Merleau-Ponty Meets The Kripke Monster Redux, #4–One Cheer, But Only One, For Analytic Panpsychism.

Mr Nemo
5 min readJan 16, 2023

By Robert Hanna

(Wikipedia, 2022a)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

0. Introduction

1. The Essential Embodiment Theory Briefly and Compactly Re-Presented and Re-Motivated

2. Three Later Significant Elaborations and Extensions of The Essential Embodiment Theory: Natural Libertarianism, The Neo-Organicist Worldview, and The Metaphysics of Liberal Naturalism

3. One Cheer, But Only One, For Analytic Panpsychism

00. Concluding Semi-Autobiographical Quasi-Whiteheadian Postscript

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This essay will be published in five installments; this fourth installment contains section 3.

You can also download and read or share a .pdf of the complete text of this essay, including the REFERENCES, HERE.

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Where are we now? I’ve briefly and compactly presented and motivated four radically original and paradigm-shifting theories or conceptions, the latter three of which are all elaborations and extensions of the first: (i) the essential embodiment theory of the mind-body relation and mental causation, (ii) the natural libertarianism theory of free agency for rational human animals, (iii) the neo-organicist worldview’s conception of nature and the natural sciences, and (iv) the metaphysics of liberal naturalism. In this section, I’ll even more briefly and compactly critically discuss an increasingly popular contemporary theory of the mind-body relation commonly known as Analytic panpsychism. For the sake of convenience and precision, I’ll present this critical discussion as a twelve-step argument.

1. Panpsychism is the two-part metaphysical thesis which says (Pi) that mental properties are at least as basic in the natural world in its total spatiotemporal extent and all its parts, aka the cosmos, as physical properties (aka, liberal naturalism), and (Pii) that at least some mental properties are universally actually instantiated in the cosmos (aka, the ubiquity of the mental) (Nagel, 1979; Chalmers, 1996; Strawson, 2006a, 2006b; Goff, 2017; Goff, Seager, and Allen-Hermanson, 2021; Murphy, 2022). [Premise]

2. Idealism is the metaphysical thesis which says that there are necessary and possibly also essential connections — including identity-relations — between minds and the cosmos (Hanna, 2001: ch. 2, 2006: section 6.1). [Premise]

3. Necessarily, all minds, precisely because they’re mental entities, and because, necessarily, all entities of any given kind, have properties of that kind, have mental properties. [From 2]

4. Therefore, idealism also says that there are necessary and perhaps also essential connections between mental properties and the cosmos. [From 2 & 3]

5. Now, panpsychism directly entails that there are necessary and possibly also essential connections between mental properties and the cosmos. [From 1]

6. Therefore, panpsychism is a form of idealism. [From 4 & 5]

7. It’s plausibly arguable that liberal naturalism (i.e., sub-thesis Pi above) is true, but the ubiquity of the mental (i.e., sub-thesis Pii above) is false, for two reasons: first, the ubiquity thesis is much too strong a thesis, because it’s highly implausible that literally everything in the cosmos, including, for example, beer cans, rocks, clouds, random specks of dust, etc., etc., is actually sentient or proto-sentient, and second, the ubiquity thesis implicitly commits itself to the damnably false mechanistic worldview, by falsely attributing consciousness to mechanical systems; correspondingly, it’s a far more plausible thesis (i) that all and only living organisms are actually sentient or proto-sentient, aka the mind-in-life thesis (Thompson, 2007; Maiese and Hanna, 2009; Torday, Miller Jr, and Hanna, 2020; Hanna, 2022a: section 2.5), and also (ii) that an explicitly non-panpsychist idealist metaphysical thesis, which affirms liberal naturalism and also rejects the ubiquity of the mental, called weak transcendental idealism,[i] are indeed both true (Hanna and Maiese, 2009: chs. 6–8, esp. pp. 300–301, 321–323; Hanna, 2015: section 7.3, 2022a: sections 4.4 and 4.5). [Premise]

8. Therefore, one cheer for panpsychism. [From 7]

9. Now, one of the core beliefs of the Analytic tradition is the rejection of any form of idealism (Hanna, 2001: section 2.3, 2021a: chs. I-IV). [Premise]

10. Nevertheless, some recent and contemporary Analytic philosophers not only are panpsychists but also either explicitly affirm or implicitly accept that their views fall under the label of “Analytic panpsychism” (Nagel, 1979; Chalmers, 1996; Strawson, 2006a, 2006b; Goff, 2017; Goff, Seager, and Allen-Hermanson, 2021; Murphy, 2022). [Premise]

11. Therefore, either (i) “Analytic panpsychism” is an oxymoron and Analytic panpsychists are explicitly or implicitly contradicting themselves, or else (ii) Analytic panpsychists are crypto-idealists who explicitly or implicitly, and deceptively, call themselves “Analytic panpsychists,” so that they won’t be labelled “idealists” by their fellow Analytic philosophers and therefore banished to the pejorative pseudo-category of so-called “Continental philosophy” — the undiscovered country from whose bourne no Analytic philosophical traveler ever returns professionally unscathed (Hanna, 2021a: chs. XVII-XVII), and neither option (i) nor option (ii) is philosophically acceptable.[ii] [From 6, 9, & 10]

12. Therefore, as per step 8, and also as per the destructive dilemma in step 11, one cheer for Analytic panpsychism, but only one cheer. [From 8 and 11] QED

NOTES

[i] For the record, weak transcendental idealism says that (i) necessarily, the basic metaphysical and ontological structures of the manifestly real world conform to the basic innate structures of our rational human cognitive and practical capacities, especially including our sensible capacities for first-order consciousness, affect or emotion (including desire, feeling, and passion), sense-perception, memory, and imagination, and also our discursive capacities for conceptualization, thinking, self-consciousness, and rationality, (ii) necessarily, if the manifestly real world exists, then if sensible, discursive, conscious, and self-conscious rational human cognizers were to exist, they would be able to cognize that world veridically to some salient extent, which in turn is fully consistent with sensible, discursive, conscious, and self-conscious rational human cognizers not actually existing at any given time, and (iii) the existence of the manifestly real world necessitates the real possibility of sensible, discursive, conscious, and self-conscious rational human cognizers, but not their actual existence at any given time.

[ii] It should especially be noted that this dilemma doesn’t apply to Thomas Nagel, an early Analytic panpsychist (Nagel, 1979) who officially “confessed” to idealism in Mind and Cosmos (Nagel, 2012: p. 17), thereby implicitly opting out of Analytic philosophy; as a consequence, he paid a significant price in damaged professional academic reputation and status (Hanna, 2021b).

AGAINST PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY REDUX 759

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Mr Nemo

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.