Panpsychism and emergentism. If one believes that the most fundamental physical entities (quarks, leptons, bosons, or whatever physics will ultimately settle upon) are devoid of any mental attributes, and if one also believes that some systems of these entities, such as human brains, do possess mental attributes, one is espousing some kind of doctrine of the emergence of mind. All the currently popular physicalist theories (such as behaviorism, central state identity theories, functionalism) are theories which attempt to provide an account of how the mental emerges from the physical.
Since panpsychism is, by definition, the doctrine that mind, in some sense of the term, is everywhere, in some sense of that term, it would seem to be intuitively clear that if one does not place mind at the very foundation, and in fact regards mentality to be a feature of systems of non-mentalistic entities, then one is an emergentist. Panpsychism's assertion that mind suffuses the universe presents a fundamental and sharp contrast with its basic rival, emergentism, which asserts that mind appears only at certain times, in certain places under certain—probably very special and very rare—conditions.
It was the modern “mechanistic” picture of the world inaugurated by Galileo, Descartes and Newton which put the problem of the mind at center stage while paradoxically sweeping it under the rug. The whole problem-space was severely distorted by what was virtually a stipulated separation of matter from mind, so that what could have been merely a useful conceptual distinction was transformed into an ontological gulf. Thus, everything that could not be accounted for in terms of the interactions of simple material components was conveniently labelled a “secondary quality” inhabiting not the “real” world but merely the conscious mind. For instance, in a maneuver reminiscent of Democritus, colors were banished from the world of matter, replaced with the “causal powers” of physical things to produce “in the mind” the experience we call color. Thus the world was made safe for physics.
The current burst of scientific and philosophical studies of mind sparked by the “cognitive revolution” has rekindled debate about the perennial dilemma of emergentism versus panpsychism. The recently renewed and once again influential claim of some philosophers, especially David Chalmers, that the explanation of consciousness presents a uniquely difficult problem for science has forced the reexamination of the metaphysical foundations of the scientific world view (see The Conscious Mind 1996). Chalmers calls this problem the “hard problem of consciousness”; it is also sometimes called the “explanatory gap” or the “generation problem”. The key difficulty is how to explain in naturalistic terms the generation of consciousness by “mere matter”. Once again it seems imperative to decide whether and how mind emerges upon, or exists only under, some specifiable and non-universal natural and non-mentalistic conditions or whether mind itself forms a part of the fundamental structure of the world, perhaps in some of the ways panpsychists have suggested.