Metaphysics & Theology


I am a philosophical theist endorsing a version of classical theism that is based on Neoplatonist objective idealism, with the world being based on thoughts in the mind of God. Thus, I am an immaterialist and supernaturalist.

 

I therefore concur with many of the views of the following thinkers, mostly subjective and objective idealist and/or platonist philosophers, or physicists supporting an idealist interpretation of quantum mechanics or the simulation hypothesis: Augustine, George Berkeley, Brand Blanshard, Jacob Böhme, Bernard Bosanquet, Nick Bostrom, F.H. Bradley, Giordano Bruno, Fritjof Capra, David Chalmers, Deepak Chopra, Arthur Collier, Nicholas of Cusa, Meister Eckhardt, Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, A.C. Ewing, Edward Feser, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Peter Forrest, S. James Gates Jr., Kurt Gödel, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Philip Goff, Bruce Gordon, Amit Goswami, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vittorio Hösle, Donald D. Hoffman, Daniel Hutto, Ludwig Jaskolla, Bernardo Kastrup, Ernst Mach, Perry Marshall, Robert Lanza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, John A. Leslie, Peter B. Lloyd, Nicolas Malebranche, Freya Mathews, John M. Ellis McTaggart, Nagarjuna, Thomas Nagel, Gregory Palamas, Parmenides, Karl Pearson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Roger Penrose, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, Johanan Raatz, Ramanuja, Nicholas Rescher, Hugh Rice, Josiah Royce, Rudy Rucker, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Erwin Schrödinger, Itay Shani, Shankara, Mark F. Sharlow, Rupert Sheldrake, Baruch de Spinoza, Timothy Sprigge, Eric Steinhart, Eleonore Stump, A.E. Taylor, Max Tegmark, Holm Tetens, Frank Tipler, Giulio Tononi, Keith Ward, John Watson, Ken Wilber, Brian Whitworth, Anton Zeilinger, Christian Idealism and Apologetics and Inspiring Philosophy.

 

This worldview implies that I endorse the following philosophical notions that mostly would have to be denied by a consistent materialism and naturalism:

  • Correspondence theory of truth: objective truth exists (post-modern relativism is false), but it is not based on a mind-independent outside world as truth makers, but on the timeless information in the mind of God.
  • Objective realism: Counterfactual definiteness (but not locality) holds (contra the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics). The world is a mental not a physical reality. Its objectivity is based on the fact that the world is not our simulation but God's simulation. Again, the only underlying reality outside of the subjective perception is timeless (quantum) information in the mind of God.
  • Direct realism: we perceive objects as they really are (there is no difference between primary and secondary qualities). This holds because basically there are no objects that are subjectively perceived by the senses: the perception simply IS the object.
  • Esse est percipi: matter has only phenomenological existence in minds. Also composite objects (substances) really exist in this phenomenological sense alone, and have unity based on platonic forms (mereological realism instead of mereological nihilism/universalism/essentialism). Thus, I reject atomism. The world is not made of atoms moving in the void.
  • Hylemorphism: Aristotelian hylemorphism is true in the sense that all contingent things are based on a combination of consciousness ("prime matter", potentiality for individualized experience of in-form-ation) and the information ("platonic form") defining its content, which are both based on God.
  • Creation ex nihilo: this does not imply that God took nothing and made something out of this nothingness, but that he used nothing outside himself for creation (creatio ex Deo). The apparent contradiction of a timeless and necessarily existing God creating a spatiotemporal and contingent world is solved by the palamite distinction of divine essence and divine energies.
  • Ontological pluralism: Creation is distinct from the Creator in the same as thoughts are distinct from the thinker. Created finite minds are ontologically and numerically distinct from God. Subject and object are distinct as well (Eastern non-dualism is false).
  • A unified and enduring self exists, based on the an atemporal soul as the owner of all experiences, agent of all free actions, and unifying principle of the body.
  • Mind-body dualism is true, but with fundamental unity of body and soul as composite with tight correlation between mind and brain states. However, the body has only phenomenological existence in the mind. The brain does not produce the mind, but God provides the simulated immaterial mind with a simulated body and simulated outside world.
  • Phenomenal consciousness (qualia) really exists (contra the views of eliminative materialists like Daniel Dennett), and actually is the only stuff contingent reality is made off.
  • Intentionality (aboutness) and rationality are not illusions, and require the real existence and causal efficacy of propositions in minds. However, it is not words as abstract objects that possess a queer property of intentionality, but only persons are intentional and use words for this purpose. The causal efficacy of propositions is based on God as ultimate cause, because abstract objects are by definition causally inefficacious.
  • Genuine free will exists, based on mental/agent causation (choice) and indeterminism. However, the very concept of libertarian free will is incoherent.
  • Objective moral values (moral realism, grounded in divine nature and natural law) and moral obligations (grounded in divine will) do exist (deontological ethics and natural law theory, rather than a voluntarist divine command theory sensu Ockham).
  • Moral responsibility and retributive justice, grounded in the reality of enduring selfs, genuine free will, and objective moral values and duties.
  • B-theory of time (eternalism): the flow of time, temporal becoming and perishing as well as persistence and change are epiohenomena of finite minds. Phenomenal spacetime emerges from a timeless reality of quantum information in the mind of God.
  • Endurance as theory of persistence: The only enduring entities are the timeless owners (souls) of the phenomenal experiences. The persistence of spatiotemporal things is  only based on stable phenomenal patterns in finite minds based on the exemplification of unchanging informational essences ("platonic forms") that endure as abstract objects.
  • Causality is not an illusion (pace Hume) and is based on the four Aristotelian causes. Ultimately, all causation comes from God (occasionalism). There are no secondary causes. God not only created the world but sustains in from moment to moment (conservation is continuous creation).
  • Indeterminism: even though God atemporally foreknows and preordains everything, the future is not determined by any temporally prior conditions. Fatalism is wrong, because all actions matter.
  • There is genuine purpose, and meaning of life and the universe (teleology).
  • Moderate/scholastic realism (theistic conceptual realism): abstract objects like platonic forms, universals, mathematical objects, possible worlds, and the laws of logic really exist as ideas in the mind of God, and their logical necessity is based on the necessary existence of God.
  • Actualism (not possibilism) as metaphysics of modality (modal realism is wrong). Modality is based on actual reality (God), not the other way round. Therefore, I reject modal logic and its possible world semantics.
  • Axiarchic Neoplatonism: there is an axiarchic principle of plenitude that requires that all worlds that are better to exist than not actually do exist as "simulations" in the mind of God.
  • A moderate version of the principle of sufficient reason (PSR), which requires explanations for the existence of all contingent facts (and thus a necessarily existing atemporal God as ultimate source of all spatiotemporal and contingent existence and order), but not requiring contrastive explanations (why this state of affairs holds rather than another), because this would exclude any possibility for contingency and lead to Spinoza's absurd necessitarianism.

As a committed theist I reject the incoherent world view of naturalism, which necessarily implies atheistic materialism and scientism, and thus automatically leads to total nihilism (compare Alexander Rosenberg's book "An Atheist's Guide to Reality").

 

I subscribe to the idealistic (universal mind causes collapse) interpretation of quantum mechanics, and agree with many modern physicists that spacetime and matter/energy are not fundamental but emerge from timeless quantum information. The hypothesis that the world is a kind of mental "computer simulation", is supported by many arguments from physics. It differs from Bostrom's "simulation hypothesis" or The Matrix in the fact that there is no underlying level of physical reality at all. It differs from some other types of monistic objective idealism in the affirmation that created finite minds are distinct from God's mind (weak panentheism) based on the palamite divine essence vs energies distinction and the distinction of thoughts and thinker.

What about alternative world views?

During my nearly 15 years of intensive studies of metaphysics and philosophy, I thoroughly evaluated very different alternative world views like atheistic materialism (naturalism), Eastern non-dualism, Integral Thought, quantum mysticism, process philosophy, objective idealism, neoplatonism, mathematical monism, and deism. I studied most of the pro and con arguments, and ultimately came to the conclusion that there are only three serious and potentially viable alternatives to  a theistic world view:

  • Max Tegmark's mathematical monism ("Our Mathematical Universe") is the only version of naturalism that could explain the fundamental questions, why there is something rather than nothing, why there are laws of nature and causal relations that generate order in the universe. To be a complete world view, Tegmark's hypothesis would have to be combined with the unrestricted naturalism of Gary Drescher ("Good and Real"), and the extremely nihilistic eliminative materialism of Alexander Rosenberg ("An Atheist's Guide to Reality"), which is the only coherent version of naturalism. Finally, a field-version of Giulio Tononi's Integrated Information Theory of consciousness might complete this world view, as it is the only known putative candidate for a naturalistic explanation of the hard problem of consciousness.
  • John A. Leslie's axiarchic Neoplatonism, sans his gratuitous inflation of the number of divine minds, and instead combined with the objective idealism of Timothy Sprigge.
  • Alfred North Whitehead's panentheistic process philosophy (not its neo-Whiteheadian "reformation" by process theologians like Charles Hartshorne or David Ray Griffin).

However, all three alternatives ultimately involve much more severe problems, absurdities, and incoherences than the theistic world view proposed above, even though it incorporates some elements of these:

  • Tegmark's  original mathematical universe hypothesis implies an infinite world ensemble and is refuted by the measure problem of cosmology, the freak observer problem (Boltzmann brains), the problem of how to derive the Born rule if every outcome has the probability = 1, and the preferred basis problem of the Many Worlds Interpretation, as well as arguably Gödel's incompleteness theorem. These problems can only be partly avoided by a much weaker version, which Tegmark calls Computable Universe Hypothesis CUH. However, the latter comes at the cost of postulating a contingent subset of mathematics as existing, while other parts of mathematics would be non-existent. Such a contingent CUH cannot be considered as necessarily existing, and thus can no longer explain, why there is anything rather than nothing. Furthermore, Tegmark's and Drescher's naturalism ultimately implies absurd metaphysical nihilism, as they suggest that nothing particular exists, but only abstract objects (there is no magical spark of existence that makes some possible worlds really real). Rosenberg's extreme naturalism implies complete nihilism concerning mental phenomena, including the absurd view that nobody really exists (there is no self), nobody ever felt pain (qualia do not exist), and nobody ever thought about anything (there exists neither propositional content nor intentionality/aboutness). Tononi's Integrated Information Theory presupposes consciousness rather than explaining it, because without consciousness there simply is no information to integrate. 
  • Leslie's axiarchic Neoplatonism does neither account for the unified consciousness of the divine mind nor for that of all the finite minds existing within the divine mind, it inherits all problems of extreme Platonism (exemplification tie, third man problem, unintelligibility of moral Platonism), and it suffers from the problem of implied actual infinities (do all digits of Pi exist in the divine mind?). Furthermore, it suffers from the fatal problem, how the proportion of Good and Evil in a particular world should be weighed against each other by an axiarchic principle, and it has no answer to the question, why there should only be a single good axiarchic principle (Plato's form of the Good), rather than multiple conflicting axiarchic principles including evil ones.
  • Finally, every version of Whitehead's process philosophy completely fails to account for why there is anything rather than nothing (Whitehead's postulated basic metaphysical principles would just exist without any explanation), and it implies a bundle view of the self with all its problems and absurd consequences (see here). Furthermore, process philosophy is empirically falsified by modern Big Bang cosmology (esp. Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem), as it necessarily presupposes a past-infinite universe (see here).

No world view apart from theism can really account for an enduring and unified self. Thus, if you do believe that YOU exist, than you must accept theism! There is an easy test if you do believe that you exist as an enduring and unified self:

  • Do you think that you are still the same person as the one who began to read this webpage?
  • Would you be afraid if you would know that you are going to be horribly tortured tomorrow?
  • Would you be afraid to use a hypothetical traveling service, in which all your body matter is scanned and turned into dust, sent in an urn by post to your destination, and there re-assembled (identical down to the quantum level) to a living body?
  • Did you ever really experience pain and suffered?
  • If a mentally healthy, cold-blooded murderer slaughtered your loved ones just for the fun of it, would you hold him morally responsible for his crime and would you want him to be punished (not only to protect others)?
  • Did you ever come to believe something is true because you evaluated the arguments and used you rational faculties to come to the conclusion that this particular belief is rather true than false?

If you answered any of these questions with yes, than you are highly irrational if you still embrace atheism and materialism, because these world views are totally incompatible with the fundamental beliefs you just confirmed.

 

To sum up: There are no reasonable alternatives to theism, and therefore as rational human one should believe in God.