Skye & Massimo's Philosophy Cafe: Is Consciousness a Basic Property of the Universe?

Monday, February 25, 2019 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Social Hall
$5 Nonmembers

Have you ever heard of panpsychism? It’s the ancient notion, going back all the way to the pre-Socratic Heraclitus, that the universe itself is permeated by intelligence. Some contemporary philosophers have revived the idea in order to solve what they call the “hard problem” of consciousness, i.e., how is it possible that matter gives rise to first-person experiences? The reasoning is that if consciousness is elemental, then, of course, beings with a lot of atoms in their bodies will be highly conscious. Is this good metaphysics or pseudo-philosophy? Do we have any empirical way to find out? Does modern physics have anything to tell us about it?

The Café is run by philosophers Skye Cleary ( and Massimo Pigliucci ( It is based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. Every meeting has a simple theme (e.g., should we be afraid of death? What's the ethics of eating?), which is introduced by Skye and Massimo on the basis of short, accessible, suggested (but not mandatory!) readings. The rest of the meeting then features an open discussion among participants, facilitated by Skye and Massimo, aiming at sharpening our thinking about whatever subject matter is being examined.

For more information, visit the Cafe's Meetup page:

Meeting dates subject to change.