Original Research - Special Collection: SASRF Creation, Consciousness and Christology

Panpsychism, pan-consciousness and the non-human turn: Rethinking being as conscious matter

Cornel du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3426 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3426 | © 2016 Cornel du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2016 | Published: 24 October 2016

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Cornel du Toit, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa,, South Africa

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It is not surprising that in a time of intensified ecological awareness a new appreciation of nature and the inanimate world arises. Two examples are panpsychism (the extension of consciousness to the cosmos) and deep incarnation (the idea that God was not only incarnated in human form but also in the non-human world). Consciousness studies flourish and are related to nature, the animal world and inorganic nature. A metaphysics of consciousness emerges, of which panpsychism is a good example. Panpsychism or panconsciousness or speculative realism endows all matter with a form of consciousness, energy and experience. The consciousness question is increasingly linked to the quantum world, which offers some option in bridging mind and reality, consciousness and matter. In this regard Kauffman’s notion of ‘triad’ is referred to as well as the implied idea of cosmic mind. This is related to the notion of ‘deep incarnation’ as introduced by Gregersen. Some analogical links are made between panpsychism and deep incarnation.


Panpsychism; speculative realism; the Speculative Turn; consciousness metaphysics; Galen Strawson; Stuart Kauffman; cosmic mind; Niels Gregersen; deep incarnation


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