Philip Goff – Galileo’s Error

From a leading philosopher of the mind comes this lucid, provocative argument that offers a radically new picture of human consciousness – panpsychism

Understanding how brains produce consciousness is one of the great scientific challenges of our age. Some philosophers argue that consciousness is something “extra”, beyond the physical workings of the brain. Others think that if we persist in our standard scientific methods, our questions about consciousness will eventually be answered. And some suggest that the mystery is so deep, it will never be solved.

In Galileo’s Error, Philip Goff offers an exciting alternative that could pave the way forward. Rooted in an analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of modern science and based on the early 20th-century work of Arthur Eddington and Bertrand Russell, Goff makes the case for panpsychism, a theory which posits that consciousness is not confined to biological entities but is a fundamental feature of all physical matter – from subatomic particles to the human brain. Here is the first step on a new path to the final theory of human consciousness.

Cover image: Gold Beam Collision Recorded at STAR. Copyright Brookhaven National Laboratory (Creative Commons). Full image available at

Author: Philip Goff
Narrator: Maxwell Caulfield
Duration: 8 hours 3 minutes
Released: 19 May 2011
Publisher: Random House Audio
Language: English

User Review:

rum monogamous

The book is well-written and builds an excellent arena for competing belief systems. He lays out relevant historical anchor points where world view has changed in the last millennium and articulated that much of our cultures current popular philosophical position has no more proof than angels and magic beans. He doesnt say magic beans but he does talk about why angels should not be factored into an evidence-based view of reality than should the idea that matter is dead and mechanistic. The author concludes that pan-psychism shakes out as the most likely accurate explanation of reality but I felt he defended materialism with more substance even while he pointed out its flaws and tendency to use blind faith arguments while criticizing blind faith. I would have liked more discussion of modern pan-psychism because, in the end, I gained little to use in my debates with tribalistic, self-involved, dogmatic worshipers of science as a religion rather than a process for discovery. I will concede that it turned me onto some interesting further study about brain surgery and plant problem solving. I just think he had room to go do much further. Its a great book if youre new to the concept of bridging quantum physics and Newtonian physics with consciousness as a principle ingredient. It just feels unfinished.