Thoughts on William James, Pure Experience, and Materialism

Idealism and panpsychism seem to me to make easy friends in the debate against materialism. They both affirm that consciousness or experience or mind in some generic sense are intrinsic to Nature. There are important differences between idealism and panpsychism, of course, and there are a variety of ways one can be an idealist or [...]

Physicalism and Its Discontents: A Study in Whitehead’s Panexperientialist Alternative [draft]

UPDATE: Here is a PDF of the final draft accepted for publication under the revised title "The Varieties of Physicalist Ontology: A Study in Whitehead's Process-Relational Alternative." I've just finished drafting this article, which will hopefully be featured in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences focused on panpsychism. It still [...]

Panpsychism: a brief reply to Massimo Pigliucci

 The Side View recently published an essay by Massimo Pigliucci titled "The Stoic God is Untenable in Light of Modern Science." Pigliucci is entering into a critical dialogue with a few other Side View authors, Brittany Polat and Kai Whiting, about how best to inherit from ancient Stoic philosophy.  I don't have a horse in the contemporary interpretations of [...]

“Electrons Don’t Think” by Sabine Hossenfelder

The following is a comment I posted on the physicist and blogger Sabine Hossenfelder's blog Backreaction to a post titled "Electrons Don't Think." https://backreaction.blogspot.com/2019/01/electrons-dont-think.html Hi Sabine. I discovered your blog last night after Googling "Carlo Rovelli and Alfred North Whitehead." It brought me to Tam Hunt's interview with Rovelli. I have been studying Rovelli's popular [...]

Integrating Space-Time: Non-Dual Idealism, or Physics of the World-Soul?

Metaphysics is serious play. Serious because (if done well) it demands a reckoning with death, with limit as such, with finitude and necessity. Play because (if done well) it frees us from our perceived finitude to partake in the process of realization itself. Materialism and idealism, though mutuality exclusive as metaphysical positions, are nonetheless symbiotically [...]

Panpsychist Physicalism (continued)

Continuing the discussion about "panpsychist physicalism," I'm sharing another one of my replies over at The Skeptical Zone (click here to read what I am responding to).  Thanks for the reply, keiths. Of course, everything depends on what we mean by physicalism. "Scientific materialism" is a phrase I borrow from Whitehead to refer to an outdated [...]

Panpsychist Physicalism

[Written partially as a response to some discussion over in The Skeptical Zone]: Physicalism is the idea that the universe is fundamentally composed of entirely blind, deaf, dumb–DEAD–particles in purposeless motion through empty space. For some reason, these dumb particles follow the orders of a system of eternal mathematical laws that, for some reason, the [...]

What is Life? (Part 2)

Continuing a dialogue in the comments of my last post, particularly the question of whether rocks have agency... An organic realism would suggest that some processes within rocks do have varying degrees of agency. Crystallization is telic. Atoms are self-organizing ecopoietic agents. The periodic table of elements is a taxonomic hierarchy that sorts different species [...]

Archetypal Panpsychism: Whitehead, Jung, & Hillman

If you happen to live near Boise, Becca and I will travel there in January to give a weekend workshop for the Idaho Friends of Jung. January 20-21, 2017 Archetypal Panpsychism:  Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman A presentation by Matthew D. Segall, PhD, & Becca Tarnas, ABD Friday Lecture, 7:00 – 9:00 PM; Saturday Workshop, 10:00 AM – [...]

Panpsychism and Emergentism: a discussion with ProfessorAnton

I posted Neil Theise's video "Complexity Theory & Panpsychism" on FaceBook last week, and Corey Anton posted a response criticizing panpsychism and defending his own emergentist perspective. Their videos are below. Corey and I have gone back and forth on this issue a number of times over the years. I posted a set of responses to [...]

John Horgan’s article in “Scientific American” on Panpsychism

John Horgan published an essay in Scientific American a few days ago criticizing Tononi's integrated information theory of consciousness. I don't understand Integrated Information Theory well enough to defend it, but I applaud the effort to make progress toward a scientifically operationalizable definition of consciousness. But it seems to me that part of the problem [...]