Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

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James_B
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Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by James_B »

I know, BK is opposed to panpsychism, however I think this is a grey area as not all versions of panpsychism are forms of physicalism. Rupert Sheldrake's description of panpsychism is one in which the entire universe is like a living organism & all living creatures are like cells in the organism (Baruch Spinoza had a similar view apparently). Then you have Peter Sjostedt-H, another non-physicalist, who is a panpsychist as well & has had some dialogue with BK a few years ago here (you can click on the link to read the full twitter thread, dunno how to display the whole thread on here my bad)



(Sjostedt-H in the thread recommends BK read one of Timothy Sprigge's books in which he defends an idealist-panpsychist position).

I acknowledge that there are physicalists, such as Galen Strawson, who consider themselves panpsychists as well. However, they're distinct from Sheldrake & Sjostedt-H who are clearly not physicalists.

I'm curious what the board's consensus on this is. I've not seen much dialogue regarding the different flavors of panpsychism & how it & idealism don't necessarily need to be mutually exclusive.
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Eugene I
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by Eugene I »

I think most versions of panpsychism fall under the ontological category of dual property monism in which both matter and consciousness are fundamental and irreducible to each other "properties"/aspects of the single OP. That is different from idealism that considers matter to be an epiphenomenon of consciousness and to be reducible to consciousness (as BK says "matter is how MAL ideations look like through the dissociative boundaries"). And that is also different from physicalism that claims all phenomena of consciousness and all conscious experiences to be epiphenomena of matter and to be reducible to matter. So, these views represent three different and incompatible with each other ontologies.
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by Marco Masi »

I don't think panpsychism and idealism are incompatible. If one embraces a Spinozian view which envisages all there is as a "mode" of the same "substance", then mind and matter are also two different modes of that substance. The panpsychist sees the fragmented self-differentites aspect of substance, the idealist sees the cosmic undifferentiated aspect of it. If one means by 'substance' what is nowadays considered 'phenomenal consciousness', one reconciles the two (only apparently irreconcilable) poles.
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

As BK often clarifies, it does depend upon how one is defining 'panpsychism', which in the broadest sense just means that mind is omnipresent, and so in that sense is not incompatible with idealism. However, what he is arguing against is so-called bottom-up panpsychism, i.e. the notion that there are discrete 'particles', i.e. the stuff of matter, that are somehow intrinsically conscious, such that there is something it feels like to be such an entity, which then combine together to form greater gestalts of consciousness such as metabolic organisms, which does not necessarily entail the existence of an all-encompassing Mind-at-large as the ontological principle.
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Eugene I
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by Eugene I »

Marco Masi wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 6:50 pm I don't think panpsychism and idealism are incompatible. If one embraces a Spinozian view which envisages all there is as a "mode" of the same "substance", then mind and matter are also two different modes of that substance. The panpsychist sees the fragmented self-differentites aspect of substance, the idealist sees the cosmic undifferentiated aspect of it. If one means by 'substance' what is nowadays considered 'phenomenal consciousness', one reconciles the two (only apparently irreconcilable) poles.
"Panpsychism" term is too vague IMO. Spinoza's philosophy is clearly a variant of dual aspect monism, while idealism is not. In idealism "matter" is not an aspect of "substance" (Ontic Fundamental), but only an "appearance" of it, similar to a hallucination being not an "aspect" of substance, but an appearance in the mind of a hallucinating individual.
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AshvinP
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 7:50 pm
Marco Masi wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 6:50 pm I don't think panpsychism and idealism are incompatible. If one embraces a Spinozian view which envisages all there is as a "mode" of the same "substance", then mind and matter are also two different modes of that substance. The panpsychist sees the fragmented self-differentites aspect of substance, the idealist sees the cosmic undifferentiated aspect of it. If one means by 'substance' what is nowadays considered 'phenomenal consciousness', one reconciles the two (only apparently irreconcilable) poles.
"Panpsychism" term is too vague IMO. Spinoza's philosophy is clearly a variant of dual aspect monism, while idealism is not. In idealism "matter" is not an aspect of "substance" (Ontic Fundamental), but only an "appearance" of it, similar to a hallucination being not an "aspect" of substance, but an appearance in the mind of a hallucinating individual.

I am curious why you say Spinoza is "clearly variant of dual aspect monism"? That is not my impression of it, but that impression may be incomplete.
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Eugene I
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by Eugene I »

AshvinP wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:13 pm I am curious why you say Spinoza is "clearly variant of dual aspect monism"? That is not my impression of it, but that impression may be incomplete.
Well, may be I was too quick to claim that, I'm also not so familiar with his philosophy, but based on what Marco said
If one embraces a Spinozian view which envisages all there is as a "mode" of the same "substance", then mind and matter are also two different modes of that substance.
- this is clearly a dual-monistic statement, but I do not know if this is what Spinoza actually meant or if this is only Marco's interpretation
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AshvinP
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Re: Is Idealism & Panpsychism Really Incompatible?

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:09 am
AshvinP wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:13 pm I am curious why you say Spinoza is "clearly variant of dual aspect monism"? That is not my impression of it, but that impression may be incomplete.
Well, may be I was too quick to claim that, I'm also not so familiar with his philosophy, but based on what Marco said
If one embraces a Spinozian view which envisages all there is as a "mode" of the same "substance", then mind and matter are also two different modes of that substance.
- this is clearly a dual-monistic statement, but I do not know if this is what Spinoza actually meant or if this is only Marco's interpretation

If I understand correctly, dual-aspect monism posits an underlying essence which is not identical to conscious activity, but gives rise to conscious activity and non-conscious "matter". What does it posit as the underlying essence? I have never been clear on that. Or maybe I just don't understand DAM and how it is different from monist idealism. Clearly the ideal essence currently presents as two aspects to our experience, although I do not think that has always been the nature of human experience or those aspects have always presented in the same way. I am not sure why DAM, if it takes that view, cannot be subsumed by the idealism of Coleridge, for ex. The only reason I can think of is it unconsciously desires to keep the "essence" outside the purview of ideal knowledge.

As for Spinoza, I am still not sure. We can certainly speak of conscious "modes" or "perspectives" within idealism. Although it seems to me he was still ensnared by the non-existent "third person perspective" of Cartesian rationalism, especially if he thought of the essence as "substance" and not "process". But I don't know how he would have been using the word "substance". Prior to thinkers like Goethe and Hegel, I am not sure if the concept of essential "process" even occurred to people in the same way it does now.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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