Here participants should focus discussion on Bernardo's model and related ideas, by way of exploration, explication, elaboration, and constructive critique. Moderators may intervene to reel in commentary that has drifted too far into areas where other interest groups may try to steer it
I generally resonate with something that Donald Hoffman frequently talks about which is that any scientific theory will always be granted at least one given - or one miracle - and then if the theory is good, all else can be derived from that one given. For example, Hoffman rejects any theory of consciousness that is based on physicalism because that theory requires 2 miracles - first the big bang which originated all of the material universe out of nothing and then a 2nd miracle by which consciousness emerges from some special arrangement of physical structures. Hoffman promotes conscious realism whereby the one miracle is the existence of conscious agents from which, he claims, all the rest of the observable and not-observable (private subjective experience) can be derived. I think Bernardo would agree with all of this. HOWEVER, here is where I'm confused about Bernardo's position. It seems his theory of analytic idealism would require 2 miracles. First, would be the existence of the universal mind or the unbounded field of universal subjectivity. This is all well and good. However, for Bernardo to explain the reality that we each have individual, private subjective experience, there must have been a dissociative process of the one universal mind to create each individual dissociative alter. This seems to be a 2nd miracle - what required the universal mind to disassociate in this way? Wouldn't it have been perfectly fine for the universal mind to exist for all eternity as one unified field of subjectivity? It seems there's no principled reason that the disassociation would have occurred and thus this would have to be a "given" (miracle) of the theory. What am I missing?
I think the analytic idealist would respond by saying that its only "miracle" is that there is consciousness. The "universal mind" and "dissociation" are necessary inferences from that starting point, not additional miracles. Of course, one might question just how 'necessary' those inferences are, but that is for the analytic idealist to address.