Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Computer scientist asks: Why would philosophers deny that consciousness is real?

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Because, says computer scientist and philosopher Bernardo Kastrup, the materialism they are committed to makes no sense and that’s the best they can do:

A Dutch computer scientist and philosopher who has reflected deeply on the mind–matter problem finds himself asking, how can serious scientists or philosophers convince themselves that their own consciousness “doesn’t exist” or is a “mistaken construct”? What, exactly, is thinking the thought that their consciousness doesn’t exist? …

It’s becoming clearer with each passing year that no materialist model of consciousness sheds much light. Just last week, for example, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor pointed out here that splitting a person’s brain—an operation he has done, to control epilepsy—does not split that person’s consciousness: “Patients after split-brain surgery are not split people. They feel the same, act the same, and think the same, for all intents and purposes.”

Egnor also makes a critical distinction that might clear up some confusion: Our consciousness is an illusion in one sense only. And it is not the sense that these materialist philosophers mean. …

Why would philosophers deny that consciousness is real?” at Mind Matters News

Our consciousness is an illusion only in the sense that the visual screen on which you are reading this post is presenting an illusion of letters on a page. Which doesn’t mean that you aren’t reading it or don’t really understand it or it isn’t there or no one wrote and posted it. But you don’t interact with the electronic equipment or signals that make it possible; you interact only with their result.

Egnor says consciousness is like that. It’s real but we only experience the results.


See also: Scientific American explores panpsychism… respectfully. This is a major change. At one time, a science mag would merely ridicule the idea of a conscious universe. Note: Make no mistake, panpsychism—as Goff elucidates it—is a purely naturalist view (“nothing supernatural or spiritual”). But, unlike the village atheist, he goes on to ask, but then what IS nature? Matter is all there is? But what IS matter? It turns out, no one really knows.

Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug

12 Replies to “Computer scientist asks: Why would philosophers deny that consciousness is real?

  1. 1
    Truthfreedom says:

    Bernardo’s Kastrup blog is awesome.

    He has also written a book:
    ‘Why materialism is balooney’.
    https://www.amazon.es
    Why-Mate…
    Why Materialism Is Baloney: How True Skeptics Know There Is No … – Amazon

    “The present framing of the cultural debate in terms of materialism versus religion has allowed materialism to go unchallenged as the only rationally-viable metaphysics. This book seeks to change this. It uncovers the absurd implications of materialism and then, uniquely, presents a hard-nosed non-materialist metaphysics substantiated by skepticism, hard empirical evidence, and clear logical argumentation.”

    He worked at the LHC.

    Thank you.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    “According to materialism, what we experience in our lives every day is not reality as such, but a kind of brain-constructed ‘copy’ of reality…The outside, ‘real world’ of materialism is supposedly an amorphous, colourless, oderless, soundless, tasteless dance of abstract electromagnetic fields devoid of all qualities of experience. It’s supposedly more akin to a mathematical equation than to anything concrete.” (p 21)

    Can we trust such an hallucination? Echoing Kant, Mr Kastrup asserts…

    “…there is no strong reason to believe that the ‘copy’ of reality you and I supposedly live in comes even close to what is really going on. Thus, the implication of materialism is that we’re intrinsically limited to watching an edited and biased version of the film we’re trying to make sense of. Yet, we derive materialism entirely from that very film!” (p 23)

    Thus Mr Kastrup concludes that materialism is not the “intuitive and self-evident worldview” it seems to be. But “before we can throw out materialism, we need a coherent alternative to explain empirical reality.” The remainder of the book is Mr Kastrup’s attempt to do just that.

    I think we can throw out materialism even without having an alternative explanation.
    Realist philosophy is just as hard-nosed as idealism. There is consciousness and mind, but also there are real things that exist both in essence (form) and as actualized in the real world.
    A triangle exists in the mind – the essence or form of the triangle exists, we can know it. Plato taught that it exists in it’s own realm of ideas, but Aquinas said it exists in the Divine Mind.
    The triangle has the potential to be actualized in the real world. So, when someone constructs a triangle in the real world as a drawing or object, the essence (mental image) of the triangle is actualized as a real object.
    That would be realism – a difference between consciousness and real objects.

  3. 3
    Truthfreedom says:

    “I want to understand what makes the consciousness of an intelligent human being deny its own existence with a straight face. For I find this denial extremely puzzling for both philosophical and psychological reasons.”

    “Don’t get me wrong, the motivation behind the denial is obvious enough: it is to tackle a vexing problem by magically wishing it out of existence. As a matter of fact, the ‘whoa-factor’ of this magic gets eliminativists and illusionists a lot of media attention. But still, what kind of conscious inner dialogue do these people engage in so as to convince themselves that they have no conscious inner dialogue? Short of assuming that they are insane, fantastically stupid or dishonest —none of which is plausible—we have an authentic and rather baffling mystery in our hands.”

    BERNARDO KASTRUP, “THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS” AT IAI NEWS (JANUARY 9, 2020)

    List of fools who have declared themselves ‘illusory’:

    1. ‘The Selfish Buffoon’: r. dawkins
    2. ‘Why Illusion is True’: j. coyne
    3. ‘The darwin Lookalike’: d. dennett

    Feel free to add more, please. 🙂

  4. 4
    es58 says:

    So we don’t have consciousness but everything else does? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    So the alleged materialist argument that consciousness is an illusion is rejected but Kastrup’s thesis, that there is only cosmic consciousness, is accepted.? In other words, when I, following Doctor Johnson, kick a stone as a demonstration of material reality, the hardness and weight of the stone and the pain in my toe – indeed the toe itself – are all illusions according to Kastrup. All we have left is a choice of illusions?

  6. 6
    Truthfreedom says:

    @5 Seversky:

    All we have left is a choice of illusions?

    No. (Copied from Silver Asiatic):

    Realist philosophy is just as hard-nosed as idealism. There is consciousness and mind, but also there are real things that exist both in essence (form) and as actualized in the real world.

    A triangle exists in the mind – the essence or form of the triangle exists, we can know it. Plato taught that it exists in it’s own realm of ideas, but Aquinas said it exists in the Divine Mind.
    The triangle has the potential to be actualized in the real world. So, when someone constructs a triangle in the real world as a drawing or object, the essence (mental image) of the triangle is actualized as a real object.

    That would be realism – a difference between consciousness and real objects.

  7. 7
    tjguy says:

    It’s amazing the crazy things these people ARE willing to believe when it comes to propping up their worldview.

    * They believe that everything came from nothing.
    * that life came from non-life – purposeless random chemicals
    * that consciousness and design is not real in spite of our experience
    * that universes fine-tune themselves
    * that computers like our brain write it’s own software and designs and assembles itself
    etc.

    More power to ’em!

    Whatever worldview we choose to believe in comes with a lot of corresponding secondary beliefs
    that are clear deductions from it. If you want to hold to the worldview, you have to accept/believe in the corollary propositions that come with it.

    But if evolution blessed them an ape brain that can accept their worldview, I’m sure the faith to believe all the corollary propositions also comes bundled with it.

  8. 8
    Truthfreedom says:

    @7 Tjguy

    It’s amazing the crazy things these people ARE willing to believe when it comes to propping up their worldview.

    * They believe that everything came from nothing.

    According to them:
    No-thing = Some-thing.
    Bye bye logic! (and they are the ‘rational’ ones).

    * that consciousness and design is not real in spite of our experience.

    Because they know that to acknowledge design and purpose has consequences.
    Their ideology comes first. It is an a priori commitment.
    The are a laughing stock, fuelled by blind faith and totally desperate.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    A “materialist” response to Mr. Kastrup’s article has been posted now:

    Why you don’t know your own mind
    https://iai.tv/articles/why-you-dont-know-your-own-mind-auid-1297

    You don’t know your own mind. But Michael Graziano can tell you the truth about it because he’s capable of observing reality while the rest of us are stuck with illusions. That’s how materialism works.

  10. 10
    Truthfreedom says:

    Hey illusionist crackpots:
    – If we are “illusions”
    – Our deaths are “illusions”?

  11. 11
    mike1962 says:

    “Consciousness is an illusion”

    Illusion of what?

  12. 12
    Truthfreedom says:

    @11 Mike1962:

    Illusion of what?

    Exactly.
    – If consciousness is an “illusion”.
    What is having the “illusion”?

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