1 min readThe nature of the post-materialist paradigm

A new scientific worldview is emerging. Like the materialist sciences, theories explaining phenomena are coming from various points and backgrounds.

In this 2016 article for Explore, Gary Schwartz looks at the three types of post-materialist theories, categorized according to the evidences they present. Type I post-materialist theories presume that the non-local and non-material phenomena still follow physical laws. An example is the Orchestrated Objective Reaction developed by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff [read Updates To The ORCH-OR Theory of Consciousness for more info on this]. 

Type II post-materialist theories maintain that some phenomena in nature and the cosmos cannot be explained by the materialist sciences. Some examples of Type II theories are David Chalmers’ hard problem of consciousness and Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas about the morphogenetic fields. field [read Morphic Fields, Animals, And Humans]. 

Type III post-materialist theories are the most innovative, but are also the most controversial. These theories assume that there are some phenomena that are conceptually separate from material systems, are not created by material systems, and are precursors to matter itself. In Type III theories, consciousness plays a major role of emergence, and may be gleaned in the order and randomness of matter. Some theories that fall under this category are those proposed by Deepak Chopra, Amit Goswami, and Larry Dossey, among others. 

Implications for AI

Schwartz’s article helps us organize the many ideas coming out of the post-materialist worldview, and shows us how advanced this field already is. Materialists would have us believe that post-materialism is but fiction. We know now that it isn’t, and if we disregard post-materialism in the conduct of modern science, we are turning a blind eye to truth.

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