Re: What exactly is "panpsychism"?

From: Paul Fidika (
Date: Sun Jan 11 2004 - 08:16:33 MST

Samantha Atkins:
>I am underwhelmed. The summation is an empty
>global assertion I would expect to see in a religious
>text. The construct regarding every physical process
>embodying all possible worlds is utterly non-sensical.
>The core notion above seems to amount to little more
>than saying that all interpretations read into observable
>facts are in a fundmental sense real or at least they are
>if the interpretation is "complex enough" to contain
>self-aware observers. If the "interpretation" was what
>convinced you of the advanced civilization residing in
>a soap bubble in your bath, then it is certainly not true
>that you can now drop your mere needless
>interpretation and let the soap-bubble
>super-civilization go on its way.

Sorry, I don't think that Metaqualia explained panpsychism well at all when
he quoted Hans Moravec; what you're talking about above (and in Moravec's
quote) is more like some kind of "quantum mysticism" than panpsychism. I
consider myself a panpsychist at the moment, and all I mean by asserting
this is that I believe all things have qualia to a certain extent. A quale
is simply "what it's like to be in some state," e.g. information, and
because all things, from rocks to raindrops, posses information and can
"extract" information from other sources (like when a rock extracts
information about a surface when it collides with it), this means they must
all have qualia. Of course, I'm definitely not asserting that rocks are
"conscious" or "sentient" by any reasonable definition of the word; they're
far too simple for that, all I've asserted is that there is something it is
like to be a rock, and probably not much at that. Though rocks absorb all of
their photons and soundwaves unfocused, unfiltered, and with no
pre-conceived notions, they "see" reality in full as it truly is; I suppose
there's a certain Taoistic virtue in that. ;-)

My current working hypothesis is that the complexity and richness of qualia
corresponds directly to the complexity of the algorithm. If you had two Paul
Fidikas; myself and a "Brute-Force Paul Fidika," who consisted simply of a
long list of IF Percept A, Then Action B rules. If Brute-Force Paul had
enough of these rules, like more than would reasonably fit into our
universe, and if these were carefully constructed to make Brute-Force Paul
do whatever I would do in any given situation, then we would both be
functionally equivalent. HOWEVER, I believe that Brute-Force Paul would have
much less qualia than I, in fact, no more qualia than a really long and
stupid list of switch-statements in C++, because that's "all" he is, after

Also for the record, Searle and his "information relativism" doesn't like
panpsychism (see Chapter six of The Mystery of Consciousness and his
exchange with David Chalmers therein), although all Searle can ever muster
up against it is "my intuition suggests that panpsychism is a load of BS,
but I can't come up with even a remotely good reason as to why that would be
true." He doesn't actually come out and say that, but like any good
philosopher rambles on and on for a few pages about nothing (poor
fluent-aphasiac ;-p ).

~Paul Fidika

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