I asked her what panpsychism was and it couldn't answer. Why doesn't it have that kind of knowledge? Is it for some ethical reason?

Its answer:

what is panpsyquism?
Panpsyquism is not a recognized term. It is not clear what it would refer to.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How many times and ways have you asked? Remember that the responses are often not factual or "knowledge", and that "I don't know" is a normal human response that is in the training data and that the model will replicate from time to time regardless of the question. The pre-prompting and chat setup will make this less likely, but it will be more likely for more obscure questions where the answer "I don't know" or similar is going to turn up in training data. $\endgroup$ Jan 18 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, after asking her to stratify the word panpsychism, she knew how to respond. $\endgroup$
    – Maya Rahto
    Jan 18 at 8:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You mispelled it in your first question! $\endgroup$ Jan 18 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. You are right! $\endgroup$
    – Maya Rahto
    Jan 18 at 8:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ ChatGPT is not aware of anything. It is important to remember that it just regurgitates stuff it has been trained on, and that there is no understanding or awareness of anything. $\endgroup$ Jan 18 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


I tried this. The whole chat log is below:

My input:

Someone mentioned panpsychism to me, I don't know what it is. How do I find out?


Panpsychism is a philosophical theory that holds that consciousness, or some form of mentality, is a fundamental feature of the universe and that all physical matter possesses it to some degree. It is a controversial theory and is debated in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. To find out more about panpsychism, you can start by reading some introductory texts on the topic such as David Chalmers' "The Conscious Mind" or "Panpsychism in the West" by David Skrbina. Additionally, you can search for academic articles and papers on the topic to gain a deeper understanding of the various arguments and criticisms of the theory.

It's fairly clear that ChatGPT has been trained on content that describes panpsychism.

Why did you get an "I don't know" in your attempt? It is probably because you mispelled the term as "panpsyquism" and ChatGPT did not make the link. Sometimes it still might, depending on the misspelling, because ChatGPT doesn't just break down text into words, but also will use individual characters for uncommon words. So it can spell and deal with some misspellings.

However it is worth bearing in mind that ChatGPT generates output semi-randomly, and it may from time to time output factually incorrect sentences or try to reframe your question or other things that humans might do in a chat scenario, including "I don't know" or "that question does not have an answer" because it has been trained on a lot of human-written content where these things happen. If you are exploring the limits of ChatGPT's abilities, it is always worth repeating an experiment a few times.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .