Panpsychism: Combination, and Future Directions

February 4, 2022 - February 12, 2022
Indo-pacific Mind and Metaphysics Research Group


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Durham University
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
American University of Beirut
University of Western Ontario
New York University
Sun Yat Sen University, Zhuhai Campus
Heath Williamns
University of Notre Dame Australia


Sun Yat Sen University, Zhuhai Campus
Heath Williams
University of Notre Dame Australia

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Abstract    Panpsychism is now a bona fide potential solution to the metaphysical quandary of consciousness. Much of the debate concerning the viability of panpsychist approaches to the metaphysics of mind is centered on the combination problem (CP), namely, the problem of explaining how the putative manifestation of experience at the most basic micro-level of concrete reality comprises and substantiates the emergent actuality of familiar macro-level consciousness. In the present workshop we wish to attend, in particular, to the subject combination problem (SCP) — a central variant of CP which many consider to be the most notorious and difficult to solve. Furthermore, we wish to focus on constitutive micropsychism (CM) , an important variant of panpsychism, according to which the experiences of ordinary macro-subject are ontologically grounded in the primitive experiences of micro-subjects. In short, our goal is to investigate SCP in the context of CM (although perhaps not exclusively so), and to examine the implications of this problem for CM's explanatory aspirations and its ontological status.    
The extant literature reflects a controversy concerning how serious this form of SCP is. This controversy seems to be divided into three camps: deflationists, optimists, and pessimists. Deflationists argue that we need not be terribly alarmed by SCP, either because it is no more pressing than similar problems shared by everybody (e.g., the binding problem) or because we simply don't know enough about how nature goes about solving the problem. Optimists, on the other hand, concede that the problem would indeed be dead serious if it were unsolvable, but it is not. Pessimists think that CP is as real and intractable for constitutive micropsychism as the hard problem is for physicalism.

The purpose of the workshop is to, firstly, clearly stake out the motivations and details of the differing positions. Secondly, bring the occupiers of these camps into serious dialogue with one another. Participants are requested to prepare a position paper on the severity of CP for constitutive micropsychism, and address potential objections to their position. Finally, we hope participants will explain the ways their assessment of CP motivates their own position on panpsychism.  

Date On two consequtive weekends: Feb. 4-5 & February 11-12

Time: See details below. (2 speakers per session)

Presenters: See below

Topic: Panpsychism, Combination, and Future Directions

4th Feb

8am-9.10am EST / 2pm-3.10pm CET / 8pm-9.10pm Beijing

Philip Goff

Cosmic purpose and cosmopsychism


9.20am – 10.30am EST / 3.20pm – 4.30pm CET / 9.20pm – 10.30pm Beijing

Heath Williams

The death of micropsychism has been greatly exaggerated (or has it?)

5th Feb

8am-9.10am EST / 2pm-3.10pm CET / 8pm-9.10pm Beijing

Patrick Lewtas

Panpsychism and causal powers


9.20am – 10.30am EST / 3.20pm – 4.30pm CET / 9.20pm – 10.30pm Beijing

Luke Roelofs

Combination Problems and Combination Solutions

11th Feb

8am-9.10am EST / 2pm-3.10pm CET / 8pm-9.10pm Beijing

Angela Mendelovici

Complexity without combination

12th Feb

8am-9.10am EST / 2pm-3.10pm CET / 8pm-9.10pm Beijing

Itay Shani

Cosmopsychism, constitution, and Coherence.


9.20am – 10.30am EST / 3.20pm – 4.30pm CET / 9.20pm – 10.30pm Beijing

Hedda Hassel Mørch

Fusionist emergent panpsychism

______________   Zoom Invite   Topic: Workshop on the Combination Problem Time: This is a recurring meeting (join according to schedule). 
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Meeting ID: 857 5199 1542
Passcode: 143871   Look forward to seeing some of you there!  


Dr Heath Williams.

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