RE: What exactly is "panpsychism"?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Jan 12 2004 - 05:57:39 MST

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 02:02:41 -0500
> "Yan King Yin" <> wrote:
> >
> > I think David Chalmers and some other philosophers
> > have got it right already, it's called functionalism.
> > Basically any structure with information-processing
> > abilities will generate qualia, and the qualia is
> > *independent* of space-scale, time-scale, and
> > substrate. It could be neurons, silicon, it could be
> > intergalactic (if you can muster up so much energy),
> > it could execute only 1 instruction per a million year.
> >

I don't believe that, in every relevant sense, qualia are independent of
physical source of origin...

There is a sense in which all qualia are one, all qualia are equally intense
and energetic, etc.

Then there is a sense in which some qualia are more vivid and intense than
others ---- some of my qualia are more vivid and intense than others ...
and, I hypothesize, all of my qualia are much more vivid and intense than
those of a rock!

This notion of "qualia intensity" is foundational, and I wonder if it could
be used to ground a theory of complexity? This is something to think

> So my PDA "generates qualia"? Is that the same as experiencing
> qualia or is it some other thing? This wonderful replacement
> for "ether" permeates all objects, organizations of matter/energy
> and all their known and most remotely possible interactions. I
> wonder exactly what good such a universally assumed something is.
> If rocks have qualia then it is to be assumed that the moral will
> need be responsible for keeping rocks maximally happy. <sigh>

Here the notion of qualia intensity is important, however.

I.e.: How many rocks' happiness does it take to give the same total qualia
intensity as one human's happiness? ;-)

[said tongue halfway in cheek -- I must re-emphasize that all these
discussions about qualia are still unsatisfyingly "slippery" to me ...
although I do consider this a fascinating direction for intellectual


-- Ben G

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