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The Harvard Review of Philosophy

Volume 25, 2018

Animals: Ethics, Agency, Culture

Catherine Wilson
Pages 71-87
DOI: 10.5840/harvardreview201891916

Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon
An Alternative to Panpsychism

Reversing centuries of methodological caution and skepticism, philosophers have begun to explore the possibility that experience in some form is widely distributed in the universe. It has been proposed that consciousness may pertain to machines, rocks, elementary particles, and perhaps the universe itself. This paper shows why philosophers have good reason to suppose that experiences are widely distributed in living nature, including worms and insects, but why panpsychism extending to non-living nature is an implausible doctrine.