Non-reductive, naturalistic ontologies of the mind, like for example panpsychism, panprotopsychism, and panexperientialism, have seen a renaissance over the last 20 years in analytic philosophy of mind. The network “Geiststaub” considers itself one platform and point of interactions for this development. It tries to bundle and focus research endeavors, to strengthen philosophical and interdisciplinary dialog in the form of conferences and workshops, and to foster the research projects of junior scholars.The internet pages of the network list announcement and documentation of future and past academic events (co-)organized by the network, web resources on panpsychism, and various media products, like for example interviews addressing important topics in the field.
The network's hub is in Munich. It is coordinated by:
- Prof. Dr. Godehard Brüntrup
- Dr. des. Ludwig Jaskolla
- Dr. Tobias Müller (Dilthey Fellowship "Das Rätsel des Bewusstseins")
Research partners are:
- AHRC-Project "The Phenomenal-Qualities-Project", University Hertfordshire
- FWF-Project "Taking the Hard Problem of Consciousness Seriously", University Vienna
- "Society for Mind-Matter Research", ETH Zurich
Geiststaub!? What is that?
Geiststaub (from German "geist" = mind and "staub" = dust) is a translation of William James' term "mind-dust". The German term "Geist" is wider than the English term "mind". It means also "spirit", "intelligence" and so on. James writes in his "The Principles of Psychology" that
"... there must be an infinite number of degrees of consciousness, following the degrees of complication and aggregation of the primordial mind-dust. To prove the separate existence of these degrees of consciousness by indirect evidence, since direct intuition of them is not to be had, becomes therefore the first duty of psychological evolutionism ..."
William James, 1890, Chapter VI, 149f.
Thus, the theory of mind-dust defends the idea that mental properties are characteristic to every state of reality. They are present 'all the way down' to even the most fundamental particles. This theory is known under different names, such as: Panpsychism, Panprotopsychism or Panexperientialism.