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Epiphenomenalism Vs Panpsychism

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The Comprehensively Ineffable Nature of Consciousness

Feel your hands, examine them. Acknowledge the sensation that your hands are uniquely and exclusively yours, commanded by your own internal will. This experience of observing our bodies internally is the essence of consciousness in that it proves to ourselves that we have a mind and we exist. The way we understand our minds is through reflection. It is deeply personal and subjective. While the way we understand our brains and bodies is objective and verifiable. We will be exploring two different views on consciousness, the mind and their nature. First, Jackson’s Dualist Philosophy of the Mind known as Epiphenomenalism followed by Chalmer’s much stronger Physicalist Philosophy of the Mind know as Panpsychism.

The Epiphenomenalist is concerned with how the mind and body interact with each other and its constraints. It states that physical states can give rise to mental states of consciousness, as well as other physical states. But mental states of consciousness cannot give rise to physical states nor other mental states. Within these Dualists constraints the physical and mental must be observed as distinct and separable entities that are not composed from the same foundation.

Aside from the mind and the body, where does consciousness come into play? Where does the mind reside within ourselves? A possible explanation comes from the Physicalist Philosophy of the Mind generally known as Panpsychism. Panpsychism is the broad belief that consciousness is ubiquitous. It is a fundamental building block of the universe that cannot be explained in anything more basic, similar to that of the concept of time. Consciousness exists as a non-zero number, everywhere and in everything to a varying degree. This does not mean the pen in your hand is a conscious self aware being, but often is explained by the Panprotopsychist that everything down to microparticles possess a primitive precursor to consciousness that have the potential to become conscious. In other words, there is a mental aspect that permeates every part of the universe.

Recall your most vivid memory which the simplest of agonists can provoke the fondest feelings of nostalgia or physical sensations of enjoyment; while simultaneously catering to the mind's ability to visualize our memory, surrounding ourselves in what it felt like to experience that moment. Whether our memories are an accurate representation of reality, they provide us with a uniquely tangible experience that is connected outside of our physical bodies. Going back to the Epiphenomenalist, if conscious states cannot affect the physical, how then does something that manifests itself mentally cause physically objective events?

A possible response from the Epiphenomenalist might argue that memories are purely physical from their conception of the first neurons firing. Memories are created by a particular group of neurons firing in the same pattern that originally caused the memory. This pattern of neurons is later consolidated and stored throughout different areas of the brain. this Explaining the body’s physically objective response to memories acting from the neurons communicating with each other as well as other parts of the body. This would be demonstrated in the recollection of a traumatic past event, possibly a car accident, where the bodies natural response is speeding up your heart rate and a short burst of adrenaline. Where Epiphenomenalism falls short is the minds intuitive ability to visualize these events in great detail. Recall a time when you forgot your cell phone, possibly at home or in your car. Your mind had the capability to not only remember where you left your phone but to visualize the exact location of your phone on the kitchen counter. Consider the human imagination and its fantastic creations from the sculpture of David to the Great Wall of China. The imagination feels to us limitless and bound only



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