Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Philosophy

Department

Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Donovan Wishon

Second Advisor

Robert Barnard

Third Advisor

Steven Skultety

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

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.

Included in

Philosophy Commons

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