Philosophy Science

Bernardo Kastrup: There is an “impassable explanatory gap between material quantities and experiential qualities.”

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Kastrup, a computer scientist and philosopher, argues:

Materialism—the view that nature is fundamentally constituted by matter outside and independent of mind—is a metaphysics, in that it makes statements about what nature essentially is. As such, it is also a theoretical inference: we cannot empirically observe matter outside and independent of mind, for we are forever locked in mind. All we can observe are the contents of perception, which are inherently mental. Even the output of measurement instruments is only accessible to us insofar as it is mentally perceived. – Bernardo Kastrup, “Why Materialism Is a Dead-end” at (November 15, 2019)

News, “Science-based reasons why materialism is a dead end” at Mind Matters News

Science is a world of ideas, not things. What we observe is by its very nature, mental, not physical.

3 Replies to “Bernardo Kastrup: There is an “impassable explanatory gap between material quantities and experiential qualities.”

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    polistra says:

    Excellent point about metabolism. We have the sharpest experiences in dreams, when the brain is unquestionably less active. Part of the energy in waketime is devoted to inhibiting experience so we can get stuff done.

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    Seems like back in August someone here was making this same case. Who was that? Oh, my, was it me?

    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 [by the “external world” standard.]

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