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Is Panpsychism irreconcilable with Idealism?

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By Antonin Tuynman
(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum, reviewed, commented on and approved for publication by forum members. The opinions expressed in the essay are those of its author.)


Introduction The well-known writer Bernardo Kastrup, an idealist, has repeatedly argued against the notion of panpsychism, even calling it a "threat." In this article, I will argue that Kastrup's interpretation of panpsychism is but one among many and that there are interpretations of panpsychism possible which do not contradict idealism in the least. One of these interpretations is my "hierarchical panpsychism of self-sustaining systems." Although I fully recognise that consciousness is ultimately unified and that the world, its objects and inhabitants are in non-dual consciousness rather than the other way around, I do not see why the line of sentience should be drawn at biology. As a biochemist, I will inter alia argue the ver…

The Marketing of Philosophy: A Preliminary Report

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By Peter G. Jones
(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum, reviewed, commented on and approved for publication by forum members. The opinions expressed in the essay are those of its author.)


There is much talk in the profession these days of finding ways to improve the marketing of philosophy as an academic discipline. The department is under attack from almost all sides for its ongoing inability to reach a conclusion on any important philosophical question and some prominent scientists publicly doubt the value of studying it. In the US at least the teaching of philosophy is coming to be seen as inessential to a credible university curriculum and departments are closing.

A commercial enterprise finding itself in this positon would initiate a marketing review as a matter of urgency, probably bringing in external consultants armed with have a fresh eye and holding no stake in maintaining the status quo.  It is interesting to wonder what their …

Does God have an Agenda?

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By Ben Iscatus
(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum, reviewed, commented on and approved for publication by forum members. The opinions expressed in the essay are those of its author.)

Don't say this isn't an ambitious subject!

Idealism takes many forms, but in what follows, I am assuming that monistic Idealism is true. This means that God (or Consciousness) is all there is. What we call 'matter' is just how ideas or thoughts in God's mind appear and register to the senses of avatars (humans and animals) in God's dream of Planet Earth. I will use the terms "God" and "Consciousness" interchangeably here. (Conventionally, I refer to God as "He", but the "She" and "It" pronouns are implied). The essay is an informal and sometimes avant-garde exploration of some of the issues, and I hope you find it entertaining.

OK, that's the premise. So what is God dreaming and wh…

Aristotle, Nagarjuna and the Law of Non-Contradiction in Buddhist Philosophy

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By Peter G. Jones
(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum, reviewed, commented on and approved for publication by forum members. The opinions expressed in the essay are those of its author.)

Life, they urge, would be intolerable if men were to be guided in all they did by reason and reason only. Reason betrays men into the drawing of hard and fast lines, and to the defining by language—language being like the sun, which rears and then scorches. Extremes are alone logical, but they are always absurd; the mean is illogical, but an illogical mean is better than the sheer absurdity of an extreme. Samuel Butler, Erewhon
This quotation from Butler’s topsy-turvy land of Erewhon describes the view of the professors of the Colleges of Unreason. His satire of academia is an odd mix of good sense and madness but by the way it questions so many of our intellectual habits and assumptions it provides much food for thought. The professors of Unreason argue …

Thoughts and plans for 2017

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As the first, cold month of the year already draws to a close, I wanted to update you all on what is in the works for this year, as well as share a thought that seems relevant in the context of the current cultural ethos.

First of all, the thought: because I am a proponent of the philosophy of idealism—the notion that all reality is essentially mental—some people have concluded that I endorse the current cultural abomination often referred to as "post truth" or "alternative facts." Although the vast majority of you would never be so confused as to come to such a conclusion, I feel I must be crystal clear here:

Idealism does not entail, imply, or even suggest anything remotely similar to the notion that there aren't such things as facts. There are facts, alright; there are hard facts. We ignore them at our own peril.

All idealism does is to state that the essential nature of facts is mental. But mental facts can still be what I call "weakly objective" …

Dismantling idols: the current cultural inflection point

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As recent events—culminating yesterday with the US election—dramatically show, we are at a major cultural inflection point in Western civilization; one that bears relevance to how we see the world and reality itself. The US election is by no means an isolated event: the European Union has been in upheaval since the Greek debt crisis; last summer's Brexit would have been unthinkable only ten years ago or so; Brazil has impeached and removed from office a just-re-elected president; and Germany continues to wrestle with its national values and identity as it deals with the refugee crisis. These are but a few examples. The important point is that these and other events reflect a deeper dynamics: a profound shift in the ethos of the Western mindset, with significant implications for the future of our mainstream worldview. It is this shift—and the opportunities and risks it carries with it—that I want to explore in this brief essay, for it potentially bears relevance to the deepest phi…