One Cheer, But Only One, For Analytic Panpsychism.

By Robert Hanna

“Integra Naturae Speculum Artisque Imago” (Fludd, 1617–1618)

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One Cheer, But Only One, For Analytic Panpsychism

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, 2015: section 7.3). [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 — because it’s much too strong a thesis, and 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 correspondingly, it’s a far more plausible thesis 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) — and also that a distinct non-panpsychist idealist metaphysical thesis, which affirms liberal naturalism but rejects the ubiquity of the mental, called weak transcendental idealism, is indeed true (Hanna and Maiese, 2009: chs. 6–8, esp. pp. 300–301, 321–323; Hanna, 2015: section 7.3, 2022: section 4.4).[i] [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. 1–4). [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).

REFERENCES

(Chalmers, 1996). Chalmers, D., The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

(Fludd, 1617–1618). Fludd, R. ““Integra Naturae Speculum Artisque Imago.” In R. Fludd, Tractatus Secundus De Naturae Simia Seu Technica Macrocosmi Histori. Available online at URL = <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Fludd,_Integra_naturae_speculum_artisque_imago.jpg>.

(Goff, 2017). Goff, P. Consciousness and Fundamental Reality. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

(Goff, Seager, and Allen-Hermanson, 2021). Goff, P., Seager, S., and Allen-Hermanson, S. “Panpsychism.” In E.N. Zalta (ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter Edition. Available online at URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2021/entries/panpsychism/>.

(Hanna, 2001). Hanna, R. Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford Univ. Press. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2006). Hanna, R. Kant, Science, and Human Nature. Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford Univ. Press. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2021a). Hanna, R., The Fate of Analysis: Analytic Philosophy From Frege to The Ash-Heap of History. New York: Mad Duck Coalition. Affordably available in hardcover, softcover, and Epub at URL = <https://themadduckcoalition.org/product/the-fate-of-analysis/>.

(Hanna, 2021b). Hanna, R. “Nagel & Me: Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview.” Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Hanna, 2022). Hanna, R. The Philosophy of the Future: Uniscience and the Modern World. Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Hanna and Maiese, 2009). Hanna, R. and Maiese, M. Embodied Minds in Action. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Available online in preview HERE.

(Murphy, 2022). Murphy, P.A. “The Recent Rise of ‘Analytic Panpsychism’: 1996 to 2022.” Medium. 4 May. Available online at URL = <https://medium.com/@paulaustinmurphy2000/the-recent-rise-of-analytic-panpsychism-1996-to-2022-ebe1092727f2>.

(Nagel, 1979). Nagel, T. “Panpsychism.” In T. Nagel, Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. Pp. 181–195.

(Nagel, 2012). Nagel, T. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

(Strawson, 2006a). “Realistic Materialism: Why Physicalism Entails Panpsychism.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. 13: 3–31.

(Strawson, 2006b). “Panpsychism? Replies to Commentators and a Celebration of Descartes. Journal of Consciousness Studies. 13: 184–208.

(Thompson, 2007). Thompson, E. Mind in Life. Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

(Torday, Miller Jr, and Hanna, 2020). Torday, J.S., Miller, W.B. Jr, and Hanna, R. “Singularity, Life, and Mind: New Wave Organicism.” In J.S. Torday and W.B. Miller Jr, The Singularity of Nature: A Convergence of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020. Ch. 20, pp. 206–246.

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