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May 04

Panpsychism: an Intriguing Theory That States Everything in the Universe Has a Consciousness

panpsychismSo what is Panpsychism exactly? Where does it come from?

Panpsychism is the view that everything has a mind or has mind-like qualities. Panpsychism derives from the two Greek words pan (all) and psyche (mind or soul). It can be argued what these things actually mean. What does it mean by “everything”? What does it mean by “mind”?

Some philosophers say that every single object in the universe has mind-like qualities. Other philosophers say that certain classes of things possess a mind. In these cases, one of these circumstances is not a true panpsychism.

Panpsychists see the human mind as unique.

It is argued that animals, plants, or rocks are as sophisticated or as complex a human being’s mind, but this brings new questions: What are mental qualities that are shared by these things? Why are they qualities even “mental”?

Panpsychism is a theory without proof about how widespread the mind is in the universe. It doesn’t define “mind”, and it does tell how the mind relates to that objects that possess it.

This theory seems unlikely and improbable but also fantastic. Some of the greatest philosophers have argued for a form of panpsychism or expressed strong feelings about the topic.

Philip Goff, a philosopher, states that objects like electrons and rocks have an inner life, feelings, sensations, and experiences. He also says that “Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true.”

Here are some of his arguments for panpsychism:

– Humans know nothing about the nature of inanimate matter, so it is possible that it could have a mind.

– If the matter in the cerebrum can make mind and consciousness, then the continuity of matter within electrons, rocks, and brains suggest that it is safe to assume that electrons and rocks have minds than to say they don’t. This is the assumption that no properties can distinguish a rock from a mammal.

Animals have feelings, sensations, and experiences, and things such as rocks and molecules do not. The smallest of matter such as electrons and quarks have basic kinds of experience or inner life. So if animals can be conscious and have emotions, then their molecules and atoms do as well.

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