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Panpsychism and the Religious Attitude

D. S. Clarke

Publication Year: 2003

Human beings have thoughts, sensations, and feelings and think that at least some of this mental life is shared with domestic and wild animals. But, are there reduced degrees of mentality found in mosquitoes, bacteria, and even more primitive natural bodies? Panpsychists think so and have defended this belief throughout the history of philosophy, beginning with the ancient Greeks and continuing into the present. In this bold, challenging book, D. S. Clarke outlines reasons for accepting panpsychism and defends the doctrine against its critics. He proposes it as an alternative to the mechanistic materialism and humanism that dominate present-day philosophy.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x

This work is an essay in defense of panpsychism, the view affirming the presence throughout nature of mentality in the form of a qualitative perspective on an environment. Panpsychism has had a long history marked by a variety of formulations and much controversy. It has had its advocates in the nineteenth and twentieth...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-17

Panpsychism has been developed in a variety of ways through the course of philosophy. In the first section of this chapter, I offer an introductory sketch that abstracts some common features within this variety. In very general terms, panpsychism is the view that mentality is present in all natural bodies with unified and persisting...

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2. Versions of Panpsychism

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pp. 19-53

Panpsychism has its origins in Greek philosophy, but its formulation as a comprehensive metaphysical theory came only much later in the writings of Leibniz. Its contemporary version is commonly identified with that developed in the twentieth century by Whitehead and Hartshorne. The next four sections trace the central...

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3. Humanist and Mechanist Alternatives

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pp. 55-83

The dominance of humanism within philosophy since Descartes explains in great measure the incredulity with which panpsychism is usually greeted. Humanism seems to rest on three related considerations. First, there is appeal to the uniqueness of the human linguistic capacity. On the basis of this uniqueness, it is argued that we must...

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4. Mental Ascriptions

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pp. 85-100

So far I have been presenting panpsychism as a metaphysical doctrine and locating it relative to the alternatives of philosophical humanism and universal mechanism. The initial reasoned basis for the doctrine we have seen to lie in analogical inferences that compare human behavior and anatomical structures with those of other...

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5. Mentality and Evolution

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pp. 101-127

That matter could be created out of nothing we regard as an irrational dogma of Christian theology inconsistent both with Einstein’s equation e=mc² relating energy to matter and with the law of conservation of energy. If matter is in fact a form of energy, and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, then how could God have...

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6. The Theistic Alternative

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pp. 129-144

At the core of theism, as I shall understand it here, is the view that mentality can be attributed to the universe as the whole of which all individual natural bodies are a part. Just as we attribute mentality to certain natural bodies, so we must attribute it to this whole. Within theism there are many differences over how best to...

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7. The Religious Attitude

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pp. 145-176

To understand the relationship between panpsychism and religion we must first abstract a common religious attitude from the various forms in which it is expressed with the world’s religions. This attitude is characterized here as one that regards mentality as eternal and places a priority on a sense of the eternal in the way we...


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pp. 177-187


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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-201

E-ISBN-13: 9780791487044
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791456859
Print-ISBN-10: 0791456854

Page Count: 212
Publication Year: 2003