THIRD SET OF LIFE AFTER DEATH STUDY QUESTIONS
Page references are to Griffin, Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration
CH. 4, [DIRECT] EVIDENCE FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH: MEDIUMISTIC MESSAGES, 150-68
1. What does Griffin conclude about the evidence from mediumistic messages? 167-168
[E]ven the most impressive evidence from mediumistic messages would not, by itself, constitute sufficiently strong evidence for life after death. If that were all we had to go on, even in combination with a philosophical worldview that allows for the possibility of life after death, we should probably conclude that, as complex as the superpsi hypothesis must become to account for all the evidence, it is to be preferred to the survivalist hypothesis. Additional credibility may be lent to the evidence from mediumistic evidence, however, by the other types of direct evidence for life after death.
CH. 5, EVIDENCE FROM CASES OF THE POSSESSION TYPE, 169-83
2. What does Griffin conclude about cases of the possession type? 182-183
They are not strong evidence. "[W]e cannot, even in the best of cases . . . rule out the likelihood that the motivation for the 'possession,'therefore the initiative behind it, lies in the present subject [the currently earthly living person]. And, insofar as the initiative is deemed to be in the present subject, the nonsurvivalist hypothesis of retroprehensive [see end of answer] inclusion is supported." Seeming memories of heavenly life "could be simply interpreted as fantasies unconsciously created . . . to fill out the account in a way that would meet the Spiritualist expectations" of investigators. "Whether this theory can remain plausible when the subject is a young child will be the central question of the next chapter."
p. 95 note says: "the difficulties involved in the idea of precognition do not apply to retrocognition, which is direct, noninferential knowledge of the more or less remote past other than one's own personal past. . . . In Whiteheadian process philosophy . . . past actual occasions are as fully actual as present ones [and I'd say that past ones may have a better claim to being called actual in that they are forever definite, whereas present ones are in process of becoming definite], and the remote past exists as objectively as does the immediate past (even if its causal efficacy is, at least usually, far less insistent). And, if the idea of the past existing in itself, as past, is considered problematic, process philosophy also portrays the past as existing in the divine awareness. [Does this produce a double existence, or double awareness of past as itself and as in God; isn't it in some degree different as incorporated in God's awareness; moreover, is it possible for one to disentangle a part of the past from other awareness in a later experience incorporating it?] There is no difficulty, then, in the idea of retrocognition—which, under the name 'retroprehensive inclusion,' will play a central role in Chapters 4-8. The term 'retroprehension,' incidentally, is in one sense redundant, because all prehensions are of the past: there can be no prehensions of future occasions or even those that are strictly contemporary with the prehending occasion. The term s used here, however, to signify a direct prehension of occasions of experience belonging to the life of another person.
CH. 6, EVIDENCE FROM CASES OF THE REINCARNATION TYPE, 184-208
3. Who is Ian Stevenson? 185
The [University of Virginia Medical School professor] investigator of seemingly reincarnation cases, "who has since 1966 published over sixty extensive, meticulously documented studies of what he calls 'cases of the reincarnation type,' and numerous other less completely documented cases."
4. What does Griffin conclude about cases of the reincarnation type? 207-208
"The theory of retroprehensive inclusion, as apparently the strongest superpsi alternative to literal reincarnation, can quite easily handle the first three objections. It can also perhaps handle the fourth, fifth, and sixth objections, even if the explanations must become rather convoluted. The eighth and ninth objections, however, seem to be insuperable [see below re 8 & 9] (even though more data are needed before any definitive judgment can be made). Whether the nonsurvivalist interpretation is further undermined by the seventh objection—the fact that out-of-body experiences, which it implies should not occur [I assume only if reincarnation were to be immediate], are widely reported—will be examined in Chapter 8."
[THE OBJECTIONS to retroprehensive inclusion:]
1. (p. 197) "although one can acquire information (knowledge that) through super-ESP, one could not acquire skills (knowledge how). I agree that the acquisition of skills, such as the ability to speak a language, could not be acquired by means of super-ESP as usually conceived. . . . Given the strong form of superpsi that I have called retroprehensive inclusion, I have argued, the manifestation of various unlearned skills provides no insuperable obstacle."
2. (p. 197) "superpsi explanations in cases of the reincarnation type posit a degree of ESP of that one past life that goes far beyond any other psychic ability manifested by the subjects. Why, one can ask, should the alleged super-ESP be focused on that one past personality alone? That is indeed a powerful objection against the superpsi hypothesis as usually conceived. In the superpsi theory that I have suggested, however, retroprehensive inclusion is, by hypothesis, a unique form of ESP, which is employed in relation to only one past personality." See more.
3. (p. 197) "most things learned through telepathy, super or ordinary, are not manifested as memories. This is answered by the answer to #2.
4. (p. 198) Re "the selection of the prior personality." It is left unanswered at this point.
5. (p. 198) "if nothing else does, at least announcing dreams and congenital deformities point to the initiative of the prior soul.
6. (p. 202)
7. (p. 204) "It predicts not only that there would be no discarnate experiences between lives, but that there would be no discarnate experiences whatever. Any evidence for out-of-body experiences of any sort, accordingly, would threaten the superpsi alternative and give support to the survivalist interpretation of cases of the reincarnation type." See Ch. 8.
8. (pp. 204-206) Retroprehensive inclusion would allow multiple "reincarnations" of the same being, but the evidence does not support this.
9. (pp. 206-207) "the absence of strong and abundant evidence for premortem reincarnations counts strongly against the theory of retroprehensive inclusion as a general theory for cases of the reincarnation type: If it were the correct theory, such 'reincarnations' of still-living personalities should be quite common. The fact that all the good evidence for reincarnation involves souls whose bodies have died suggests rather convincingly that bodily death brings about a change that makes it possible for a soul to become reincarnated. [He seems to attribute little native power to a soul, which always has the active involvement of God in its experiences.] And this lends support to some theory of literal reincarnation, according to which the soul continues to have experiences after separation from the physical-biological body, over against all superpsi theories, including that of retroprehensive inclusion.
CH. 7, EVIDENCE FROM APPARITIONS, 209-28
5. What points does Griffin make and what conclusion does he draw about evidence from apparitions? 227-228
" One point involves timing: On the one hand, most apparitions of the dead or dying occur within an hour of the death of the apparent [the person who appears to a living person, as defined at p. 209] . . . On the other hand, apparitions of the living . . . occur most often when the apparent is thinking or dreaming about the place in question and perhaps even trying to be there, or at least to be perceived there.
 A second point of comparison involves the appearance and behavior of apparitions: In the . . . Hornell Hart [comparing] apparitions of the dead and dying with reciprocal apparitions [p. 225, meaning that the two persons involved are aware of each other] concluded that they were 'so closely similar . . . that the two types must be regarded as belonging to the same basic kind of phenomena."
This leads to the conclusion "that in at least some apparitions of the dead the apparitions are produced, at least partly, by the intentional activity and/or presence of the still-conscious minds of the apparents."
"[W]hat are, from without, 'apparitions' are sometimes, from within, 'out-of-body experiences.'" The next chapter deals with evidence about it.
CH. 8, EVIDENCE FROM OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES, 229-68
6. What are the two meanings of "out-of-body experience"? 229
"(1) an experience had while one was out of one's body or (2) an experience of being out of one's body (whether one really was or not)."
7. What dilemma does serious examination of all this evidence present, and what is Griffin's final conclusion? 264
" On the one hand, if [examiners of the evidence] do not accept the reality of ESP and PK, and even of super-ESP and super-PK, they will be confronted with a massive amount of evidence that, unless dogmatically rejected or simply set aside as anomalous, provides virtual proof of life after death.
On the other hand, if they do employ the notion of superpsi in order to provide a nonsurvivalist interpretation of all this evidence, they will in effect have accepted a view of mind as distinct from the brain and as having power both to perceive and to act without the brain's mediation. They will thereby have rejected the modern reasons for assuming that the mind is not the kind of reality that could survive bodily death. Once this antecedent improbability of survival is rejected, there is no reason why a superpsi explanation of the data should be considered antecedently preferable to a survivalist interpretation. . . .
 One cannot prove either the truth or falsity of the belief in life after death. The question should be posed instead in terms of the most plausible theory, Plato's 'most likely account.' In terms of this question, I have suggested that there is formidable evidence for life after death, some of which can be given a superpsi explanation at best with considerable difficulty and can be more naturally and simply explained in terms of a survivalist hypothesis.
[Of the five kinds of evidence considered, only the possession type didn't contain phenomena "strongly suggestive of survival."
CH. 9, PARAPSYCHOLOGY AND POSTMODERN SPIRITUALITY, 269-92
8. What reason do many people have for preferring spirituality to religion, according to Griffin? 269 "institutional connotations that the word "religion" has for them"
9. What does Griffin mean by supernaturalistic theism? 269
The theism according to which "God has the power to interrupt the normal causal processes of the world," specifically in "miracles."
10. What was the famous reply of Laplace when Napoleon asked him "where God fit into his astronomy"? 270
"I have no need of that hypothesis."
11. Why does Griffin call "vitalism" a form of dualism? 270
It "accepted a mechanistic account of 'inanimate' nature but believed that life involved the sudden appearance of a new, teleological principle (an elan vital)" sometimes interpreted as "evidence of supernatural intervention."
12. What became the scientific community's consensus about God?
"God is not a scientific hypothesis."
13. What basic presupposition of the natural sciences is threatened by supernaturalistic theism's conception of God? 270 "[A]ll events are interconnected in an unbroken
14. Describe the supernaturalistic view of divine power. 270
It is destructive as well as creative, coercive as well as persuasive.
15. With what is "being religious" often equated in the church? 270
(1) believing the right dogmas, (2) praying in a perfunctory way, and (3) avoiding a limited number of types of action, especially sexual.
16. What does Griffin believe that religion should be? 271
"a spiritual adventure through which our souls continuously increase in wisdom, compassion, loving kindness, joy, beauty, peacefulness."
17. On the basis of what Griffin calls naturalistic theism, would there be a basis for believing that God could have overridden anyone's power of self-determination, dictated any book, or chosen any organization? 271 No.
18. In Griffin's "naturalistic [but not naturalisticsam; see handout] theism," how should one understand scriptures of all religious traditions, salvation, people in other religions, calamities of life, Holy Power of the universe, divine vengeance, and the religious life? 271
Scriptures of all religious traditions: "mixtures of divine inspiration and human ignorance."
Salvation: "a process of becoming whole, a process in which divine inspiration and human response cooperate," unlike "an externalistic view of salvation, according to which it is something done to one, if one has believed and done the right things."
People in other religions: "fellow travelers, from whom one can learn and with whom one can share."
Calamities of life: since "divine power is not the power to prevent and to destroy [calamities] would not be viewed as punishments or trials inflicted by God, not even as events God 'permitted' while having power to prevent."
Holy Power of the universe: "wholly good, wholly supportive of everything fine."
Divine vengeance: "self-contradictory."
The religious life: ""based entirely on attraction toward the true, the good, and the beautiful, not partly on fear of punishment."
19. What six presuppositions of the view of human life as a spiritual journey are presented by Griffin? 272-87
(1, p. 272) the reality of the self-determining soul, (2, p. 273) the power of the soul, (3, p. 273) the reality of God, (4, p. 276) the power of God, (5, p. 283) our experience of God and values), and (6, p. 287) our continuing journey [after bodily death].
THE REALITY OF THE SELF-DETERMINING SOUL
20. What is the basic presupposition of a spiritual life? 272
"the existence of a mind or soul, in the sense of a center of experience that is not simply the brain or an impotent by-product thereof."
21. [What is the case with regard to arguments for an interactionist position? 272
They can include or exclude, as in Ch. 3, parapsychological evidence.]
THE POWER OF THE SOUL
22. In addition to the soul's existence and freedom, what is important in relation to the soul? 273
its self-discipline, i.e., "its power  to determine its own states," and not only  "its power to influence its motor-muscular system through its brain," but  to influence its own and other bodies, sometimes dramatically (as in psychosomatic healing and stigmata), either unconsciously (as in poltergeist phenomena) or consciously,  either to promote growth, which is to bless (positively) or to curse (negatively).
THE REALITY OF GOD
23. If the possibility and importance of the soul's self-discipline are only necessary (not sufficient) conditions for a life devoted to spiritual growth, what else is required? 273
The "twofold presupposition . . . that  there are values in terms of which the soul should be disciplined and that  the soul has access to these values." "[T]he capacity for nonsensory perception, which parapsychology supports, provides a necessary presupposition of access to such values . . .
24. What does Griffin mean by God? 275
"a [the] subject of cosmic scope."
25. What is another name for what Griffin often refers to as his naturalistic theism? 276
26. How does Griffin describe panentheism? 276
"God is the soul of the universe. God relates to the world in somewhat the same way we are related to our bodies. God is thereby the dominant member of the universal society, providing the overall order, and the supreme recipient of value, feeling both the delights and the pains of the creatures." See the Hartshorne quotation after question 74.
THE POWER OF GOD
27. Does "continual creation" exclude a "big bang"? 276
28. What was one of the major reasons for decline in the sense of providential guidance? 277
"the mechanistic view of nature"
29. What does Griffin mean by "a mind-body problem writ large" ("writ large" probably taken from that terminology, about justice in relation to the individual and the state, in Plato's Republic)? 277
How could a Cosmic Mind exert causal influence on insentient matter, matter that can conceivably be moved only by the impact of other bits of matter?"
30. How does parapsychological evidence help to overcome this problem? 277
It does this by giving additional support to a panexperientialist view of the universe. Mind-mind and mind-matter relations are essentially the same. "What we know from within as "mind" and what we know from without as "matter" are not . . . different in kind." ESP and PK effects on "inanimate matter" suggest this.
31. What is the (1) first fundamental support of the supernaturalistic idea of God? 278
The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. "Only if God created our world from absolutely nothing would God have absolute control over this world," in contrast to the panentheistic view that "divine creative agency [is] persuasive, not coercive." [There was no creation; God always had a body, the universe, of some type.]
32. What effect did the nonevolutionary view of the universe have? 279
It supported belief in "the overwhelming coercive power attributed to God by supernaturalism." "Loving persuasion could not in six days have turned chaos into an atom or an apple, let alone an Adam and an Eve." (undercut by evolutionary theory)
33. What is the (2) other (see question 31) fundamental support of the supernaturalistic idea of God? 279
"the occurrence of 'the miraculous.'" In medieval times God was considered the primary cause of every happening, and miracles were happenings in which there were no secondary, natural causes.
34. What is the (3) third fundamental support of the supernaturalistic idea of God, with its belief in divine omnipotence? 281
"belief in infallible revelation and inspiration" (undermined by the historical-critical study of the scriptures).
35. What was the 17th century Christian big gamble, on which the church gradually lost? 282
Taking an all-or-nothing approach, with regard to (1) the human soul, attempting to show its immortal nature a priori by defining it as absolutely different in kind from the rest of nature; to (2) God, by insisting on God's absolute omnipotence over the universe; to (3) paranormal phenomena in Biblical and current times as impossible except by divine intervention.
OUR EXPERIENCE OF GOD AND VALUES
36. What have the major sociological, anthropological, and psychological theories of religion in late modernity assumed? 283
That religious experience must be inauthentic.
37. To what did the sensationist doctrine of perception lead? 284
Denial of real contact with objectively existing moral and aesthetic values, hence widespread moral and aesthetic relativism, so there is no distinction of higher and lower values, and nihilism.
38. What can we do about it now? 284
We can't change the past, but we can "finally . . . realize that our religious, moral, and aesthetic knowledge, like our scientific knowledge, is based on direct [nonsensory, intuitive] perception."
39. What kind of perception is primary and what is derivative from it? 284
"First, nonsensory perception is our fundamental mode of perception, so that science, insofar as it is based on sensory perception, is based on a derivative mode of perception. Second, science is also directly based on nonsensory perception in two ways." (1) mathematics and logic; (2) its concepts (e.g. actual world, causality, time) are based on nonsensory experience. So science and religion are different only in degree. Deconstructive postmodernist Richard Rorty pus the two on equal footing by making both noncognitive.
40. How does evidence of telepathy contribute to theology? 286
It provides an analogy to our having "a direct experience of the mind or soul of the universe." (since any telepathy is experience of one mind by another). "In our experience of God . . . there would be no "distance" involved, assuming as do both traditional theism and panentheism, the all-pervasiveness of God."
41. What is Griffin's understanding of the meaning of Holy? 286
"of infinite intrinsic [as distinguished from instrumental] worth" and therefore that what is Holy "is the reality in relation to which it is appropriate to order one's life."
42. What does Griffin suggest is the relationship between parapsychological and other experiences? 286
"They represent merely an extreme form of experience that is being enjoyed all the time," including direct prehensions of other human minds.
43. What does Griffin understand one's identity to be? 286
"primarily as a person on a spiritual journey."
OUR CONTINUING JOURNEY
44. At the beginning of "Our Continuing Journey," what reason does Griffin give for decline in modern belief in life as a spiritual journey? 287
Loss of belief in life after death makes the journey one with an end rather soon.
45. Beyond the considerations of Ch. 3, what other objections to life after death are presented here, and what are Griffin's answers? 288-90
(1) Any such existence of the soul after death would be timeless. The first basis for this is that God is timeless, but this is rejected by panentheism. A second basis is that "time is the result of physical processes," including entropy, from which we would be free after death. Rather, settled past, present, and still-to-be-settled future are functions of experience. So life after death would be temporal, however different time may be in the afterlife. A third basis is precognitive experiences, interpreted as timeless; however, to the extent that precognition may be coherent it is not timeless.
(2) Fearful thinking that life after death is either undesirable or harmful: aesthetically unattractive, boring, or frightening, or morally repellent (either because people are motivated simply by wanting to go to heaven or that people are condemned to endless torment, through no fault of their own. In answer, life after death may not be as pictured and it needn't imply immortality. (3-5 may be subdivisions of 2.)
(3) An objection to belief in life after death is that it has been taught by dubious organizations, such as a church with "keys to the kingdom" and televangelists who point to the only way to heaven. But such connections are irrelevant.
(4) Life after death has been used as an opiate, undermining passion to achieve justice here and now. There is no necessary connection between LAD and conceptions of rewards and punishments, and even reincarnation needn't be tied to karma.
(5) Belief in LAD makes people complacent about the fate of the earth. But this needn't follow from all ideas of God and LAD. Most objections presuppose a supernaturalistic God.
46. What reasons for favoring life after death does Griffin give? 290-91
(1) Overcome inordinate fear of death characteristic of the modern world.
(2) Give courage to fight for freedom, social justice, and ecologically sustainable policies. We are not subject to any earthly power.
(3) Develop greater love for a universe in which unfairness of present life is not the final word.
(4) Overcome materialistic (in a popular sense) view of life.
(5) Overcome political "realism" viewing people as selfish.
QUESTIONS FROM VARIOUS PARTS OF THE BOOK
47. What are the seven hard-core commonsense presuppositions? 102-103
Among these are (1) the reality of conscious experience (which eliminative materialism denies), (2) reality of a world beyond ourselves (not necessarily a material one), (3) the reality of (efficient) causation as real influence (as distinguished from Hume's understanding of causality as merely regularity of sequence, constant conjunction), (4) the causal efficacy (power) of our bodies for conscious experience, (5) freedom in the sense of partial self-determination in the moment, (6) the efficacy of conscious experience for (on) bodily behavior (mind over matter), (7) the reality and efficacy of values (final causation, as distinguished from the efficient causation that is the power of the past).
48. How can we explain the reality of things, such as normative values—real but not material? What is the first objection to having values as independently real Platonic forms? 273, 275:
Objective values, such as Platonic forms, "can exist only as entertained by something actual, by a mind, . . . a cosmic subject, [that has them as] appetitions.
49. What is Whitehead's explanation of "why we feel values as ideals, that is, as important, as possibilities that should be actualized"? 275
"God prehends truth, beauty, and goodness with the appetition that they be actualized in the world of finite beings." We do not "simply prehend these values directly; we prehend them by prehending God. Whitehead says, accordingly, that our 'experience of ideals—of ideals entertained, of ideals aimed at, of ideals achieved, of ideals defaced . . . is the experience of the deity of the universe.'"
50. What is the second (the first is in question 48) objection to independently real Platonic forms? 275
"[T]he fundamental religious desire is the desire to be in harmony with the supreme power of the universe. It is hard to see the trinity of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, for all its grandeur, as the supreme power of the universe. . . . The supreme power can only be that which is responsible for the fine-tuned order of the physical constants of the universe, for the emergence of life, and for the human form of life. . . . We need an actual, not merely an ideal or 'as-if,' God."
51. What does Griffin mean by downward causation? 276 (Influence) "from superior to
52. What does Griffin mean by "the general reductionism of the late modern worldview"? 276
The view that "all causal action goes upward or sideways."
53. What relevance does this view have to the place of God in reality? 276
It "has made the idea of causal influence from God in the evolutionary process seem completely out of place."
54. How does parapsychological evidence counter this opposition to a meaningful place for God in reality? 276
"Understanding our own souls in terms of their psychokinetic potential, thereby moving away from [full or near] epiphenomenalism . . . we have an analogical basis for seeing the supreme power of the universe as a Universal Soul through whose downward causal influence the various levels of order in our universe, from atoms to human, have been built up."
55. How does parapsychology help to solve the problem of evil (an important factor in the switch from supernaturalism to atheism)? 283
"By helping undermine the idea of divine omnipotence" (since paranormal experiences keep doing the seemingly divine).
56. What can we affirm in panentheism (naturalistic theism) that had been constituents in the problem of evil? 283
"the two dimensions implied in our idea of a Holy Reality: perfect in goodness as well as supreme in power [but not literally omnipotent]."
57. What two term does Griffin use with regard to some people's hope that there is no life afterdeath? 289
(1) "aesthetically unattractive, especially when thought of as continuing forever, as when people suspect that 'heaven' would be [a] boring, or as when Karl Popper considers the prospect of immortality [b] 'utterly frightening.'"
(2) "morally repellent. Many moralists have rightly been offended by the suggestion that the main reason to be moral is the anticipation of rewards and punishments after death. Another source of moral repulsion has been the idea that those who did not believe or do not do the right things in the present life, perhaps through no fault of their own, will be condemned to everlasting torment. Such views, besides being morally repellent, have often added an inordinate fear of death to the already difficult task of living.
58. What does Griffin say about the connection of life with particular conceptions of it, including immortality? 289
"There is . . . no necessary connection between the idea of life after death as such and any particular conception of it, such as that it involves rewards and punishments. . . . The idea of life after death, furthermore, does not necessarily imply immortality, in the sense of a form of existence that would continue literally forever."
59. What possibility does Griffin raise in connection with the length of life in relation to karmic activity? 289
"It might be . . . that we would continue to exist only as long as we still had unfulfilled desires."
60. In the final paragraph of his text, how does Griffin (elaborating on his last few reasons for belief in life after death) relate belief in life after death as part of belief in life as a spiritual journey) to changes in world order? 292)
"[A] transition in world order, if it is to occur, will have to be accompanied by a widespread shift in worldview, one that will lead to a new sense of adventure, one replacing  the modern adventure of ending economic growth based on the technological subjugation of nature and  the military and/or economic subjugation of weaker peoples. Only, I am convinced, if we come to see human life as primarily a spiritual adventure, an adventurous journey that continues beyond this life, will we have a chance of becoming sufficiently free from destructive modern motivations to effect a transition to a sustainable global order. Here, of course, I have only stated my belief; an argument for al this will have to wait for a subsequent book."
61. What are the two most common positions taken on the mind-body relation in our time? 103 Dualism and materialism.
62. Why is dualism inadequate? 104, 110
(104) " Of the various problems with metaphysical dualism, the most commonly mentioned is the problem of interaction. How can two things that are totally unlike be thought to interact causally with each other? (110) "A second objection often raised against dualism is that it violates the law of the conservation of energy."
63. Why are dualism and materialism similar? 111
Materialism "is simply a decapitated version of [dualism], having retained [dualism's] 'nature' while lopping off its 'mind.'"
64. What is functionalism? 113
Functionalism (an alternative to extreme identism, which says that mind—a collection of matter—is identical with brain) maintains that the matter of the brain is irrelevant; "Only organization is important. Functionalism thinks of the relation between mind and brain as analogous to that between the software (program) and the hardware in a computer. . . . [Yet] the mind is in some sense identical with the brain."
65. What are the seven problems with "the materialist's view of the mind-body relation"? 113-120
1. "Inadequacy to the Unity of Conscious Experience." "Our experience is not simply an aggregation of bits of data but a unification of a vast amount of data into an experiential unity. . . . Given the fact that the brain is composed of at least 100 billion neurons [nerve cells], this unity of experience is hard to square with the idea that mind and brain are one and the same thing." If there are merely billions of brain cells working, "the very appearance of unity is utterly mysterious."
2. "Inadequacy to the Unity of Our Bodily Behavior." "If there is 'no single Boss,' but merely a vast aggregation of microagents, how is this coordination [such as driving while talking, smiling, etc.] achieved?
3. "Difficulty Acknowledging the Efficacy of Consciousness for Bodily Behavior." "The issue here is epiphenomenalism, the doctrine that consciousness is merely a nonefficacious by-product of the brain. . . . But the denial that our conscious experience affects our bodily behavior seems to conflict with out hard-core common sense."
4. "Inadequacy to Freedom. The hard-core commonsense presupposition most consistently denied by materialists is the partial freedom of conscious experience, along with the consequent partial freedom of our bodily behavior (which follows from the efficacy of consciousness for our bodily behavior."
5. "Inadequacy to Values." The doctrine "that nothing but material things exist . . . rules out not only a (nonmaterial) mind but also those things often called 'values,' such as truth , beauty, and goodness. . . . Materialism's reductionistic account of values inevitably creates an opposition between theory and practice."
6. "Epistemological Inadequacy." Materialism "entails a sensationist doctrine of perception, according to which we can perceive only by means of our physical sense organs. . . . As Hume saw, sense-perception as such gives us nothing but sense-data, and these are universals, or abstractions, such as colors and shapes. Sense perception as such, in other words, gives us no knowledge of the existence of other actual things. This means that the sensationist doctrine leads, in theory, to solipsism, the doctrine that I do not really know that anything actually exists except myself.
7. "The meaning of Mind-Brain Identity." Materialists assume "that the 'gray matter' of the brain is also 'matter' in the philosophical sense—namely, that it is devoid of all experience." How can our experience be identical with a large collection of nonexperiencing things. Even materialists are coming to admit that this makes no sense.
[Related summary, p. 127: "The main argument for materialism has always been that, whatever its problems, it is not as bad as dualism, with its insuperable problems. The main argument for dualism has always been that, whatever its problems, they are at least not as severe as those of materialism. . . . John Searle puts the point [about materialism] even more strongly, seeing the 'deepest motivation of materialism' to be 'simply a terror of consciousness.'"]
66. What is monism? 121
Monism (of the qualitative kind) is the position "that there is only one kind of reality." Materialistic monism, holding that there is only matter, "is really dualism in disguise," since materialist believe that there are also observing experiencers.
67. What five problems do dualism and materialism share? 122-128
1. "The Problem of Discontinuity." The empirical dimension of this problem: The principle of continuity that maintains that there should be no absolute jumps in the evolutionary process, and we increasingly find by empirical enquiry such continuity, but the dualistic view, more than the materialistic, "posits an absolute difference in kind between entities that experience and those that do not. The former have an 'inside' and exercise final causation, whereas purely material entities are all 'outside' and operate entirely by efficient causation."
2. "The Problem of Where to Draw the Line . . . between mental and physical things." "Are we to say that bacteria are alive, and therefore sentient, while viruses, which have some but not all the properties usually said to characterize living things, or not? Or, if we include viruses, are we going to exclude macromolecules, such as DNA, RNA, and protein molecules, in spite of their remarkable abilities? . . . Wherever dualism draws its line between experiencing and nonexperiencing entities will be arbitrary. This problem, however, cannot comfort materialists. Because of their cryptodualism, it equally applies to them."
3. "How Could There Have Been Time for Experience to Emerge?" "[T]ime presupposes experience, because without experience there would be no 'now,' therefore no distinction between past and future. Dualists, accordingly, must hold that time itself arose sometime in the course of the evolutionary process. . . . [Yet] evolution itself presupposes the existence of time."
4. "The Problem of the Great Exception." "if minds with their experiences are real things with their own power, not simply functions of physical things, then they cannot be subsumed under the explanatory laws that account for most things (given the dualist's account of 'most things' as devoid of experience). They are the great exception. . . . [E]xperience cannot be described in purely objective or 'third person' terms, such as chemical transactions, neuron-firings, and the like; subjective or 'first-person' categories, such as feelings, emotions, and purposes, are necessary. On this basis, we can turn the Great Exception argument around, saying: Given the fact that human beings (and at least many animals) are not fully explicable physicalistically, would it not be strange if the rest of the universe were?
5. "The Problem of Emergence. . . . how conscious experience emerged out of insentient matter in the first place. This was not a problem for the supernaturalistic dualists of the seventeenth century , such as Descartes, because they could simply assume that God created both minds and matter at the origin of the world. It is not even an insuperable problem for contemporary dualists who are supernaturalists, even if they think in evolutionary terms. . . . But it presents an enormous problem for dualists who are naturalists (whether theistic or nontheistic). . . . How could bits of matter (or matter-energy) that that are wholly devoid of any experience of any sort give rise to conscious experience?"
68. What is nondualistic interactionism? 128-138
It is a view (of Griffin and other Whiteheadian philosophers) that accepts the numerical difference of mind and brain, while denying the ontological difference, so interaction is possible. Griffin says that henceforth we should use the term "dualism" only to refer to Cartesian dualism, "or some variant thereof, according to which mind and matter are said to be ontologically different in kind. In other words, 'dualism' should be used only as shorthand for 'ontological dualism.'" We should "distinguish between two types of interactionism: dualistic interactionism and non-dualistic interactionism." In other words, nondualistic interactionism is what is referred to in Anderson, p. 6, as "relative dualism," while Cartesian dualism there is called "absolute dualism."
69. Why do "almost all modern thinkers assume that matter is devoid of the characteristics that are basic to minds, namely experience and self-determination"? 131
"[A]s citizens of the modern world, they have been taught to assume it. . . . To question this mechanistic view of nature would be to question part of the essence of modernity. Perhaps, however, it is time to question it."
70. What is the mortalist argument of some freethinkers, and on what is it based? 131
"[W]hen the body dies, so does the soul." Based on some Renaissance philosophies "according to which all matter has the power of self-motion . . . the fact that the soul is a self-moving thing, as Plato said, does not prove that the soul is incorruptible, because matter is self-moving and yet the body clearly decays."
71. What are the reasons given by Griffin "for rethinking the nature of matter" (and thereby leading to panexperientialism)? 132-38
1. There is no line between the sentient and insentient. "[N]ature as portrayed by modern science not only does not suggest a clear place to draw a line between sentient and insentient things, but also suggests, with its evolutionary continuities, the probability that no such place exists. This suggestion, that experience and spontaneity may go all the way down, has been increasingly supported as the scientific study of nature has become increasingly subtle."
2. "The 'pan' in panexperientialism" refers only to individuals. See question 73.
3. "Our own conscious experience . . . [is] the only thing whose nature we know from inside. As such, we know what it is in itself in a way that we do not of anything else.
The materialist requires belief (a) that there are individuals not analogous to us and (b) that there are nonexperiencing individuals; whereas panexperientialism requires only belief that all individuals are like what we experience ourselves to be, experiencing.
4. "[T]he panexperientialist starting point is pragmatic: It works. That is, by beginning with the working hypothesis that at least some iota of spontaneous experience characterizes individuals at every level of nature, we can affirm nondualistic interactionism, in which all the ontological problems of dualistic interactionism are avoided: Interaction between mind and brain is no longer counterintuitive, because the mind and the brain cells are said to be qualitatively similar, only greatly different in degree. There is no absolute line in the evolutionary process between sentience and insentience. There is no problem of emergence, because conscious experience is said to emerge not out of insentient matter but out of things with less sophisticated experience. . . .
5. "[T]his type of panexperientialism overcomes the various epistemological
problems that have plagued dualism and materialism." Our prehension is "perception in the mode of causal efficacy." "The 'intuition' of values, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, also occurs through this nonsensory mode of perception. Likewise, our knowledge of the past arises from the fact that our present moment of experience directly prehends our own past moments of experience, this being the form of nonsensory prehension that we call 'memory' [involving] more or less creative reconstructions as well as prehensions of the past events as they really happened."
72. What term does Griffin want to replace with panexperientialism, and why? 132
"The view that actual things at every level enjoy experience, analogous to our own, has usually been called panpsychism. The word 'psyche,' however, suggests a rather high level of experience. The term 'panexperientialism' is better."
73. What is there misleading about the term panexperientialism, and how is it avoided in the tradition of Leibniz, Whitehead, and Hartshorne? 132-33
"The 'pan' could be taken to mean literally everything, which would mean that sticks, stones, telephones, and typewriters would all have a unified experience, analogous to that of a human being." "In short, the 'pan' in panexperientialism refers not literally to all things, but only to all individuals. This is a metaphysical point. The empirical question , as to which things are to be considered to be true individuals, should be settled in terms of evidence of spontaneity or self-determination. To have a unified experience is also to be capable of a self-determining response to one's environment. We should posit a soul, a unity of experience, only where we see signs of this capacity. Until the rock begins climbing the hill on its own, we should not suppose it to be analogous to Sisyphus." Two "basic ways in which a multiciplicity of experiencing individuals [and there are no others] can be ordered":  "a multiciplicity of individuals at one level can be subordinated to a 'dominant' individual with a higher level of experience and greater power"; "then the thing as a whole has experience by virtue of is dominant member. Examples would be humans, other animals, cells, bacteria, molecules, and atoms. These things are 'compound individuals,' to use Charles Hartshorne's word, because a higher-level individual has been compounded out of lower-level individuals.  On the other hand, there may be no dominant individual, but merely a multiplicity of individuals, much as molecules, with equal power, with equal power and experience. Examples would be rocks, shingles, typewriters, oceans, and stars. Such things are aggregated societies of individuals, not true individuals themselves. These nonindividuated societies have no experience as such."
74. How does Griffin define realism (102-103 et passim), and at least partially define idealism (102, 104, 111), and is this consistent with his reference to panpsychism at pp. 106n and 132?
Realism: the belief "that 'nature' or 'the physical world' is as actual as we are,' that it does not depend "on its being perceived or conceived."
Idealism: Apparently he takes most (as he is careful to point out) forms of idealism to claim that the world is dependent on "being perceived or conceived."
Panpsychism: "The view that actual things at every level enjoy experience, analogous to our own." However, "'psyche' . . . suggests a rather high level of experience," so he prefers "panexperientialism." Runes Dictionary of Philosophy (L.W.): A form of metaphysical idealism . . . according to which the whole of nature consists of psychic centers similar to the human mind." Hartshorne (in "The Synthesis of Idealism and Realism," republished in The Zero Fallacy and quoted in 4:1 JSSMR, 57) defines realism as having beliefs (1) an object is in no degree dependent on the subject that is aware of it (Principle of Objective Independence) and (2) a subject always depends on objects. His "realistic idealism" contains these (Principle of Subjective Dependence) and (3) any entity must be or become object for some subject (Principle of Universal Objectivity), and (4) any concrete entity is (I'd say WAS) a subject or set of subjects (Principle of Universal Subjectivity), "Psychicalism" (preferred to panpsychism) (I'd add panexperientialism).
CHARLES HARTSHORNE ON MIND-BODY INTERACTION
Remember that Griffin (p. 99) considers the philosophical conceivability of life after death to be found in the mind-body relationship; the problem is whether there is a nonmaterial reality interacting with the body in such a way that it might be able to survive without the body. Hartshorne here gives a simple statement of the panexperientialistic (panpsychistic, pluralistic-realistic idealistic, panentheistic) position on mind-body interaction.
[O]ur cells respond to our feelings (and thoughts) because we respond to their feelings (and would respond to their thoughts if they had any). Hurt my cells and you hurt me. Give my cells a healthy life, and they give me a feeling of vitality and at least minimal happiness. My sense of welfare tends to sum up theirs, and their misfortunes tend to become negative feelings of mine. I feel what many cells feel, integrating these feelings into a higher unity. I am somewhat as their deity, their fond heavenly companion. They gain their direction and sense of the goodness of life partly from intuiting my sense of that goodness, which takes theirs intuitively into account.
From Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984), p. 80.
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