On the reality of consciousness

Worth re-reading is the August 2009 entry, “Against materialist dogma: the reality of non-material consciousness.” It consists of my selected comments from a huge thread at another website in which I demonstrate the reality of consciousness which is not material. The discussion leads up to my comment that since our subjective experience of our own consciousness is the indispensable ground of all our knowledge, including empirical, scientific knowledge, therefore science must recognize this subjective experience as part of reality.

From the beginning of the entry:

Much of what I say in the below comments consists of my replies to extremely dogmatic materialist commenters who insist that consciousness is material. However, it’s an understatement to say that they “insist” that consciousness is material. Rather, they use language and arguments that exclude the very possibility of a non-material reality, by defining the non-material as the material. My arguments for a non-material reality develop largely out of my responses to these dogmatic materialist statements that preclude the very possibility of non-materiality.

I have also argued here and in other recent threads against the materialist fiat that only falsifiable statements have truth value. What this means is that any assertion that cannot be proven or falsified by experimental means—which would include any assertion of a non-material reality, such as “I experience an inner psychic life which is different from the external world,”—is ipso facto a statement of faith, not an statement based on evidence and reason. But as P.D. Ouspensky succinctly and definitively demonstrated, the statement, “I experience an inner psychic life which is different from the external world,” is an obvious fact, even though it cannot be proven or falsified. The standard of falsifiability, which is the standard of modern materialist science, thus excludes from the realm of knowledge the indispensable basis of all knowledge, our consciousness which is different from the things of which it is conscious. Therefore the falsifiability standard cannot be true. It is a dictat by which the materialists seek to banish all non-material views.

And near the end of the entry I added:

I know I may put off some people with my at times relentless hammering at opponents. But when people deny, or rather define out of existence, the reality of human consciousness, that is the same as denying our humanity. They may not realize they are doing it, but they are doing it, and it deserves a very strong response. Second, I feel I made some worthwhile progress in this discussion. In the act of confronting the (to me) scary and anti-human ideology of dogmatic materialism, I felt I got to an absolute core of non-materiality that the materialists cannot deny.

- end of initial entry -

Alan M. writes:

Isn’t the materialist fiat “only falsifiable statements have truth value” non-falsifiable? In my experience, materialist systems of argument generally contain a self-refuting axiom such as that.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 12, 2011 09:55 AM | Send

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