Recorded 5 May 2020
Our last session in this reading series has two objectives. First, we are going to take a closer look at the back matter of the book; that is, those sections of text that were not produced as stand-alone articles for publication. And second, as this is our last session, we should spend some time wrapping up our own thoughts on the reading as a whole.
The back matter consists of three sections:
- Closing commentary
- Afterword by Edward F. Kelly
- Appendix: The idealist view of consciousness after death
The first is his own rounding out of the text as a whole. He engages some of the more difficult points he has raised, emphasizing his understanding of how and why they make sense and lend support to his ontology. He spends a bit of time on the notion of “universal consciousness”, as this is – ultimately – an inference following from his understanding of mind and consciousness in the previous parts of the book as well as on the “conundrum” that spacetime presents for his ontology. Finally, he sums up what his hopes are for his readers.
Edward Kelly is familiar to some CCafé regulars as we did a session on a book he edited with other colleagues, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. His focus is on the coming together (slowly but surely) of science and spirituality, and it is his opinion that Kastrup’s book is a contribution to this process. It is, at any rate, an interesting third-party perspective on the book.
Finally, there is an appendix to the book as well. This article was previously published, but it was not included in the body of the text since it was not peer-reviewed, rather it was a guest submission to the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research in December 2016. It is, of course, a bit speculative in nature, but in the paper Kastrup outlines what he sees as the consequences of his ontology for what may happen after death. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but a potentially fascinating contribution to a growing body of literature.
Reading / Watching / Listening
Kastrup, Bernardo (2019) The Idea of the World: A multi-disciplinary argument for the mental nature of reality [IOTW] , Winchester, UK/Washington, USA , iff Books, pp. 240-277.
Kastrup, IOTW, Appendix, The Idealist View of Consciousness After Death (online)
Seed Question Complexes
How convincing do you find Kastrup’s case now that you have completed the book? What do you consider to be the strong points of his argumentation? Which weaknesses, if any, can you identify?
Was there anything about the Closing Commentary that bothered you? Any statements that you felt were inconsistent with the argumentation presented in the book? Was any new, or unexpected, information introduced that you feel should have been included in the previous chapters?
What do you think of Kelly’s contribution? Do you feel he has adequately (or correctly) read Kastrup? How do you feel about the (alleged) connection between science and spirituality, either as outlined by Kelly or otherwise? How “spiritual” do you find Kastrup’s approach, especially considering he doesn’t really mention the word (or concept) of “spirit” anywhere in the text?
What’s your reaction to the Appendix? Is this a fitting addition to the philosophical argument presented in the remainder of the book, or does it represent a disconnect of sorts? While we cannot know for sure what happens after death, how reasonable does Kastrup’s presentation appear to you? Does it fit conceptually, logically, consistently and coherently with Kastrup’s ontology as presented? Why, or why not?
Has your reading of the back matter modified your understanding of what he was trying to achieve in the front matter and Parts I through V of the book? What further consequences has your reading had for your own understanding of reality?
Context, Backstory, and Related Topics
General overview of the session
Gather first reactions and open questions that might be answered in our discussion
Engage the reading from the vantage of the back matter
Summary and conclusions from the whole series of readings