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Bernardo Kastrup's "Baloney"

Bernardo Kastrup has a PhD in Computer Engineering and has worked as a scientist in research laboratories. He has ventured into metaphysics and sociology for a book titled Why Materialism in Baloney.

He begins: "A worldview is a set of ideas and beliefs on the basis of which one relates to oneself and to the world at large." Then he mentions questions that in my opinion most people don't consider as they make their way through life, questions like "What am I? Where did I come from? What is the universe? What is the underlying nature of reality?" Humanity faces a lot of do and don't concerning their own behavior, including the materialistic matter on hot summer days like not leaving an infant in an enclosed car. But Kastrup wants us to be among the many who consider questions like the "underlying nature of reality," questions that in the opinion of many of us are beyond the ability of scientists to answer.

Kastrup complains:

Materialism suffuses the core of our being by a kind of involuntary osmosis. Like a virus, it spreads unnoticed until it's too late and the infection has already taken a firm hold. I include myself among those who have been victimized by this pernicious, yet natural, epidemic.

He writes about the role of an "intellectual elite."

The power of the core materialist worldview comes from its adoption by intellectual elites and its amplification by the mainstream media.

He writes of scientists confusing materialism "as a metaphysics and scientific theory as models." As I see it, the common view among professional scientists and those academicians who adhere to the philosophy of science is that science is agnostic on questions that are beyond the empirical, including whether reality is essentially matter or idea. I'm not surprised that Kastrup doesn't list John Searle's work on mind, matter and consciousness in his bibliography. Searle is an academician, a professional philosopher emeritus at the University of California who knows neuroscience and avoids the metaphysics of materialism versus idea.

With his metaphor that materialism is "baloney," Kastrup is declaring materialism is false. He is metaphysical. He is going where science does not go. In doing so he engages in a kind of discourse that has annoyed philosophers concerned with language and clarity. Kastrup makes his point in 220 pages. He concludes:

Modern Western society seems to have converged to a highly polarized metaphysical dichotomy: while materialism is the dominant paradigm as far as its deep influence in society's values and organization, substance dualism is seen as the only mainstream alternative. As discussed earlier , substance dualism is the notion that, apart from matter, there is also an immortal soul that interacts with matter in mysterious ways. Matter and soul are seen to e different and separate types of 'stuff.' irreducible to one another.

He writes that substance dualism has value:

There is a sense in which substance dualism is closer to reality than naive materialism: it correctly predicts that consciousness does not end upon physical death and even provides a metaphorical framework for understanding an enduring 'personal unconscious' in the form of an invisible 'soul.'

Kastrup describes his "idealism" as not solipsism and not panpsychism. But for those familiar with ideas that date back to ancient times, his idealism boils down to nothing new – while there is much more knowledge to be gained about the material world and our relations with it that would benefit us.

Copyright © 2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.