Galen Strawson on Consciousness

9 comments:

  1. Pan? Where does he say all matter thinks? He even mentions lumpen stuff at the end. He asserts *some* matter has thoughts. As do reductionists who believe brains or computers think. Any materialist believes some matter has thoughts.

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    1. "He even mentions lumpen stuff at the end."

      To dismiss the idea. He says matter is different than that. He endorses Whitehead's view, e.g., panpsychism. On Wikipedia we find: "Strawson has argued that what he calls realistic physicalism ENTAILS panpsychism."

      So you are unable to read an article by Strawson correctly, just like my blog posts!

      And no: "Any materialist believes some matter has thoughts."

      No, Ken, materialists like Rosenberg insist that consciousness is an illusion.

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    2. "Any materialist believes some matter has thoughts."

      By the way, Ken, this is kind of like finding someone going on about OO languages, and declaring "It is impossible that an OO language can be interpreted!"

      Why would you want to make declarations on something like this when you clearly don't know the field?

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    3. Oh, and last thing: "thinking" is your interpolation. Strawson is talking about *consciousness*. And his view is that all matter is conscious, in at least a primitive fashion. (This is why he is one of the best known proponents of panpsychism today, a fact a quick google could have confirmed for you.)

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    4. I shall jump in boldly at this point to defend poor Ken B! Strawson does not specify panpsychism or partial pyschism in this article. Indeed, he has very little to say about his own views. He regards as a mistake the idea that “consciousness can’t be physical”, which he believes is inspired by “our everyday experience of matter as lumpen stuff”. Restating the same premise, Strawson asserts that there is “no good reason to think that [it] is true, and overwhelming reason to think it’s false” that “‘things don’t have thoughts.’” At no point does he say that all things are conscious or have thoughts. He does not say that there is no such thing as lumpen stuff. What he does say is equally compatible with a view that some things are conscious and others are not. Of course, it doesn’t surprise me that Strawson is a panpsychist (as am I, by the way) per other sources.

      P.S. “Thinking” is not an interpolation unless you regard “thinking” as different from “thoughts”. Strawson brings up thoughts via the Stoppard quotation.

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    5. Sorry, Greg, when I read it, it was clear to me that what Strawson was talking about was panpsychism. And given that he IS a panpsychist, I stand by my initial reading.

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    6. Let me be concessionary: I admit that if one did not know Strawson was a panpsychist, it might be difficult to pick up that that was what he was talking about. But Ken did not simply ask, "Why do you think this is panpsychist?" He essentially declared I was absurd for even thinking this was panpsychism. Thus my perhaps harsh response.

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  2. Nonsense Gene. You claim someone endorses X and link to where he discusses Y. I quote his comments on Y. And I even asked where the endorsement of X was to be found!

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    1. And I told you exactly where: for instance, he mentions several panpsychist philosopher, and says "These guys had the right answer!"

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