Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cosmopsychism and evolution

Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos has been widely criticised for, amongst other things, suggesting that Neo-Darwinism is insufficient to explain the diversity of life forms and their attributes, including humans endowed with consciousness, reason and values. Nevertheless,  I think the book contains some interesting speculations on consciousness, the implications of panpsychism for a naturalistic world view and the possibility of teleological principles influencing the course of events in the universe.

Following some of the paths which Nagel’s work opens up, the aim of this post is to offer some speculations on the implications of the form of panpsychism known as cosmopsychism for views about the evolution of life. Cosmospychism is the view that the universe is a conscious subject, from which human consciousness is derived or grounded. For the purposes of this post I will be assuming that cosmopsychism is plausible ( meaning that it is has a rational basis and is not wildly improbable).