An anonymous reader quotes Quartz: Consciousness permeates reality. Rather than being just a unique feature of human subjective experience, it's the foundation of the universe, present in every particle and all physical matter. This sounds like easily-dismissible bunkum, but as traditional attempts to explain consciousness continue to fail, the "panpsychist" view is increasingly being taken seriously by credible philosophers, neuroscientists, and physicists, including figures such as neuroscientist Christof Koch and physicist Roger Penrose... "Physical science tells us a lot less about the nature of matter than we tend to assume," says Philip Goff, a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. "Arthur Eddington" -- the English scientist who experimentally confirmed Einstein's theory of general relativity in the early 20th century -- "argued there's a gap in our picture of the universe. We know what matter does but not what it is. We can put consciousness into this gap"... An alternative panpsychist perspective holds that, rather than individual particles holding consciousness and coming together, the universe as a whole is conscious. This, says Goff, isn't the same as believing the universe is a unified divine being; it's more like seeing it as a "cosmic mess." Nevertheless, it does reflect a perspective that the world is a top-down creation, where every individual thing is derived from the universe, rather than a bottom-up version where objects are built from the smallest particles. Goff believes quantum entanglement -- the finding that certain particles behave as a single unified system even when they're separated by such immense distances there can't be a causal signal between them -- suggests the universe functions as a fundamental whole rather than a collection of discrete parts. Such theories sound incredible, and perhaps they are. But then again, so is every other possible theory that explains consciousness.
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