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Dominic John Repici
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Panpsychism — has a few connotations, most notably that everything has consciousness. Within the context of machine based consciousness, it can be limited and turned around.

Here are some of the most common connotations. (A little messy here, for now):
  • Everything possesses consciousness (in the broadest sense of the word: everything) — This is the very high-level definition which is very well described (but not held) by David Chalmers. Everything here, includes things like "the number two."

  • Consciousness is a state of matter — Just like liquid, gas, solid, plasma, are states of matter. This would seem to imply (jmo) that matter may, or may not, take up a state of consciousness, and that it may be in a conscious state, and not be in any other states.

  • Consciousness is a fundamental characteristic of matter — Specifically, this is referred to as panprotopsychism, and an even more specific connotation is referred to as Russellian panprotopsychism. This can be thought of (loosely) as property dualism. These include characteristics like gravity, charge, mass, place, etc. These normally all exist simultaneously, as part of what makes matter, matter. For the record, this one seems most plausible to me. It comes from my own thesis that learning —entities not merely interacting, but adapting to one another— is ubiquitous, and that such inter-adaptation can be observed, even between particles at the smallest scales. This is seen in entanglement, and in the observer effect, for example.

  • Consciousness is a mental state of matter — This is the thesis that fundamental particles, such as electrons, and quarks, might have a mental state, which is consciousness. This is called constitutive panpsychism.

As stated, I'm currently leaning to the camp that considers panpsychism's "fundamental characteristic" connotation to be the most consistent with current understanding. In this connotation, panpsychism is described as the notion that consciousness is a fundamental characteristic of matter just as things like mass, gravity, and charge are characteristics of matter.

I would personally add that it may be a characteristic of matter, as well as forces, or more succinctly, it may be a characteristic of volumetric phenomena (phenomena that take up, or exist in, multi-dimensional space).

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This is just my own opinion. There is also the possibility that learning (i.e., adaptation) may be a fundamental property of consciousness. Learning, in this context, means an entity altering how it responds to a given stimulus in the future based on adaptive changes caused by current experiences (inter-adaptations). In this case, quantum interactions at the particle level, such as quantum entanglement, can be described as the lowest-level learning events, from which higher-level (macro) learning (adaptations) are all built. I would have referred to this as constitutive panspsychism if the name weren't already taken (perhaps "additive," or "cumulative"?). :-)

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Also: Phenomenal Consciousness        


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