David Chalmers on Panpsychism and Panprotopsychism

David Chalmers is my favorite philosopher. I mentioned him in 4 other posts:

David Chalmers is an important thinker. I recommend that you bookmark the web page of his academic papers.


His recent paper titled “Panpsychism and Panprotopsychism” is really interesting. I may comment on that paper later.

I have to remind you that David Chalmers is writing about the mental states of elementary particles in this paper. He is not discussing Consciousness with a capital “C.” Consciousness with “C” capitalized is the Godhead the ultimate reality. The “consciousness” with a small “c” is different, it refers to perception or awareness. In human beings the “consciousness” is also known as “waking-consciousness.” Everything is transformed Consciousness of course but depending on the stage of transformation we call it differently: mind, energy, matter, elementary particle, mental state, awareness, perception, consciousness with a small “c.”

The following is an excerpt from this paper to give you a taste of the contents:

“I will understand panpsychism as the thesis that some fundamental physical entities are conscious: that is, that there is something it is like to be a quark or a photon or a member of some other fundamental physical type. This thesis is sometimes called panexperientialism, to distinguish it from other varieties of panpsychism (varieties on which the relevant entities are required to think or reason, for example), but I will simply call it panpsychism here.

Panpsychism is sometimes dismissed as a crazy view, but this reaction on its own is not a serious objection. While the view is counterintuitive to some, there is good reason to think that any view of consciousness must embrace some counterintuitive conclusions. Furthermore, intuitions about panpsychism seem to vary heavily with culture and with historical period. The view has a long history in both Eastern and Western philosophy, and many of the greatest philosophers have taken it seriously. It is true that we do not have much direct evidence for panpsychism, but we also do not have much direct evidence against it, given the diculties of detecting the presence or absence of consciousness in other systems. And there are indirect reasons, of a broadly theoretical character, for taking the view seriously.”


About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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