Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

JustinG wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:21 amI agree that nobody should be expected to read everything BK wrote, or even a lot of it, in order to critique his philosophy.

Specific academic papers, which are not too long, are relatively self-contained, and address specific issues, could be a useful starting ground for discussions. A lot of his arguments for idealism are not based on certainty but parsimony (eg it's more economical to posit one ontological primitive instead of two).
I found this one to be pretty good: https://philpapers.org/rec/KASTUI
The point about being familiar with at least some significant portion of BK's larger body of work is that therein he has already anticipated these kind of arguments against his model, and thus already put forth his own comprehensive defence to counter those arguments. So if BK's own defence, found within his larger body of work, has out of indifference not already been given serious consideration, why would the act of participants here reiterating and re-defending it on his behalf be taken any more seriously? Of course, this does not preclude participants here attempting defend it in a more clear and comprehensive way, should they feel up to the task, so please do go for it, however much it may be in vain.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by stratos »

AshvinP wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 1:07 am There is a valid point buried in here somewhere - which is that we cannot argue from anything other than our own experience. We must start with a sort of "solipsism" where we do not assume anything about other minds apart from our own. From there, however, if we reason carefully and also abandon modern prejudices against our own Thinking activity, which demote it to a completely trivial and illusory role, then we can see how our own "personal" experience can only be made sense of by the shared experiential activity of all other beings. It is true, BK simply skips over that entire process and sticks DID as a substitution for it, which I think is a mistake. Yet, as far as mistakes go, it is not nearly as bad as the materialist or mystic-materialist who a priori rules out our shared ideating activity and therefore leaves Reality as a fragmented and bloody mess of experiences with zero meaning, or an amorphous homogenized blob of experience with very shallow meaning.
I don't believe in solipsism, nor that thinking is only trivial or illusory. Solipsism was mentioned just to remark that objecting to the reality of un-consciousness by appealing to personal experience is problematic, as this also excludes the reality of other minds too. So either you stay to your "personal experience" and identify as a solipsist or you recognize that by thinking you can deduce the existence of other realities too. You can't have them both. As for the thinking, the kind of illusion i was talking about is only about the supposed duality of experience and the supposed existence of a thinker behind the experience of thoughts, not something else. Thinking activity in its phenomenal and non phenomenal aspects continues even after the realization of non duality. Ι repeat that i don't consider thinking as trivial or illusory.

What does "DID" mean?
Last edited by stratos on Thu Jul 15, 2021 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by stratos »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:22 pm The point about being familiar with at least some significant portion of BK's larger body of work is that therein he has already anticipated these kind of arguments against his model, and thus already put forth his own comprehensive defence to counter those arguments. So if BK's own defence, found within his larger body of work, has out of indifference not already been given serious consideration, why would the act of participants here reiterating and re-defending it on his behalf be taken any more seriously? Of course, this does not preclude participants here attempting defend it in a more clear and comprehensive way, should they feel up to the task, so please do go for it, however much it may be in vain.
Yes, on the other hand, some beliefs of ours might be plain stupid. And our justification for them might be plain stupid too. So its of no use mentioning that BK would surely have given already a response of great importance as greatly important is himself and the only think we have to do is search for this greatly important response that is hiding in the greatly important books he wrote.

The act of participants that are willing to defend BK in this discussion could result in an interesting exchange of perspectives, in a clarification of misunderstandings of various positions, could be just the exposing of stupid beliefs for the shake of non stupid beliefs. Whatever. But why are you so dogmatically preoccupied?

And i would appreciated it if you didn't warn every other post every member that a discussion with me would be probably "in vain". Thank you
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by lorenzop »

stratos wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 5:21 pm I don't believe in solipsism, nor that thinking is only trivial or illusory. Solipsism was mentioned just to remark that objecting to the reality of un-consciousness by appealing to personal experience is problematic, as this also excludes the reality of other minds too. So either you stay to your "personal experience" and identify as a solipsist or you recognize that by thinking you can deduce the existence of other realities too. You can't have them both. As for the thinking, the kind of illusion i was talking about is only about the supposed duality of experience and the supposed existence of a thinker behind the experience of thoughts, not something else. Thinking activity in its phenomenal and non phenomenal aspects continues even after the realization of non duality. Ι repeat that i don't consider thinking as trivial or illusory.
I'm not sure what you mean by "objecting to the reality of un-consciousness", or who is doing this. If you're suggesting that Idealism (ie BK) begins by first rejecting materialism/physicalism - I say no it does not.
Yes, Idealism (as does materialism/physicalism) does require inference(s) re a natural world outside the finite mind , however Idealism does not require the invention of a substance (ie matter) different than the finite mind. The inferences are not equivalent.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

stratos wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 5:58 pmYes, on the other hand, some beliefs of ours might be plain stupid. And our justification for them might be plain stupid too. So its of no use mentioning that BK would surely have given already a response of great importance as greatly important is himself and the only think we have to do is search for this greatly important response that is hiding in the greatly important books he wrote.
Well, sorry, but going by this response, I'm not optimistic that other participants can have much hope of it not being in vain. Nevertheless, I welcome any attempts to prove this expectation wrong.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by JustinG »

FYI, in a thread on the old forum (https://groups.google.com/g/metaphysica ... 6U9eS6BAAJ), BK said that his argument against solipsism was in his "Why Materialism is Baloney" book. Here are the relevant sections from that book regarding solipsism (the italics are BK's):

"Materialism requires the following four statements about reality to be true :

1. Your conscious perceptions exist;
2. The conscious perceptions of other living entities, different from your own, also exist;
3. There are things that exist independently of, and outside, conscious perception;
4. Things that exist independently of, and outside, conscious perception generate conscious perception.

....[irrelevant sections omitted]...

Let us look more carefully at a point that was already briefly mentioned before: the erroneous notion
that idealism somehow entails what is called ‘solipsism’ in philosophy.

Solipsism is the notion that all that exists are my own conscious experiences. In other
words, reality is purely my private dream. There are no other conscious entities, like other
conscious people. They are merely figments of my own imagination. If I were a solipsist, I
wouldn’t believe that you, dear reader, have inner life at all. I would believe simply that your
external appearance and behavior, as far as I can perceive them, are imagined by my own
mind.

Now, notice that solipsism entails the acknowledgement of statement 1 of the previous
section and the rejection of statements 2, 3, and 4. Therefore, it is not idealism. Idealism
grants reality to statement 2. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. After all, if we are already following this
road of radical skepticism anyway, why grant reality to statement 2? Because believing in
statement 2 is the simplest explanation for observations.
As discussed earlier, I can explain
much of my own external behavior to myself by the fact that I am conscious, and so can
you. It is your conscious feelings that explain your facial expressions, your impulsive reac-
tions, your dislike of certain people and your love for others, etc. And you undoubtedly ob-
serve very similar external behaviors in others: their facial expressions, impulsive reactions,
likes and dislikes, etc. To explain these behaviors of others while assuming that others are
not conscious – that is, by assuming solipsism – would require an entirely different expla-
nation for largely the same phenomena that you observe in yourself. In other words, very
similar observations would require very different explanations. Clearly, this isn’t the sim-
plest alternative. It is simpler and more elegant to infer that others are also conscious and
manifest their external behavior for the exact same reasons that you manifest yours, partic-
ularly given the fact that others have physical bodies entirely analogous to yours.

You could argue that other people’s behavior is so analogous to your own because you
project your conscious life onto them, in the same way that the characters of your nightly
dreams all have human-like reactions while being merely projections of your mind. This
way, other people would still be characters of your private solipsist dream, behaving like
you do simply because your ‘subconscious’ mind is projecting your own patterns of behav-
ior onto them. This sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? There is, however, a hole in this argu-
ment. Indeed, more than likely you have observed many types of behavior in other people
that you could not yet explain based on your own experiences, because at the time you
made those observations you had not yet had the experiences that would explain such
behaviors. For instance, as a young child, I could already observe the peculiar behavior of
adults in love without ever having had that feeling myself. I just couldn’t figure out why peo-
ple would act like fools in those situations. Later in life, as I experienced romantic love my-
self, I could immediately match that new personal experience to prior observations of the
‘foolish’ behavior of others and explain them retroactively by granting consciousness to
those other people. As a young child, I couldn’t have projected onto others an experience I had
not yet had.
Therefore, once again, it is simplest and most reasonable to accept statement 2
of the previous section. Idealism is very reasonable and skeptic, but it differs from solip-
sism in that the latter seems to be unreasonably skeptic."
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by JustinG »

Regarding the 'Baloney' argument (see previous post), I don't think it is simpler to assume the existence of other minds than it is to assume my mind can create appearances of behaviors which suggest the existence of other minds, so I don't think this argument successfully refutes solipsism.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by AshvinP »

stratos wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 5:21 pm
AshvinP wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 1:07 am There is a valid point buried in here somewhere - which is that we cannot argue from anything other than our own experience. We must start with a sort of "solipsism" where we do not assume anything about other minds apart from our own. From there, however, if we reason carefully and also abandon modern prejudices against our own Thinking activity, which demote it to a completely trivial and illusory role, then we can see how our own "personal" experience can only be made sense of by the shared experiential activity of all other beings. It is true, BK simply skips over that entire process and sticks DID as a substitution for it, which I think is a mistake. Yet, as far as mistakes go, it is not nearly as bad as the materialist or mystic-materialist who a priori rules out our shared ideating activity and therefore leaves Reality as a fragmented and bloody mess of experiences with zero meaning, or an amorphous homogenized blob of experience with very shallow meaning.
I don't believe in solipsism, nor that thinking is only trivial or illusory. Solipsism was mentioned just to remark that objecting to the reality of un-consciousness by appealing to personal experience is problematic, as this also excludes the reality of other minds too. So either you stay to your "personal experience" and identify as a solipsist or you recognize that by thinking you can deduce the existence of other realities too. You can't have them both. As for the thinking, the kind of illusion i was talking about is only about the supposed duality of experience and the supposed existence of a thinker behind the experience of thoughts, not something else. Thinking activity in its phenomenal and non phenomenal aspects continues even after the realization of non duality. Ι repeat that i don't consider thinking as trivial or illusory.

What does "DID" mean?
Or, option 3 is you stay with your personal experience and use Thinking to learn the existence of "other realities" [experiences not your own], which never goes outside of your personal experience into some hypothetical perspective which cannot possibly exist, such as the perspective of an "unconscious reality". We can definitely have them both and, in fact, option 3 is the only option for anyone who wants to do consistent and coherent philosophy-science. And when you say "supposed existence of a thinker behind the experience of thoughts", I call that trivializing thinking, because one must go out of their way to ignore everything their experience and thinking reveals to them, and add all sorts of unwarranted assumptions, to conclude that there can exist thoughts without any thinkers.

DID = dissociative identity disorder
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by lorenzop »

JustinG wrote: Fri Jul 16, 2021 12:28 am Regarding the 'Baloney' argument (see previous post), I don't think it is simpler to assume the existence of other minds than it is to assume my mind can create appearances of behaviors which suggest the existence of other minds, so I don't think this argument successfully refutes solipsism.

Solipsism can not be refuted, period, full stop. But solipsism is useless and a dead-end, so various ontologies make inferences re a natural world independent of a finite mind.
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Re: Anybody willing to defend Kastrup on this? (solipsism and unconsciousness)

Post by AshvinP »

JustinG wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 11:54 pm FYI, in a thread on the old forum (https://groups.google.com/g/metaphysica ... 6U9eS6BAAJ), BK said that his argument against solipsism was in his "Why Materialism is Baloney" book. Here are the relevant sections from that book regarding solipsism (the italics are BK's):

"Materialism requires the following four statements about reality to be true :

1. Your conscious perceptions exist;
2. The conscious perceptions of other living entities, different from your own, also exist;
3. There are things that exist independently of, and outside, conscious perception;
4. Things that exist independently of, and outside, conscious perception generate conscious perception.

....[irrelevant sections omitted]...

Let us look more carefully at a point that was already briefly mentioned before: the erroneous notion
that idealism somehow entails what is called ‘solipsism’ in philosophy.

Solipsism is the notion that all that exists are my own conscious experiences. In other
words, reality is purely my private dream. There are no other conscious entities, like other
conscious people
. They are merely figments of my own imagination. If I were a solipsist, I
wouldn’t believe that you, dear reader, have inner life at all. I would believe simply that your
external appearance and behavior, as far as I can perceive them, are imagined by my own
mind.

Now, notice that solipsism entails the acknowledgement of statement 1 of the previous
section and the rejection of statements 2, 3, and 4. Therefore, it is not idealism. Idealism
grants reality to statement 2. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. After all, if we are already following this
road of radical skepticism anyway, why grant reality to statement 2? Because believing in
statement 2 is the simplest explanation for observations.
As discussed earlier, I can explain
much of my own external behavior to myself by the fact that I am conscious, and so can
you. It is your conscious feelings that explain your facial expressions, your impulsive reac-
tions, your dislike of certain people and your love for others, etc. And you undoubtedly ob-
serve very similar external behaviors in others: their facial expressions, impulsive reactions,
likes and dislikes, etc. To explain these behaviors of others while assuming that others are
not conscious – that is, by assuming solipsism – would require an entirely different expla-
nation for largely the same phenomena that you observe in yourself. In other words, very
similar observations would require very different explanations. Clearly, this isn’t the sim-
plest alternative. It is simpler and more elegant to infer that others are also conscious and
manifest their external behavior for the exact same reasons that you manifest yours, partic-
ularly given the fact that others have physical bodies entirely analogous to yours.

You could argue that other people’s behavior is so analogous to your own because you
project your conscious life onto them, in the same way that the characters of your nightly
dreams all have human-like reactions while being merely projections of your mind. This
way, other people would still be characters of your private solipsist dream, behaving like
you do simply because your ‘subconscious’ mind is projecting your own patterns of behav-
ior onto them. This sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? There is, however, a hole in this argu-
ment. Indeed, more than likely you have observed many types of behavior in other people
that you could not yet explain based on your own experiences, because at the time you
made those observations you had not yet had the experiences that would explain such
behaviors. For instance, as a young child, I could already observe the peculiar behavior of
adults in love without ever having had that feeling myself. I just couldn’t figure out why peo-
ple would act like fools in those situations. Later in life, as I experienced romantic love my-
self, I could immediately match that new personal experience to prior observations of the
‘foolish’ behavior of others and explain them retroactively by granting consciousness to
those other people. As a young child, I couldn’t have projected onto others an experience I had
not yet had.
Therefore, once again, it is simplest and most reasonable to accept statement 2
of the previous section. Idealism is very reasonable and skeptic, but it differs from solip-
sism in that the latter seems to be unreasonably skeptic."
It is very interesting BK says "believing" in statement 2 and then proceeds to launch into a rigorous and thoughtful argument for why non-personal experiences are the "simplest" explanation for our observations. Why do we imagine we are merely "believing" when forming those ideal connections which lead us to conclude this "simplest" (what he really means is "most reasonable") explanation? We are not believing, we are thinking and knowing (or at least starting on a path to knowing). We assume it is merely "believing" because we do not, under any circumstances, want to grant a substantial reality to our Thinking activity. A broken record, I know... but these things just start to stand out so sharply once you know what to look for. Also, I doubt he meant "believing in statement 2" is what allows us to make sense of our observations, rather he likely meant statement 2 itself makes the most sense of our observations.

“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Maybe it's best to distinguish "methodological solipsism" from the conclusion of "solipsism" that BK says in the underlined statement. The former is phenomenology of consciousness - it is necessary for reasons I stated in earlier post. The conclusion of "solipsism" is exactly what phenomenology allows us to reject from within our own experience. Of course, under a consistent idealism, there truly are no other "conscious entities", only One unified Consciousness. Yet our fragmented perspective of current ego-self is clearly not the same as the true cosmically unified perspective.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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