Nino Kadic (KCL) - 2017-18 Students

Panpsychism and the Combination Problem

Panpsychism is the view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality. This ancient idea has sparked renewed interest in contemporary philosophy of mind for offering a new answer to the question of how consciousness emerges from the brain: it is present from the beginning, at the basic level of reality. Before offering a defence of panpsychism, however, I will first examine the debate contrasting physicalist and anti-physicalist theories of consciousness, with the former aiming to reduce the phenomenon to purely physical facts and the latter arguing for it being treated as robustly real. Then, I will define panpsychism and examine its most pressing issue: the combination problem or the question of how smaller subjects combine into larger, more complex subjects. After discussing various potential solutions to the combination problem, I will rely on cutting-edge research in order to present a new version of panpsychism that potentially avoids this issue. Ultimately, the aim is to argue that smaller subjects can produce larger subjects not solely via combination but through novel and previously underexplored relations.

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