Personhood, consciousness, and god : how to be a proper pantheist
In this paper I develop a theory of personhood which leaves open the possibility of construing the universe as a person. If successful, it removes one bar to endorsing pantheism. I do this by examining a rising school of thought on personhood, on which persons, or selves, are understood as identical to episodes of consciousness. Through a critique of this experiential approach to personhood, I develop a theory of self as constituted of qualitative mental contents, but where these contents are also capable of unconscious existence. On this theory, though we can be conscious of our selves, consciousness turns out to be inessential to personhood. This move, I then argue, provides resources for responding to the pantheist’s problem of God’s person.