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Idealism vs. Common Sense

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By Scott Roberts
(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.)


It appears that many people find idealism implausible simply because it does not match up with what they consider to be common sense. Well, they are correct. If by "common sense" we mean our pre-philosophical understanding of what things are like—an understanding that is held in common with most everyone around us—then the philosophical name for that understanding is dualism. It is dualist in that it makes a distinction in our experience between controlled (or at least controllable) and uncontrolled, between what seems to come from within us and what seems to come from outside. The contents of our sense perceptions are uncontrolled, while our thinking, feeling, and acting is, or at least can be, under our control. Further, much that is not under…

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 …