A comment on a remark in Colin McGinn's article in The New Statesman <http://www.newstatesman.com/ideas/2012/02/consciousness-mind-brain>

"The trouble with panpsychism is that there just isn't any evidence of the universal distribution of consciousness in the material world. Atoms don't act conscious; they act unconscious. And also, what precisely is on their microscopic minds - little atomic concerns? What does it mean to say that atoms have consciousness in some primitive form (often called "proto-consciousness")? They either have real sensations and thoughts or they don't. What is a tiny quantity of consciousness like, exactly? Panpsychism looks a lot like preformationism in biology: we try to explain the emergence of organic life by supposing that it already exists in microscopic form in the pre-life world - as if the just-fertilised egg has a little, fully formed baby curled up in it waiting to expand during gestation."

In defense of panpsychism I would like to point out that we must examine the question of evidence here. What exactly would be "evidence" viz a viz "there just isn't any evidence of the universal distribution of consciousness in the material world"?!

How would we humans come to know with any modicum of scientific certainty whether or not an atom is conscious. McGinn's remark considers panpsychism to be analogous to preformationalism in biology and thus, given our current understanding of DNA and genomes, we can see some kind of correctness to that idea, albeit one that casts aside the narrow materialist straight-jacket. If, as some <http://consc.net/papers/nature.html> have reasoned, consciousness is indeed a basic aspect of our universe, then I don't see an escape from the panpsychist conclusion.

The question then remains: How do we deal with the question of the existence of sensations "in" atoms?

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Onward!

Stephen

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

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