Metaphysical idealism

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Metaphysical idealism

Postby davidm on October 20th, 2018, 2:42 pm 

Metaphysical idealism is the idea that mental states are the primary, or even the only, reality. The idea goes back centuries and takes many forms. Broadly, one could divide it into the more moderate epistemological idealism, which holds that what we can know about the external world is, of necessity, mental (think Kant and some modern interpretations of quantum mechanics and of science itself) and ontological idealism, more extreme, which holds that mental states are all that exist.

Rather than rehash the whole history of this, which goes back at least to Berkeley (esse est percipi), I thought I’d start with a modern take, The Case Against Reality.

The author, the cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman, calls his philosophy not metaphysical idealism, but conscious realism, and says:

As a conscious realist, I am postulating conscious experiences as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that experiences are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of everyday life—my real feeling of a headache, my real taste of chocolate—that really is the ultimate nature of reality.


Notice, in this interview, his take on how evolution selects not for truth about the world, but for fitness, and his claim that they are not the same thing. I was taken (not persuaded) by this idea, and it seems to align with something Plantinga argued, but I’ll have to reacquaint myself with Plantinga’s specific argument.
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Re: Metaphysical idealism

Postby Braininvat on October 20th, 2018, 4:07 pm 

Dave_C had a Donald Hoffman thread a couple years ago, which I'll link just as a bit of site bibliography.

viewtopic.php?nomobile=1&f=10&t=30678

Will get back to this tomorrow I hope. Ontological idealism has never struck me as coherent, but I need to delve more into it. My questions are primitive at this stage, e. g. how would you differentiate between ghosts and living people?
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Re: Metaphysical idealism

Postby -1- on October 20th, 2018, 10:58 pm 

Braininvat » October 20th, 2018, 4:07 pm wrote:I hope. Ontological idealism has never struck me as coherent, but I need to delve more into it. My questions are primitive at this stage, e. g. how would you differentiate between ghosts and living people?

What you see is what you get. If you think the apparition is alive, s/he is a living person. If your impression is that the apparition is a ghost, that's what it is.

No tools of differentiation are needed. You are the only judge of your world, because that's the only world that exists. (In ontological surrealism.)
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