What do scientists think of Bernardo Kastrup

Guest contribution: Bernardo Kastrup on matter and consciousness. Part 1 - Physics inevitably points to the mind.

Bernardo Kastrup is a Dutch computer scientist and philosopher who has published groundbreaking thoughts on the mind - matter problem that are published in Scientific American and other renowned magazines.

As the optimal and scientifically most sensible solution to the fundamental philosophical questions about the matter-consciousness problem, he proposes an idealistic ontology that is more economical and empirically more rigorous in the interpretation of reality than mainstream physicalism, panpsychism and cosmopsychism. The ontology proposed by him and some of his colleagues is more expressive than these three alternatives, since it does not fall victim to the “difficult problem of consciousness”, the problem of combination or the problem of decombination.
His thesis can be summarized as follows: There is only cosmic consciousness. We, like all other living organisms, are only dissociated partial personalities (age) of cosmic consciousness, surrounded by its thoughts. The inanimate world that we see around us is the outward appearance of these mental states. The living organisms with which we share the world are the outward appearances of other dissociated partial persons (age).
What is special about Kastrup is that he argues very precisely and logically, point by point, and does not just appeal to a general prior understanding or metaphysical convictions. He attaches great importance to the fact that his theory explains the empirical findings from both quantum physics and neurophysiological research well and simply.
He presents this point of view logically so conclusively and clearly that we can assume that materialism (or physicalism), which is currently still considered "scientific" in ideological discussions, fundamentally refutes in all its varieties, or its unsuitability as scientifically meaningful Explanatory principle for a comprehensive understanding of the world has been proven.
With the kind permission of Bernardo Kastrup, I will soon publish some of his articles that have appeared in Scientific American here in German translation. In order to really understand his position, it is important to see how his theory deals with individual philosophical or scientific questions.

Article 1: Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind, from: Scientific American

Physics inevitably points to the mind.

So-called "information realism" has some surprising implications

© Bernardo Kastrup on March 25, 2019 (German translation Jörg Wichmann)

In his book Our Mathematical Universe (1) From 2014, the physicist Max Tegmark makes the bold assertion that "protons, atoms, molecules, cells and stars" are all superfluous "ballast". Only the mathematical apparatus with which the behavior of matter is described is real, not matter itself. For Tegmark, the universe is a "series of abstract entities with relationships between them" that can be described "independently of the ballast" - i.e. without Matter. He attributes existence exclusively to descriptions, but inconsistently denies exactly what is being described at all. The matter is abolished and only that information itself is seen as ultimately real.

This abstract concept, called Information realism, is philosophical in character, but was associated with physics from the start. It is best known that information realism is a popular philosophical foundation for digital physics. The motivation for this connection is not difficult to fathom.

The Greek atomists assumed that if we were to divide things into smaller and smaller parts, that would end up with solid, indivisible particles called atoms, which they imagined so concretely that they even have certain shapes. But as the understanding of physics progressed, we realized that atoms themselves can be further divided into smaller particles and even smaller particles, and so on, until what is left has no shape or strength at all. At the end of the chain of physical reduction there are elusive, imaginary forms of being that we call "energy" and "fields" - abstract conceptual tools for describing nature that seem to lack real, concrete essence.

For some physicists this means that what we call "matter" - with all its solidity and concreteness - is an illusion; that only the mathematical apparatus they develop in their theories is really real, not that perceived worldfor which the apparatus was created in the first place. In their view, such a counterintuitive conclusion is an implication of the theory, not a suspiciously narcissistic and self-refuting proposition.

In fact, according to information realists, matter arises from information processing, not the other way around. Even the mental psyche, the soul, is supposedly a derivative phenomenon (2) of the purely abstract information manipulation. But what exactly is meant by the word "information" in such a case, since there is no physical or spiritual substrate to ground it?

You see, it is one thing to assert linguistically that information is primary and can therefore exist independently of spirit and matter. But it's a whole different thing to yourself explicit and conclusive imagine what - if anything - that could mean. Analogously, it is possible - as Lewis Carroll did - to writethat the Cheshire Cat's grin persists even after the cat disappears, but it's another matter to be explicit and conclusive about what that means.

Our intuitive understanding of the concept of information - as Claude Shannon convincingly stated in 1948 - is that information is merely a measure of the number of possible states of one independently existing system is. Information as such is a property of an underlying substrate; so it is related to the possible configurations of the substrate - not an entity in itself.

To say that information exists in and of itself is equivalent to speaking of a spin without a top, of waves without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the grin of the Cheshire Cat without the cat. It is a grammatically valid but meaningless statement; a play on words that has less meaning than a phantasy, because a phantasy that is consistent in itself can be understood as such at least explicitly and conclusively.

It can be assumed that serious proponents of information realism are aware of this criticism. Then how do you reconcile your position with her? A passage by Luciano Floridi (3) could provide an indication of this. In a section entitled "The Nature of Information" he says: "Information is known to be a polymorphic phenomenon and a polysemantic concept, so as an explicandum it can be associated with multiple explanations, depending on the level of abstraction chosen and the cluster of requirements and needs ordering a theory ..... Information remains an elusive concept. "(Emphasis added.)

Such obscure ambiguity gives information realism a conceptual volatility that makes it irrefutable. Because if the choice of the original assumption is given by an "elusive concept", how can one clearly determine whether it is wrong? By admitting the possibility that information can be "a network of logically interdependent but mutually irreducible concepts", Floridi even seems to suggest that such volatility is inherent and indissoluble.

While vagueness can be defensible towards natural entities that may be beyond human comprehension, it is difficult to justify when it comes to one human concept how information goes. We have the concept inventedSo we either clearly specify what we mean by this, or our conceptualization remains too vague to have any meaning. In the latter case, it is literally pointlessto assign the primary existence to the information.

The untenability of information realism, however, does not solve the problem that motivated its emergence: the realization that what we call "matter", essentially pure abstraction, becomes a phantasm. How can she tangible Concreteness and solidity of the perceived world disappear from existence if we look closely at matter?

We don't need the word games of information realism to understand this conundrum. Instead, we hold to what is immediately given to us: the solidity and concreteness of our experience. The world measured, modeled, and ultimately predicted by physics is the world of perceptions, a category of awareness (mentation). The phantasms and abstractions are only in ours Descriptions of the behavior of this world, not in the world itself.

Unsettling and confusing is the idea that what we are describing is a non-spiritual (non-mental) Is the reality that underlies our perceptions, in contrast to the perceptions themselves. We then try to find the solidity and concreteness of the perceived world in this postulated, underlying reality. However, a non-spiritual world is inevitably abstract. And there strength and concreteness palpable properties of experience are - what else should they be? - we can't find them there. So the problem we face is just an artifact of thinking that we conjure up out of nowhere based on our theoretical habits and prejudices.

Tegmark is right when it comes to considering matter, which is defined as something out there and independent of the mind, as unnecessary ballast. But the implication of this beautiful and indeed bold conclusion is that the universe is one mental Construct that is displayed on the screen of perception. Tegmark's "mathematical universe" is by nature a mental one, because where are maths - numbers, quantities, equations - if not in the imagination?

Like me in my new book The Idea of ​​the World (4) elaborate, none of this implies solipsism. The mental universe exists in the mind but not only in your personal one. Rather, it is a transpersonal spiritual field that only presents itself to us as physicality - with its concreteness, stability and limitation - as soon as our personal spiritual processes interact with it in observation. Physics leads us to this spiritual universe, not the vague puns of information realism.

(1) Max Tegmark: Our mathematical universe. In search of the essence of reality. Ullstein, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-550-08092-0.
(2) http: //www.digitalphilosophy.org/wp-content/upload ...
(3) http: //blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk/floridi/wp-content/uploa ...
(4) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/1785357395

More material from Bernardo Kastrupin which he explains his groundbreaking metaphysical and scientific considerations:

Bernardo Kastrup's own website: https://www.bernardokastrup.com/
Conversation with Joshua David Bloom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ZfgM2attA
Lecture at the University of Zurich January 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF2uTbmHCMA
Interview with Deepak Chopra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_txcadOeAM

His new book: Introducing the Idea of ​​the World, https://www.bernardokastrup.com/2018/07/introducing-idea-of-world.html

above Bernardo Kastrup
Bernardo Kastrup holds a PhD in computer technology from the Eindhoven University of Technology, specializing in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing systems. He worked as a scientist in some of the leading research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Philips Research Laboratories. Bernardo Kastrup has written many academic papers and books on philosophy and natural sciences. His most recent book is "The Idea of ​​the World - A Multidisciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality," which is based on rigorously analytical arguments and empirical evidence. More information, freely downloadable papers, videos, etc. can be found at www.bernardokastrup.com.

See also the article in FreeWiki.

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