IOU Philip Goff

I started my read / review of Philip Goff’s “Galileo’s Error” in my usual way, that is “nothing new under the sun” – gutting it to glean reinforcement for my own position – I already bought metaphysical pan-psychism(*) a long time ago – but based on a partial / skim read at that point.

Following that I have a much longer review drafted that followed the same theme, with plenty of new sources and quotes as I read to a conclusion. But that review is now on hold for a major re-write. I underestimated how good Goff’s contribution is.

IOU – (And no need to wait for me, go read it. Never did get round to publishing a further review.)

(Should add, I got a lot of hits on that previous Goff post.)


(*) My position is essentially a metaphysical pan-proto-psychism – a la Dennett. I’m guessing from Goff’s footnotes much closer to Sam Coleman (and Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory – IIT) in fact, both of which Goff contrasts with his own final (literal) panpsychist position, closer to Kastrup it would seem. But the differences (to me) remain basically linguistic. Why use the word consciousness for the fundamental (evidently “unconscious”) stuff?

It is definitely “orthodox” physical science, and its unholy alliance with popular “objective-evidence-based” humanism / rationalism / scepticism, that needs to learn the error of its Galilean ways. “Our very rationality is at stake” to quote myself. My differences with Goff boil down to choice of existing words in everyday use as far as I’m concerned.

Goff himself describes the many levels of “consciousness” from the fundaments of all reality to the mind of an intelligent being in increasing levels of complexity. We’re still really left with the classic “combination problem” so far as I can tell. For me accepting that the fundamentals comprise proto-consciousness-stoff (to use the Germanic style) that evolves in dynamic patterns through the many layers. The fundamental stoff is “experiencable” – potential experience, potential mind, potential everything in fact. Raw information whose patterns evolve inexorably through physics, chemistry and biology to conscious mind.

[Dennett to a T. With the qualitative fundamental nature, Pirsig to a T too. And, with this intrinsic nature from the inside, and what stuff does from the outside, we also have Whitehead and Smolin.]

Goff’s real novelty for me is the Russell-Eddington synthesis, which I mentioned previously, but for which I still clearly held anti-Russellian prejudice before reading more thoroughly. I owe this a proper review. Much better argued than Kastrup. Deeply affecting.

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