Volume 20, Issue 1, 2022

Panpsychism and Energy Conservation
William Seager, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada

Alin Cucu and Brian Pitts (2019) have recently criticized the longstanding argument against interactionist dualism based upon the conservation of energy. The argument is simply that a non-physical mind causing any change in the physical world would require an “injection” of energy which would violate the sacrosanct law of energy conservation. They show this argument is based upon a deep misunderstanding of the nature of conservation laws and that there is nothing preventing a dualist from accepting interaction. Nonetheless, it would obviously be preferable to develop a dualist account which is in line with modern understanding and which preserved energy conservation. I argue here that a form of constitutive panpsychism can achieve both these aims.

Towards a Phenomenological Constitution of Quantum Mechanics: A QBist Approach
Laura de la Tremblaye and Michel Bitbol, Archives Husserl, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

In this programmatic article, our aim is to sketch the outlines of a phenomenological constitution of quantum mechanics, thus drawing the ultimate consequence of previous phenomenological approaches to this theory (Heelan 2004, Bitbol 2011, Berghofer and Wiltsche 2020, Crease et al. 2021). In other terms, we wish to show a way to ascend from the situated lived experience of a knowing and acting subject to the structure and use of the quantum formalism. QBism (quantum Bayesianism), with its motivated focus on lived experience, and its decision to take the elementary epistemic attitudes of agents as primitives of its axiomatics (Fuchs 2015), will prove to be a decisive step to progress in this direction. But what is phenomenological constitution, why is it suitable to apply it to quantum mechanics, and which obstacles are we likely to meet in this endeavor?

Desiderata for a Viable Account of Psychophysical Correlations
Harald Atmanspacher, Turing Center, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Robert Prentner, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

A fundamental but understudied problem in mind-matter research is the understanding of psychophysical correlations, i.e. correlations between the mental and the physical. We discuss five desiderata for viable accounts of such correlations that pertain to their metaphysical commitment, the concepts they appeal to, ways in which correlations can be substantiated, prospects for their formalization, and potential changes of the methodology needed to investigate them. Within these desiderata we see a key role for the notion of meaning (rather than syntactic information) in the fabric of reality. We speculate about how to set it to work theoretically and empirically.

What Laplace’s Demon Doesn’t Know
Dean P. Rickles, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, Australia

This paper discusses problems concerning the limitations of knowledge gathering as an enterprise involving an objective world which a subject investigates. The subject-object split is seen to present an unsurpassable barrier to absolute knowledge. We relate this to Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and use Laplace’s demon argument to make our case. This ultimately leads to a global version of the so-called “pessimistic meta-induction” argument, in which there is always doubt about our worldview if we base our idea of knowledge acquisition on a subject-object split. We briefly consider the scope for direct, intuitive ways of knowing the world, finding they must fail in the same way, leaving the elimination of the subject-object split as the only possibility for finding absolutes, if only as a state of being rather than a state of knowledge.

Time Mindfulness: Aristotle’s Time in Modern Perspective
Ioannis Antoniou, School of Mathematics, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, and Theodoros Christidis, Faculty of Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

We specify in what sense our current understanding of time and temporality resembles the point of view proposed by Aristotle almost 2500 years ago. We discuss time as the rate of change of events, in the light of Aristotle’s analysis. Events are registered by some hardware device (brain) and perceived-cognized by some associated mind (software operating in a certain context). We shall not discuss time without event registration and without mind. We review in detail the elementary arguments of Aristotle regarding memory, duration, and irreversibility. A natural context for the mindfulness of irreversibility is provided for systems with time operator.

The World Is One, and the Human Is Two:
Tentative Conclusions of a Working Historian of Religions

Jeffrey Kripal, Department of Religion, Rice University, Houston, USA

The present essay reflects back on a three-decade career in the history of religions in order to speculate about the metaphysical substructure of universal magical phenomena and, deeper still, of comparative mystical literature. It articulates and develops a set of basic working or tentative conclusions around the unity of the world, the duality of human knowing, the paradoxical role of belief, and the empirical-symbolic natures of the empowered imagination. It lands on a basic dual-aspect monistic structure with some acknowledged tendencies to migrate in an idealist direction.

From LSD to LSD – A Personal Trajectory
Alexander Borbély, Medical Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland

In the middle of the previous century the psychedelic drug LSD and other psychoactive substances were advocated as tools for exploring the cerebral mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders. Antidepressants, belonging to the most widely used drugs, were assumed to rectify the disbalance of monoamine transmitters in the brain. This could not be upheld, as it was realized that the effect size of antidepressants is small while the placebo effect is substantial. However, psychedelic drugs have been rediscovered as therapeutic agents and applied successfully in treatment-resistant depression. In contrast to traditional antidepressants, they have an immediate and enduring therapeutic effect which is correlated with mystical-type experiences. Their further exploration will have to focus on experiential factors rather than on the search for neural correlates alone.

How Chinese Medicine Expands Our Understanding of Consciousness
Meijuan Lu, Meng River Chinese Medicine Research Co. Ltd., Indianapolis, USA, Sheng Yi, Franciscan Health Hospital, Indianapolis, USA, and Jerome Busemeyer, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

The simplest explanation or understanding of human consciousness is the perception or awareness of our internal and external existence. Despite millennia of analysis, definition, interpretation, and debate by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial. It remains the most familiar and yet most mysterious aspect of our lives. Consciousness is not only widely recognized in intuition, thought, cognition, will, etc., but also there is a deeper level of consciousness that touches various organs of the human body. In a word, the complexity of consciousness is beyond our imagination. Here, we will use the theoretical perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine to examine and understand the important role that the human organs play in conscious experience.

Last revision: 22 February 2022