Intelligent Design

Mental Reality Theory vs External Reality Theory: Checkmate

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  1. All experience is mental, regardless of whether or not anything extra-mental causes or informs it.
  2. We can only ever directly interact with and experience mental experience/phenomena.
  3. We have direct, empirical evidence mind exists and that is the only thing we can have such evidence exists, even in principle.
  4. What we actually experience as “reality” is thus necessarily, entirely mental (again, whether or not anything extra-mental causes or informs it.)
  5. Thus, “mental reality,” the mental world that we all live in, is not a theory; it is an undeniable fact of our existence. The only relevant question is if an additional, extra-mental “world” exists that our mental reality interacts with in any meaningful way.
  6. Since mental reality is an experiential and logical fact, it does not have to be supported by argument or evidence any more than “I exist” needs to be supported.
  7. The proposed existence of extra-mental phenomena that interacts meaningfully with mind cannot be empirically experienced as such. Thus, this proposition requires rational argument and/or evidence to support it.
  8. All evidence that is gathered can only be experienced as mental phenomena and thus is necessarily congruent with mental reality theory, otherwise it could not be experienced mentally (if it can be experienced mentally, it necessarily can be generated mentally.)
  9. All rational arguments for the existence of an external physical world originate and operate entirely within mind and strictly obey the rules and principles of mind.
  10. As per #’s 1, 8 & 9, such argument can only ever be about mental experience using mental capacities, following mental rules in making any argument, reaching a conclusion contained entirely within mind.
  11. Given all the above, there can never be, even in principle, evidence gathered or rational argument presented to support the existence of extra-mental reality that can distinguish it from mental reality.
  12. Thus, belief in an extra-mental reality is necessarily irrational because (1) it cannot be directly experienced, (2) no evidence can be gathered that can distinguish it from mental reality, and (3) no rational argument can be levied in support of it that does not innately rely upon that supposed “external world” being entirely consonant with, indeed subordinate to, the entirely mental nature of logical principles and processes.

Belief in any kind of extra-mental world is unsupportable, unwarranted, unnecessary, without even the potential for evidence, and thus entirely irrational. In effect, the “external, physical world” perspective can only ever be an irrational belief in an imaginary world – or perhaps more appropriately, a delusion.

8.4.20 10:05 am Edited for clarity: last paragraph.

52 Replies to “Mental Reality Theory vs External Reality Theory: Checkmate

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM, who are you talking too? Is this comment you are reading you answering yourself?

  2. 2

    Mr. Arrington,
    I surmise from your comment that you believe mental reality theory implies solipsism; it does not. The concept of Solipsism is entirely rooted in and stems from external reality theory – a projection of what mental reality “is like” from an external-world worldview. Solipsism is an irrational concept from the mental reality perspective.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM, I confess that I do not know much about metal reality theory. It certainly appears on the face of it to entail solipsism. I would be interested to know why you believe it does not.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    Even if you don’t acknowledge the existence of anything outside your mind, you have to wonder why the brain and body are equipped with senses and muscles and mechanisms to process the senses into muscle actions. Why waste part of your valuable thinking time on digesting food that comes in from outside, and pooping waste that returns to outside? Why waste effort and energy on ears and eyes and semicircular canals and barosensors and speech and …..

    In fact the only type of sense that ISN’T thoroughly equipped is a sense for what’s happening inside the head. We’re short on pressure and pain and barosensors in the brain itself.

  5. 5

    Mr. Arrington,

    Mental Reality Theory is an entirely different conceptual framework of what existence is and how it works. Flowing from that, you might see that it could be very problematic to translate it into external-reality theory language because English itself is built up from and enmeshed with external-reality concepts and assumptions. The perspective is built into the language.

    That said, under MRT, all possible individual, conscious perspectives exist. The idea that I am the only individual perspective that exists is nonsensical.

  6. 6

    Polistra,

    I’d have to wonder that if, under the mental reality theory, the brain, body, muscles, etc. were anything more than mental manifestations. Perhaps you are wondering why we have manifested such a detailed, complex and cumbersome mental experience when it isn’t necessary?

  7. 7
    Fasteddious says:

    BA @ 1: I believe WJM is responding to my post on a previous topic, where I proposed some evidence of an external reality. WJM offered some lengthy response on that topic, which I am still poring over. I expect that in this post, he is attempting to make a slam dunk argument for idealism. In so doing, he uses terminology that comes from science, which in his view, cannot relate to the external world, so I wonder how slam dunk his argument truly is. Some of those words are: experience, cause, interact, phenomena, empirical, evidence, rules and principles, and so on. These words have meaning largely based on assumptions and experience in the assumed physical world. He would argue that world is entirely mental. I’m not so sure, but as an amateur at this level of philosophical discussion, I will have to delve deeper before responding further.
    I would ask however, what does WJM think is happening when he reads something on UD and then types in a response. Does he truly believe it is all just in his mind as imagined physical activity? When his computer crashes or his Internet goes down, does he then get angry at himself?

  8. 8
    chuckdarwin says:

    I understand the distinction between solipsism and your so-called mental reality theory, that is an easy distinction. However, I don’t see any distinction between your theory and classical Idealism; it seems that you have simply resurrected an extreme form of Idealism in order to reject materialism. But of course you must realize that even in your most interior or abstract world all mental activity is ab initio dependent on “exterior reality” to provide sensory data. It would behoove you to look at the work of developmental psychologists, such as Kolhberg or Piaget, who have painstakingly described how cognitive development occurs from infancy to adulthood. We derive all of our cognitive structure and content from the material world, even our sense of self. We don’t learn 2+2 = 4 abstractly, but by observing two blocks, or jelly beans or whatever objects, added to two other blocks. Thus the cognitive structure of numerosity develops which ultimately generalizes to any numerical content. As a thought experiment, image that you were born with all your senses intact, in other words a “perfect” baby who was then completely deprived of any sensory input throughout the entirety of your life. Your mental activity would be completely devoid of content, you would have no sense of “self,” you would not even have a medium by which to think.

  9. 9
    AaronS1978 says:

    No sensory input therefore I have no sense of self? Helen Keller would be the closest thing to that and she had a sense of self.

    But it took me about one second realize during your complex thought experiment that there’s really only one time you have no sensory input and it’s when you’re dead

    So your thought experiment is equally dead

    I’m sure you used that sense of self of yours though to come up with that thought experiment because everything has to filter through the consciousness like your comment did

  10. 10

    Chuckdarwin @8,:
    The fact that we have been calling that category of experience “exterior reality” doesn’t mean that is what it actually is. As my OP pointed out, if the mind is capable of representing, it’s capable of originating.

  11. 11

    Fasteddious @ 7,
    How about this: you or Mr.Arrington or anyone else who wants to take a crack at it, find the problem with the reasoning in the OP before we make an appeal to consequence (like solipsism, which I already answered at @5).

  12. 12

    Look, at least some of you know that there is no countering this argument other than an appeal to consequences. I get it. I understand the feeling that it must inevitably lead to or be about solipsism. I understand how bizarre it sounds at first blush. The concept is very difficult to penetrate because of a lifetime of “external world reality” training at every level that frames every concept, word, and pattern of thinking. I understand that raising a cogent criticism by accepting the premise arguendo is very unlikely because of this.

    Unless one is a materialist, MRT doesn’t challenge or undermine any religious belief that I’m aware of. It doesn’t lead to or promote solipsism; in fact, it leads to a what is IMO a better understanding of how we are communicating with other people. It’s similar to going from the belief that the world is ultimately comprised of bits of matter to the belief that the world is comprised of stuff that, when we interact with it, it feels, looks and acts like matter. It’s a change in the concept of what it is that we are experiencing and how we are experiencing it, so to speak.

  13. 13

    I find this interesting: research into quantum physics has demonstrated that whatever it is that we are experiencing, it is not in itself a “material” world under any reasonable definition of the word “material.” The evidence shows that “matter” is not a existential quality or characteristic of whatever it is we are experiencing, even if, in our experience, “it” looks, feels and behaves like “matter.”

    Here’s the thing: if what we are experiencing does not in itself have a fundamental “matter” characteristic, and if “matter” is an experiential epiphenomenon generated by our interaction with whatever “it” really is, we have to accept that the word “matter” can only be a description of our experience and not a self-existent quality of anything – at least, as far as we can currently tell.

  14. 14
    john_a_designer says:

    You’re cherry picking, WJM. You haven’t answered the point that I made yesterday (8/4/20) on the earlier thread about the “hard problem” that what you’re proposing is an extreme form of idealism which I call virtual reality (VR) idealism.

    https://uncommondescent.com/mind/new-vid-on-the-hard-problem-of-consciousness/#comment-708974

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, as to this claim:

    6.Since mental reality is an experiential and logical fact, it does not have to be supported by argument or evidence any more than “I exist” needs to be supported.

    But,, But,,, you yourself ARE making an ARGUMENT that mental reality “does not have to be supported by argument or evidence”!

    And that direct contradiction in logic that you made comes before the fact that you have basically tossed the entire scientific method by the wayside when you said that you have no need of ‘evidence’.

    Might it be too obvious to suggest that forsaking evidence, i.e. forsaking the scientific method itself, prior to any examination of any evidence is not the way to go?

    It seems obvious to me that you, in forsaking the scientific evidence prior to examination of the scientific evidence, are making the same exact philosophical mistake that present day Darwinian Materialists and Theoretical Physicists are making, as well as making the same exact philosophical mistake that the Ancient Greeks made.

    For instance, present day Darwinists are committed to the philosophy of reductive materialism prior to examination of any evidence. The a-priori commitment to reductive materialism by Darwinists was beautifully illustrated by Lewontin,

    ,,, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.”
    – Richard Lewontin

    Tell me WJM, exactly how is Lewontin’s quote substantially different from yours?

    Likewise, present day Theoretical Physicists are also a-priorily committed to developing a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ in spite of Godel’s proof that there never can be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’.

    “Note that despite the incontestability of Euclid’s postulates in mathematics, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)

    Likewise, the ancient Greeks also forsook the scientific method in that they “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    In short WJM, you, like present day Darwinists and theoretical physicists, have regressed back to the ‘deductive logic’ of the ancient greeks, who argued deductively from first principles, and have forsaken the inductive logic that was championed by Francis Bacon and which lays at the foundation of modern science itself.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/asked-at-areo-magazine-did-the-catholic-church-give-birth-to-science/#comment-703354

    As the following article makes clear, “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation.”

    Is Christianity Unscientific? – Peter S. Williams
    “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation.”
    http://www.bethinking.org/does.....scientific

    In fact, it was only with the Church’s quote unquote, ‘outlawing’ of Aristotle’s deterministic and necessitarian view of creation, in which the universe itself was held to be eternally existent, that experimental science was finally able to find fertile ground, take root, and eventually flourish in Medieval Christian Europe,

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,,
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences.,,,
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    And, as should go without saying, this form of inductive reasoning that was championed by Francis Bacon in particular and the Christian founders of modern science in general, championed over and above the the deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks, has been very. very, fruitful. In fact, all of our modern day technologies owe their very existence to this form of inductive reasoning that lays at the basis of the scientific method.

    Morerover WJM, it is not as if you have to argue for your ‘mental reality’ position in spite of what the evidence says to the contrary of it as present day materialists/naturalists have to argue in spite of the evidence against their position.

    And although, as I mentioned to you the other day, I personally find your position to go beyond what the empirical evidence will allow us to say, none-the-less, there is much empirical evidence that you can bring to bear in support of your ‘mental reality’ model of reality. (And thus you do not have to argue for your position IN SPITE of the empirical evidence against it as Darwinists have to argue.)

    For instance, here are eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness must precede material reality (Double Slit experiment, Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, as well as the recent confirmation of the Wigner’s friend thought experiment, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect, Quantum Information theory, and the recent closing of the Free Will loophole.)

    Putting all these lines of evidence from quantum mechanics together, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Simply put WJM, although I personally don’t think the evidence will get you ‘all the way there’ in your fairly extreme model, none-the-less there is much empirical evidence that supports your overall position, i.e. that ‘mental reality’ is primary, and thus you do not have to ‘regress’ back to the deductive logic of the ancient Greeks, and thus you do not have to argue solely from first principles (as you seem intent on doing), but you can also rightly embrace the inductive logic of the scientific method itself to muster far more robust support for your position.

    Which, I remind, inductive reasoning is THE primary form of reasoning that has been very, very, fruitful for man.

    Supplemental note. Darwin himself confessed that he had forsaken the inductive logic that lay behind the scientific method:

    Charles Darwin to Asa Gray – 29 November 1857
    My dear Gray,
    ,,, What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2176.xml

    In short, when Darwin published his book, and in regards to inductive reasoning itself, Darwin did not do, or have, any original experimental research that would actually establish his theory as being scientifically true. i.e. Darwin had failed to use the scientific method! (The same criticism is true of Darwinists today)
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/asked-at-areo-magazine-did-the-catholic-church-give-birth-to-science/#comment-703355

  16. 16

    BA77 said:

    But,, But,,, you ARE making an ARGUMENT that mental reality “does not have to be supported by argument or evidence”!

    Or, you could characterize what I’m doing as bringing to light the reasons why it’s not the position that requires argument or evidence for those that don’t know those reasons.

    And that direct contradiction in logic comes before the fact that you have basically tossed the entire scientific method by the wayside when you said that you have no need of ‘evidence’.

    That wouldn’t be a contradiction in the logic, but an erroneous inference about what it is I’m attempting to do when I make those points. Not all self-evident truths are immediately recognizable just upon reading the words that make the statement in question; it requires understanding the full meaning of the statement before one recognizes them as self-evidently true. This is also the case with necessary truths that follow from self-evident truths; they may require explaining.

    It seems obvious to me that you, in forsaking the scientific evidence prior to examination of the scientific evidence, are making the same exact philosophical mistake that present day Darwinian Materialists and Theoretical Physicists are making, as well as making the same exact philosophical mistake that the Ancient Greeks made.

    I haven’t forsaken any scientific evidence. I’ve pointed out that the epistemology of science – or process of acquiring of knowledge – must necessarily be rooted in the only possible, logically rational ontology: mental reality. I’ve explained why any other ontology is necessarily unsupportable and ultimately irrational. That doesn’t negate scientific evidence; it informs it from an ontological perspective.

    How is Lewontin’s quote substantially different from yours WJM?

    At this point, I don’t think you understand the implications of MRT well enough to draw a comparison to Lewontin’s statement. IOW, your reaction precedes enough knowledge to make an informed decision about whether or not anything about MRT is “patently absurd.” One might react to quantum theory (and some did) that it was “patently absurd.” One might have reacted to the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun as “patently absurd.” That reaction doesn’t really make them “patently absurd.”

    Yes, there is much scientific evidence that supports MRT. This post was about presenting the logic, which is inescapable except via denial. The scientific evidence for it is considerable, but here’s the key point: one must consider the ontological reality that science is operating within to make proper sense of what science is telling us. Science cannot ever be examining an extra-mental physical world. Even if such a world actually existed, we have no means of accessing it and knowing that we have accessed it, or testing for fidelity to it. It’s literally a logical impossibility.

    The only thing science can ever tell us anything about is the category of shared mental experience we mistakenly refer to as “the external physical world.”

    8.5.20 WJM edited for clarity.

  17. 17

    JAD said:

    You haven’t answered the point that I made yesterday (8/4/20) on the earlier thread about the “hard problem” that what you’re proposing is an extreme form of idealism which I call virtual reality (VR) idealism.

    I have no idea what virtual reality idealism is, so I can’t respond other than to say, even if I was, so what? One can either rationally and effectively challenge the points made in the OP, or they cannot. If you have a challenge to make, either make it, or direct me some place that describes “VR Idealism” and rebuts it, so I can see if (1) VR Idealism is similar to MRT, and (2) the rebuttal is appropriate to MRT.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM: “Or, you could characterize what I’m doing as bringing to light the reasons why it’s not the position that requires argument or evidence for those that don’t know those reasons.”

    LOL, or I could rightly observe that you are arguing that you do not need to argue for your position. A self-contradiction.

    Moreover, to repeat, in arguing solely from first principles (principles that you think are so evidently true that they need no further argument or scientific evidence), and thus forsaking further argument and evidence, you are unnecessarily handicapping yourself and making the same exact mistake that the ancient Greeks made.

    Moreover, and like I said the other day, I believe you are going beyond what the scientific evidence itself will allow you to say.

    In short, although you believe you have no need of further argument or evidence, the evidence itself would beg to differ!

  19. 19
    MikeW says:

    WJM, I agree with #1-3a, 4-8a, 9-10. I disagree with #3b, 8b, 11-12, based on my own definition of “extra-mental” reality as that part of reality over which I have no mental control. For example, I can distinguish between an objective mental experience of observing the extra-mental Moon in the sky versus the subjective mental experience of imagining the Moon in the sky. In my imagination, I can make the Moon any color I want, or any size, etc. I can’t do that with an objective experience. Specifically with regard to #8, I agree that “all evidence that is gathered can only be experienced as mental phenomena.” But I personally find that I cannot generate mentally on my own the same experience that I have when I experience objective reality. I can generally tell the difference between objective reality and subjective reality (illusions, delusions and confusions notwithstanding).

  20. 20
    EvilSnack says:

    It has been stated many times in this forum that while many people claim that only the physical reality exists, no sane person fully behaves as if this were true.

    The same goes for the claim that only the mental reality exists. If your sensory experience does not reflect reality in a consistent way, why do you respond to it? The only logical response to the notion that there is no external reality, or to the notion that nothing about this external reality can be truly known, is to ignore the evidence we have of it, including to refrain from attempting to persuade anyone in this external reality that either notion is true.

    We are minds who live in bodies. You cannot argue with this, or even want to argue with this, unless it is true.

  21. 21

    BA77 said:

    LOL, or I could rightly observe that you are arguing that you do not need to argue for your position. A self-contradiction.

    “Rightly” would require that you know my motivations. In civil discourse, insisting you know my motives for something I write better than I is not a good course to follow.

    Moreover, to repeat, in arguing solely from first principles (principles that you think are so evidently true that they need no further argument or scientific evidence), and thus forsaking further argument and evidence, you are unnecessarily handicapping yourself and making the same exact mistake that the ancient Greeks made.

    Or, I could be following a “one thing at a time” process to focus attention.

    Moreover, and like I said the other day, I believe you are going beyond what the scientific evidence itself will allow you to say.

    In short, although you believe you have no need of further argument or evidence, the evidence itself would beg to differ!

    “Evidence” is an interpretation of facts that leads to a conclusion in support of, or contradicting, a theory. Interpretations of fact into evidence requires an ontological basis and an epistemological process that follows from the ontological foundation. What I have done here is set the ontological basis that, logically, must inform any epistemological process that follows because it is, as I have pointed out, the only rational ontology available to us.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, I did NOT pretend to know what your ‘motives’ might be. I merely noted that you were in fact arguing that you did not need to support your argument with (further) argument or evidence.

    I also noted that this is the same exact mistake that the ancient Greeks made. A ‘mistake’ of arguing from first principles that prevented the ancient Greeks from ever making the crucial breakthrough into experimental science.

    My criticism of your position was on point and valid.

    And note, that I am friendly to your overall position. It is just that your position does not have, IMHO, the evidential support that it needs. To repeat, IMHO, you are going beyond what the evidence will allow you to say.

    I think EvilSnack made a very valid point in post 20 that gets to the gist of the problem inherent within your ‘extreme’ model.

    The same goes for the claim that only the mental reality exists. If your sensory experience does not reflect reality in a consistent way, why do you respond to it? The only logical response to the notion that there is no external reality, or to the notion that nothing about this external reality can be truly known, is to ignore the evidence we have of it, including to refrain from attempting to persuade anyone in this external reality that either notion is true.

  23. 23

    MikeW @19,

    First, thank you so much for disagreeing with specific points in the OP and explaining why you disagree with them!

    We are, obviously, using label terminology (words) embedded in ERT (external reality theory) that imply ERT concepts. With that burden in mind:

    MRT does not imply that one has control over all of their experiences. We don’t even have control over much of what we currently consider entirely internal experiences. Apparently random thoughts can just pop into our heads. If I say “picture an elephant,” it’s almost impossible not to. We can experience internal states – emotions, moods – that we can’t control, but with effort and practice can hope to modify. How much ongoing, continuous “control” does anyone actually have over their thoughts, feelings, etc? It can require a lot of willpower to change our own thoughts and behaviors.

    Thus, I think the “control” issues is resolved.

    I am suggesting that the concept labeled as “external world, objective physical reality” is a fundamental categorical labeling mistake that originated with the assumption the we are ever experiencing something other than mental phenomena.

    There are different categories of what we currently consider mental phenomena that have entirely different characteristics. Dreams, for example, can seem and be experienced entirely as an ‘uncontrollable, physical, external reality” for the duration of the dream. It can even feel entirely real after we wake up. Another category of mental experience would be imagination; another would be rational thought; another might be certain kinds of mental sensations that can generate physiological responses – fear, awe, love, etc.

    MRT shows that all of the qualities of a certain category of experience which we have labeled as “external, objective physical reality” are necessarily available to be generated entirely by mind or else it could not even represent them; and from that proposes that this is simply a labeling error, that what we call “external, objective physical reality” is actually just another category of mental phenomena in itself and is not actually being generated by anything extra-mental.

  24. 24

    Evilsnack @20 said:

    The same goes for the claim that only the mental reality exists. If your sensory experience does not reflect reality in a consistent way, why do you respond to it?

    This is a case of characterizing MRT from an external reality perspective, and then asking questions based on that characterization. I’m not complaining – it’s to be expected. I’m just pointing it out.

    When you use the word “reality,” what do you think you are talking about under MRT? Don’t you think that’s a fairly important concept to define before one assesses the fidelity of one’s sensory experience to it?”

    The only logical response to the notion that there is no external reality, or to the notion that nothing about this external reality can be truly known, is to ignore the evidence we have of it, including to refrain from attempting to persuade anyone in this external reality that either notion is true.

    As I pointed out in a prior comment, “evidence” is an interpretation of facts. I don’t think it’s ever rational to ignore facts, but it is often the very essence of logic and reason to re-examine and potentially change one’s interpretation of the facts in light of new information that calls into question the current interpretation.

    We are minds who live in bodies. You cannot argue with this, or even want to argue with this, unless it is true.

    Let’s say that in 15 minutes you wake up and realize this had all been a very vivid, detailed, realistic dream. Would you consider that statement, at the time you made it, true? Would those have been “bodies,” under your definition? Would your mind have been in that body? Would what you have been experiencing of me been “a mind in a body” the same way you meant it at the time?

  25. 25
    drc466 says:

    WJM,

    So, I’ve considered your points (a highly entertaining thought exercise, thank you), and I think I agree with most everything, until 11 and 12, which I believe go completely off the rails. Allow me to present to you why, and perhaps get your response.

    First, from a theological perspective, no Christian can square your line of thinking with Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” In other words, God created something prior to our individual “mental reality” – an external material reality. I realize this is not a scientific or logical argument, but for a believer it does provide an a priori rational reason to believe in an external reality.
    Second, from a logical perspective, I believe the word “irrational” is overworked to the point of insensibility and semantic nullity. Generally speaking, the word “irrational” means “not logical or reasonable”. Just because we can only experience our external reality via our mental reality informed by our senses does NOT mean that a belief that our senses/mental reality are somehow lying to us becomes the only rational belief. In fact, it would be “irrational” to believe that our mental reality is, in fact, lying to us – there would need to be some logical/scientific evidence that external reality does not exist, for a belief in external reality to be irrational.
    For example, my mental reality informs me that if I do not partake of the external reality of “food”, the external reality of “my body” will experience hunger, and eventually die. Given the universal experience our mental reality has that this is true, it becomes the irrational position to believe otherwise. In fact, if we experience people who honestly behave as if they believe your argument (e.g. belief in external reality is unnecessary), we call them insane and treat them in mental hospitals.

    TL;DR – the conclusion in #12 “belief in an extra-mental reality is necessarily irrational” is a logical non sequitur from the three points you offer as support for that conclusion. Just because you cannot “prove” the existence of external reality does NOT mean belief in external reality is irrational, especially since your mental reality confirms that belief in external reality is logically/experimentally consistent, and disbelief in external reality is logically/experimentally erroneous.

    Now, if your point is that “extra mental reality” cannot be proven, well, that falls into the category of “possibly true statements that provide no real value and cause potential harm if carried too far”. The only “rational” (read “sane”) position, however, is to behave as if extra mental reality exists, whether you can “prove” it rationally or not.

  26. 26
    drc466 says:

    WJM,

    Further, allow me an analogy for #12, that is causing me such heartburn:

    “12. Thus, belief [that pink unicorns don’t live in the center of the earth] is necessarily irrational because (1) it cannot be directly experienced, (2) no evidence can be gathered that can distinguish it from mental reality, and (3) no rational argument can be levied in support of it that does not innately rely upon that supposed “[non-existence of pink unicorns]” being entirely consonant with, indeed subordinate to, the entirely mental nature of logical principles and processes.”

    That’s just…stupid.

    [Edit] To summarize, your argument resolves down to:
    “Because I use my mind to experience [X], belief that [X] exists external to my mental reality is necessarily irrational.”
    That is definitely a non sequitur.

  27. 27
    MikeW says:

    WJM @23,

    It doesn’t matter to me whether one has control over all their experiences or not. I use whatever mental control I have as one of the attributes that distinguish between mental experiences that I ascribe to my own internal self versus those that I ascribe to objective extra-mental reality. That’s how I define my identity. If I picture an elephant after being prompted to do so, the attributes of that experience (including mental control) are different from when I observe an external objective elephant. And I can easily distinguish between the two. So whatever caused the experience of the external, objective physical elephant is extra-mental, because it is not part of my identity.

    When I dream while sleeping, I find that my Dream-Me uses the same distinction paradigm when considering his own experiences and defining his own identity. When I awaken, I realize that Dream-Me and all his experiences were only creations of Me-Me. But that doesn’t delegitimize the well-defined identity of Dream-Me while he existed. Similarly, if my current consciousness suddenly poofs out of existence, and some Higher-Me wakes up to realize that he was dreaming Me-Me, then that higher being is external to my existence, and different from my identity. He is my Creator.

  28. 28

    DRC466:
    Thank you also for engaging the points in the OP!

    First, from a theological perspective, no Christian can square your line of thinking with Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” In other words, God created something prior to our individual “mental reality” – an external material reality.

    As far as I know, there is part of the Bible that claims that what God created was “an external material reality.” Please note that under MRT, “the heavens and the earth” exist in the same way anything exists: mental phenomena. I don’t think the Bible says anything about creating any sort of mind, so I don’t think that’s a valid objection. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not a Bible expert.

    I realize this is not a scientific or logical argument, but for a believer it does provide an a priori rational reason to believe in an external reality.

    It might if the Bible actually said anything about an “external material reality, or about the creation of mind or minds. Does it?

    Second, from a logical perspective, I believe the word “irrational” is overworked to the point of insensibility and semantic nullity. Generally speaking, the word “irrational” means “not logical or reasonable”. Just because we can only experience our external reality via our mental reality informed by our senses does NOT mean that a belief that our senses/mental reality are somehow lying to us becomes the only rational belief.

    I didn’t say that our senses/mental reality are lying to us; we are misunderstanding the nature of our experiences.

    In fact, it would be “irrational” to believe that our mental reality is, in fact, lying to us – there would need to be some logical/scientific evidence that external reality does not exist, for a belief in external reality to be irrational.

    Then it’s a good thing I never said that I believe “our mental reality is, in fact, lying to us.”

    Again, it’s not my job to argue that the only thing I can experience of reality is entirely mental because that is both a self-evident truth and an experiential fact. It is up to those who claim something exist outside of mental experience to support that assertion.

    So far, I don’t see anyone taking up that task.

    For example, my mental reality informs me that if I do not partake of the external reality of “food”, the external reality of “my body” will experience hunger, and eventually die.

    MRT doesn’t claim bodies, food, hunger and death don’t exist; it just re-categorizes the nature of their existence.

    Given the universal experience our mental reality has that this is true, it becomes the irrational position to believe otherwise.

    I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying, which is highly probable given the difficulty of thinking things though after a lifetime of thinking about things from the external-reality perspective.

    In fact, if we experience people who honestly behave as if they believe your argument (e.g. belief in external reality is unnecessary), we call them insane and treat them in mental hospitals.

    This statement actually supports the idea that you don’t really understand MRT, but, again, that’s to be expected. I mean, how could you, right?

    If we are participating in a category of experience that has in it universal patterns of consequences for behavioral decisions, such as “not eating = death,” it would be unwise to ignore those patterns in precisely the same way that, under external-world reality theory, it would be unwise to ignore what we call “laws of physics.”

  29. 29

    MikeW @27 said:

    I use whatever mental control I have as one of the attributes that distinguish between mental experiences that I ascribe to my own internal self versus those that I ascribe to objective extra-mental reality. That’s how I define my identity.

    Yes, this is one of the main difficulties in properly assessing MRT; ERT is basically baked into our identity-cake from a very young age.

    If I picture an elephant after being prompted to do so, the attributes of that experience (including mental control) are different from when I observe an external objective elephant. And I can easily distinguish between the two. So whatever caused the experience of the external, objective physical elephant is extra-mental, because it is not part of my identity.

    I understand that is how you categorize it now, but under MRT those things would be external of your self-identity, not external of mind. You have what you call the experience of an “external, objective elephant” and you have another experience of what you call an “imagined elephant.” Although one experience has different characteristics and qualities, they are both undeniably mental experiences. Neither one is, nor can be, extra-mental in nature, although one may be outside of what you consider to be the extent of your “self.”

    When I dream while sleeping, I find that my Dream-Me uses the same distinction paradigm when considering his own experiences and defining his own identity. When I awaken, I realize that Dream-Me and all his experiences were only creations of Me-Me. But that doesn’t delegitimize the well-defined identity of Dream-Me while he existed.

    I agree. MRT doesn’t “delegitimize” self-identity boundaries. Wait, are we agreeing here?

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, at post 21 you state,

    What I have done here is set the ontological basis that, logically, must inform any epistemological process that follows because it is, as I have pointed out, the only rational ontology available to us.

    WJM, let me lay out the ‘ontological basis’ that the Christian founders of modern science themselves held and then you can tell me if it agrees with your ‘mental reality’ model or not.

    What’s the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?
    by DAN PETERSON – December 22, 2005
    Excerpt: Science arose and flourished in a civilization that, at the time, was profoundly and nearly exclusively Christian in its mental outlook.
    There are deep reasons for that, and they are inherent in the Judeo-Christian view of the world which, principally in its Christian manifestation, formed the European mind. As Stark observes, the Christian view depicted God as “a rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting human comprehension.” That was not true of belief systems elsewhere. A view that the universe is uncreated, has been around forever, and is just “what happens to be” does not suggest that it has fundamental principles that are rational and discoverable. Other belief systems have considered the natural world to be an insoluble mystery, conceived of it as a realm in which multiple, arbitrary gods are at work, or thought of it in animistic terms. None of these views will, or did, give rise to a deep faith that there is a lawful order imparted by a divine creator that can and should be discovered.
    https://spectator.org/47614_whats-big-deal-about-intelligent-design/

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010?
    Excerpt:,,, If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    Again, I’ll leave it to you to tell us if this ‘ontological basis’ which the Christian founders of modern science themselves held, and which led to the modern scientific revolution itself, is incompatible with your ‘mental reality’ model.

    As to this comment from the preceding article, “the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation.”

    And out of all those “infinity of other possibilities” that God could have chosen, what “particular form of world” did God actually create?

    And again WJM, I’ll let you decide how compatible this is with your ‘mental reality’ model.

    As Eugene Wigner states in the following article, “We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,,”

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960?Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Besides the “the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,”, there is also another important distinction to be made between those two theories of ‘great power’. Namely, “quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.”

    On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories – Sachs – 1986?
    Excerpt: quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false?

    Moreover, when the infinity between special relativity and quantum mechanics was ‘renormalized’ so as to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics,,,

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity?Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe?Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    ,,, Moreover, when the infinity between special relativity and quantum mechanics was ‘renormalized’ so as to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics, this ‘renormalization. came at a cost. As Sheldon Lee Glashow explains, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.”

    Not So Real – Sheldon Lee Glashow – Oct. 2018
    Review of: “What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics”
    by Adam Becker
    Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.
    https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real

    And yet, measurement is precisely where conscious observation makes its presence fully known in quantum mechanics:

    As the following article states, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: Some particles, such as photons or electrons, can behave both as particles and as waves. Here comes a question of what exactly makes a photon or an electron act either as a particle or a wave. This is what Wheeler’s experiment asks: at what point does an object ‘decide’?
    The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus, the renormalization of the infinity between special relativity and quantum mechanics came at the cost of tossing quantum measurement itself by the wayside. That is to say that the irreducible subjective element in quantum mechanics was neglected so as give us ‘a totally objective view’ of reality that is inherent within Quantum Electrodynamics.

    And while I consider this neglecting of the irreducible subjective element of Quantum Mechanics to be an incorrect step for any theory that purports to be the correct step towards the supposed ‘theory of everything’, none-the-less, this neglecting of the irreducible subjective element of quantum mechanics, i.e. this neglecting of the ‘measurement problem’, does have its advantages.

    Namely, the artificial limitation of ‘the measurement problem’ in quantum mechanics, so as to give us “a totally objective view” of reality, eventually enabled Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators to deduce the hypergeometric structure of the amplituhedron.

    A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics – September 17, 2013
    Excerpt: The amplituhedron itself does not describe gravity. But Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators think there might be a related geometric object that does.,,,
    But the new amplituhedron research suggests space-time, and therefore dimensions, may be illusory anyway.,,, Even without unitarity and locality, the amplituhedron formulation of quantum field theory does not yet incorporate gravity. But researchers are working on it.,,,
    Beyond making (quantum field theory) calculations easier or possibly leading the way to quantum gravity, the discovery of the amplituhedron could cause an even more profound shift, Arkani-Hamed said. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of the universe arose out of pure geometry.
    https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20130917-a-jewel-at-the-heart-of-quantum-physics/

    My question to you WJM is, “if your ‘mental reality’ model would have been in place, would the hypergeometric structure of the amplituhedron ever have been discovered?”

    Sure the amplituhedron, as Arkani-Hamed himself admits, would be in need of explanation, but would it have been discovered in the first place with your model WJM?

    “It seems inconceivable that this intricate web of perfect mathematical descriptions is random or happenstance. This mystery must have an explanation. But what might such an explanation look like?”
    -Arkani-Hamed
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/physicist-its-not-the-answers-we-lack-its-the-question/

    Likewise relativity, which I remind gives us “a totally objective view” of reality also reveals some very interesting geometries to us. Namely, the four dimensional space-time of special relativity reveals a ‘heavenly’ eternity that is above this temporal realm, whereas the four dimensional space-time of General relativity reveals a ‘hellish’ eternity that is below this temporal realm:

    June 2019 – And whereas, atheists have no compelling evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth, Christians, on the other hand, (as is shown in the following video), can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/rob-sheldon-taken-seriously-the-multiverse-proves-the-existence-of-god/#comment-678717

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    Thus WJM, my question for you is, “would the overall ‘geometric structure of the universe’, that is revealed by Quantum Electrodynamics, Special Relativity and General Relativity, have ever been discovered if “a totally objective view” of reality had not been in place for those theories?

    I don’t pretend to know the nuances of your model WJM, but it seems to me that your model, if it would have been in place, would have severely hampered the discovery of the amplituhedron, special relativity and general relativity, since your model would appear to deny, at the very least, ‘a totally objective’ view of reality.

    Verses:

    Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  32. 32

    BA77,

    Thanks for the interesting comments. I’m in the process of understanding them for response. For that reason, I’d like to ask something (and I’ll probably ask more things as I go through it.) You state:

    “As to this comment from the preceding article, “the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation.”

    And out of all those “infinity of other possibilities” that God could have chosen, what “particular form of world” did God actually create?

    I’m not sure how this works or that the latter necessarily follows the prior. My understanding of “contingent” in this regard is that a certain circumstance was required in order for our particular universe to exist out of “all possibilities”. It doesn’t necessarily follow from that that this contingency must be resolved by “God’s choice,” nor does it seem to me that there is any Biblical requirement that this be a choice God made (choosing from many possibly created universes.) It just means that the designed nature of our universe requires postulating that which would generate it and not any other kind of universe; why there would be the fine-tuning of this world and not a world that is not fine-tuned.

    You and others resolve this contingency dilemma by asserting that it was God’s choice to create this particular world because God wanted certain features in it, including intelligent life capable of reason and scientific investigation (both of which require immense contextual support to comprehend and be useful.)

    From my understanding though, contingency doesn’t require the explanation by choice; it just requires an explanation: what condition would account for this particular universe’s existence and not any other?

    If I am correct in my understanding of what “contingent” means here, my answer would be: MRT dictates that the only kind of universe that God could create is this one. In MRT, “God” could be labeled “universal” or “infinite” mind. Under that label, God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient; and “we” are all 100% “children” of God, necessarily made “in God’s image” in the mental laws and principles sense. (In MRT, “mind” can be interchangeable with “spirit,” consciousness with soul when interacting with religion or spirituality.)

    Because universal mind has absolute principles (logic, math, etc.), God cannot create an incomprehensible universe. Because God is life (consciousness); it cannot create a lifeless universe. Etc. In other words, God created this kind of universe because it is the only kind of Universe God could create because God creating an incomprehensible, lifeless universe is a logical impossibility – even God cannot create a 4-sided triangle and even God cannot make 1+1=3. Omnipotence means God can do any possible thing, not impossible things.

    Does that make sense?

    This is really very interesting. The implication is also that God cannot create non-life. Under MRT, there is no such thing as “non-life;” only the appearance of it exists.

    Please keep in mind that when I’m using terms like “universe,” under MRT I’m referring to the MRT equivalent for the sake of comprehension when speaking to someone in an ERT mindset. The MRT equivalent would be, approximately, “shared experiential mental framework.”

    MRT is ultimately a theological ontology; it resolves the contingency problem. Further, because we know there are absolute mental laws that are inherent in mind, these innate mental laws represent the limits of possibility.

    Interestingly, this would also mean that God cannot create anything that matches any normal definition of the word “matter.”

  33. 33

    BA77, I’m not sure I totally understand the “objective structure” information and argument, so I’m going to comment and then you can further enlighten and inform me by pointing out any misconceptions I might be responding under.

    The broader question is, I think, is MRT at least equally useful in scientific discovery, especially when it comes to discovering “objective” qualities, when it comes to developing a form of epistemology, or method/process in science. Well, given that MRT isn’t something anyone has tested out in that regard, that’s difficult to answer with any weight. At this point any answer would be reasonable speculation.

    Let’s see if the following sounds reasonable to you AND is free from misconception about what it is you are asking me.

    I think it is reasonable to speculate that a proper MRT-based epistemology would, possibly, not only be the equal of current ERT epistmology, but it could be far superior. A proper MRT epistemology would be a form of an ID epistemology which would at the outset embrace consciousness/mind as fundamental, essential and not a product of anything else. We could have begun with the assumption that what we are interacting with was information in mind that necessarily obeyed the rules of mind and must appear according to fundamental mental principles such as mathematics, geometry, logic, etc.

    Without the belief in an external, physical world, we (under a proper MRT epistemology) would assume that what we are scientifically investigating was a shared experiential framework. The idea of “objective” would translate to “essential commodities of experience necessarily shared by all intelligent, conscious beings.” Such a “being” would be defined as an individual conscious perspective, made “individual” not in essence defined by space-time location, but rather by it’s particular mental perspective (uniquely specific psychological structure).

    It seems to me that ERT ontology & the resulting epistemology has been unbelievably problematic, slowing down scientific research for hundred of years. Basically, we had to exhaust every possible ERT explanation for our observations and find them not only insufficient, but rationally incapable of providing answers even in principle. In this regard, ERT ontology in philosophy and metaphysics has, IMO, been the same kind of retardant in terms of properly modeling scientific evidence and procedure. It is only now, after seemingly every possible ERT loophole challenge has been met, are we beginning to ease our way into MRT.

    Honestly, I think the assumption of ERT has corrupted religious and spiritual thought and argument for centuries because it unnecessarily inserts issues that are problematic that would be non-issues under MRT such as the domain interaction problem.

    Did I respond coherently with regard to you question?

  34. 34

    I would add this:
    In the same way that materialist evolutionary theory has fallen due to both evidence and logic but many people don’t accept it, MRT has already toppled ERT – it’s just that most people don’t know it because it is still in the process of crashing to the ground. Most are trying to salvage some meaningful form of ERT and are uncomfortable with what are essentially their ERT-based ideas of what MRT means.

    If you think that what we’ve been able to accomplish under the paradigm of ERT is something, wait until we fully adopt MRT. I predict human history will, at least in several meaningful respects, be categorized in terms of pre- and post- the advent of MRT. I think, scientifically speaking, quantum physics signaled the end of ERT, and information/consciousness theory is the birth of MRT.

    8.7.2020 7:24 am Edited for clarity.

  35. 35

    And, let me end with a special, but relevant quote I think you may enjoy:

    “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:21 KJV.

  36. 36
    mike1962 says:

    WJM: 12: Thus, belief in an extra-mental reality is necessarily irrational because (1) it cannot be directly experienced, (2) no evidence can be gathered that can distinguish it from mental reality,

    Hmm, well, I know I exist. I know I consciously experience a great deal of things that I do not intentionally cause by my will. How can there not be external triggers, causing me to experience things, if I’m not intentionally causing the effect that I experience? When I’m sitting in my garage and watch a car drive by, I have no mental evidence or experience that I am causing the events that I am witnessing. What is the cause? And how is this not “external to my consciousness”, by definition? Now, we can debate about the nature of the external causes (is it “real”, is it a virtual reality, etc), but whatever are the causes, they are external to my consciousness.

  37. 37

    Mike1962 @36:
    If something occurred external of your consciousness, by definition you would not be aware of it because it wouldn’t be in your consciousness. Whether or not you experience intentionality with regards to an experience is irrelevant in defining whether it is “internal” and “external” even under the external-world paradigm. Internal thought, feelings, mental imagery can occur in our heads both intentionally and non-intentionally, so “intentionality” is not a dividing line between internal and external.

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, is post 32 you state, “my answer would be: MRT dictates that the only kind of universe that God could create is this one.”

    I’m not sure how this works or that the latter necessarily follows the prior. My understanding of “contingent” in this regard is that a certain circumstance was required in order for our particular universe to exist out of “all possibilities”. It doesn’t necessarily follow from that that this contingency must be resolved by “God’s choice,” nor does it seem to me that there is any Biblical requirement that this be a choice God made (choosing from many possibly created universes.) It just means that the designed nature of our universe requires postulating that which would generate it and not any other kind of universe; why there would be the fine-tuning of this world and not a world that is not fine-tuned.

    You and others resolve this contingency dilemma by asserting that it was God’s choice to create this particular world because God wanted certain features in it, including intelligent life capable of reason and scientific investigation (both of which require immense contextual support to comprehend and be useful.)

    From my understanding though, contingency doesn’t require the explanation by choice; it just requires an explanation: what condition would account for this particular universe’s existence and not any other?

    If I am correct in my understanding of what “contingent” means here, my answer would be: MRT dictates that the only kind of universe that God could create is this one.

    Since you hold that “the only kind of universe that God could create is this one” and that God had no choice in the matter, then you are necessarily back to arguing from first principles. i.e. back to arguing via deductive logic. Which, I remind, as I pointed out in post 15, is exactly what prevented the ancient Greeks from ever making the crucial breakthrough into experimental science, i.e. into inductive logic.

    Is Christianity Unscientific? – Peter S. Williams
    “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation.”
    http://www.bethinking.org/does.....scientific

    ,,,,In short WJM, you, like present day Darwinists and theoretical physicists, have regressed back to the ‘deductive logic’ of the ancient greeks, who argued deductively from first principles, and have forsaken the inductive logic that was championed by Francis Bacon and which lays at the foundation of modern science itself.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/asked-at-areo-magazine-did-the-catholic-church-give-birth-to-science/#comment-703354

    WJM, I also note that in order for you to prove your claim that this is the only kind of universe that God could create is this one, and for you to prove that this would not undermine modern science, then it would be necessary for you to deduce, at the very least, the amplituhedron, special relativity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, from first principles. Yet I don’t see how you can possibly accomplish this and successfully deduce those theories solely from first principles. i.e. You will always be dependent on experimenting on the ‘external’ world to see if it in fact matches your ‘guess’ for how God might have created this world.

    In short, and to repeat, you, with your model, have regressed back to the deductive logic of the ancient Greeks. A form of logic that prevented the rise of modern science.

  39. 39

    BA77 @38:

    I must not be understanding the point you are trying to make. Possibly because I’m not that familiar with the Greeks and their philosophical limitations.

    Deductive reasoning is a basic form of valid reasoning. Deductive reasoning, or deduction, starts out with a general statement, or hypothesis, and examines the possibilities to reach a specific, logical conclusion, according to California State University. The scientific method uses deduction to test hypotheses and theories. “In deductive inference, we hold a theory and based on it we make a prediction of its consequences. That is, we predict what the observations should be if the theory were correct. We go from the general — the theory — to the specific — the observations,” said Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, a researcher and professor emerita at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

    Inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning makes broad generalizations from specific observations. Basically, there is data, then conclusions are drawn from the data. This is called inductive logic, according to Utah State University.

    Inductive reasoning has its place in the scientific method. Scientists use it to form hypotheses and theories. Deductive reasoning allows them to apply the theories to specific situations.

    If you are saying there is no way to get to deductive reasoning under the premise, or to use it to support for the premise of MRT, I would say the opposite: there is no way to get deductive reasoning support for the premise of ERT.

    The theory of MRT is based on this direct, inescapable observation: all experience occurs in mind. That is inductive reasoning – forming a theory based on observation. Science employs inductive reasoning this way – to form a hypothesis from observation. Science then uses deductive reasoning from the premised hypothetical to reach a conclusion, then tests that conclusion via observations.

    The deductions I made from the premise reach an inexorable conclusion that doesn’t even require testing because they are necessarily true given the inescapable observational fact I began with: if anything extra-mental exists, it is absolutely beyond our capacity to test or measure.

    Perhaps you are saying that, at this point, deductive reasoning ends or is a non-starter, or there is no reason to pursue it. I don’t understand any of those. Deductive reasoning was an essential part of the process in reaching that conclusion, and it certainly doesn’t mean deductive reasoning is at an end at that point.

    It doesn’t mean the normal scientific process of using induction and deduction is any different under MRT when observing phenomena, inductively generating a hypothesis about that phenomena, and deductively reaching conclusions that can then be tested. It just means our understanding of what we are applying the scientific method to has changed – just as it changed after the advent of quantum theory.

    So, again, I don’t understand your objection.

  40. 40

    Ironically, it occurs to me that once one understand the self-evidently true nature of statement #1 in the OP, one understands that the only premise that can possibly generate meaningful deductions and conclusions is MRT.

    Once one is aware of the self-evidently true nature of the statement: “All experience occurs in mind,” how would one even begin to develop a rational, supportable theory of an extra-mental domain? It’s a non-starter, a nonsensical idea to begin with.

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, although your reference gives a nod to inductive reasoning,

    “Inductive reasoning has its place in the scientific method. Scientists use it to form hypotheses and theories. Deductive reasoning allows them to apply the theories to specific situations.”,,,

    your reference still gives inductive reasoning short rift.

    The major shift in reasoning from a more or less purely ‘top down’ deductive form of reasoning of the ancient Greeks to this new form of ‘bottom up’ inductive reasoning of the Medieval Christians represented nothing less than the birth of the scientific method itself.

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    This new form of inductive reasoning, which led to the birth of the scientific method itself, apparently took a while to take hold in Medieval Christian Europe but this new form of reasoning was eventually, and famously, elucidated and championed by Francis Bacon in 1620 in his book that was entitled Novum Organum. Which is translated as ‘New Method’. In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work Organon, which was Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism. In other words, Organum was basically Aristotle’s treatise on deductive reasoning.

    The Organon and the logic perspective of computation – 2016
    Excerpt: The works of Aristotle on logic are collectively known as the Organon, that is, the ” instrument ” or ” tool ” of thought. In the ” Prior Analytics “, Aristotle introduced a list of inference rules that concern with the relation of premises to conclusion in arguments (syllogisms). His aim was to determine which kinds of arguments are valid. The validity of an argument is characterized and inferred based on its logical form (deduction) and for this reason Aristotle is considered as the father of formal logic.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303407444_The_Organon_and_the_logic_perspective_of_computation

    And thus in his book Novum Organum, Bacon was actually championing a new method of inductive reasoning, where repeated experimentation played the central role in one’s reasoning, over and above Aristotle’s deductive reasoning, where reasoning from first principles played the primary role, and which had been the dominate form of reasoning that had been around for approx. 2000 years at that time.

    Deductive and Inductive Reasoning (Bacon vs Aristotle – Scientific Revolution) – video
    Excerpt: Deductive reasoning, which uses general premises to arrive at a certain conclusion, has been around since Aristotle. In his book Novum Organum (1620, translated ‘new method’), Sir Francis Bacon advanced a new way of philosophical inquiry known as inductive reasoning, in which the inquirer comes to a probable conclusion based on several specific observations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAdpPABoTzE

    And indeed, repeated experimentation, ever since it was first set forth by Francis Bacon, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, educated guesses that follow from Aristotle’s deductive reasoning.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    Thus again, for you to say that “my answer would be: MRT dictates that the only kind of universe that God could create is this one” is for you to, basically, claim that you can deduce the ‘form’ and/or structure of the universe from first principles, and is for you to champion the deductive method of reasoning that the ancient Greeks used and that prevented the rise of modern science.

    And again, to repeat, I also note that in order for you to prove your claim that ‘the only kind of universe that God could create is this one”, and for you to prove that this would not undermine modern science, then it would be necessary for you to deduce, at the very least, the amplituhedron, special relativity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, from first principles. Yet I don’t see how you can possibly accomplish this and successfully deduce those theories solely from first principles. i.e. You will always be dependent on experimenting on the ‘external’ world to see if it in fact matches your ‘guess’ for how God might have created this world.

    In short, and to repeat, you, with your model, have basically regressed back to the deductive logic of the ancient Greeks in which inductive reasoning played a very negligible role. A form of logic that prevented the rise of modern science in the ancient Greek cultures..

  42. 42

    BA77,
    It seems to me that your objection may be that MRT is necessarily, entirely constrained to deduction from an a priori first principle premise. That of course is not true any more than it is true of the ERT theory. You aren’t limited to abstract deductions because in both cases you have the world of experience to observe, make predictions from and test.

    However, at least one aspect of your objection is that and that such a process could not have generated some of the same useful theories that the premise of ERT has generated. I think that is a very reasonable objection. For example, if we never assumed that any actual “matter” existed, would we ever have bothered going down that long experimental process, leading to the smashing of atoms? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem likely that MRT-based science would have historically progressed along that path.

    My position is not that ERT is useless; it’s obviously very useful, but then so have been many, many theories that were ultimately shown to be incorrect or misconceptions by new information that provided a path to a new perspective.

    Let’s look at it this way; ERT is based on an original philosophical premise in exactly the same way MRT is – it’s just a different premise. ERT has historically been bound to abstract deduction from that premise in assuming that we are examining a physical, external world. That deductive-from-premise framework guided how we thought about conducting tests and how we interpreted the results. It has confined what kind of theories we came up with to model that information.

    One of the deep, unrecognized-as-deductive conceptualizations that persisted until very recently was that observation was a passive activity in terms of what was observed. It was assumed (again, largely without even realizing it as a purely abstract, deductive derivative of the premise) that what we were observing had fundamental, innate characteristics that we were passively, independently observing.

    Similar purely conceptual, perhaps unrecognized-as-such constraints would have certainly informed scientific progress under MRT because there would have been such natural deductive assumptions in place there as well. For example, we probably would have assumed observation and consciousness was fundamental to what what we were observing in the first place. Conscious observation would likely never have been assumed to be passive.

    So, I think it is quite safe to assume that MRT would not have gone the same path, nor developed many of the same models that ERT developed. That much is all but certain. What can only be largely a matter of speculation is whether or not MRT would have produced, in significant ways, better or worse results. I think even that comparison, if we could know it, might be more a matter of perspective and how one defined “better.”

    Let’s assume arguendo that ERT was the better framework for historical scientific progression. That doesn’t change the fact that ERT has been rendered unsustainable due to relatively recent and repeatedly tested evidence derived from quantum theory research. The idea of “local reality” has been demonstrated as a fiction. The independent, passive nature of observation has been shown false. Consciousness has been shown to be inextricably fundamental to observational results (measuring.)

    All that was conceptually essential to assume under ERT scientific process has been unequivocally demonstrated false. Like evolutionary theory, that emperor has been stripped bare for all who are willing to see.

    The only option that is left is some form of MRT. Yes, it was a long (and perhaps necessary) road to gather the evidence and develop the concepts and language necessary to understand and articulate it, but the current evidence and the necessary implications of that evidence is conclusive.

    Many still cling to the corpse of evolution in the faithful hope it can be resurrected, holding by faith that it is not really dead. Many will continue to cling to ERT in the hope that it can be salvaged. In the same way Darwinist say “we don’t know how; we don’t even have a theory how; but surely there was a “how” and we just haven’t found it yet,” ERT adherents will say “we may not know what it is, or how it produces mental experience, and we may have no means to directly gather evidence of it, but surely an extra-mental domain exists.”

    It is interesting to me that people current operating under more traditional theistic perspectives resist MRT as strongly as materialists, when MRT doesn’t contradict any specific tenets of their theology and is substantively supportive. It provides a framework that eliminates problematic issues that existed under the dominant Theological-ERT perspectives.

  43. 43
    mike1962 says:

    WJM @37: Whether or not you experience intentionality [sic] with regards to an experience is irrelevant in defining whether it is “internal” and “external” even under the external-world paradigm.

    How does your hypothesis (based on your definitions) account for the difference between intentionally generated consciousness experience and non-intentionally generated consciousness experience?

    Internal thought, feelings, mental imagery can occur in our heads both intentionally and non-intentionally, so “intentionality” is not a dividing line between internal and external.

    What does “in our heads” mean? You seem to be conflating consciousness (which is primary) with brains (which are not primary.) Our ideas of brains are rational conclusions, not identical with primary conscious experience itself. (Experimentally, we know that the entire brain is not directly related to conscious experience.)

    At any rate, you need to account for the difference between intentional acts of consciousness that change conscious experience and non-intentional acts of consciousness (whatever that might mean) that lead to change in conscience experience, as per my garage/car example. Just saying “there’s no difference” is not an explanation. That’s merely a denial of the problem. What does it mean to say that a conscious entity can act, i.e, be a first cause in a chain of causality, but not do it intentionally? And not know that it’s doing it with non-intention? This seems like nonsense to me.

  44. 44

    Mike1962:

    How does your hypothesis (based on your definitions) account for the difference between intentionally generated consciousness experience and non-intentionally generated consciousness experience?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “account for.” Non-intentional aspects of our experience are generated by mind – this is a trivial fact of our experience. We generally don’t intend to experience whatever occurs in a dream, for examples.

    What does “in our heads” mean?

    It means “in mind.”

    You seem to be conflating consciousness (which is primary) with brains (which are not primary.) Our ideas of brains are rational conclusions, not identical with primary conscious experience itself. (Experimentally, we know that the entire brain is not directly related to conscious experience.)

    I don’t think you understand some basic implications of MRT. Under MRT, “brains” and “bodies” only exist as mental phenomena, not as actual material objects.

    At any rate, you need to account for the difference between intentional acts of consciousness that change conscious experience and non-intentional acts of consciousness (whatever that might mean) that lead to change in conscience experience, as per my garage/car example.

    I’m not sure why you think I need to explain something that we already know can occur entirely within mind by first-hand experience: dreams. Things often occur without our conscious intention in dreams that change the state of our consciousness (like causing fear or sadness) in the dream.

    What does it mean to say that a conscious entity can act, i.e, be a first cause in a chain of causality, but not do it intentionally? And not know that it’s doing it with non-intention? This seems like nonsense to me.

    There is much more to mind that just intention. I think that may be where the problem is. MRT is mental reality theory – a theory about mind, not just intention. Conscious intention represents a very small fraction of what we know goes on in mind; for example, we know that a lot of the drivers of our behavior, thoughts and emotions are subconscious programs and patterns.

  45. 45
    mike1962 says:

    Non-intentional aspects of our experience are generated by mind
    Prove it. Brain yes. But brain is not identical with consciousness, as can be demonstrated to me by my own experiments.

    Nothing you’ve said is persuasive to me at all. But I’ll ask this:

    1) what predictions does your hypothesis make that make it superior to the standard hypothesis of an external reality?

    2) If there is no external reality, and my consciousness is just “doing it all” (to summarize your view as best as I can understand it), why don’t I have direct awareness of your consciousness?

    3) Why don’t I have conscious experience of my consciousness doing things that I clearly have no experience of doing?

    4) Why aren’t we having the same experience? What explains the disjoint? Why aren’t you and I “one?”

  46. 46
    mike1962 says:

    … to continue, if you accept that my consciousness is different than yours, i.e, we are separate identities, then at very least, something exists external from you. Namely, me.

  47. 47

    MIke @45 said:

    Prove it. Brain yes. But brain is not identical with consciousness, as can be demonstrated to me by my own experiments.

    We experience unexpected things in dreams. This demonstrates that mind can generate unintentional aspects of our experience.

    1) what predictions does your hypothesis make that make it superior to the standard hypothesis of an external reality?

    Depends on what you mean by “superior”. MRT predicts that consciousness is fundamental and that matter doesn’t actually exist, meaning that under MRT science wouldn’t have been chasing the rainbow of materialism like non-MRT theory has for hundreds of years, and we would have probably begun with consciousness/informational theory instead of just getting around to it now after exhausting all other options.

    If there is no external reality, and my consciousness is just “doing it all” (to summarize your view as best as I can understand it), why don’t I have direct awareness of your consciousness?

    You do, inasmuch as your particular psychological perspective allows. Otherwise, you would not be experiencing me and having a discussion with me at alld, in any way. You and everyone else has just been trained to think that what you are experiencing is something else.

    I don’t know what #3 means.

    4) Why aren’t we having the same experience? What explains the disjoint? Why aren’t you and I “one?”

    We are different psychological perspectives that consciousness is experiencing through. IOW, it is like a dream universal mind is having and inhabiting every person in the dream simultaneously as an individual, unique psychological perspective. In this scenario, you and I aren’t actually external of each other, we are internal to each other and whatever world we both seem to be experiencing external to our dream avatars is common to both of us only inasmuch as we have shared psychological aspects

  48. 48
    mike1962 says:

    WJM: We experience unexpected things in dreams. This demonstrates that mind can generate unintentional aspects of our experience.

    My consciousness doesn’t generate dreams. The brain that my consciousness is attached to generates dreams. Brains are external to consciousness.

    You didn’t really answer #1. I’ll re-word: what predictive success does your thesis have over the common view?

    You do, inasmuch as your particular psychological perspective allows.

    What’s governing the “allowing”?

    I don’t know what #3 means.

    3) Why don’t I have conscious experience of my consciousness doing things that I clearly have no experience of doing?

    Apparently you claim that my consciousness is doing things that my consciousness is not aware of doing. That it has intent and makes choices even though my consciousness is not aware of it. Explain how this works.

    We are different psychological perspectives that consciousness is experiencing through. IOW, it is like a dream universal mind is having and inhabiting every person in the dream simultaneously as an individual, unique psychological perspective. In this scenario, you and I aren’t actually external of each other, we are internal to each other and whatever world we both seem to be experiencing external to our dream avatars is common to both of us only inasmuch as we have shared psychological aspects

    How do you prove any of this?

  49. 49
    mike1962 says:

    To continue,
    Thus, belief in an extra-mental reality is necessarily irrational because (1) it cannot be directly experienced,
    You view asserts that a lot of things are going on in my consciousness that are not directly experienced.

    (2) no evidence can be gathered that can distinguish it from mental reality,
    You have provided no evidence that there is an unconscious part of my consciousness that is generating experiences in my consciousness, or that there is even such as thing as an unconsciousness part of my consciousness. (It’s a contradictions anyway.)

    (3) no rational argument can be levied in support of it that does not innately rely upon that supposed “external world” being entirely consonant with, indeed subordinate to, the entirely mental nature of logical principles and processes.

    If you’re saying that our understanding of a world external to consciousness is based on human reason, I agree. But then again, your putative view of reality is equally dependent on human reason. Consciousness first, reason second, and all inferences third. So far, I’ve seen no reason why your thesis explains my experience any better than the common view, or even as well, or that it has superior predictive power. There is no “checkmate.”

  50. 50

    Mike1962 @48 said:

    My consciousness doesn’t generate dreams. The brain that my consciousness is attached to generates dreams. Brains are external to consciousness.

    You’re mixing up premises and forgetting what I’ve actually said.

    The premise is MRT – mental reality theory, not “consciousness” reality theory. Whether or not they are caused by a brain (reality external of mind), all experience – including dreams – occur in mind. They are mental experiences. Your challenge was about intentional vs unintentional experiences, as if mind is incapable of producing unexpected experiences. Since all unexpected experiences are experienced in mind, mind is obviously capable of producing them whether or not mind is the cause.

    You didn’t really answer #1. I’ll re-word: what predictive success does your thesis have over the common view?f

    (1) that matter doesn’t exist, (2) that mind & consciousness play a crucial role in what we call “physical reality.”

    You have provided no evidence that there is an unconscious part of my consciousness that is generating experiences in my consciousness, or that there is even such as thing as an unconsciousness part of my consciousness. (It’s a contradictions anyway.)

    The existence of the unconscious and the subconscious as part of mind has long been established as fact. It is mental reality theory, not “consciously aware reality theory.” You seem to have gone off on a “consciously aware” sidetrack that is causing you some confusion. There is an aspect of the mind that is consciously aware and aspects of the mind which are not (under MRT theory.)

    You view asserts that a lot of things are going on in my consciousness that are not directly experienced.

    You are apparently misunderstanding and conflating some terms as I pointed out above.

    If you’re saying that our understanding of a world external to consciousness is based on human reason, I agree. But then again, your putative view of reality is equally dependent on human reason. Consciousness first, reason second, and all inferences third. So far, I’ve seen no reason why your thesis explains my experience any better than the common view, or even as well, or that it has superior predictive power. There is no “checkmate.”

    It explains it better in that it doesn’t require a entire, unnecessary domain of reality (external physical world) or an interface between the two that can transmit between domains successfully and accurately. Also, it is the only theory that predicts what we have recently uncovered via quantum physics research – lack of physical matter, impact of observation on phenomena, absence of local reality, reverse-causation, etc.

    Until anyone can explain how a physical brain generates (causes) mental phenomena, the theory of an external world cannot even get beyond being an assumption. Until anyone can directly experience an external world, the idea of an external physical reality can only ever be a matter of irrational faith.

  51. 51
    mike1962 says:

    WJM: Until anyone can explain how a physical brain generates (causes) mental phenomena, the theory of an external world cannot even get beyond being an assumption.

    The existence of brains is not an assumption, it’s a (well supported) inference. At any rate, there’s no pragmatic difference to me whether the experiences I perceive to have “from the outside” are actually external or not. (I have no conscious awareness of the essential, conscious “I” being involved in the generation or manipulation of sense data. Brain yes, but brains and consciousness are not identical. The idea of brains is an inference. Consciousness just is and is the primary fact of my existence.) Your thesis doesn’t modify the inferences that are being made, automatically or rationally, of the sense data presented to me. Same would go for solipsism (only I am conscious) or zombie theory (some people are not conscious) or “everyone is conscious” or “rocks are conscious.” Etc. What value does your view have? Science still operates the same. The making of useful inferences still operates the same. The pragmatic task of taking sense data and attempting to make models that have explanatory power and can make predictions. As with solipsism and zombie theory or any other beliefs about consciousness other than my own consciousness, so far as I can tell, your view is not demonstrable nor falsifiable and has no pragmatic value.

    the idea of an external physical reality can only ever be a matter of irrational faith.

    That’s also true for any beliefs about consciousness other than my own consciousness. Nothing can be done about that. But it has no practical relevance to me.

  52. 52
    Truthfreedom says:

    Mr. William J Murray,
    Are you a Kastrup-ian? 🙂

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