The Intelligible Necessitation of Consciousness : From ”panpsychism” to autopoietic enactivism

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Umeå universitet/Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier

Sammanfattning: Panpsychism, the view that fundamental physical entities are basic phenomenal subjects, is motivated by a commitment to explaining human subjects of experience, as well as by a rejection of the possibility that phenomenal properties are arbitrarily necessitated – human subjects of experience are thought to only be possible if prefigured by more basic phenomenal subjecthood. In this paper I will consider autopoietic enactivism as an alternative to panpsychism when it comes to explaining human subjects of experience on the basis of subjective precursors. Both of the theories theorise possible subjective precursors but panpsychism (which will be referred to as panphenomenal monism) is mostly based on speculative, unobservable, fundamental phenomenal subjecthood. Autopoietic enactivism does not require that there is fundamental phenomenal subjecthood. Instead it describes emergent individuals with subjective behaviour at the biological level. This involves a form of bodily subjecthood that may be pre-phenomenal. If autopoietic enactivism involves describing phenomenal subjecthood as possible on the basis of bodily subjecthood, it is not describing an arbitrary but an intelligible necessitation, because phenomenal subjecthood, then, is understandable on the basis of some other subjecthood. However, that other subjecthood is not fundamental. Since autopoietic enactivism does not require fundamental phenomenal subjecthood it is compatible with the NFM (The No Fundamental Mentality Constraint) which means that it is seamlessly compatible with a form of physicalism that panpsychism is not compatible with. The fundamental question that panpsychists start out with is The Hard Problem of Consciousness, a version of the problem of experience that may contain an unnecessarily wide, or even insurmountable, gap between two types of mutually exclusive properties – phenomenal and physical properties. Autopoietic enactivism has a corresponding problem that is tied to a common denominator between phenomenal and physical properties, namely biological life. The enactivist's Body-Body Problem involves an explanatory gap between the living body and the lived body. Since the phenomenal and the physical are united in (at least some) biological life, life is a relevant starting point for investigation regarding the problem of consciousness. I will argue that autopoietic enactivism offers a way of understanding the intelligible necessitation of the known subjects of experience on the basis of emergent, and not necessarily fundamental, subjective precursors. Moreover, I will briefly show how autopoietic enactivism also is compatible with panprotopsychism, a view closely related to panpsychism. My argument in favor of autopoietic enactivism, and against the need for fundamental phenomenal subjecthood, may lead undecided pan(proto)psychists to choose panprotopsychism over panpsychism.

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