Yesterday I gave a long and extremely engaging interview to Rick Archer, of Buddha at the Gas Pump. Rick pressed me very intelligently on the distinction I make between idealism and panpsychism; that is, between the notions that everything is in consciousness and that everything is conscious. As my readers know, I reject panpsychism: I reject the idea that everything, like a rock or your home thermostat, is conscious. But I strongly endorse the notion that everything is in consciousness and exists only insofar as it is in consciousness. To Rick, this distinction wasn't clear, and he argued his case very well. I replied to him as best as I could during the interview, but wanted to clarify the point with some more structure in this brief essay.

A couple of weeks ago, a Twitter war broke out between Deepak Chopra, a well-known proponent of integrative medicine, and Brian Cox, a physicist and TV-star who is famous for science documentaries on UK television. The war was covered in a highly tendentious way in an article in the New Statesman. Here, however, I want to focus on what the Twitter exchange seems to reveal about the appalling state of our culture. To give you a flavor of the exchange, I want to start with specifics.

Integrative medicine encompasses a variety of approaches to healthcare focusing on mind-body interaction. Unlike mainstream materialist medicine, which treats a patient’s body as a biological mechanism, integrative medicine seeks to heal the whole being, including – and often starting from – one’s psychic, emotional functions.

Right, this one is going to be controversial. Even as I write these opening words, I still harbor some doubt about whether I should be doing this at all. I'll postpone thinking further about it until the point when there's nothing left to do but to click on the 'publish' button. If you are reading this now, you know that, eventually, I did click on it.

You see, the problem is that I am about to commit sacrilege. I am about to attack my alma mater in the original latin sense of the words.

To 'beg the question' is a logical fallacy in which one takes the conclusion of an argument as a premise of the argument. For instance, if one says: 'God exists because the bible says so, and the bible is true because it was written by God,' one is begging the question of God's existence. As such, to beg the question is a kind of circular reasoning.

As my readers know, in Chapter 2 of Why Materialism Is Baloney I discuss the 'filter hypothesis' of mind-brain interaction. According to this hypothesis, 'no subjective experience is ever generated by the brain, but merely selected by it according to the perspective of the body ...

So, what are they? Here is a list...

Because we cannot change reality by merely wishing it to be different, it’s clear that reality is outside consciousness. Reality is clearly not inside our heads, therefore idealism is wrong. There are strong correlations between brain activity and subjective experience. Clearly, thus, the brain generates consciousness. Because psychoactive drugs change subjective experience, it’s clear that the brain generates consciousness.

Today I did something mildly exciting: I went to a militant materialist website and rattled the cage a bit. I felt the need to expose the scandalously flawed logic of a prominent materialist – a renowned neurologist – who argued that there were survival advantages for the brain to have evolved consciousness. These were his original points:

1) The brain needs to pay attention and subjective experience is required for attention.

In my previous article, I explored the subject of freewill in the context of my own metaphysics: a formulation of idealism. In this brief essay, I'd like to generalize some of the principles I based my earlier discussion on, for the benefit of those interested in the topic of freewill but not necessarily interested in particular metaphysical formulations.

(Update: a follow-up article has been published)

In my book Why Materialism Is Baloney I briefly discuss freewill. My intent there wasn't to elaborate extensively on the meaning of freewill, but rather to place our intuitive notion of it in the framework of my metaphysical model. That model, as my readers know, could be seen as an idealist metaphysics. It states that reality is exactly what it seems to be: a subjective phenomenon existing in mind, and in mind alone.