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A Universal Mind is a reasonable idea, says Bernardo Kastrup


In a podcast discussion with Michael Egnor, philosopher and computer programmer Kastrup explains why cosmopsychism, makes more sense than panpsychism. The challenge, he says, is not why there is consciousness but why there are so many separate instances of consciousnesses:

Kastrup agrees with theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder in her criticism of panpsychism:

Bernardo Kastrup: There is one I will be shot at for agreeing with, Sabine Hossenfelder, a very no-nonsense physicist.

Michael Egnor: Yes.

Bernardo Kastrup: I confess that I actually like her. Please don’t shoot me.

Michael Egnor (pictured): No, I do too. She’s a very interesting person, and writes some interesting stuff. Yeah…

But the problem that separate consciousnesses creates for panpsychism (even elementary particles are conscious) does not, he says, exist in the same way for cosmopsychism (there is one universal consciousness), the view he holds.

Note: In mid-2018, Scientific American published an essay by Kastrup and two others advocating cosmopsychism: “Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain Life, the Universe and Everything?” One reason that science media are respectful of cosmopsychism may be growing awareness of the problems with strict materialism, naturalism, or physicalism: As Michael Egnor has noted, “How can you have a proposition that the mind doesn’t exist? That means propositions don’t exist and that means that you don’t have a proposition.”

News, “Bernardo Kastrup argues for a Universal Mind as a reasonable idea” at Mind Matters News

Last episode:

Why consciousness couldn’t just evolve from the mud. Kastrup, a panpsychist, is sympathetic to the basic intuitions behind the idea that there is design in nature (intelligent design theory). Philosopher and computer scientist Bernardo Kastrup discusses the problems with such claims with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor.

See also: Consciousness cannot have evolved. How many joules of consciousness would make you a human instead of a chimpanzee? How many more joules of consciousness would make you a genius?


Why is science growing comfortable with panpsychism (“everything is conscious”)? At one time, the idea that “everything is conscious” was the stuff of jokes. Not any more, it seems.

As I have argued, when faced with certain existential and scientific facts, "universal mind" is the only reasonable idea. Everything else is speculation based on an assumption that can never be evidenced even in principle. William J Murray
From the OP:
Why consciousness couldn’t just evolve from the mud. Kastrup, a panpsychist,....
Obviously, Kastrup is not a panpsychist. You might want to correct that. For all of those who think mental reality theory implies panpsychism or solipsism, you should read more of Kastrup's work. It does not. It's really just something people don't spend much time thinking about beyond their initial bias against it. William J Murray
A "cosmopsychic" would work very slowly if signals were limited to the speed of light. It could take 93 billion of our years to get a signal from one side to the other. I have seen it argued that it is a possible explanation why our brains are not bigger than they are. Given the low rate of signal propagation through our nervous system, any bigger and there could be timing problems. Seversky

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