The HPP is pleased to announce the upcoming debate between Philip Goff (Durham University) & Alex Moran (Oxford University) 'Panpsychism and Naïve Realism: Grounding the Qualitative'
Time: Wednesday 19th February 2020, 4.30 – 6.00
Venue: University College, Oxford; Swire Seminar Room
Attendees are welcome to come along for drinks and dinner afterwards: to sign up for dinner please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In his recent book, Galileo’s Error, Philip Goff defends panpsychism, the view, roughly, that even fundamental particles are in some sense conscious, so that reality is permeated with mentality. This event is a debate between Philip Goff and Alex Moran about panpsychism and related issues.
As Goff observes in Galileo’s Error, while panpsychism is widely met with incredulity, it constitutes a widely neglected, but nonetheless very important, option for dealing with the so-called “mind-body problem”. What exactly is the mind-body problem? On the one hand, physics appears to show that reality is fundamentally quantitative. On the other hand, conscious experience seems to be distinctively qualitative. So, the problem can be thought of in the form of a challenge: how can we account for the qualitative properties involved in consciousness given that physics reveals our world to be fundamentally quantitative?
The panpsychist answers by arguing that in a sense, reality is not fundamentally quantitative, since the qualitative properties involved in consciousness are instantiated even by fundamental particles. Much of the debate will focus on this central claim. In particular, the debate will focus on a novel challenge to panpsychists from naïve realists, who insist that there are non-conscious qualitative properties, such as the redness of a rose, which the panpsychist cannot account for. Can the panpsychist meet this challenge? And if not, what is the right way to proceed? How, in other words, are qualitative properties to be grounded?
There will also be discussion of some more general questions relating to panpsychism and to Goff’s recent defence of it in Galileo’s Error. For instance, we will consider the well-known “combination problem” for panpsychism, as well as the claim, which is a central thesis of Galileo’s Error, that panpsychism should be taken just as seriously as the two much more standard options, namely dualism and materialism, for responding to the mind-body problem.