Why does panpsychism – the view that all of the universe (pan-) is in some sense conscious (-psyche) – seem implausible to many Western intellectuals?
I think there are two main reasons.
The first is that they believe that the mind has to do with the brain in particular. Non-mind -> evolution -> brain -> mind. Therefore, consciousness (an aspect of mind) ought to have to do with the brain in particular (or things that are similar to brains – perhaps complex computers), and not with matter in general.
Yet, if panpsychism is construed as consciousness in (at least most of the time) a more structurally simple sense than consciousness associated with brains, then there’s good reason to think the intuition isn’t applicable. I.e, people are confusing intuitions about structural complexity with a metaphysical issue. The brain is complex, but consciousness could be much different from consciousness as we experience it. Therefore, structure like that of a brain may not be required.
The second main reason it seems implausible is a belief that ‘science says’ all matter is non-conscious (except for matter associated with brains or other similarly complex systems). Science in the forms of physics, however, is just a description of cause-and-effect systems. It doesn’t speak to what it is that’s doing the causing in a metaphysical sense.
Panpsychism, in at least some of its forms, postulates that all matter is conscious, but is completely compatible with the cause-and-effect system worked out by, say, contemporary physics (or a hypothetical completed future physics). Conceptually, panpsychism and physics are talking about distinct aspects and therefore (as far as we know) completely compatible. Moreso, one could say they are complementary, as panpsychism fills out what it is that is playing the role in the cause-and-effect systems described by (say) physics.
So, it seems that at least two of the main intuitions against panpsychism are mis-intuitions.