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More on biocentrism and idealism

December 17th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Comments on Biocentrism Demystified

reece sullivan said,

December 17, 2009 at 12:11 am ·

Stephen,

Would you elaborate on various flavors of idealism; I’m familiar with Berkley, of course, but don’t know how he differs from others, or rather, how others differ from him. Also, what’s your take on panpsychism? I’ve found it attractive, but have just started doing some reading on it.
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Stephen P. Smith said,

December 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm ·

Here are some flavors of idealism

vitalism
panpsychism
pantheism
panentheism
Hegel`s idealism
Whitehead`s panpsychism
Peirce`s panpsychism
Hartshorne`s panpsychism
Schopenhauer` world-will
Goswami`s monistic idealism

I believe what is being said is that consciousness pertains to something fundamental (like a boundary condition), perhaps emerging out of a proto-vitality (in the case of vitalism). Panpsychism assert that consciousness is fundamental in all materies, but because material is all part of the universe it is also the case that consiousness is fundamental to the universe. Pantheism brings the fundamental to an immanent presence. Panentheism resolves the transcendent with the immanent.

I would note that our intuition is self-evident, and those that are most intuitive tend to be idealist. Intuition is found beyond words, even words that are said to explain everything with a materialism that ignores what is fundamental.
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reece sullivan said,

December 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm ·
Thanks . . .

I ran across panpsychism in a David Ray Griffin book; I believe I’ll also be getting a book by Strawson for Christmas, and also “Process & Reality,” which I haven’t read.

I like your last paragraph, too.

R.
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nemo said,

December 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm ·
I should point out that I am not a defender, as such, of Biocentrism, and not, in any case, an idealist. However, the rejection of idealism is usually of the sillier versions set up as strawmen to reject out of hand by scientists. The alternative is said to be materialism, but that is as problematical as idealism.

There is one especially important combination, the so-called transcendentalism idealism of Kant and Schopenhauer. In this form we confront a way to reconcile materialism/idealism in a format that is very well attuned to science.
Much idealism was an attempt, not to challenge materialism, but to challenge Kant. It seems they failed to do this, but the merry-go-round is interesting all the way around.
The extreme materialism that arose with Marx in reaction to Hegel was a brand of scientism, and appeared just as Hegel waned and reductionist science waxed. This materialism is so second-rate it can hardly be said to have resolved anything to do with idealism. Meanwhile Quantum Mechanics could easily fit into a Kantian framework, so I am not quite sure what the objection is of this critic of Biocentrism. To accuse him of idealism is a bit unfair. Why not put physicists in straight jackets over the QM scandal(s), which have never been resolved, as Lanza makes clear in his book.
I will upgrade these questions and comments to post level.
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nemo said,

December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm ·
I highly recommend a text called
The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, ed. by Karl Ameriks.
(Amazon)
This history shows the whole gamut of idealisms, and the Kantian brand gets a good treatment also.

Hegel’s brand of idealism deflects attention due to his mythology of the Spirit, but restated in purely logical terms without the trappings is quite a powerful format, able to subsume materialism with ease, matter as some kind of related referent.
This is discussed in the book above, which should be available in a good library.
Be wary of confused crap that is not aware of the history of idealism. The struggle of ideas here requires historical grounding, and especially a look at the ‘idealism’ so-called of Kant. Kant’s brand, which arises again in a most powerful form in Schopenhauer, is not riddled with ‘god’ obsessions, as are most idealisms, to their discredit and downfall. A plain vanilla atheist idealist like Schopenhauer, even if you aren’t an atheist, will make the ideas here clear, stripped of the theistic junk that grows up around these concepts.

Tags: Kant · Philosophy · physics

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 reece sullivan // Dec 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks, nemo,

    I’ll make a note of the book and check it out.

  • 2 mitri // Dec 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    greetings to you thinkers, bravo.
    as co creator of a recent film about amit goswami and his particular brand of monistic idealism I can assure you that when one uses the word god it is for provocative purposes as well as to refer to a concept that we have no other functional word for. In the case of Amit Goswami and his monistic idealism positing that it is consciousness not matter that is the ground of all being he is making a scientific statement based in both mathematical and lab science. The essential problem of the quantum measurement (i.e. if consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter but consciousness also collapses the wave into a particle how can consciousness as a brain phenomenon itself a part of matter do this?) this question is profound and in need of resolution. TO posit consciousness as the ground of being and no t matter opens the possibility of solving many of our most tenacious problems in science, the real problem that arrises is the dogmatism from both the materialist science community (including darwinism, that most favored 150 year old child “as if we havn’t learned more since then”) as well as its implied association with the non inquisitive religious dogmatists. Dawkins makes a fool of himself by playing Don Quixote against a straw God that few defend, to take on the questions of the observer consciousness, form and non form are age old questions that the sooner we can answer within science the better all of humanity will be. I am of course biased since I spend several years creating a film on Dr Goswami, but we did so because we felt his message should be added to the mix of scientific scrutiny not to be held high for no reason and not to be discounted by emotionality in the guise of science. I hope we have succeeded.
    peace.

  • 3 nemo // Dec 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Comment upgraded to post

  • 4 Darwiniana » Comment on biocentrism and idealism // Dec 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    […] Comment on More on Biocentrism and Idealism From the Quantum Activist http://quantumactivist.com/ mitri said, December 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm · greetings to you thinkers, bravo. as co creator of a recent film about amit goswami and his particular brand of monistic idealism I can assure you that when one uses the word god it is for provocative purposes as well as to refer to a concept that we have no other functional word for. In the case of Amit Goswami and his monistic idealism positing that it is consciousness not matter that is the ground of all being he is making a scientific statement based in both mathematical and lab science. The essential problem of the quantum measurement (i.e. if consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter but consciousness also collapses the wave into a particle how can consciousness as a brain phenomenon itself a part of matter do this?) this question is profound and in need of resolution. TO posit consciousness as the ground of being and no t matter opens the possibility of solving many of our most tenacious problems in science, the real problem that arrises is the dogmatism from both the materialist science community (including darwinism, that most favored 150 year old child “as if we havn’t learned more since then”) as well as its implied association with the non inquisitive religious dogmatists. Dawkins makes a fool of himself by playing Don Quixote against a straw God that few defend, to take on the questions of the observer consciousness, form and non form are age old questions that the sooner we can answer within science the better all of humanity will be. I am of course biased since I spend several years creating a film on Dr Goswami, but we did so because we felt his message should be added to the mix of scientific scrutiny not to be held high for no reason and not to be discounted by emotionality in the guise of science. I hope we have succeeded. peace. […]

  • 5 Dennis Balson // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    If the brain,mind and body are physical I submit that the energy that causes consciousness to come into being is nonphysical, therefore the primary entity within other forms of matter is the same entity that existed since the universe came into being and it is the same entity that caused forms of life to commence and evolve.

  • 6 Darwiniana » Platonic ‘ideas’ // Mar 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    […] http://darwiniana.com/2009/12/17/more-on-biocentrism-and-idealism/comment-page-1/#comment-356691 […]

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