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The Role of Mental Powers in Panpsychism

  • Fabian KlingeEmail author


Constitutive Russellian panpsychism seems to combine the strengths of its rivals, physicalism and dualism, while avoiding their weaknesses: by acknowledging the irreducibility of phenomenal properties yet grounding macro- in microphenomenality (phenomenal constitution), the view can avoid both anti-physicalist arguments and the causal exclusion problem for dualism. However, two severe objections have been raised: the combination problem for phenomenal constitution, and the structural exclusion problem for the position’s account of microphenomenal causation. It is currently hotly debated whether the combination problem can be overcome. If not, panpsychists are forced to view macrophenomenality as emergent. Yet emergent panpsychism is subject to the causal exclusion problem, thereby sacrificing panpsychism’s advantage over dualism. With regard to the structural exclusion problem, Mørch (forthcoming) provides a solution in terms of microphenomenal powers. I argue that Mørch’s view is not tenable. This notwithstanding, I develop a modification of her view which can solve the structural exclusion problem. Moreover, the emergentist version of this approach can avoid the causal exclusion problem. Thus, I aim to provide both a satisfying account of microphenomenal causation in panpsychism and a viable version of emergent panpsychism in case the combination problem turns out to be unsolvable.


Mental powers Panpsychism Causal exclusion Mental causation Emergence Consciousness 



I would like to thank Thomas Sattig, Tobias Wilsch, Micha Kieser, two anonymous referees, and the audiences at two talks I gave at the University of Tübingen and the University of Osnabrück for very helpful comments on various drafts of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.TübingenGermany

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