Author: Philip Goff

The New Copernican Revolution: A Response to John Horgan

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Panpsychism gets flak from a lot of directions. But a new one on me was John Horgan’s accusation that panpsychists are guilty of ‘geo-centrism,’ the attempt to drag us back to the pre-Copernican view that reality revolves us human beings: As far as we know, consciousness is property of only one weird type of matter that evolved relatively recently here on Earth: brains. Neo-geocentrists nonetheless suggest that consciousness pervades the entire cosmos. It might even […]

Can Panpsychism be Tested and Does It Matter?

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Last week I had a twitter argument with Barry Smith about panpsychism and this week I had a twitter argument with Massimo Pigliucci about panpsychism. A similar issue came up in both, so I thought I’d write a post about it. Actually, it concerns an objection that is often raised against panpsychism, which goes as follows: (A) We don’t have any evidence that consciousness exists outside of brains. We need to be careful about how […]

What Game of Thrones can Teach us about Brexit

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Half the people wanted Jon Snow to be executed for treason; half the people wanted him to be exonerated. The decision to send him permanently to the wall left no one happy, which, as Tyrion wisely observed, is the definition of a compromise. No one was happy but no one went to war.   In 2016 the UK voted 52 to 48 to leave the European Union. With a result so close, a compromise position […]

What have Consciousness, Religious Fictionalism, and a Leading Hotel Comparison Website got in Common?

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This is just a quick plug for some recent/forthcoming things I’m doing, in case anyone’s vaguely interested. Last week I did a talk for Trivago Academy, which is a series of talks by academics Trivago put on for general public at their HQ in Dusseldorf. It was really nice to talk to the general public instead of academics. Plus there was free beer. I had a good conversation with a man who has invented the […]

Religion But Not As We Know It

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Last week I published an article for the Times Literary Supplement outlining three alternative approach to religion, one of which was religious fictionalism. A religious fictionalist is (roughly) someone who finds value in practicing a religion despite holding that the contentious claims of the religion (e.g. God exists, Jesus rose from the dead) are false. Publishing this article felt a little bit like coming out for me. Every time someone asks me the dreaded question […]

Is Panpsychism Inconsistent with Physics?

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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 […]

Tough on Brexit, Tough on the Causes of Brexit

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You might have noticed things are going a bit wrong of late. Far right parties have gained ground in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France; they have cabinet seats in Norway, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and one is in coalition government in Italy. And then there’s Trump in the US and Bolsonaro in Brazil. The popular appeal of fascism arises out of desperation, and there’s plenty of that around at […]

Consciousness, Free Will & God

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I’ve been interviewed for a lot of podcasts recently. This episode of the CBC (Canadian public broadcaster) show Ideas focused on my work on consciousness and panpsychism. Founding publisher of Skepic magazine Michael Shermer and I solved the mysteries of consciousness, free will and God all in a one hour episode of The Psychology Podcast. The ‘Secrets of Consciousness’ debate I participated in at the How the Light Gets In music and philosophy festival at Hay on […]

Labour and the Definition of Anti-Semitism

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I think there is a problem with anti-semitism in Labour, and the leadership was too slow to deal with it. However, I’m not convinced that they’re wrong on what has become the central issue: the IHRA definition of anti-semitism. Some people think that a state should not be defined on ethnic lines, and these people have a problem with Israel being defined as a state primarily for people of Jewish ethnicity. Here’s Joe Levine arguing […]

Transwomen and Adoptive Parents: An Analogy

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The following is a guest post by Sophie Grace Chappell, who is a Professor of Philosophy at the Open University Maybe we should think of it like this: Transwomen are to women as adoptive parents are to parents. There are disanalogies of course, and the morality of adoption is a large issue in itself which I can’t do full justice to here. Still, the analogies are, I think, important and instructive. An adoptive parent is […]