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Morphic Fields and Extended Mind An Examination of the Theoretical Concepts of Rupert Sheldrake

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Abstract:

This paper examines the central theoretical concepts in the work of Rupert Sheldrake. The first section examines Sheldrake's account of morphic fields and questions whether difficulties arise when these concepts are extended upwards from the biological level. The second section reviews Sheldrake's concept of extended mind and considers the criticism that it is reductionist about mentality. In considering both of these criticisms it is argued that Sheldrake's theories can be taken in a reductive direction, but need not be. The third and final section draws on the work of Joseph Bracken and David Ray Griffin to suggest a panpsychist metaphysics of field as one possible way that Sheldrake could sidestep these dangers and strengthen his approach.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, Email: fnw1001@cam.ac.uk

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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