Common convention holds consciousness as an awareness of one’s own existence. Consequently, many are reluctant to attribute this to many non-human animals, let alone particles.
But simple form of experience really could exist in even some of the universe’s smallest inert objects known to man, Dr Philip Goff, deputy director of philosophy at Durham University has announced.
Physics tells us absolutely nothing about what philosophers like to call the intrinsic nature of matter – what matter is, in and of itself
Dr Philip Goff
He thinks very complicated consciousness of the human or animal brain could somehow be built from the consciousness of these very basic building blocks.
He told Express.co.uk: “This doesn’t mean we’re thinking particles have very complicated experience like a human being has - they’re not sitting there having existential angst.
“As we get simpler and simpler forms of life, we find simpler and simpler forms of experience.
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Panpsychism: Could the fundamental building blocks of the universe experience consciousness? (Image: Getty)
Common convention holds consciousness as an awareness of one's own existence (Image: Getty)
“Perhaps at some point the lights switch off and consciousness disappears, but for the panpsychists that continuum of simple of consciousness fading while never quite going out continues into inorganic matter until we reach the fundamental building blocks of matter which have, on this view, unimaginably simple forms of experience.”
The theory of panpsychism (pan means ‘everything’ and psyche ‘mind’) is actually a resurrection of an idea stretching back to the ancient Greeks.
Dr Goff supports the controversial theory because it revolves what is sometimes called the problem of consciousness.
He said: “The philosopher David Chalmers famously called the hard problem, which I think is roughly the idea of how consciousness fits in to our scientific worldview, how what we know about ourselves from the inside, fits together with what science tells us about the brain and the body from the outside.
“If you study neuroscience – the science of the brain – you learn about your own of firings and action potentials.
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