Ludwig Jaskolla

Brentano and the Combination Problem

My present paper explores the speculative force of the so called „combination problem“ that has been formulated (in various ways) in order to criticize panpsychistic ontologies of the mind against the background of Brentano´s theory of the unity of consciousness in his „Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt“. In the course of this paper, I will present a four-step argument supporting the following two-fold conditional claims: (a) If considered against the background of suciently detailed mereological deliberations, the combination problem looses most of its argumentative power. (b) When discussing the unity of consciousness (cf. Brentano: 1874, Buch 2 – Kapitel 4 – §2), Brentano had such a mereology of the mental in mind solving the combination problem formally. I start my analysis (section 1) by providing some preliminary denitions concerning panpsychistic ontologies of the mind and a motivation of the combination problem by William James (1890). I will then give a detailed account of a version of the combination problem (section 2) that has been proposed by Philip Goff. In order to prepare the final argument, I will afterwards sketch the basic assumptions of a mereological analysis of the combination problem. Drawing the different strains of the paper so far together, I will then provide a general interpretation of Brentano´s theory of the unity of consciousness showing how his approach solves the combination problem.