Against Phenomenal Bonding

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Siddharth S


European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, Volume 17, Issue 1 (2021)



Panpsychism; combination problem; subject-summing; phenomenal bonding; constitutive panpsychism


Panpsychism, the view that phenomenal consciousness is possessed by all fundamental physical entities, faces an important challenge in the form of the combination problem: how do experiences of microphysical entities combine or give rise to the experiences of macrophysical entities such as human beings? An especially troubling aspect of the combination problem is the subject-summing argument, according to which the combination of subjects is not possible. In response to this argument, Goff (2016) and Miller (2017) have proposed the phenomenal bonding relation, using which they seek to explain the composition of subjects. In this paper, I discuss the merits of the phenomenal bonding solution and argue that it fails to respond satisfactorily to the subject-summing argument.