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Erkenntnis

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 235–238 | Cite as

Godehard Bruntrup and Ludwig Jaskolla (eds): Panpsychism—Contemporary Perspectives

Oxford University Press, 2016, VIII + 414 pp, £56.00 (Hardback), ISBN 978-0-19-935994-3
  • Howard RobinsonEmail author
Book review
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The current vein of panpsychism has its roots in some thoughts of Russell and Eddington. They claimed that science gives us a conception of matter that is purely structural and causal (perhaps ultimately purely mathematical and abstract): it tells us nothing about the intrinsic nature of matter, only the kinds of thing that it does, and that in a rather abstract form. But the scientific conception of the world has another failing—it cannot explain consciousness. So they suggested that we could kill two birds with one stone by attributing to matter, at its very roots (internal to its atoms) some primitive form of consciousness, out of which our sophisticated consciousness might be built and which could do duty as the intrinsic ‘stuff’ of matter. This is equivalent to taking Lewis’s quiddities to be primitive sensations.

There are at least two major problems with this idea. One is to get one’s mind around the idea that quarks and electrons might be conscious. In other contexts,...

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCentral European University BudapestBudapestHungary

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