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Does Panexperiential Holism Solve the Combination Problem?

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The combination problem is still one of the hardest problems for a panexperientialist ontology. Prominently, among others, Philip Goff wrote two papers in 2009 arguing that panexperientialists cannot get around the combination problem. (1) We will argue that Goff 's attack is only relevant if parsimony is the only methodological principle for evaluating and comparing ontologies. (2) Our second approach will sketch a version of panexperientialism for which the combination problem does not arise at all. Panexperiential holism is the theory that the universe as a whole is one big experiential matter of fact. What we normally believe to be independent centres of conscious subjectivity are merely long-lived structural features of this big experience. The notion of 'personal identity' entailed by panexperiential holism is essentially vague and may lead us into something like Derek Parfit's relation R (1984). Therefore, persons are not merely series of experiences, but (in an anti-realistic fashion) exemplify the common denominator of these experiences. In this sense, a person is what has experiences, or the subject of experiences. We will argue that this concept fits nicely into some frameworks of personal identity put forth by Peter Simons and Godehard Br√ľntrup.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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