Thoughts are more real than objects

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Thoughts are more real than objects

Jeremy Dunham, PhD 

Quote:Idealism is often regarded as a philosophy entailing that the world exists just in our heads, which is obviously false. Rising philosophical star Dr. Jeremy Dunham argues that this view of idealism is a misconception. Idealism is a much more realist worldview than we think, and more realist than its alternatives, as it does not deny the existence of the most real things there are: thoughts. This essay is the latest instalment of our The Return of Idealism series, produced in a collaboration with the Institute of Art and Ideas (IA). It was first published by the IAI on 19 April 2024.

Quote:Berkeley opposed his view to those who regard our rich conscious phenomenal world, the world of tastes, feels, colours, and sounds, as in some way less real than the physical world. For Berkeley, the real stone is the coloured object which we see and feel and that resists us when kicked. If Johnson kicked the stone as hard as I imagine, he entered a world of pain. For Berkeley, this world is the real world. His idealism is ampliative, not reductive. Its aim is to account for the full extent of our reality. Berkeley, then, is not anti-stone. He argued that only idealism can do justice to stones.

Quote:The result of this is that we owe our individuality to a larger whole in which we are all systematically related and which relates us to each other in a fundamental way. Earlier I claimed that many people incorrectly regard idealism as a philosophy that is characterised by the things that it is against. However, here we find something that this kind of idealist really is anti: the idea of fundamental separateness. This has significant ethical implications. The most important absolute idealist of the twenty-first century, Timothy Sprigge (1932-2007), wrote that absolute idealism’s main message is that ‘we are nearer the core of things when we partly transcend it [our separateness] in cooperative ethical, cultural, and intellectual endeavours and in mutual aid.’
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • stephenw, Brian
The object is a thought - that is a neurological interpretation of some kind of, presumably, external information.  I am moving farther and farther away from dualism in this regard.
(2024-04-22, 10:28 AM)Brian Wrote: The object is a thought - that is a neurological interpretation of some kind of, presumably, external information.  I am moving farther and farther away from dualism in this regard.

Then what about the Hard Problem? The essence of consciousness consists of totally immaterial and unmeasureable entities, such as qualia, perception, subjective awareness, thought, agency/intentionality, etc., none of which can have a neurological explanation since the interactions of neurons in the brain, being physical, are material and measureable/detectable and of a fundamentally entirely different and lower existential nature.
(2024-04-22, 04:05 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Then what about the Hard Problem? The essence of consciousness consists of totally immaterial and unmeasureable entities, such as qualia, perception, subjective awareness, thought, agency/intentionality, etc., none of which can have a neurological explanation since the interactions of neurons in the brain, being physical, are material and measureable/detectable and of a fundamentally entirely different and lower existential nature.

Everything we experience is immaterial.  We have no experience that isn't subjective neurological signals - though I confess that the nervous system itself is a subjective experience.  The dualism is what our perceived brains do in order to create a working model essential for survival.  Then the question becomes, "so why do we need to survive?" but that, of course is a different question.  To summarize; if duality is literally real then the brain is created by the mind which is created by the brain.  If we eliminate duality material and non-material become a mutually dependent whole.
(2024-04-22, 04:22 PM)Brian Wrote: Everything we experience is immaterial.  We have no experience that isn't subjective neurological signals - though I confess that the nervous system itself is a subjective experience.  The dualism is what our perceived brains do in order to create a working model essential for survival.  Then the question becomes, "so why do we need to survive?" but that, of course is a different question.  To summarize; if duality is literally real then the brain is created by the mind which is created by the brain.  If we eliminate duality material and non-material become a mutually dependent whole.

"Subjective neurological signals"? This mixes up the two fundamentally existentially separate realms of consciousness and materiality. The "Hard Problem" of consciousness shows that the properties of mind or consciousness are fundamentally immaterial -  for instance qualia, subjective awareness, perception, thought, emotion, intentionality or agency, etc. These are by basic nature totally immaterial and physically unmeasurable. Leading to the hard conclusion that explaining consciousness as some sort of (emergent or not) physical neurological phenomenon is fundamentally impossible, and is the reason for the total failure of all attempts to physically explain consciousness. 

I think you misconstrue "dualism" in the philosophy of mind. This merely proposes that there are two fundamental kinds of substances, mind and matter. As applied to consciousness and the brain, the dualistic hypothesis would propose that the mind is in essence a mobile center of consciousness that in physical life inhabits the body and brain via intricately interpenetrating the neuronal structure of the brain in order to interact with and manifest in the physical via the brain. In physical life this deep interpentration and entanglement in the physical neuronal structures creates the effective illusion of the mind seeming to be a function of the physical brain. Some paranormal phenomena such as veridical NDE OBEs involve this mobile spirit consciousness temporarily disentangling from and separating from the brain and body to travel to other locations in the physical world and in spiritiual realms.

Dualism doesn't entail the brain being created by the mind. This latter supposition is more the proposal of various forms of idealism. There are variations of this latter philosophical approach to the mind-body problem that involve there being in addition to an effective dualism at our level of existence, also a very much deeper and more basic reality where absolutely everything is ultimately in essence mind of some sort.
(This post was last modified: 2024-04-23, 02:38 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)

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