Philip Goff and the Solution of Panpsychism to the Mind-Body Problem

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— A master science and philosophy popularizer Philip Goff asks in one of the wonderful Pocket articles (which are default on the ‘new tab’ in the Firefox web browser), the question, “Consciousness: How Can I Experience Things That Aren’t ‘Real’?.” This is the “mind-body problem” which science, psychiatry and philosophy have been trying to answer for centuries, really since the early Greek philosophers. Traditionally there have been two, opposed main answers in philosophy, dualism and materialism. Thus we have the philosophical schools of idealism and materialism. Here we discuss Goff’s wonderful writings on the subject, and evidence, including good scientific evidence, that a third view might be more correct, called “panpsychism.”

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Philip Goff
and the Solution of Panpsychism
to the Mind-Body Problem

Descarte’s duality, Darwin’s materialism
or an Emerging Solution Called Panpsychism

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Pocket Worthy – The Conversation: Finally, some scientists, philosophers and thinkers are seeing a solution to the whole mind-body problem: Read Consciousness: How Can I Experience Things That Aren’t ‘Real’?, by Philip Goff. The mind-body problem: there are problems of dualism (the ghost in the machine), but there are also problems with the more modern ‘solution’ of materialism (which is the scientifically accepted and “kosher” solution in science and among most psychologists/psychiatrists). However, “there is no escape from this dilemma – either all matter is conscious, or consciousness is something distinct from matter”: Alfred Russel Wallace put the point succinctly in 1870. There is a third theory, “Panpsychism (which) is not a new theory, but it is newly popular, and it is still widely held to be ‘absurd’. It remains to be seen whether it will ever advance to “obvious”.

(from a book review in the Guardian of a book by Philip Goff, cited below), “Panpsychism is the view that there is an element of consciousness in all matter, or, somewhat more cautiously, that consciousness is one of the fundamental properties of matter.”

Certainly it seemed obvious to three winners of the Nobel prize for physics interviewed in the Observer in 1931: Ernst Schrödinger (“the material universe and consciousness are made out of the same stuff”), Louis de Broglie (“I regard consciousness and matter as different aspects of one and the same thing”) and Max Planck (“I regard consciousness as fundamental”). But they could see further than most of us. See a book review for Galileo’s Error – a new science of consciousness, by Philip Goff (on the Guardian). Paul — I would like to note that materialism cannot account for correct intuitive thought, nor for large logical leaps in otherwise mostly logical, left-brained thinking.

See Is Brain Stimulation the Next Big Thing?, Outside on Pocket, no date, by Alex Hutchinson: “Many athletes, coaches, and researchers have been seduced by performance-boosting promises of brain stimulation. On a ride-and-zap-your-brain-like-the-pros tour of the Alps, Alex Hutchinson wonders if it really works—and if we want it to.”

Similar is the plan to place a “neural mesh” on top of our neocortex which will connect the human mind to the internet. This is the project of Elon Musk, owner of Tesla motorcars and SpaceX. It is his contention that as we enter the technological singularity (as computers and machines become smarter than humans) — which I feel may be happening right now — we will have to “merge” our minds with technology “in order to stay relevant.” At this time the neural mesh has been tested on chimpanzees, with some success.

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