Velmans, M. (2021). Is the universe conscious? Reflexive monism and the ground of being. In E. Kelly, & P. Marshall (Eds.), Consciousness Unbound (pp. 175-228). Rowman & Littlefield. Is-the-Universe-Conscious-Reflexive-Monism-and-the-Ground-of-Being.pdf
Abstract:
This chapter examines the integrative nature of reflexive monism (RM), a psychological/philosophical model of a reflexive, self-observing universe that can accommodate both ordinary and extraordinary experiences in a natural, non-reductive way that avoids both the problems of reductive materialism and the (inverse) pitfalls of reductive idealism. To contextualize the ancient roots of the model, the chapter touches briefly on classical models of consciousness, mind and soul and how these differ in a fundamental way from how mind and consciousness are viewed in contemporary Western philosophy and psychological science. The chapter then travels step by step from such contemporary views towards reflexive monism, and towards the end of the chapter, to more detailed comparisons with Hindu Vedanta and Samkhya philosophy and with Cosmopsychism (a recently emergent, directly relevant area of philosophy of mind).
Citing Place (1956) in context (citations start with an asterisk *):
Section Materialist Reductionism and Some of its Problems.
* Physicalist reductionist arguments come in many forms. But they all claim the phenomenology of consciousness to be misleading, and trust in it to be naive. Commonly, they try to show that if one can find the neural causes or correlates of consciousness in the brain, then this would establish consciousness itself to be a brain state (see for example, Place 1956; Churchland 1989; Crick 1994). Let us call these the "causation argument" and the "correlation argument". In Velmans (1998a) I show that such arguments are based on a fairly obvious fallacy. For consciousness to be nothing more than a brain state, it must be ontologically identical to a brain state. However, correlation and causation are very different to ontological identity. As it happens, various non-reductionist positions such as dualist-interactionism, dual-aspect monism, reflexive monism and panpsychism agree that consciousness (in humans) is causally influenced by and correlates with neural events, but they deny that consciousness is nothing more than a state or function of the brain. As no information about consciousness other than its neural causes and correlates is available to neurophysiological investigation of the brain (the problem of “other minds”) it is difficult to see how such research could ever settle the issue. The only evidence about what conscious experiences are like comes from first-person sources, which consistently suggest consciousness to be something other than or additional to neuronal activity. Given this, I conclude that materialist reductionism via this route cannot be made to work.