Posts

Showing posts from May, 2015

The linguistic con game of the 'mind/matter duality'

Image
I have recently been accused of proposing a metaphysics that simply replaces one form of reductionism with another: instead of reducing everything to matter, I allegedly 'reduce' everything to mind, the supposed polar opposite of matter. Underlying this accusation is the notion that 'mind' and 'matter' are dual concepts or polar opposites at the same level of abstraction, so that a reduction to either of them is seen as equally abstract. The suggestion is that there is a higher, truer, more enlightened point-of-view that precedes both mind and matter ontologically, and from which we can contemplate both mind and matter as a lower-level duality or polarity. As such, I allegedly fail to bring us any closer to that 'higher point-of-view,' instead replacing one abstraction with another.

If this is what you think, you've fallen for a linguistic con game; one that, unfortunately, plagues most of our culture. Mind and matter are not a true duality; and th…

The threat of panpsychism revisited

Image
A few days ago, I published an essay discussing the threat of panpsychism in our culture's journey away from materialism. In essence, my point was this: now that reason and observations are rendering materialism untenable, panpsychism offers a bandaid solution that, in my view, threatens to perpetuate the absurd notion that matter is more primary than mind either in substance or in structure.

Now, Matthew David Segall, a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies, offered a critique of my essay. In this post, I'd like to briefly comment on his critique.

Segall correctly infers that the version of panpsychism that I sought to refute in my original essay was that articulated by, among others, Galen Strawson and David Chalmers. He then states:
Kastrup defends [monistic idealism], but only against a rather oversimplified, caricatured version of panpsychism. I have two brief comments on this. First, if the panpsychism I attempted to refute is …

Favorite quotes from Brief Peeks Beyond

Image
My new book Brief Peeks Beyond is being officially released today! This means that, if you've pre-ordered the ebook version, you will be getting it today. And it also means that, if you order it now, you will get it immediately!

To celebrate the occasion, in this post I list my 65 favorite passages from the book. The passages capture and summarize some of the essential points rather sharply and succinctly. I've numbered them for ease of reference, in case you want to cite them in social media. Have fun!

Pages 12-13: Because all knowledge resides in consciousness, we cannot know what is supposedly outside consciousness; we can only infer it through our capacity for abstraction. … It is enough that we find one coherent explanation for reality on the basis of excitations of consciousness alone for a postulated universe outside consciousness to become akin to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.Page 14: Inferring that personal psyches share a common root does not entail postulating a new…

The threat of panpsychism: a warning

Image
I feel increasingly concerned about what I believe to be a mounting and extremely dangerous cultural threat looming on the horizon: panpsychism, the notion that all matter has consciousness, as opposed to being in consciousness. At a historical nexus when new data and more critical thinking are finally rendering materialism logically and empirically inviable, panpsychism comes in as a tortuous but seductive bandaid. It threatens to extend the delusion of a universe outside consciousness for yet another century. In this essay, I'd like to try and raise the alarm about it.

The meaning of the term panpsychism

Before we begin, let's clarify what I mean by panpsychism. As discussed in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the term 'panpsychism' has so many possible interpretations as to render it at best ambiguous and at worst useless. So more must be said. What I specifically mean here are two particular interpretations of the term that I believe are gaining momentum in…

Out-of-body experiences explained... or are they?

Image
In my newly-released book, Brief Peeks Beyond, I dedicate a whole chapter to exploring the mainstream media's bias towards the metaphysics of materialism when reporting on scientific results. I illustrate this with examples from research on consciousness, memory and psychoactive substances. My claim is that the media too easily errs on the side of materialism, with the net result of hyping misinterpretations of scientific observations. Even in cases where these observations contradict materialism, they are spun – sometimes shockingly – so to apparently confirm it. This constitutes a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle that renders the materialist metaphysics virtually immune to cultural criticism.

As it turns out, in the past couple of days another, perhaps less dramatic but nonetheless significant example of this has come to light. The Mail Online has published an article titled 'Brain scans reveal what happens during an out-of-body experience.' The article goes on to say t…