor any of the other champions of panpsychism do not have a working model and it is unlikely that they ever will. Nevertheless, this cowboy does. And if and when that bus ever decides to leave town, everyone swinging dick is going to want to ride. As a lone wolf myself, humility and gratitude have never been two of my stronger suits. My book is the culmination of over forty years of research and until my work gets published, my discoveries will remain confidential.

      Thank you for your time Steven,
      Lee Roetcisoender

  19. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Sorry to rain on you parade Steven: Although Philip does not currently have a model of panpsychism that explains all of the things you outlined in your last paragraph, this cowboy does! I’ve written a book that concisely and succinctly explains the working of consciousness in explicit detail within an architecture of panpsychism. It isolates the single, fundamental property or phenomenon underwriting the ontology of matter which accounts for causation. My model can be scientifically verified and it grows quickly and exponentially into a theory of everything. Once understood, every theoretical physicist on the planet is going to want to go out and buy an ass kicking machine because of the simplicity of my model. The entire equation can be written on the front of a t-shirt.

    My model reflects the “true nature of reality”, not some childhood delusion concocted by Einstein called general relativity. Let’s get one thing straight Steven: I don’t deny that general relativity (GR) is a very useful tool. As a model, general relativity is a tool, nothing more, just like a stick that primates and some bird species use to extract termites form holes in the ground. GR does not reflect the true nature of reality; and personally, I’m fed up with the dogma that continually spews out of the mouths of our scientific community. If the accuracy of a predictive model is the gold standard of science for defining the true nature of reality, then that boat sailed long ago leaving the scientific community in a lurch. The singular model that human beings crafted that has the most accurate predictive power, an accuracy that has never been matched, is a model that stated: “The Pharaoh is literally God.” That postulate has a predictive power that the scientific community has yet to match. You want to talk about delusions, get real.

    I have not published my work and I am reluctantly to do so. Because once my work is definitively understood, it will cause a shit storm within the communities of science and philosophy that will rival the both the Copernican revolution and the flat earth syndrome combined. I’m not interested in magic dude, I’m interested in a theory with an explanatory power that accounts for all of the phenomena within our phenomenal realm without exception or paradoxes, one that will account for causation. My model does all of those things and more. Will my model replace science? Absolutely not. Science is a very useful and productive discipline, it brought us out of the stone age and developed all of the marvelous discoveries and conveniences of our modern world. What my model will do is move us out of the dark ages of mysticism and ignorance and into a world where we understand ourselves, not only who we are, but more importantly, “what” we are. And I can guarantee you this Steven: No one is going to happy with the “what”, not even Philip.

  20. David Nyman says

    If there is any inconsistency with physics, it’s not in the conjecture that whatever physics describes may have a further, intrinsic nature. It’s rather that there’s no evidence for any role in the physical causal scheme for such a property. And absent such a role, whereas conscious experience itself might seem less inexplicable, what would remain a mystery would be our ability to *refer* to it. In other words, it’s one thing to claim that I’m conscious of seeing a red apple because of an intrinsic property of matter, but quite another to explain by the same means how I’m able to *say* so.

  21. Steven Evans says

    David Nyman says July 26, 2019

    “If there is any inconsistency with physics”

    Sabine Hossenfelder’s criticism of Philip Goff’s actual position was in the comments of her post, and the criticism was that Philip Goff’s position explained nothing (rather than it was inconsistent with physics – of course, these crank theories are set up to avoid clashes with real knowledge like physics.)

    Stating that the “properties of matter are a form of consciousness” doesn’t mean anything. It’s completely vague. And even assuming it, whatever it means, panpsychists are unable to explain how consciousness arises in complex brains, completely unsurprisingly.

    These kind of ideas are complete crank drivel. How on earth people get paid to “research” them, and with my taxes, is staggering. Philip Goff and his ilk would be better off learning how to fill in a pothole in a road and finally they could make a worthwhile contribution to society.

  22. Steven Evans says

    And still we await a link to be made between the assumption that matter is “panpsychic” and the subjective observation that complex brains exhibit consciousness.

    Can we have an outline of how the assumption of panpsychism explains consciousness in complex brains??

    Or can I have my taxes back from Durham University?

  23. Steven Evans says

    Philip Goff, The criticism of your so-called version of “panpsychism”, namely the assumption that properties of matter such as spin are “forms of consciousness” (whatever that is supposed to mean), was that your “theory” tells us nothing. Are you going to answer this criticism or not?

    You are claiming that panpsychism explains consciousness in complex brains. Well off you go then, explain how consciousness arises in brains made of your “panpsychic” matter.

    You are also claiming (and this is the beauty of this wonderful 2 birds with 1 stone panpsychic theory) that panpsychism provides what you “philosophers” call an ontology of matter. Great! So off you go again, and tell us all the wonderful properties of matter you have discovered now you know what matter actually *is*?

    Clearly, you can’t provide any such examples because you are a crank working in a crank field.

    • Ryan Clark says

      You do realize that one of the leading theories of consciousness (arguably *the* leading theory) among neuroscientists and other experts is Integrated Information Theory (IIT), and that this theory basically presupposes a form of panpsychism, right?

      If you think philosophers are beneath you, why don’t you go verbally abuse Giulio Tononi or Christoph Koch, the creator of ITT and one of its chief advocates, respectively? They’re also inarguably two of the most respected and well-known scientists in the world.

      Maybe Sabine could debate them. I’m sure she’s more of an expert on neuroscience and consciousness studies than a bunch of intellectual lightweights like Tononi, Koch, and Goff. Right?


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