Papers

The main body of my work comprises six published books, countless blog posts and magazine articles, dozens of videos, presentations and interviews, and chapters contributed to other books. This material was written for the average educated reader, dispensing with technicalities as much as possible. For this reason, it doesn't adhere to the strict standards of meticulousness that prevail in academia.

So to provide a rigorous foundation for the philosophy more broadly articulated in my books, I have been publishing a series of technical papers in open-access academic journals. This page lists the papers that have already been published, together with a brief description. As more papers are published, they will appear here.

None of the journals wherein the papers below have appeared is controlled by a publisher listed in Jeffrey Beall's list of questionable scholarly open-access publishers, as of its version of 12 January 2017.




This paper contains an analytic, rigorous articulation of the ontology of idealism—according to which reality is entirely mental—from the perspective of classical mechanics, as opposed to quantum mechanics (in a subsequent paper, I articulate the same ontology from a quantum mechanical perspective). The article goes on to compare idealism with physicalism and bottom-up panpsychism in terms of both parsimony and explanatory power. Finally, it discusses the pursuit of artificial consciousness from the perspective of the idealist ontology derived.





This paper shows a broad pattern of correlations between brain function impairment and an enrichment of inner life often described as self-transcendence. Reduction of oxygen supply to the brain due to strangulation, hyperventilation or G-LOC, reduction of brain activity due to psychoactive substances and self-induced trance, and even brain damage caused by stroke, trauma, dementia or bullet wounds to the head, all are shown to, under certain circumstances, lead to richer inner experiences and savant-level cognitive skills. This suggests that normal brain function is associated with a localization or dissociation of consciousness—not its production—and that, therefore, impairment of brain activity is associated with a reduction of such localization or dissociation.




Here I first summarize laboratory results related to quantum entanglement, which render realism—the notion that reality exists outside and independent of mind—untenable. I then proceed to offer an idealist, mind-only ontology to make sense of reality, according to which brains correspond to dissociations of universal consciousness. Finally, I show that reports of near-death experiences and other instances of brain function impairment reflect precisely what this idealist ontology predicts: an expansion of inner life. I thus propose that the first-person view of the death process must correspond to an expansion of awareness.




Physicalists—that is, those who believe that matter exists independently of experience, and that experience is generated by certain arrangements of matter in the form of biological nervous systems—often accuse those who hold different views of lack of objectivity and wish-fulfillment. This paper shows that physicalism is itself largely motivated by a subjective need for meaning and self-validation. Unlike the way it is often portrayed by its proponents, physicalism is far from an emotionally unbiased worldview.





Several neuroimaging studies have now shown that psychedelic substances, despite causing an unfathomable enrichment of experience, are accompanied by broad reductions of neural activity, or metabolism. In this paper, I review these studies and analyze the implications of their results for physicalism—that is, the notion that experience is generated by brain activity—casting doubt on the latter.

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