DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N079-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 28, 2021, from

Article Summary

Panpsychism is the thesis that physical nature is composed of individuals each of which is to some degree sentient. It is somewhat akin to hylozoism, but in place of the thesis of the pervasiveness of life in nature substitutes the pervasiveness of sentience, experience or, in a broad sense, consciousness. There are two distinct grounds on which panpsychism has been based. Some see it as the best explanation of the emergence of consciousness in the universe to say that it is, in fact, universally present, and that the high-level consciousness of humans and animals is the product of special patterns of that low-level consciousness or feeling which is universally present. The other ground on which panpsychism is argued for is that ordinary knowledge of the physical world is only of its structure and sensory effects on us, and that the most likely inner content which fills out this structure and produces these experiences is a system of patterns of sentient experience of a low level.

    Citing this article:
    Sprigge, T.L.S.. Panpsychism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N079-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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