Category Archives: philosophy

Another befuddled person touts panpsychism, proposing some possible (but impossible) tests of the idea that all matter is conscious

I continue to be baffled by the presence and lucubrations of apparently sentient people who claim that consciousness inheres in all matter, from electrons to us. This view that everything (including the Universe itself) is conscious is called panpsychism, and I’ve written about it at length. Why is this cockeyed theory so popular? Because it purports to […]

New Scientist touts panpsychism

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Proverbs 26:11 Matthew sent me a link to this new article in New Scientist. Yes, yet another credulous git has fallen for panpsychism. Click on the screenshot to read just the first three paragraphs (it’s paywalled, though the content of this […]

Panpsychism: a big bag of nothing

I was suckered by the Courtier’s Reply of panpsychists like Philip Goff, and so have finished his popular (i.e., trade) book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. I am not going to summarize it or review it at length, as it says little beyond what I’ve summarized previously. It has not convinced […]

Even more on panpsychism

As I near the end of Philip Goff’s trade book (Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness), aimed at convincing the public that panpsychism is true, I came across a tweet that led me to an online “letters” conversation between Goff and philosopher/biologist Massimo Pigliucci, which you can read in the second screenshot […]

A philosophical red flag

Okay, I took the bait and am now reading Philip Goff’s trade book on panpsychism, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. (Why do I let myself repeatedly fall victim to the Courtier’s Reply? I am a sucker.) It hasn’t convinced me so far that matter is somehow conscious, and yet there seem to […]

Muddled philosopher: Consciousness could not have evolved

Here’s another philosopher who’s wrecked himself on the shoals of reason and logic when trying to deal with consciousness. Not all philosophers screw up when discussing issues of neuroscience, of course (Patricia Churchland and Dan Dennett are among those who are pretty much on the mark), but so often many of them simply look ridiculous, […]

Panpsychism: an interview and a critique

Yes, we’re gonna have more on panpsychism today, and, after I read Goff’s book (coming via interlibrary loan) I think I’m pretty much done. I’ve now finished Annaka Harris’s book book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind, and, as I said yesterday, it’s a good read but suffers from her […]

Do you care about your legacy?

There’s no doubt that many people on this planet worry about how they’ll be seen after they’re dead. Some of that leads to good acts, like endowing libraries and universities with buildings that bear your name. And some of it may be a kind of “kin selection”: perhaps your postmortem reputation will affect how people […]

A good critique of panpsychism but a lousy alternative

The article at hand was published by the Institute of Art and Ideas, a British organization that I hadn’t heard of but is described by Wikipedia thusly: The Institute of Art and Ideas is an arts organisation founded in 2008 in London. Its programming includes the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn and the online channel IAI TV, where […]

Podcast: Dan Dennett and Sean Carroll on illusions, consciousness, free will, and other stuff

Reader Paul called my attention to a new episode of Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast. It’s two hours long, so of course I don’t have the patience to listen to it (you can by clicking on the screenshot below), but fortunately there’s a transcript you can get by clicking on “Click to show episode transcript” near […]