Re: What exactly is "panpsychism"?

From: Yan King Yin (
Date: Thu Jan 15 2004 - 01:09:12 MST

From: Samantha Atkins <>

>> 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.
>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.

Sorry about the delay, and also my wording is not very
professional. It should be "experiencing" qualia.

>If rocks have qualia then it is to be assumed that the moral will need
>be responsible for keeping rocks maximally happy. <sigh>

Rocks don't have qualia because its information-processing
ability is next to zero (under everyday circumstances).
Likewise a PDA is not very complex either. Human consciousness
is interesting partly because we have this reflexive mechanism
in our brain that allows us to monitor our own thoughts.
Neuroscientists are actually trying to figure out exactly
where this is located in the brain. A lot of similar, complex
mechanisms add up to create interesting qualia.

This view (functionalism) is quite widely accepted I think,
perhaps not exactly "orthodox".


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