Mental States Free Essay

Panpsychism and Conscious Experience

Mental States

Mental states are states of mind that encompasses part or all of human nature. It could be our desires and moods, knowledge and thoughts, mental images, emotions and moods, perceptions and sensations. Most of the mental states such as dualism, physicalism, panpsychism are sometimes viewed as conspiracy theories to confuse weak minds. Dualism is the view that the mind and the body are separate entities. The body is physical, and the mind is non-physical (Zarella, Dualism, 1). Dualism is of two different types, substance dualism, and property dualism.

Property dualism is the view that mental states are non-physical properties of the body (Zarella, Dualism, 1). The difference between substance dualism and property dualism is complicated, but it is believed that all substances are physical substances and they can be thought of like materials, but the property is the characteristic of the materials (Zarella, Dualism, 2). Substance dualism refers to a physical entity while property dualism refers to the characteristic of that entity. Property dualism does not view that there are a separate body and mind. However, the mental states which are the mind are the non-physical property of the person’s physical body (Zarella, “Dualism,” 2). A person’s body is not body and mind; it is just a physical body of which the mental states are the non-physical properties of the person’s body. In property dualism, the mental state is independent of how the physical body reacts to the sensation of either pain or hunger. Property dualism can be applied to how we view things around us.

The argument for dualism is the fact that physical things cannot do what the mind can (Zarella, Arguments for and against Dualism, 1). This argument is supported because it is a known fact until recently that physical things cannot do what the mind can do. The mind is able to have conscious experience and understand language, something physical things are incapable of. However, due to technology advancement, we start to question the view of dualism, considering if computers can actually so what the mind does. Although we are not there yet, there is a question of whether computers would soon be able to work the way human minds work. However, very soon, it is understood that artificial intelligence would be able to pass the test that makes it count as a mind, and when it does, we would have to admit that physical things have a mind (Zarella, Arguments for and against Dualism, 2).

Functionalism does not explain conscious experience compared to dualism that explains the mind having a conscious experience and understanding language. Functionalism, however, is like a connection of thoughts or actions where one mental state influences the other leading to a specific output. The argument against this view is that a robot could have mental states if it can respond to certain inputs and activate other mental states (Zarella, Identity Theory and Functionalism, 4). Robots like this could act like a human being with a mind but would not be conscious. Dualism takes into account human consciousness, hence the substance and the property.

Panpsychism views that conscious human experience arises from different things, small units that have their own conscious experiences (Zarella, Panpsychism and Conscious Experience, 2). This cannot be agreed with because human’s mental states id the characteristic of a physical substance. It is not possible that human’s unified and complex conscious experience comes from small units which means that when they come together, they would create a new conscious experience which cannot be as complex as what humans have right now especially with the rudimentary nature of these small units.



Zarella, M. (2018). Arguments For and Against Dualism.

Zarella, M. (2018). Dualism

Zarella, M. (2018). Identity Theory and Functionalism

Zarella, M. (2018). Panpsychism and Conscious Experience



The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: August 11, 2022] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]
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