Abstract Details

On the Possibility of a Mereological Argument Panpsychism  Gregory Miller (Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom)   C10

In this paper I present a new argument for panpsychism called the "mereological argument for panpsychism". This argument has not been discussed within the literature, but it rests on three premises which are already reasonably widely accepted and justifiable. The first premise is about consciousness realism, the second is about mereological realism, and the third is a constraint on mereological relations: Consciousness Realism: Conscious subjects (and their consciousness) are real irreducible parts of the world. Mereological Realism: The world exists and has a mereological structure of part-whole relations between its objects and properties. Mereological Confinement: mereological relations only occur between entities of the same broad ontological type. In short, the argument aims to show that panpsychism is true given the fact that conscious subjects are proper parts of the world. For if we are indeed proper parts of the world, and radically different types of things cannot be proper parts of one another, then our proper parts must be conscious subjects too, along with everything of which we are proper parts. This argument establishes a distinct type of panpsychism, one in which phenomenal consciousness is much more ubiquitous than most contemporary panpsychists will claim. Hence, the mereological argument provides a new form of panpsychism that has not been argued for within the literature. Mereological panpsychism, as the argument establishes, differs from other forms of panpsychism in at least three crucial respects: 1) It does not require or assume a priority ordering between the parts/whole of the cosmos and is in fact compatible with there not being one (or all levels being equally co-fundamental). 2) It differs in what Shani and Keppler call the vertical and horizontal dimensions (Shani and Keppler, 2018) of the theory because, on this view, consciousness goes "all the way up" and "all the way down". 3) Mereological panpsychism negates most understandings of the combination problem (c.f. Sam Coleman (Coleman, 2014, 2012) Miri Albahari (Albahari, forthcoming) Philip Goff (Goff, 2006) William James (James, 1912, 1890) Gregory Miller (Miller, 2018) Itay Shani (Shani, 2015) Gregg Rosenberg (Rosenberg, 2004) and Pierfrancesco Basile (Basile, 2010, 2008)). In the first half of the paper I lay out the argument, along with the first two premises, and in the second half of the paper I lay out the possible justifications for mereological confinement. I also distinguish this argument from the anti-emergence arguments of Nagel & Strawson, the genetic argument of James, and the intrinsic natures arguments of Sprigge, Seager, and Goff.