Panpsychism in the West, revised edition
384 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: September 22, 2017
- Published: September 15, 2017
An updated edition of a comprehensive study of the theory that mind exists, in some form, in all living and nonliving things.
In Panpsychism in the West, the first comprehensive study of the subject, David Skrbina argues for the importance of panpsychism—the theory that mind exists, in some form, in all living and nonliving things—in consideration of the nature of consciousness and mind. Panpsychism, with its conception of mind as a general phenomenon of nature, uniquely links being and mind. More than a theory of mind, it is a meta-theory—a statement about theories of mind rather than a theory in itself. Panpsychism can parallel almost every current theory of mind; it simply holds that, no matter how one conceives of mind, such mind applies to all things. After a brief discussion of general issues surrounding philosophy of mind, Skrbina examines the panpsychist views of philosophers from the pre-Socratics to the post-structuralists.
The original edition of Panpsychism in the West helped to reinvigorate a neglected and important aspect of philosophic thinking. This revised edition offers expanded and updated material that reflects the growth of panpsychism as a subdiscipline. It covers the problem of emergence of mind from a non-mental reality and the combination problem in greater detail. It offers expanded coverage of the pre-Socratics and Plato; a new section on Augustine; expanded discussions of Continental panpsychism, scientific arguments, Nietzsche, and Whitehead; and a new section on Russellian monism. With this edition, Panpsychism in the West will be continue to be the standard work on the topic.
As a natural scientist, I find a suitably modified version of panpsychism to be the single most elegant and parsimonious explanation of the universe I find myself in. But that is a different story. Skrbina's volume gives a great introduction to this doctrine and its reception in the West, from ancient times until today.
Christof Koch, President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, author of Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
This rollicking history tour is detailed and complete enough both to school philosophers of mind and to provoke historians of philosophy of mind. In assembling many historical and contemporary arguments, it also sets the agenda for contemporary friends and foes of panpsychism.
Eric Lormand, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor