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Cover of: The Varieties of Physicalist Ontology
Matthew T. Segall

The Varieties of Physicalist Ontology

Section: Articles
Volume 7 (2020) / Issue 1, pp. 105-131 (27)
Published 14.07.2020
DOI 10.1628/ptsc-2020-0008
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  • Open Access
    CC BY-SA 4.0
  • 10.1628/ptsc-2020-0008
This paper brings Alfred North Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism into conversation with the recent panpsychist turn in analytic philosophy of mind. Whitehead's unabashedly metaphysical project broadly aligns with recent critiques of reductive physicalism and the turn toward a conception of experience as basic to Nature. This paper thus examines physicalism's dominant strategies for explaining consciousness, including eliminativism, epiphenomenalism, and emergentism, and concludes that the panpsychist alternative is superior. However, Whitehead's process-relational panexperientialism diverges in crucial respects from the dominant substance-property variants of panpsychism. I argue that Whitehead's version avoids many of the conceptual difficulties plaguing the latter and that it thus represents a more formidable alternative to standard physicalism.