Date of Award
M.A. in Philosophy
Philosophy and Religion
It is only recently that panpsychism has emerged as a viable position in philosophy of mind and metaphysics. As such, the exploration and defense of it is not yet on par with some competing views. The current project is a step towards a remedy to this unfortunate state of affairs. It concerns one of the most important objections to the view, which I label the 'mind-dust' objection in homage to William James. It is essentially the conceptual difficulty of how proto-experiential being at the micro-level is supposed to 'sum' in a way that forms the consciousness with which we are intimately aware. I argue that the objection is more forceful than some suppose, and attempt to explicate a way around it. A possible route to circumvent the problem, I explain, is to develop a suggestion made by Grover Maxwell almost forty years ago. The insight is to conceive of proto-experiences not as particles or bits but as fields of influence. The end result is a position that looks in many ways similar to the epistemic neutral monism of Bertrand Russell, but is also a novel version of panpsychism. The suggestion is simply this: it might be the case that we should think of the world as inherently and ontologically qualitative in nature. I call this resultant position panqualiaism and hope that it represents a step forward.
Hamilton, John Heath, "Panpsychism And Mind-Dust" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 749.