Panpsychism and Its Impractical Allure

FadinGeek
2 min readOct 20, 2023

In the realm of philosophy, panpsychism is an intriguing yet deeply controversial concept that proposes a fundamental shift in our understanding of consciousness. It posits that not only humans and animals possess consciousness, but also that consciousness is a universal property present in everything, from inanimate objects to particles. While panpsychism may captivate the imagination, it faces significant challenges, making it impractical to accept as a comprehensive theory of consciousness.

Why Richard Feynman (the Superstar Physicist) Hated Philosophy and  Philosophers

At first glance, the idea that every entity, from a grain of sand to a teapot, harbors some form of consciousness seems alluring. It offers a way to bridge the notorious “hard problem of consciousness” – the puzzle of how subjective experience arises from the physical brain. However, as we delve deeper into the implications and practicality of panpsychism, several issues arise.

First, one must grapple with the problem of “combination.” If we assume that even the tiniest particles possess consciousness, how do these micro-consciousnesses combine to create the rich, coherent experiences we associate with human or animal consciousness? Panpsychism does not offer a clear mechanism for this aggregation of consciousness.

Second, it raises questions about the nature of consciousness in vastly different entities. Does a rock experience consciousness in a way similar to a human being? Without a framework to distinguish and compare these diverse forms of consciousness, the theory becomes nebulous.

Moreover, panpsychism introduces a level of complexity that may be conceptually unwieldy. To claim that every entity, from galaxies to subatomic particles, has its unique form of consciousness strains the bounds of practicality and testability. It becomes challenging to devise experiments or empirical tests to confirm or refute such a sweeping hypothesis.

While panpsychism sparks fascination, it may ultimately be an impractical and unverifiable theory. The allure of imbuing everything with consciousness may not be enough to overcome the conceptual and empirical challenges it presents. As we continue to explore the nature of consciousness, it is essential to balance our fascination with theoretical elegance with the pragmatic realities of developing a comprehensive theory that can be rigorously tested and applied. Panpsychism, while tantalizing, may ultimately remain an elusive dream in the quest to understand the mysteries of the mind.

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FadinGeek

My thoughts and world. Just want to keep sharing thoughts, experiments & new stuff. YouTube, Instagram, Patreon, BuyMeACoffee, you could reach me out anywhere!