It seems that many people think that the basic mechanisms of the brain are understood, at least in outline. Therefore what we don’t understand is somehow a mystery that requires a mystical explanation. One of these mystical explanations is panconsciousness.



What theory appears to do is to make consciousness a fundamental particle, like say an electron or a quark. But one that physics has not found. Why might physics have missed a fundamental particle? The obvious answer is because it has no effect on other fundamental particles due to having no mass, no charge, other electromagnetic effect, or weak force etc. There appears to be nothing it can do to conventional matter or energy and therefore cannot be ‘seen’ by physics. If it is present then it is aware of itself but nothing is aware of it. Great – this is just another dualism. It is just another mystical, magical, spiritual way to avoid the physical world.



There is no need for this. The brain is far from completely understood but there is continual progress. Don’t panic and jump into dualism.


5 thoughts on “Pan-nonsense

    • Thanks. I have to say the panconsciousness has been used by a few not philosophical people with various meanings (communicating consciousness between people, all animals are conscious, all life is conscious, the universe is conscious, and some ‘woo’ religious ideas that I cannot even follow). I was not wanting to get into all the baggage that panpsychism carries from its great age, from before the Greeks to modern philosophy. It is plain that panpsychism is dualist. No surprise there and not need for me to point it out. I was addressing what seemed to me a more vague undercurrent among people how want the mystery preserved and justify that by the failure of brain science to have explained consciousness in the few years that it has even considered the question. I was especially aiming at those that imply vaguely that they are being scientific about their mystery.
      I have to admit that I wrote the post quickly with an amused, ironic smile on my face. It is sort of a satire and not my usual style. You are quite right to call me on it. Janet

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