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Panpsychism as an Underlying Theme in Western Philosophy A Survey Paper

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Panpsychism is the view that all things have a mind, or a mind-like quality. Contrary to the common view that panpsychism is a fringe or 'absurd' theory of mind, it in fact has a long and noble tradition within western philosophy. In the forms of animism and polytheism, panpsychism was the dominant view for most if not all of the pre-historical era. In the early years of western thought it was widely accepted though not often explicitly argued for. The emergence of Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology subverted it for a number of centuries, but it made a comeback with early Renaissance naturalist philosophers of the sixteenth century. Though still a minority view, it grew steadily in support through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reaching a zenith in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With the advent of logical positivism and linguistic/analytic philosophy, panpsychism was once again driven down (along with most all metaphysical theories) to a relatively low status. In the past few years, however, panpsychism has once more become the topic of serious philosophical inquiry.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 42231 Ladywood Dr., Northville, MI 48167, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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