My unfortunate attempt at debating Tim Maudlin

I recently was invited by Curt Jaimungal, of the Theories of Everything podcast, to debate philosopher Tim Maudlin on issues of philosophy of physics. I accepted after briefly looking up Maudlin's name and seeing that he was an academic. The result of this attempted debate, however, was a complete and unqualified disaster:

As much as this unfortunate event is deserving of forgetting, I think I owe my audience some clarifications. I'll try to keep it brief, to the point, and factual.

Did I know about Tim Maudlin's work before this attempted debate? No, I didn't. I essentially knew nothing other than the fact that he teaches philosophy of science at NYU, which I considered sufficient to justify my engaging in a conversation. I do follow the field of foundations of physics as closely as I can, but I follow the physics literature, not philosophy of physics. This doesn't mean that I dismiss philosophy of physics; it means only that I don't have time to follow everything of relevance to my work, and thus have to make choices. My past with experimental physics makes me more predisposed to prioritise the physics literature directly, and that's all there is to it.

Therefore, my usage of the expression 'grotesque theoretical fantasies' in my opening statement was not directed at Maudlin at all; I had no idea what his positions were. If he presumed that I did, then he presumed too much and that's not my responsibility. What I did know was that Maudlin wasn't a creator of any of the theories or interpretations I was alluding to. The expression 'grotesque theoretical fantasies' is one I had used many times before, and it has always referred to ideas, such as Everettian Many Worlds and Bohmian Mechanics. It was never directed at individuals, alive or dead. That Maudlin seemed to be offended by my usage of this expression is something I could not have anticipated; for all I knew, he would wholeheartedly agree with it. But if he felt, instead, that the hat fit his head, that was his judgment, not mine.

Maudlin stated that "everything [I had] just said is silly." So let us look into what I said and see whether any of it could conceivably be considered silly:

I started by saying that there was no consensus in the physics community about whether the experiments in question refuted physical realism. Maudlin obviously agrees, so that couldn't have been the silly part.

I said that, in addition to Bell's inequalities, there were also Leggett's inequalities, which can discriminate between physical realism and locality. Was that the silly part? Clearly not; it's a fact. Here is the paper in question

I then said that these inequalities had been experimentally verified. Was this silly? No, here is one paper reporting on the experimental results. And here is another.

I proceeded to say that these results refuted a broad class of non-local hidden variables theories. Was that silly? No. This is an explicit conclusion of one of the papers in question, one of whose co-authors is a 2022 Nobel Prize Laureate in physics.

I then said that Bohmian Mechanics, which Maudlin refers to as "Pilot Wave Theory," is one of the speculations that could perhaps survive the experimental results. Maudlin obviously agreed with that, so that wasn't silly either.

I followed up by stating that there were other reasons why Bohmian mechanics wasn't plausible, one of them being that it does not have a relativistic extension. Is that silly? No, it's a broadly known fact that doesn't even require a citation. So what was the 'silliness' Maudlin was alluding to?

Towards the end, I shared my view that, short of "grotesque theoretical fantasies," physical realism is untenable in the face of those experimental results. Is this silly? Perhaps in Maudlin's opinion it is, but I certainly substantiated my view explicitly and rigorously enough before stating it, so immediately characterising it as silly seems to be just that: silly and gratuitously provocative.

Finally, although acknowledging that physical realism seemed to be refuted experimentally, I still expressed my support for a realism of another kind; a realism entailing that the world is still made of real, external states, but states that aren't describable by physical quantities or properties. Clearly, Maudlin is a realist, so my expressing support for some surviving form of realism couldn't be silly from his point of view.

Given the above, the vast majority of what I said in my opening statement wasn't even polemical, let alone silly; it was factual in a manner that no informed player in the field of foundations of physics would fail to see. Maudlin's prompt and thoughtless characterisation of it as silly was purely emotional; it betrayed a surprising level of insecurity. I inadvertently poked his sensitivities and he took his frustrations out on me. Something in him clearly knows that his theoretical preferences are in serious trouble, otherwise he would have maintained a normal, calm, confident demeanour appropriate for the situation.

Now, why did I leave the debate? There are three reasons:

In an of itself, the usage of the word 'silly' is, in my view, acceptable in a debate, provided that it is substantiated by the preceding context and the corresponding tone conducive to conversation. But Maudlin's overtly aggressive, obnoxious, disrespectful tone in his loud outbursts made it clear to me that he wasn't open to any such conversation. My taking exception at his characterisation of my opening as 'silly' was as much about his tone and demeanour as it was about the word itself. He was simply out to have a schoolyard brawl with me (which I could even be in for, as long as we did it in the schoolyard, and without the pretence of intellectual aspirations). As things stood, there clearly was no point in pursing the exchange further.

Secondly, I frankly didn't feel like being insulted again, for although I take myself less seriously today than I ever did before in my life, I still have self-respect, which I think is healthy. There is no contradiction between these two things. Be that as it may, Maudlin's uncalled-for insult and overt toxicity angered me, and still anger me when I re-watch the video. I am not a saint and have never made a secret of it; much to the contrary. As someone who was educated to never tolerate bullying or insult at any age, I found myself wishing that Maudlin would speak to me in that tone in person, man to man, not from behind a camera. Clearly, such a thought was not conducive to continued conversation.

Thirdly, Maudlin's claims that the experimental results were also "predicted" by physically realist interpretations of quantum mechanics struck me, content-wise, as so outdated and biased as to make the engagement pointless. For instance, he claimed that the experimental results were also "predicted" by the Everettian Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI). Strictly speaking, this is indeed correct, in that MWI predicts that everything happens; every possible outcome is 'predicted' by MWI to actually unfold, just in some inaccessible parallel universe for which we have precisely zero direct empirical evidence. Obviously, this 'predictive power' of MWI is what makes it unfalsifiable and explanatorily useless, since a theory that predicts that everything will happen might as well predict nothing. That Maudlin should appeal to the 'predictive powers' of MWI to justify his calling me silly was rather rich.

Maudlin then appealed to Bohmian mechanics as an interpretation consistent with the experimental results. Bohmian mechanics is very niche in physics today for a number of excellent theoretical reasons, and even the experiments that once were construed to give it some basis have turned out to be wrong and do exactly the opposite. Its own creator, Louis de Broglie, abandoned the theory already a century ago. Yet I don't have to refute Bohmian mechanics, as the burden of argument here is not on me; it is on its proponents. It is they who need to show how it could be reconciled not only with the experimental results, but with Relativity. They also have to show how Bohmian mechanics could replace Quantum Field Theory, whose basic tenet—namely, that particles are field excitationscontradicts Bohmian mechanics (according to the latter, particles are little marbles riding a pilot wave). Before Bohmian mechanics can be used to base any philosophical argument, it first needs to be proper physics. Of all possible interpretations of quantum mechanics, that Maudlin chose to use "pilot wave theory" to substantiate his charge of my being "silly" was remarkably ironic; the man seems to completely lack self-awareness.

Finally, Maudlin's repeated rhetorical questioning of how any physical experiment could possibly refute physical realism, as if such a thing were obviously impossible a priori, betrays such a lack of awareness of the issues in contention, and of developments in foundations of physics, that further discussion was pointless. 

You see, I am known to like and engage in confrontational critiques and robust exchanges, as accepted and even encouraged in academia. I am also known to have used words such as 'silly,' 'naive,' and even 'crazy' when referring to certain ideas. But I challenge you to find a face-to-face debate or conversation wherein I gratuitously insulted my interlocutor in tone, demeanour or language, or treated them with any level of disrespect. Therefore, my usage of the words above should be evaluated in their proper context, and not be misconstrued as permission for others to take on a nasty or disrespectful tone with me in any conversation; I shall tolerate no such thing.

was sincerely willing to engage in a robust exchange with Maudlin, provided that the opportunity for such an exchange were there. Maudlin's unbecoming, unacademic and rude behaviour made it clear that such was not the case. He came across to me as a nasty and crass street brawler, not a thinker. I have thus no plans to engage with him ever again, for I have no respect for the attitude he displayed and what it betrays about his character. Nor do I find his ungrounded, tendentious, hand-waving and wishful technical statements worthy of in-depth discussion in debate format. I am sure he can continue to believe in his unfalsifiable, pseudo-scientific fantasies without my help.



  1. IIRC, the guy mentioned the MWI in his opening remarks –it was obvious he respected it. So to call it a “theoretical fantasy” (lovely phrase!) is going to rile him. But the new Prof Kastrup is lofty: he has the high ground; he no longer needs to engage with those who espouse pseudoscientific theories. Well, the paradigm may have shifted in the rarefied world of Essentia and may even be shifting in foundations of physics, but it most assuredly has not done so lower down the food chain, where physicalism still rules. Street brawling is much to be desired. We still very much need the old BK.

    1. You have never seen me acquiesce to this kind of tone and demeanour from an interlocutor during any face-to-face engagement; ever. Perhaps you're thinking of written insults, in the form of essays or social media posts, which I got from the likes of Jerry Coyne or Michael Graziano. Yes, I continued to engage them despite those insults. And I understand that you may feel tempted to think that social engagement norms should be the same whether the engagement is face-to-face or through essay/letter exchanges.
      But that is just not the case; and it hasn't been since the early 19th century. Sarcasm and insults are part of the socially accepted rhetorical game in written format. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were two of the early masters of it, and we still respect them today. In written format, insults, when used correctly, with sensitivity and nuance, can actually -- amazingly enough for the British! -- enrich the discussion. That's why you still hear me say that I would have a beer with Coyne, despite his having called me a 'flea' once. I know the rhetorical game he was playing, and I'm OK with it. Moreover, in written form insults can't be used as a cheap tactic to psychology unbalance your interlocutor, as the latter has time to gather his thoughts and reply appropriately. The insults, more often than not, can make you look bad if you aren't careful. So the whole thing self-balances in written format.
      But in a face-to-face engagement, things are entirely different; the tacit social norms are different; and insults can be used to unbalance the opposition psychologically, preventing the substance of the discussion from unfolding. Maudlin succeeded in doing just that. So no, you haven't ever seen me accepting that kind of tone and demeanour from anyone in a face-to-face format; the old Bernardo is just like the new one in that regard.
      The fact is, the cultural standing of Idealism has changed in the last 15 years. This is something to be celebrated. Nostalgia for the old times is misplaced. I just don't need to subject myself to nasty pieces of work like Maudlin anymore. As a matter of fact, my naiveté in accepting to debate before more careful background research on my opponent-to-be is making me look like an idiot in the community of foundations of physics right now. More than one member has sent me messages expressing horror at my having accepted to engage with Maudlin, who apparently is a notorious piece of work who many a big name not only dismisses, but also disdains. And, of course, everybody thinks I should have known better. I had nothing to gain from this naiveté. Maudlin will continue to be regarded as the same idiot he was regarded as before I engaged with him; while I come across as angry and naive. Is this something the old Bernardo would have done? Of course not. It was just, indeed, SILLY of me to engage, as I should have known better. Ironically, Maudlin was right, just for the wrong reason.

  2. As someone from a physics background who engages with some philosophy here and there, I am familiar with some of Maudlin's work. A lot of it is dedicated to expounding Bell's Theorem and ideas of non-locality, etc, which can be useful. He even has his John Bell Institute (which is currenlty running a GoFundMe page, make of that what you will). Maudlin also favours a broadly Bohmian interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    On the other hand, he has demonstrated on many occasions, in different interviews and discussions, a quite dismissive attitude on certain foundational questions; a kind of hubris that is vaguely reminiscent of 'New Atheist' materialist types from back in the day (and even a lot of physicalist philosophers today). He scoffs at things like QBism and, remarkably, actually calls them stupid (in an interview on YT, in is own words) and denigrates a whole bunch of other interpretations of QM like Many-Worlds or Relational QM just because they ''seem to be wrong'' or go against his intuitions. I was honestly a bit taken aback my these snotty remarks by someone who is supposed to be a philosopher of physics, and a lot of it was on full display in the debate with Bernardo.

    1. I am only now discovering this in horror. I was just naive for not having done more careful background research on who I was about to engage.

    2. AJ is right. Mauldin is just a bomb thrower with a PhD. I'm just a layman, but my guess is that he and Richard Dawkins call each other every week to strategize on how to piss off those they "oppose."

  3. Bernardo, you have a beautiful soul, and your ability to express yourself, even in frustration, is commendable. I think you were caught off guard, and then responded reasonably but ineffectively for you as the debater and me/us as the listeners. A lot of us know your narratives around Idealism, and love the opportunity for you to share/debate them in public with worthy debaters that have something to share and can help resolve potential issues with Idealism. We all lost that opportunity. Two suggestions: 1. do a little more research before a discussion to help you predict issues in advance, which I know can be time consuming, and 2. when you encounter a similar situation, and before ending it abruptly, first frame the situation for the Curt/moderator and the audience, including a description of what you are feeling and that you are still going to continue further to see if the discussion evolves. If it continues to devolve, then end it like you did. But it give it more time. Who knows, your emotional honesty might have jarred him loose from his unconscious identification with his own anger.

  4. I was expecting this during the debate you had with Sabine. But I had never heard of this Tim Moudlin prior to seeing this video. He surely did not deserve your time. Unfortunately, mainstream science today is filled with people like him. For them science has become a religion that cannot be questioned. They are not interested in this discussion because there is no upside to it for them. They have invested decades in learning it, built career on it, gained name and fame because of that.

    Unless he lacks basic reasoning skills, he is well aware of the deficiencies of current model built solely based on objective reality. Instead of accepting the obvious, they will spend decades on creating models that make zero testable or falsifiable predictions, because that conveniently fits their agenda. Even those who are genuinely interested in understanding the world avoid that path because of the ridicule they will face from the scientific community. I think there is no point in trying to reason with these Materialist Talibans. It is a waste of time and energy. You have an immense knowledge that deserved to be shared with people who engage in constructive debate.

    1. Maudlin is all about obnoxiousness and loud talking, not substance. He's toxic. What a shame for NYU...

  5. I just watched that podcast and it caught my attention how Maudlin behaved during the introductions when Bernardo talked about the books he was working on. I sensed strong negative body language on Maudlin's part - cloaked in arrogant indifference. Now, after watching the episode until the end, I understand that what I accidentally noticed at the beginning was significant. I don't know if others notice this.. I'm sensitive to picking up weak signals.

  6. Hey Bernardo, glad to see this follow up post that clarifies this unfortunate situation. I hope you are doing well and feeling alright. I hope that future discussions go much better and that you and any other parties can stay level-headed. I know from personal experience that debating physicalists can be very exhausting but don't let that get you down or make you upset. We need you as a calm source of reason in this world that is dominated by a very confused paradigm.

    1. No worries, I'm perfectly fine and working hard on great things to come ;-)

  7. I'm a complete novice here. It was only when I reached 50 (I'm now 68) that I realized that those whom I thought were interested only in discovering "the truth" --- i.e. our new priestly class, the scientists --- were as tribal and dogmatic as our old priestly class. It was depressing. To offset the depression, I began to explore the ideas of those outside of the mainstream.

    As to the perplexing, perhaps ever unknowable, issue of consciousness, there was a period of time when I was intrigued by the ideas of Stuart Hammeroff (and his ticket to respectability, Roger Penrose).

    But then I heard you. I'm not sure, exactly, when that was (or, when, exactly, I first heard the yet-to-behold "mathematically precise" exposition of your philosophical ideas by Don Hoffman). But I have to say, as soon as I did, I was ... uhm, bewitched. Trained as a lawyer, your precision, logic and adherence to the deepest, most fundamental science was breathtaking to me. I became, what no one should become, a convert.

    All that said, when Curt finally posed (after 8 minutes or so) to you and Maudlin his question about the significance of the experiments of the 2022 Nobel Prize winners in physics, I couldn't believe my luck. I had done a google search or two about the prize and had heard Hoffman expound briefly on the issue. But I still had no real sense of its significance. And when you then started out saying how there were different ideas about its significance by different theorists, I held my breath figuring, at last, there would be a true butting of brilliant heads (I had listened to and knew Maudlin to be a physicalist but I understood him to be a well respected one).

    Alas, as all who listen to Curt or follow you or Maudlin, now well know, it didn't happen. Hopefully, though, there will be another physicalist with whom you can debate this truly 40-year-in-the-making dramatic finding. concerning local realism.

    Keep up the good and important work, Bernardo. And, I don't know, take a lesson in "chill" from your compatriot, Don Hoffman, who actually was able to put up with Joscha Back in an hours-long conversation. (And I'm now right in the middle of a debate between Sean Carroll ---boo --- and Philip Goff --- kinda boo, though his pansychism is beginning to sound an awful lot like Idealism).

  8. I have debated Maudlin quite a long time ago on Backreaction, Hossenfelder's now closed blog. I was supporting the idea of superdeterminism. He also considered it "silly" and he used the same word when debating 't Hooft on the same issue.

    I think this type of strong words should be avoided since there is still no clear understanding of QM and even the best professionals in the field, like 't Hooft and Weinberg had strong disagreements.

    From the list of your statements from that debate I find this one the most controversial:

    "physical realism is untenable in the face of those experimental results"

    Superdeterminism presents a direct counterexample to this claim. 't Hooft already proposed such a model (

    "Explicit construction of Local Hidden Variables for any quantum theory up to any desired accuracy"

    I know you reject this hypothesis, but I think it is possible you were exposed to a bad model. I also think that Hossenfelder's models are unsatisfactory.

    1. Thanks. Hossenfelder doesn't have a model, just a wish. I'll check your pointers as soon as I get a breather from an overwhelming reading list at this moment.

    2. To be clear I am on the side of idealism so maybe my opinion is not transparent: I think Tim Maudlin is not understanding at all Bernardo Kastrup, idealism and Qbism fundamentals. I watched lot of interviews with him and many times he says: well the non-locality and the quantum mechanics in general is strange and we not understand it well, but he is not looking for answers or he denies the answers (maybe it is strange for you because you are not changing your ontology - materialism/physical realism - I think Tim Maudlin was missing in the ontology courses back in the day) It is simple: if the non-locality is true * and it is proven to be true, then the world is not made of particles, it is made of information. This information field in idealism is called consciousness. Why the most abstract thing in the human history, mathematics fits to the world very well? Because the world is made of "ideas" and mathematics literally. Time to let go the Lego thinking sir, there are no particles in the fundamental level of reality. Matter emerges from information. Period.

    3. Lewzke,
      1. Why are you saying that non-locality implies that "the world is not made of particles, it is made of information"? Can you point me to a place where such an argument is presented?

      2. QBism is claimed to be a local theory. The justification presented is that all observations are associated with an agent and such an agent cannot go faster than light. I do think that such a justification is wrong, but in this case QBism is lacking the required structure to allow for non-local effects (an absolute reference frame at a minimum). So, if you want a non-local theory, QBism does not seem to be the right choice.

    4. 2. In this point you are right, QBism is not an idealist theory and I am not understanding this well.
      1. This is just a claim, a theory. I just think that, there is nothing material about non-locality, like gravity and any field: the propagation effect is instant for the same distances, still not violating the speed of light, because only the propagation has speed limits, the circular boundary of the effect is instant. I think the same way about non-locality. The non-locality can be linked to some kind of field theory, but I don't know where this leads, I just speculate this. Can you explain any field with particles in mind? I think fields are mathematical abstractions with information in the background. Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty and for that we need an observer. Without any observer there is no meaning(information) and no "physical world", because nobody experiences that. This points to the Bernardo's idea, that the world still exists, but it is not physical at all. Physics is just a human interface as Donald Hoffman says. It seems like we take for granted the sensory states that we have, but these states are mostly internal states of the human body. The brain is not just a predictor or a window to the reality, it is a reality generator from the sensory inputs.

    5. I forgot to say to the point 1. : mind or consciousness in idealism is the ground of reality and information is the processed and ordered data of this phenomen, if the mind has preferences we can call that the useful data. The easiest way to explain this hypothesis that we dream at night and all the dream exists in the subjective space with laws of physics and events. Everything that happens in a dream is not physical, it is a mental phenomen. Every dream object can be seen as information in the subjective space of the brain, aka data. It is a rendered reality.

  9. In Rationalist Spirituality you wrote "In a quite fundamental way, by observing others you are but learning about yourself; a nice thought to have next time somebody pisses you off."

    1. Very true. Yet, you have never seen me take on that tone and demeanour towards anyone I ever debated face-to-face.

  10. Too much hoopla about the word silly.

    Bernardo even laughed after it was said.

    Tim's response DID have some vitriol.
    It didn't seem to come from a place of robust willingness for debate.

    Oh well, Ego is a hell of a drug. It was on display in both participants. As it is in me every day... not a dig, just an observation.

    1. I sure am not an enlightened being, but that's no news. As for the word, I thought I clarified above that my problem was about the tone and demeanour as much as it was about the word in its context.

    2. “No one can harm you without your consent, you will be hurt the moment you allow them to harm you." Seneca. I think a little diversion into Stoic philosophy for a change might enlighten you Bernardo.

  11. What I loved about this exchange between Maudlin and you is that it reveals what philosophy is all about. At the end of the day, it is not about what is "true" but instead about what is "useful". For you, Bernardo, it is more useful to believe that idealism is true and for Maudlin it is more useful to believe that materialism is true. And the most fascinating and also comical fact about this is that there will never be a resolution to this dilemma. There will never come a day when idealism will be proven to be true and materialism proven to be wrong or vice versa. That is because there are no proofs in philosophy. Because of that, all philosophers have to resort to the only thing that works and that is "influence". The philosopher who can influence other people into believing their philosophy wins. For this reason, I find clashes between philosophers like this one to be entertaining, because I know that neither party can prove anything about their preferred way of looking at the world and both parties have to resort to using various strategies of influence.

    If we look at any philosopher who has ever lived, we always find out that has never proven anything, but as long as he was making waves and knew how to influence people he was relevant. Again, I find this to be fascinating. I wonder what you think about this, Bernardo, and I also have a question for you. I heard you say in one of your interviews that "science informs philosophy." But if all science does is attempt to answer the question of "How?" and what philosophy does is attempt to answer the questions of "Why?" and "What?", I don't understand how you could ever derive anything from science that would inform philosophy. For example, when science explains how a computer works, I don't see any way how that could inform you about what a computer is. I would call this the "How-is problem". Just because you know how a computer works you cannot know what a computer is. And vice versa, just because you know what a computer is you cannot know how a computer works. Because of this problem, I find your statement that science informs philosophy to be highly confusing. In my opinion, knowing what there is is impossible, so idealism as a philosophy that talks about what there is is based purely on utility and has nothing to do with truth. This view of mine reduces philosophy down to arguing about what the best noises are for referring to objects that we use in order to gain some sort of utility. Is this object matter (materialism)? Is this object mentation (idealism)? Is it both (dualism)? Is it more substances than two (pluralism)? At the end of the day, I find this arguing to be quite silly (excuse the pun) because it is never-ending. All that we can know is that for us, everything begins with consciousness, but what there is beyond our consciousness (Matter? Mentation?) we can't know and will never know.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Have a great day.

    1. I couldn't disagree more with you, regarding just about everything you said.

    2. Lucias, just a reminder….”It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
      - Mark Twain

    3. (My response is apparently too long, so this is the first half)

      Mulgave, if you are implying that I too might be wrong and can't prove anything that I wrote here, that is a non-problem.

      Let's explore that possibility and say that Bernardo's philosophical view of the world is accurate and true and I am wrong for thinking that we cannot know what there is. If this was the case, then Bernardo believed his idealistic worldview on faith, because he doesn't have any proof of it, and got lucky. Analytic idealism is the correct way of looking at the world and tells us the truth about what the world is. All this would mean for me and my worldview is that I didn't choose to believe analytic idealism on faith and got unlucky, because had I done so, it would have turned out to be correct. Unlucky me.

      If this will be the case in the future, it won't bother me in the slightest, because I will know that all I have done is refused to believe a worldview based on faith. I remained agnostic. If there is any way of proving that analytic idealism tells us the truth about the world, I'd love to hear it, however, I have watched many interviews with Bernardo and heard him express his views many times and I have to say that I have never heard a proof of anything he says.

    4. (This is the second half)

      So, as I have mentioned in both of my previous comments, this obviously collapses into utility. Even if people don't have access to any irrefutable proofs, they still want to believe something. They want to believe something because it is USEFUL for them to believe something. The idea that you don't know and can't know what the world is is terrifying, so people naturally try to come up with well-crafted explanations to satisfy their emotional need for understanding. We are absolutely terrified of the unknown and our urge to explain what there is is extremely powerful.

      So the question about analytic idealism shifts from "Is analytic idealism true?" to "Is it useful to believe that analytic idealism is true?" And this obviously depends on each person individually. Materialists tend to hate idealism, idealists tend to hate materialism and dualists are somewhere in the middle... I have to say that for me, idealism makes me feel better about the world. If I could choose a world to live in, I would choose to live in an idealistic world. However, I am honest enough with myself to admit that at the end of the day, I can't really know what the world is. No matter how strong my belief in a particular worldview is, my logic always kicks in and reminds me that I can't know for sure. I would call this a healthy dose of skepticism. However, I also know that the level of skepticism that I am expressing here is to the point where it becomes detrimental to influencing people. If a magician first reveals to the audience how exactly he is about to perform a magic trick and then goes and performs the magic trick, it completely kills the magician's ability to influence people into believing in magic. All of a sudden, people start leaving the venue because they realize that magic isn't real and the magician is just a master manipulator. However, what most people fail to realize is that wherever they go, they will be influenced by someone or something. So if they leave the magic show venue and instead choose to go home to watch TV or go to a restaurant to hang out with their friends and listen to their opinions, they will be influenced there as well. Influence is omnipresent and completely inescapable.

      So I would conclude this by saying that I think that analytic idealism is a useful counter-influence to the influence of materialism. I think that it provides utility and the utility comes mainly from reminding us that agnosticism is the only logical way of looking at the world. If 100% of people become materialists, we have abandoned agnosticism and became completely brainwashed. If 100% of people become idealists, we have again abandoned agnosticism and became completely brainwashed. But as long as we are close to being 50/50, aware that there is a completely opposite worldview out there, it balances us in a healthy way and allows us to be as objective and rational as humanly possible.

    5. Most (not all) materialists seem to be unaware of their history, of what analytical idealism entails, of how Kastrup's idealism helps clarify quantum entanglement (something I failed to understand as a materialist); nor do they reflect on their own philosophical assumptions. Clearly then there is a quality difference between the two debaters, so choosing sides here seems to be unproblematic, even for a pluralist.

      I take Lucius to be a pluralist; at any rate, I consider myself to be one, especially when it comes to the foundations of maths. As a pluralist, I can enjoy Vervaeke's online talks as much as those of Kastrup. For another example of a big thinker (other than Kastrup and Vervaeke) see Greg Henriques.

      In short: yes to pluralism (from my vantage point) but no to "silly" tunnel vision.

    6. If by pluralism we both mean the same thing, the belief that there are three or more substances in the world, then I am definitely not a pluralist.

      I would call myself an agnostic idealist. Agnostic because my logic tells me that it is impossible for me to know what the world is or what substance it's made of. And idealist because I find the view that everything is made of a mental substance emotionally appealing.

      Another point of utility that comes from idealism that I didn't mention in my previous comments is that it is more parsimonious than materialism. Materialists have to postulate that they have consciousness, in consciusness they experience senses, with their senses they detect that a substance they call matter exists and then they have to say that this substance is fundamental and created the consciousness that they are currently using to experience this substance. This setup, although strange, is theoretically possible.

      The huge advantage of idealism is that it contains one less assumption. Idealists have to postulate that they have consciousness, in consciousness they experience senses, with their senses they detect that a substance they call mentation exists and that's it. They don't have to say that mentation is fundamental. That is because consciousness is already fundamental.

      The only way for materialists to become more parsimonious and remove one assumption would be to claim that consciousness doesn't exist, only matter, which would automatically turn them into a non-living entity. They might as well be a rock.

      As amazing as this might sound for idealism, I still have to emphasize that idealism is a completely unfounded and unprovable belief. Just because we require consciousness to experience things, it doesn't mean that it is the most fundamental thing that exists. Idealists are making this incredibly arrogant claim that they actually know what is outside of consciousness - nothing. This, as I said a hundred times now, cannot be proven, it can only be believed. So agnosticism remains the only rational, although emotionally unappealing, option.

  12. Pluralism = the coexistence of multiple philosophies. I can enjoy the writings of top-notch idealists on Mondays, of materialists on Tuesdays, of dualists on Wednesdays, and so on. I don't have to choose a philosophy. I guess I'm not so far off from agnosticism. But if somebody forces me to discard a philosophy, it would probably be materialism, due to the advances made by Kastrup and Fagin (on the one hand) and Vervaeke and Henriques (on the other hand).

  13. I watched the video, and I would agree with your analysis of the situation. Dr Maudlin seemed to take your statement as a personal attack, which i didn't perceive as happening, or even the notion until he very obviously became upset about it. I thought you handled yourself admirably, at least more so than i would have.