Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Alan Tapper

Second Advisor

Dr Peter Bedford

Abstract

The thesis of panpsychism is that throughout the natural universe there is mentality, although I prefer the term "mind". We human beings experience this mentality in everyday consciousness and by analogy we are able to assert that mentality is not confined to the human experience alone. The extent to which this mentality penetrates, or is imbued by, our natural world has been a subject for discussion in western schools of philosophy since the ancient Greeks and in the even more ancient eastern schools of theosophy, such as Buddhism and the Hinduism of the Upanishads. I use the term "theosophy" here to bring a sense of esoteric speculation to the panpsychism debate (Oxford English Dictionary). A recent resurgence of interest in panpsychism has recognised the inadequacy of the materialist perspective, and attempts have been made to resolve the main stumbling block, the mind-body/mind-matter problem, and to provide a realistic and adequate account of panpsychism. But, it is generally accepted by most of those interested in the debate and whose works I review, that so far this has not succeeded. Therefore, a new and more radical approach is required. It is the intention of my thesis to demonstrate that only when we break free from our dualistic perspective, a perspective reflective of our thinking mind, our language, and our cultural/social constructs, can we intuitively understand the true nature of the mind-body relationship. I will argue that the truth of this intuitive understanding becomes apparent when we experience what I have termed "personal panpsychic experiences," and that these experiences are epistemologically valid. These experiences give rise to knowledge if reality that I have called the "dual-aspect singularity" perspective. The "dual-aspect singularity" perspective acknowledges the dual nature of reality but asserts that any duality as such is merely aspectivism. As such everything that exists has both a mental and material aspect, neither of which is ontologically real, as together they form a singularity. I will argue that the "dual-aspect singularity" perspective resolves the mind-body mind-brain paradox.

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