1 min readWhat makes materialists deny consciousness?

Bernard Kastrup wonders: What kind of conscious inner dialogue to people engage in to convince themselves that they have no conscious inner dialogue?

In this article for IAI, Dutch computer scientist and philosopher Bernard Kastrup reflects on a mindboggling issue: what internal dialogue do materialists have to do in order to convince themselves that their internal experience does not really exist? For Kastrup, the motivation behind the denial is pretty simple: illusionists, and eliminativists are fanatically committed to their philosophy, materialism, that they are deceiving themselves. Accepting the reality of a non-material consciousness will require such scientists to change their their world view, and in essence, the entire foundation of their careers. 

Implications for AI

Materialism no longer makes sense, but materialist scientists continue to grasp at straws. It is not because the science proves it, but because their own self-importance will not allow materialists to accept the inevitable.

The arrival of the post-materialist sciences is dictating that the world is still mysterious, that there are forces in this universe that we may never be able to fully understand. But the benefits it gives us – the power to control our physical universe, the capacity to transform our dying world, the ability to connect with all of life – are more than enough reasons to make the switch. What are we so afraid of? 

Are we afraid to give up our power to own and control others? Or are we afraid to accept the depth of our own capacity for transformation?

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