I’m no fan of panpsychism, but I’m not going to let that stop me from posting on it. I’d like to raise questions about theories of which panpsychism is but one instance. Call such theories “pan-x-isms”. My main question is whether there are any non-controversial examples in which a pan-x-ism turned out to be a good idea.
One of the main problems that any pan-x-ism runs into is to explain the apparent differences between x’s and non-x’s. Thales’s panhydrism invites the question of what’s the difference between water and the glass that contains it. Is glass merely slow water? Another is that once everything is alleged to be explainable in terms of x, you pretty much give up hope of explaining x.
But back to my main question. When has pan-x-ism been a good idea? Post-Aristotelian conceptions of space where there aren’t distinct spaces for distinct substances (“fire goes here”) I think are pretty clearly improved conceptions, but should they count as pan-x-isms?
Pancomputationalism gets kicked around now and again but it’s about as controversial as panpsychism.
When, if ever, has there been a pan-x-ism that obviously didn’t suck?