chapter  9
16 Pages

Russell’s Neutral Monism and Panpsychism

WithDonovan Wishon

This chapter reexamines Bertrand Russell’s neutral monism, how he comes to adopt it, and its complicated relationship with panpsychism. On one hand, his analysis of matter has a number of features which continue to influence contemporary panpsychism, including its claims that the physical sciences only provide abstract structural descriptions of the natural world, that its basic elements share a common kind of intrinsic character, and that we are only acquainted with such characters of our own mental episodes. On the other hand, his analysis of mind offers a naturalistic account of how consciousness and mentality result only in sufficiently complex systems from the right combinations of features that are not themselves intrinsically experiential, such as qualitativity, subjectivity, sensitivity, and mnemic responsiveness.