Panpsychism and Russellian Monism

Sam Coleman, Torin Alter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Russellian monist positions such as panpsychism are widely believed to have crucial advantages over mainstream physicalist and dualist positions. Physicalism disregards or distorts the distinctive features of consciousness, while dualism fails to integrate consciousness sufficiently into the natural causal order. We consider whether Russellian monism has the advantages just described. More specifically, we discuss two significant challenges to the claim that it does: one developed by Robert J. Howell and one by Amy Kind. Howell argues that Jaegwon Kim’s exclusion argument can be modified to show that Russellian monism is untenable. And Kind argues that it is “simply an illusion” that Russellian monism “transcend[s] the dualist/physicalist divide.” We argue that neither challenge is insurmountable, and on the way develop detailed new variants of the general Russellian monist position. Most notable among these are 'compatibilist' and 'necessitarian' Russellian monism. We conclude that Russellian monism remains a contender position, and plausibly retains its advertised advantages over the mainstream positions. In particular, compatibilist and necessitarian versions of the view seem worthy of further attention
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Panpsychism
EditorsWilliam Seager
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019


  • panpsychism, Russellian monism, causal exclusion, necessitarianism, consciousness


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