Core Doctrine of Process Philosophy #4 (of 10):

Core Doctrine #4: “Panexperientialism with organizational duality, [holds that] all true individuals –as distinct from aggregational societies–have at least some iota of experience and spontaneity (self-determination).”  From Griffin, “Reenchantment Without Supernaturalism” (p. 6)

Modern ontology (Cartesianism) claims there are two kinds of actual entities, purely material ones which lack any kind of primitive experience or internal relations.  These are the entities of modern and post-modern science, bits of insentient “stuff” be they matter or energy (and they really all boil down to energy).  The second kind of entities are immaterial “mind stuff” which account for mind and consciousness.  Presumably because they’re immaterial they are internally related to each other, and may even enter “into” each other.  However, this part of the ontology was never developed by anyone; Descartes tried to defend it when people brought up the “mind-body problem” of how the two kinds of actual entities could interact, but Descartes could not articulate a sufficient answer–probably because it’s not logically possible given two distinct kinds of actual entities.

On the process ontology there is only one kind of actual entity, and it has the capability to behave as “matter” as well as “mind.”  We ARE, in fact, sentient beings, so to think sentience irrationally floats in from nowhere, or manifests somehow at the animal level while it exists nowhere else in the universe, makes little sense.  Rather, actual entities are drops of primitive experience, which if enough build up, and are housed in a protective environment such as a body with some type of nervous system, the thing can have what we call sentience or experience.  Note it’s not the sheer numbers of actual entities which matter, but the complexity of their organization, so chairs and rocks and mountains can’t have self awareness, but a cell or a beetle or a person may.  The old ontology requires a miracle because animal consciosuness comes out of nowhere (somehow), but on the process view, a primitive kind of “experience” is inherent in the very nature of the most fundamental structures of the universe (actual entities).

This is NOT, and is very different, from Idealism, from Vitalism, etc.

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