Panpsychism in the West
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Panpsychism in the West

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In Panpsychism in the West, the first comprehensive study of the subject, David Skrbina argues for the importance of panpsychism-the theory that mind exists, in some form, in all living and nonliving things-in consideration of the nature of consciousness and mind. Despite the recent advances in our knowledge of the brain and the increasing intricacy and sophistication of philosophical discussion, the nature of mind remains an enigma. Panpsychism, with its conception of mind as a general phenomenon of nature, uniquely links being and mind. More than a theory of mind, it is a meta-theory-a statement about theories of mind rather than a theory in itself. Panpsychism can parallel almost every current theory of mind; it simply holds that, no matter how one conceives of mind, such mind applies to all things. In addition, panpsychism is one of the most ancient and enduring concepts of philosophy, beginning with its pre-historical forms, animism and polytheism. Its adherents in the West have included important thinkers from the very beginning of Greek philosophy through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the present.

Skrbina argues that panpsychism is long overdue for detailed treatment, and with this book he proposes to add impetus to the discussion of panpsychism in serious philosophical inquiries. After a brief discussion of general issues surrounding philosophy of mind, he traces the panpsychist views of specific philosophers, from the ancient Greeks and early Renaissance naturalist philosophers through the likes of William James, Josiah Royce, and Charles Sanders Peirce-always with a strong emphasis on the original texts. In his concluding chapter, "A Panpsychist World View," Skrbina assesses panpsychist arguments and puts them in a larger context. By demonstrating that there is panpsychist thinking in many major philosophers, Skrbina offers a radical challenge to the modern worldview, based as it is on a mechanistic cosmos of dead, insensate matter. Panpsychism in the West will be the standard work on this topic for years to come.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 326 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 17mm | 399g
  • Bradford Books
  • Massachusetts, United States
  • English
  • 0262693518
  • 9780262693516
  • 434,699

Review quote

As Skrbina shows in this book, panpsychism is one of the oldest of all philosophical doctrines extant and was put forth by the ancient Greeks, in particular Thales and Plato. Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz who laid down the intellectual foundations for the Age of Englightenment argued for it, as did Arthur Schopenhauer, William James, the father of American psychology, and the Jesuit and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin. Skrbina's volume gives a great introduction to this doctrine and its reception in the west, from ancient times until today. -- Christof Koch ...a very comprehensive treatment, worthy of five stars. Skrbina writes about my favored panpsychists: C.S. Peirce; A.N. Whitehead, Teilhard de Chardin, and C. Hartshorne. He makes a very impressive case for panpsychism, taking us into modern time. His book is must reading. * Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research * ...a valuable, readable work. I liked the book very much and recommend it highly to any reader interested in pondering alternatives to our depersonalizing, dehumanizing, mechanizing, scientistic, disenchanted and disenchanting worldview and practices. * Metapsychology Online Reviews * ...a very interesting and I think important, book....very impressive. It raises a number of very important questions...and it suggests a number of important directions for important research. * Philosophical Reviews *
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About David F. Skrbina

David F. Skrbina is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan at Dearborn.
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42 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
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