Response to Pigliucci & Kaufman

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Happy Easter! I hope people are managing to enjoy some leisure and pleasure in these unique circumstances of lockdown. One thing I did was to watch this video of Daniel Kaufman and Massimo Pigliucci raising some objections to the (very different) views of Keith Frankish and I. I enjoyed this and I’m very grateful to Daniel and Massimo for thinking about my work. I’d like share a couple of quick responses.

My first issue is that they reject my version of panpsychism without really articulating what it is. This is especially striking when they discuss the response I gave to Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog post critiquing panpsychism in my public exchange of letters with Massimo. At 28:29, Massimo says that I respond by saying that ‘panpsychism is not about physical properties as we understand them.’ This is at best a massive oversimplification of my response to Hossenfelder and is arguably misleading. Daniel then goes on to criticise me in very strong terms (including accusing me ‘either unresponsive or obtuse’ on twitter…I thought we’d got on on twitter!) for not appreciating I need to offer an account of how certain properties can be ‘elemental properties of matter but not material’ (he contrasts me to his former supervisor Katz, who wrote ‘a whole book’ articulating a view according to which there are entities with both abstract and concrete properties).

The thing is, I do have an account, which I have written two books (one academic and one popular) defending. And that account is built on upon two further books, one by Bertrand Russell and one by Arthur Eddington (or rather, it’s based upon those books and the huge literature that they have spawned). The idea is that the properties physicists refer to – mass, spin and charge – are identical to forms of consciousness, and that we can make sense of this identity because physics only describes the behavioural properties of physical properties and is silent on their intrinsic nature. Now there are all sorts of ways you can criticise that account, and I’m sure some will doubt it’s ultimately incoherent. But I find it bizarre that Massimo and Daniel don’t even describe my view but instead dismiss me on the grounds that I don’t have a view.

Later in the discussion, the issue of empirical evidence comes up. Massimo correctly reports that I don’t think that a case can be made for panpsychism over materialism on the basis of empirical evidence. However, he then goes on to say that when he challenged me on this, I said that ‘the very asking for empirical evidence assumes a physicalist view’ (38:20). This is something Massimo also pressed in this recent popular article, suggesting I put metaphysics before epistemology and that I provide no epistemological justification for my view. I’ve looked back at the letters I wrote, and I have no absolutely no idea how Massimo is reaching this interpretation of what I said.

In fact, for better or worse, I do have an argument for the seemingly odd claim that we have grounds for believing panpsychism despite not having straightforward empirical grounds for believing it. My reasoning is as follows. We tend to think of the aim of science as accounting for the data of public observation and experiment. The trouble is, consciousness is not known about in this way. We know that consciousness exists not on the basis of observation and experiment but on the basis of our immediate awareness of our feelings and experiences. Hence, if we religiously follow the dictum ‘only believe in the things that are known about on the basis of public observation and experiment’, we’d have no grounds for postulating consciousness at all (the illusionists, also discussed in this video, are wonderfully consistent on this point).

Therefore, if we want a science of consciousness, we need to expand our conception of the data science needs to account for. We need to be looking for the simplest theory that can account for both the data of public observation and experiment and the first-person reality of consciousness. I think panpsychism is that theory (partly because I think it can be demonstrated that materialism can’t account for consciousness), and this constitutes the basis of my epistemological justification of it.

Now there are all sorts of things you can attack about the above position, and the very interesting claims Daniel and Massimo make later in the discussion could certainly be used in this way. But if you’re going to discuss my case for panpsychism surely you should at least say what that case is. And the stuff Massimo attributes to me about ‘the request for empirical evidence assumes physicalism’ is wild misinterpretation.

Later in the discussion, Daniel and Massimo agree that idealism is empirically equivalent to materialism, and Daniel mocks Samuel Johnson for trying to refute Berkeley’s idealism by kicking a stone. There is a deep irony here: the Russell-Eddington inspired panpsychism I defend is also empirically equivalent to materialism, which makes Hossenfelder’s post the contemporary equivalent of Johnson’s stone-kicking. Furthermore, given that Massimo accepts that materialism and idealism are empirically equivalent, surely by his own strict empiricism he should be agnostic about which view is true. Perhaps he is, but one doesn’t get that impression.

I’m sure there’ll be lots of people who watch this video and say, ‘Oh my god, Goff defends a view without any evidence, he’s such an idiot.’ But I think anyone fair-minded who’s read, watched, or listened to anything I’ve said on this, whether they agree with me or not, will recognise that my view is not being charitably represented here. In fact, it’s barely represented at all.

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.

19 Comments

  1. Mark Tebbit says

    New post on *Conscience and Consciousness*

    *Response to Pigliucci & Kaufman*

    by Philip Goff

    Happy Easter! I hope people are managing to enjoy some leisure and pleasure in these unique circumstances of lockdown. One thing I did was to watch this video of Daniel Kaufman and Massimo Pigliucci raising some objections to the (very different) views of Keith Frankish and I. I enjoyed this and I’m very grateful to Daniel and Massimo for thinking about my work. I’d like share a couple of quick responses.

    My first issue is that they reject my version of panpsychism without really articulating what it is. This is especially striking when they discuss the response I gave to Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog post critiquing panpsychism in my public exchange of letters with Massimo. At 28:29, Massimo says that I respond by saying that ‘panpsychism is not about physical properties as we understand them.’ This is at best a massive oversimplification of my response to Hossenfelder and is arguably misleading. Daniel then goes on to criticise me in very strong terms (including accusing me ‘either unresponsive or obtuse’ on twitter…I thought we’d got on on twitter!) for not appreciating I need to offer an account of how certain properties can be ‘elemental properties of matter but not material’ (he contrasts me to his former supervisor Katz, who wrote a whole book articulating a view according to which there are entities with both abstract and concrete properties).

    The thing is, I do have an account, which I have written two books (one academic and one popular ) defending. And that account is built on upon two further books, one by Bertrand Russell and one by Arthur Eddington (or rather, it’s based upon those books and the huge literature that they have spawned). The idea is that the properties physicists refer to – mass, spin and charge – are identical to forms of consciousness, and that we can make sense of this identity because physics only describes the behavioural properties of physical properties and is silent on their intrinsic nature. Now there are all sorts of ways you can criticise that account, and I’m sure some will doubt it’s ultimately incoherent. But I find it bizarre that Massimo and Daniel don’t even describe my view but instead dismiss me on the grounds that I don’t have a view.

    Later in the discussion, the issue of empirical evidence comes up. Massimo correctly reports that I don’t think that a case can be made for panpsychism over materialism on the basis of empirical evidence. However, he then goes on to say that when he challenged me on this, I said that ‘the very asking for empirical evidence assumes a physicalist view’ (38:20). This is something Massimo also pressed in this recent popular article, suggesting I put metaphysics before epistemology and that I provide no epistemological justification for my view. I’ve looked back at the letters I wrote, and I have no absolutely no idea how Massimo is reaching this interpretation of what I said.

    In fact, for better or worse, I do have an argument for the seemingly odd claim that we have grounds for believing panpsychism despite not having straightforward empirical grounds for believing it. My reasoning is as follows. We tend to think of the aim of science as accounting for the data of public observation and experiment. The trouble is, consciousness is not known about in this way. We know that consciousness exists not on the basis of observation and experiment but on the basis of our immediate awareness of our feelings and experiences. Hence, if we religiously follow the dictum ‘only believe in the things that are known about on the basis of public observation and experiment’, we’d have no grounds for postulating consciousness at all (the illusionists, also discussed in this video, are wonderfully consistent on this point).

    Therefore, if we want a science of consciousness, we need to expand our conception of the data science needs to account for. We need to be looking for the simplest theory that can account for *both* the data of public observation and experiment *and *the first-person reality of consciousness. I think panpsychism is that theory (partly because I think it can be demonstrated that materialism can’t account for consciousness), and this constitutes the basis of my epistemological justification of it.

    Now there are all sorts of things you can attack about the above position, and the very interesting claims Daniel and Massimo make later in the discussion could certainly be used in this way. But if you’re going to discuss my case for panpsychism surely you should at least say what that case is. And the stuff Massimo attributes to me about ‘the request for empirical evidence assumes physicalism’ is wild misinterpretation.

    Later in the discussion, Daniel and Massimo agree that idealism is empirically equivalent to materialism, and Daniel mocks Samuel Johnson for trying to refute Berkeley’s idealism by kicking a stone. There is a deep irony here: the Russell-Eddington inspired panpsychism I defend is also empirically equivalent to materialism, which makes Hossenfelder’s post the contemporary equivalent of Johnson’s stone-kicking. Furthermore, given that Massimo accepts that materialism and idealism are empirically equivalent, surely by his own strict empiricism he should be agnostic about which view is true. Perhaps he is, but one doesn’t get that impression.

    I’m sure there’ll be lots of people who watch this video and say, ‘Oh my god, Goff defends a view without any evidence, he’s such an idiot.’ But I think anyone fair-minded who’s read, watched, or listened to anything I’ve said on this, whether they agree with me or not, will recognise that my view is not being charitably represented here. In fact, it’s barely represented at all

    MY RESPONSE

    Dear Phil

    I entirely sympathize with your position on this. I have supported panpsychism for many years, but haven’t developed it in the systematic way that you have. My main sources for this, apart from your own writings, and those of Whitehead and Hartshorne, have been… Fritjof Capra, David Bohm, David Skrbina, Freya Matthews, Christian de Quincey – to name only the outstanding ones.… and a lot of other very cranky stuff! – not least, my own memory and dreams.

    I teach philosophy of religion at Notre Dame, which as I’m sure you know is a Catholic University. The serious young religious students there are very receptive to unorthodox philosophies of religion, especially to process theology. I used that video you posted a year or two ago, the one chaired by Ralph Weir, when you were defending fine-tuning as an argument from design. I do a lot of cosmology with them, and I found your talk on this very useful. The critics you are referring to above are very similar to the ‘evidentialists’ sounding off in American theological disputes. They are so narrow-minded about the concept of the real that it’s hard to argue with them – they just seem to be caught in a physicalist cul-de-sac. They just don’t seem to be very well-read! As for their personal experience, I don’t envy them. I think everything you’ve said here about accessing consciousness is undeniable. You really are up against some hard-headed people. I will keep myself in touch with your writings as they come. I enjoyed your ‘Galileo’s Error’.

    I hope you’re doing well in other ways. I’m locked down on my own in Dorset, which is better than being locked down in London! For myself, I will carry on working in the shadows, without courting controversy! I published a third edition of my Philosophy of Law in 2017, but I’m working in other areas now.

    All the best

    Mark

    On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 10:08 AM Conscience and Consciousness wrote:

    > Philip Goff posted: ” Happy Easter! I hope people are managing to enjoy > some leisure and pleasure in these unique circumstances of lockdown. One > thing I did was to watch this video of Daniel Kaufman and Massimo Pigliucci > raising some objections to the (very different) views o” >

    • Great to hear from you Mark! Process theology is fascinating, and it’s frustrating that people have no idea of its existence. Good to hear how you’re getting on. Would be great to meet and chat some time!

  2. Kevin Pryor says

    Have you considered radical panpsychism? If high energy particles are conscious they would want to communicate with each other using photons so there might be an electromagnetic homuncular code, a language or code for high energy particles to send coded streams of photons to send sounds, images, ideas, emotions and other qualia to each other. A way also for a high mass particle or quantum coherent molecule homunculus to communicate with its brain and vice versa.

  3. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Philip,
    As a panpsychist myself, I too have published two books. So I just might have something to contribute. Since Russell-Eddington inspired panpsychism is empirically equivalent to materialism, it cannot be defended any more than materialism itself can be defended. Both materialism and idealism are ontologies that reduce to absurdity.

    Subject/object or SOM is the most repressive, suppressive and destructive intellectual construct ever invented by mankind. It is a model we inherited from the Greeks and is the very prism through which we view the world and ourselves. According to this prism, SOM irrevocably reduces reality to dualism, an architecture consisting of two separately distinct things, subjects (mind) and objects (matter). Once reality has been intellectually divided into two parts, there is no way to reconcile that division, there is no way to put reality back together again into a single paradigm grounded in monism.

    One has to eschew the SOM architecture and replace it with a revolutionarily new metaphysics I developed known as reality/appearance metaphysics or RAM. According to the RAM architecture, at their core mind and matter are the same “thing”, they are not two differently distinct things with two differently distinct properties. Mind and matter are essentially two different expressions of the same fundamental reality. For starters, RAM eliminates the infamous “combination problem” of micro-panpsychism. RAM also does not conflate consciousness with mind, thereby effectively refuting the claim made by Hossenfelder that fundamental particles think, because they don’t think. RAM designates the meaning of consciousness to phenomenal experience, and that experience traverses the entire spectrum of the physical universe and the phenomenal discrete systems which make up that universe. According to RAM, there are no subjects of experience, there are only discrete systems which make up the aggregate of possibilities, discrete systems that interact with other discrete systems through correspondence, an evolutionary process that leads to the diversity and novelty we observe including ourselves and our own unique phenomenal experience of mind.

    Peace

  4. Kevin Pryor says

    If high mass particle or quantum coherent homunculi are real and the electromagnetic homuncular code is real and decoded, a new industry will be born — the artificial body industry. It will probably become the biggest industry of all and because of mass production available to all.

    Because particles can last at least billions of years so can people, if the body gets wrecked just get an artificial body or a better artificial body which I think will eventually be better than real bodies.

    Things like pain will be better understood by understanding the homuncular code so pain like death will also be rare.

    Artificial bodies can be optimized for Mars or the vacuum of space or any other environments. Artificial bodies optimized for space could allow construction workers in space to build huge spaceships with much precision and few safety concerns.

    All theories of consciousness and free will seem far fetched. To me, a high energy particle or quantum coherent homunculus is the least far fetched and definitely the most exciting.

    I am trying to convince somebody to do experiments looking for the electromagnetic homuncular code because if it is true it will bring paradise not only to Earth but the entire universe!

  5. Steven Evans says

    “mass, spin and charge – are identical to forms of consciousness, ”

    You are assuming that consciousness, which AFAIsK is merely an abstraction of a feature of the function of conscious thought or experience in a physical brain, actually exists separately to conscious thought or experience. There is no evidence of this. So you have no evidence that consciousness alone is a thing and no evidence that mass, spin and charge are forms of consciousness. By assuming that mass, spin and charge are forms of consciousness (which is meaningless AFAIsK), you claim that this explains both the ontology of matter and explains conscious thought or experience in a physical brain. But firstly, this assumption, which doesn’t mean anything anyway, tells us absolutely nothing about matter. It is a null ontology. Whatever the physicists find out about matter, you will simply add “yes, and it’s all forms of consciousness”, without any epistemological consequence (<- these are the phrases you "philosophers" like, aren't they?). Secondly, you can add nothing to neuroscience's knowledge of conscious thought or experience in the brain. Bizarrely, you seem to be putting forward the trite idea that if matter is "made of consciousness" then it's not a surprise that physical brains can exhibit conscious thought. But your "theory" tells us *nothing* about matter, and it makes absolutely *zero* steps in the direction of explaining conscious thought or experience in a brain, even a panphsyical one. Sabine Hossenfelder explained to you that only the properties of matter observed in the Standard Model can be used to explain functions in the brain. This, which you described as a simple argument, is backed by all the vast experimental evidence related to the Standard Model, probably equivalent to the Manhatten Project or moonshot in its scope. Acquiring real, deep knowledge is not simple.

    "and that we can make sense of this identity because physics only describes the behavioural properties of physical properties and is silent on their intrinsic nature. "

    How lame of the physicists. Now why don't you tell us *a single fact* about matter based on your assumed ontology. You can't. How strange. You know what matter is but asked about its behaviour all you can do is bow very low in supplication to the physicists.

    "Massimo correctly reports that I don’t think that a case can be made for panpsychism over materialism on the basis of empirical evidence."

    So knowing the ontology of matter has *zero* observational consequences. How convenient. So maybe matter is not a form of consciousness but a form of chocolateyness?

    "The trouble is, consciousness is not known about in this way. We know that consciousness exists not on the basis of observation and experiment but on the basis of our immediate awareness of our feelings and experiences. "

    Neuroscientists can observe words that people are thinking in brain activity. Neuroscience is not complete. You are simply assuming that neuroscience will never be able to show that conscious thought or experience is completely observable in brain activity. But neuroscience's analysis of the brain is far from complete.

    "Hence, if we religiously follow the dictum ‘only believe in the things that are known about on the basis of public observation and experiment’, we’d have no grounds for postulating consciousness at all (the illusionists, also discussed in this video, are wonderfully consistent on this point)."

    Current non-conscious AIs trained to do neuroscience would presumably have no grounds for postulating conscious experience. Future non-conscious AIs are another matter. The brain is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution and is the most complex known system in the universe. Not surprisingly, if it is completely analysable in terms of physics, then it will be toward the end of the list.

    "Therefore, if we want a science of consciousness, we need to expand our conception of the data science needs to account for. We need to be looking for the simplest theory that can account for both the data of public observation and experiment and the first-person reality of consciousness. "

    Neuroscientists do use reports from subjects in experiments. So they are making use of first-person data. However, it is an assumption unsupported by empirical evidence to state that they will always have to do this.

    "I think panpsychism is that theory (partly because I think it can be demonstrated that materialism can’t account for consciousness),"

    Right, and finally we get to your one rubbish point. You look at conscious thought and can't see how that can arise from a physical brain. That's it. But there are neuroscientists who know a lot more about the brain who can't figure this out, so it is no surprise that you can't. All you are saying is that with your small knowledge of the brain you can't immediately reverse engineer hundreds of millions of years of evolution and explain how conscious thought arises in the brain. This is not a great surprise.

    " and this constitutes the basis of my epistemological justification of it."

    This is not an "epistemological justifcation" it's just a gut feeling based on deep ignorance.

    "There is a deep irony here: the Russell-Eddington inspired panpsychism I defend is also empirically equivalent to materialism"

    Yes, your "theory" is: materialism + an assumed meaningless ontology with no consequences + no explanation of conscious experience. Well done.

    " he’s such an idiot.’"

    You are a narcissist who enjoys the attention and money that has come with your lying. You appear at conferences with Deepak Chopra ffs. Let's face it, you are not going to be returning to the land of the honest, and drivel like you have written here is an attempt to defend your lifestyle not your "ideas", which are immediately and obviously stupid. You are a crank and a fraud.

  6. Martin says

    There is no blog post for your recent philosophy bites interview so I’ll just put a comment here. I liked it! Even better, your case for pan-psychism seem quite convincing to me! But I am puzzled by the last section about practical implications. You there say materialism is bleak in the sense that there is nothing out there whereas on pan-psychism “we are conscious creatures in a conscious universe”. You go on to say pan-psychism might lead to a better relation to the environment, for example we might hesitate to chop down a tree is we view it as conscious.

    This makes me wonder: what are you assuming about the valence of the conscious states of trees and everything else and based on what evidence? This is how it seems to me: For all we know all or most pan-psychist micro entities could have conscious states of constant suffering. Chopping down a tree might then be merciful relief. I do not have evidence for thinking this possibility true or likely. But my point is that the reverse also seems to hold. So until we know anything about the valence of the consciousness of such entities we have no reason to say the pan-psychist view it is more/less bleak than any other view. Nor have we any reason to draw practical conclusion on what to do or not do to e.g. trees for the sake of the tree’s conscious states. If you already address this in some of your writings then I will jump at the chance to read it, if given a pointer. Best.

  7. Eugene I. says

    Hello Phillip,

    I’m studying panpsychism but I have a question related to the combination problem that I am not able to resolve myself. Basically, we know from our conscious experience that there are unified fields of conscious experiences (let’s call them SOE: “subjects of experience”) that are distinctly different rom each other. Different SOE may experience the seemingly same phenomena (say identical telepathically shared thoughts), but that does not make them to combine into one SOE. Therefore, we can say that consciousness is discrete with respect to SOE. However, matter (as we know its physical laws) appears to be structurally continuous. This observation combined with combination problem creates certain challenges. Let me elaborate.

    Let’s say, there are two rocks having their own inner conscious experiences of “something like being a rock” (of course I’m not assuming any cognizing but only pure phenomenal experience). Then we put them together with a glue into a two-combined-rocks bigger rock. Is there now an experience of “something like being two-rocks-together”? If so, how did it happen that two separate SOE of being like rock 1 and being like rock 2 suddenly got combined into a single SOE of being like two rocks? At which point of gluing them did it happen? What if we just glued a tiny part between them say just a point of touching the corners, would it also create the unified two-rock SOE? What if they are touching but without the glue? What if there is only one molecule of glue?

    Or, suppose there are two molecules of water a kilometer apart, each having it’s own SOE and experience of “being like a molecule”. Then we start slowly and continuously bringing them together until the angstrom-distance where they attract each other and form a proto-drop of waterer. The attraction force (EM field) is actually continuous and spreads to infinity. So, at which distance the third SOE of the water proto-drop suddenly emerges? This seems to be undefinable.

    Another problem is that the existence of a SOE of a physical object, say a rock, appears to be in contradiction with the relativity theory, because the experiences of events from two opposite corners of the rock can not propagate faster then the speed of light. There are two problems here:
    – How the rock will experience these events in time (which event is experienced first) depends on at which point in space the “center” of the SOE is located. But how is the location point of SOE defined? Is it the center of mass, or geometrical center? How does it “know” where to place itself? This seems to be arbitrary and undefinable too. Also, if it is at a distance from all molecules of the rock, how does it receive the information of the molecule experiences?
    – Or, may be the self is not located at a specific point and experiences all events from all points in the rock simultaneously? But that contradicts the relativity theory because there can not be any defined simultaneous events (defined in absolute sense) if they occur at different locations in space.

    The bottom-line is: I can not make sense of the matter (with physical laws as we know them) having consciousness (with its property of SOE discreteness as we know it from our conscious experience). Please understand that I am not arguing against panpsychism or trying to deny it, I am just trying to make sense of it. I would very appreciate your comments or answers.

    Thank you,
    Eugene I.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      Philip will more than likely not respond Eugene, so I will take the liberty answer your question. First and foremost; and this is a fulcrum concept that needs to be understood in order to make panpsychism a tenable model. There are no subjects of experience (SOE), there are only discrete systems as described by physics. All discrete systems, from the most fundamental of elementary particles all the way up the hierarchy of systems to the physical system of mind have determinate and/or indeterminate properties; and the properties of those discrete systems are the experience of those discrete systems. (Properties = experience and inversely, experience = properties.) It really is that simple Eugene.

      Now to address your questions: Therefore, if any of the properties change within any given system, like the combination of discrete systems as a mixture (using glue) and/or a compound ( the result of a chemical reaction), those properties now become the experience of that system. All one has to do to make panpsychism a respected and tenable ontology is to eschew subject/object metaphysics (SOM).

      Why? Because SOM is a suppressive ontology. There are no such things and subjects and objects, just the things we do not understand. And as a result of not understanding them we label them “objects” and “subjects”, build a metaphysical model which in the end suppresses meaning. According to SOM, the distinction dividing the subject from the object is an arbitrary one, plain and simple There is no way to justify the division of mind and matter created by SOM. Once that division has been created though, there is no way to put mind and matter back together again without dismantling and rejecting the model which created the division in the first place.

      Peace

      • Eugene I says

        Hello Lee and thank you for your response. I would like to clarify that with the term SOE I was not talking about the dichotomy of subject and object (which, I agree with you, is simply a mental construct not corresponding to any experiential phenomena). I used the term “subject” simply as a linguistic pointer the individuated filed of conscious experience. As Sam Coleman stated: a subject “can be thought of as a point of view annexed to a private qualitative field”, and that is all there is to the “subject”, there is no other ontological status or modality to it. Perhaps the term “subject of experience” is a misnomer and I should have better use the “field of experience”.

        So, if we understand the “subject” according to this definition, then I was talking about a simple fact of our direct conscious experience: we experience conscious reality not as a conglomerate of all experiences=properties of the entire universe, but only as a small subset of it related to our individuated fields of experiences, and those fields seem to be discretely disconnected from each other. On the other hand, there is a “mysterious” quality of integrity and unity in each individuated field of experience where different qualia are experienced with a sense of belonging to a unified field/space of experience and with a sense of simultaneity and succession of time. This simple experiential fact needs to be accounted for and explained coherently if we want to develop a coherent system of panpsychism philosophy (unless we claim that it is simply an illusion and go into a-la-Dennett avenue of arguments). So, in my first post I outlined some problems that we would have to address to develop such coherent explanation. Chalmers published “The Combination Problem for Panpsychism” paper where he also touched different aspects of this problem, I just elaborated on it a little more.

      • Lee Roetcisoender says

        “…there is a “mysterious” quality of integrity and unity in each individuated field of experience where different qualia are experienced with a sense of belonging to a unified field/space of experience and with a sense of simultaneity and succession of time. This simple experiential fact needs to be accounted for and explained coherently if we want to develop a coherent system of panpsychism philosophy…”

        I couldn’t agree more with your assessment Eugene. But again, our perceived reality is seen through the prism of subject/object metaphysics (SOM), which is an ontology grounded in realism; and therein lies the problem. Our experiential universe is not the reality, it is an expression of reality therefore, our physical universe and everything that makes up that reality is the appearance.

        In order to resolve the intractable problems created by the SOM paradigm, problems that do not fundamentally exist, the prevailing model of SOM has to be eschewed and replaced with a metaphysical model that works. And that model is my revolutionary ontology I call reality/appearance metaphysics or (RAM). RAM solves the infamous combination problem, it resolves the questions of what is real and what is not real, what is true and what is not true; it resolves the nagging question of free will in contrast to determinism and much, much more. It does all of this by postulating that there is an ultimate reality to which everything in the realm of expression is intrinsically linked and owes its origins.

        I often refer to Immanuel Kant at this intersection of discourse where he stated: “while we are prohibited from absolute knowledge of the “thing-in-itself”, we can impute to it a cause beyond ourselves as a source of representations within us.”

        Now, having quoted Kant, don’t get your panties all twisted up in a wad, because the “thing-in-itself” is not a god, a divine mind of some kind or a cosmic subject. It is an ontological primitive, a convergent point of singularity to which everything is intrinsically linked. Kant was unable to identify the “thing-in-itself”, a paradox that makes his ontology of transcendental idealism untenable. Reality/appearance metaphysics identifies Kant’s “thing-in-itself” as a convergent point of singularity, a singularly definitive, succinct convergent point that makes RAM a tenable model, one that is able to resolve all of the intractable problems created by SOM.

        I have not articulated the ontological primitive in this post, but the book I just published does just that. I blog every now and then. Most people think I’m full of shit, but that’s alright. I’m just a sixty-seven year old hippie, a metaphysician and philosopher working in isolation. Here’s my take Eugene: If my model of RAM never reaches the light of day I’m fine with that. Because at the end of the day, I’m no God dam messiah. Beside, I genuinely think people are better off with fairy tales just like children are…

        Peace

      • Eugene I says

        Thank you for your comments, I would be very interested to learn about your RAM metaphysics, please send me some links. Again, I would reiterate then SOE is not a subject, I would rather re-term it as a FOE (field of experience). I agree with your comments on outdated subject/object metaphysics, however, FOE has nothing to do with that, it’s simply a reference to a basic experiential fact.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      On the surface, FOE is not an inappropriate nomenclature. It’s what underlies that nomenclature which can make the verbiage misleading. Not taking into consideration the point of my previous post,
      according to any tenable theory of panpsychism, it must be succinctly stated and clearly understood that “physical properties are the experience of a physical system and inversely, the experience of a physical system are the properties of that system”. Phenomenal experience, or what it is like should be included in any definition of consciousness. Here is the biggest mistake for panpsychists: the term consciousness should not be conflated with mind or exclusively correlated to the physical system of mind.

      Mind itself is a physical system. What makes mind unique as a system are the multiplicity of physical systems required to construct such a uniquely profound system, it’s unprecedented in the natural world. Nevertheless, the often referred to experience of quailia are fundamentally the multiplicity of properties that give rise to the physical system of mind. What gives panpsychism a bad reputation is the inability of its proponents to “not” conflate mind with consciousness. Here’s an example:

      Philip Goff wrote in his latest book: “Consciousness never switches off entirely, but rather fades as organic complexity reduces, through flies, insects, plants, amoeba, and bacteria. For the panpsychist, this fading-while-never-turning-off continuum further extends into inorganic matter …” Philip, like all other proponents of panpsychism conflate consciousness with mind. It’s a position that cannot be defended because consciousness is not mind, mind just happens to be another physical system just like all other physical systems with its own unique physical properties, properties include and give rise to the experiences you skillfully articulated in your previous post.

      My book is published, but I have not made it accessible to the general public. If I ever do go public, I’ll let you know…

      Peace

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      Question Eugene: Are you the same (Eugene I) who has recently been commenting on Bernardo Kastrup’s site?

      Peace

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      Eugene,
      I answered my own questions with further research. Sam Coleman’s theory of panqualityism is untenable for the same fundamental reasons all other prevailing theories of consciousness are untenable. First, all prevailing theories are grounded in an ontology of realism and second, consciousness is conflated with mind. Mind, mentation, mental awareness, idealism our whatever phrase one chooses to use to express the phenomena of consciousness is untenable because it is an exclusive definition. Mind is a physical system just like any other physical system albeit, I would speculate that mind is a quantum physical system.

      Based upon the data, you are the same (Eugene I) who has recently been commenting on Bernardo Kastrup’s site. I must admit, I am impressed with your analytical prowess and your ability to discriminate between a philosophical position and a religion. That is a rare attribute one does not see often. Personally, I am not an idealist even though I understand and appreciate the temptation to project a system called mind onto the ontological primitive.

      I posted on Bernardo’s site a couple of years ago, but my intellectual challenges resulted in me being censored by Bernardo. Bernardo does not handle constructive criticism very well.

      Peace

  8. Steven Evans says

    Philip Goff,

    I see you are taking part in the How the Light Gets In festival as one of our country’s great thinkers. Lord God on High help us! At least you aren’t advising the government on anything important – maybe it’s for the best you are kept out of the way of the real world in a “philosophy” department.

    Why don’t you get the HTLGI organisers to set up a discussion on “panpsychism” with you and Sabine Hossenfelder who is also taking part, if she’s game? Then you can explain to a competent physicist your brilliant idea about matter having a caramel centre, I mean, being made of “consciousness”.

    Or are you a scaredy cat?

  9. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Eugene,

    Here is a quote from my book: The Immortal Principle: A Reference Point; pages 152 & 153.

    “According to the universal theory of (A), consciousness is not reality, consciousness is the form through which reality (R) is expressed; and that form is a physical, material universe consisting of matter, energy and space. That is an important distinction to make about consciousness for two reasons. First, current models are predicated upon an architecture grounded in realism and second, consciousness is conflated with mind by all researchers, regardless of whether those individuals studying consciousness are materialist, or idealists.

    Panpsychists takes a broader position by positing that consciousness should be defined as likeness or “what it feels like to be something”, but even panpsychism is hamstrung by the infamous mind/matter dichotomy. Without a universally accepted definition, a definition that eschews subject/object metaphysics, and one that corresponds to reality/appearance metaphysics, a metaphysics that makes no ontological distinction between mind and matter, consciousness will remain a mystery forever, relegated to the theatre of debate within the circles of academia and mysticism.

    To add further clarity and meaning to the term consciousness, a concise and succinct definition has to be developed, one that is not ambiguous or misleading, and one that is broad enough to be inclusive. According to this metaphysician:

    Consciousness is the form through which the objective reality of power is both experienced
    and expressed.

    But what is that form, exactly? That form is a physical, material universe made up of the aggregate of matter, energy and space. In a Value centric universe, consciousness is the form, and the form itself is the experience. This is an architecture that irrevocably reduces to panpsychism. Furthermore, the discrete systems of a Value centric universe do not have phenomenal experience as such, because the physical properties that make up those systems are the experience. For example: mass, spin and charge are the physical properties that define elementary particles; and mass, spin and charge is the experience of those same elementary particles. On the other end of this broad spectrum of physical systems; the physical properties that make up the quantum system of mind is the experience of mind, an experience that is radically indeterminate. This ground-breaking, all inclusive definition and ensuing explication of consciousness corresponds concisely with reality/appearance metaphysics and is in full compliance with the universal theory of (A).”

    Peace

    • Eugene I says

      Thanks for the quote, Lee. To me it looks like a pretty generic version of panpsychism. However, I think you are taking a denialist position on the combination problem. As Chalmers said, the combination problem for panpsychism is as hard as the “hard problem of consciousness” for physicalism, although some physicalists (e.g. Dennett) try to get away from it by simply denying it altogether.

      Yes, I also write on Bernardo’s forum.

  10. Lee Roetcisoender says

    Eugene,
    The underlying problem with materialism, idealism (I consider all forms of theism to be idealism), substance dualism and property dualism is that all of these metaphysical positions are grounded in an ontology of “realism”. It is “realism” that is the denialist position, not my take on the combination problem or the hard problem of consciousness. My grounding metaphysics is the reality/appearance distinction. It is an ontology first articulated by Parmenides, later explicated by Nagarjuna, and finally reintroduced to the West by Immanuel Kant. Reality/appearance metaphysics resolves all of the intractable mysteries of the universe and our own existence.

    I’ve doing this type of research for over forty years, and I have yet to see a theory that is not grounded in an ontology of “realism”. Like I previously stated: I really do believe that homo sapiens as a species are better off clinging to the fairy tales and fantasies of anthropocentrism that sustain the species.

    Peace

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