The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

"Reality Is Mental" Is A More Rational Proposition Than Its Negation

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,953 times Debate No: 60887
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (3)




The burden of proof will be shared. I must show that Monistic Idealism is more rational than the view that there is a non-mental aspect of reality (such as Dualism or Physicalism). My opponent must show that it is more rational to believe in a non-mental aspect of reality than Monistic Idealism.

The first round is just for acceptance. Good luck :)


I accept and would like to thank pro for instigating this debate.

I would like to first propose a definition or two.

"Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself."

And I shall essentially be arguing for materialism.

"Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena andconsciousness, are the result of material interactions."

Back to pro. I'm sure this will be vigorous and enlightening. Good luck!:)

Debate Round No. 1



I don't have a problem with Con's definition for now (unless he tries to trap me in semantics later).

The Mental Exists Without A Shadow Of A Doubt

The mental exists, and this is not a reasonably doubted position. It is not a reasonably doubted position because doubt is itself a mental state. Ergo, to "doubt" presupposes that the mental exists (this would be a self-refuting doubt to doubt that the mental exists as doubt is mental itself). However, anything one posits as non-mental can be doubted with no such trouble. Perhaps the wet and mushy brain is all an illusion just as the rest of the universe. However, the mind cannot be an illusion as an illusion implies a mind that is having the illusion. As Neuroscientist Sam Harris notes:

"Consciousness is the one thing in this world that cannot be an illusion. Consciousness is the fact of experience, the fact that something is happening, the fact that the lights are on in some basic sense even if we don't understand anything... So, I think consciousness cannot be an illusion." - Sam Harris [2]

Also, empirical claims of knowledge about the world fall in the category of a posteriori knowledge:

"A posteriori knowledge: a claim is justified a posteriori if the reason for thinking it true dependent of experience."[3]

For example, if someone experiences a "tree" and makes the inference that a tree exists based on that experience; that is a posteriori knowledge. The point being that the very idea that a physical world exists is based on our experiences. If consciousness doesn't fundamentally exist, and is just an illusion or emergent epiphenomenon then this undermines the very reason to believe in a brain and physical reality to begin with; which is conscious experience. The Father of Quantum Theory, Max Planck, drives this point home:

"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard 'matter' as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness." - Max Planck [4]

This isn't confusing epistemology with ontology either. The mind must be ontologically fundamental in order to have experiences and epistemic knowledge. So, the mental has to exist to have knowledge, and it has to exist in order to posit anything physical like a brain or anything of the sort as we only know these things through conscious experiences. We cannot downplay consciousness or the mind using physical data, because what we call "physical data" is only realized through consciousness in the first place.

What About Empirical Objects... Aren't They Non-Mental?

Imagine you are standing in front of a red car. What you are identifying the "car" as with regards to observation is just a bunch of shapes and colors that are aspects of conscious visual experience. When you reach out and touch it that sensation is a conscious experience. The smell sensation is a conscious experience (and so on and so forth). Physicalists are quick to mistake consistencies of modalities of conscious experiences as a valid inference that there exists something outside of the mental world causing all of our mental experiences. This is fallacious. What we call objects are just aspects of consciousness that we don't identify ourselves with. When you are in a dream for example, that world is purely inside mind, but you don't identify yourself with the whole dream only an aspect of that dream (the mountains and people in the dream aren't "you" even know they are in "your" mind). Similarly, all the objects we experience are still just in mind, even if they are aspects of the mind we do not identity ourselves with. As Dr. Bernardo Kastrup explains:

"One thing has come up several times in arguments against my position which is Monistic Idealism. The argument is this… Our perceptions of the word are evidence that there is a world outside mind. This argument is based on a logical misunderstanding. Our perceptions are a modality of our flow of subjective, conscious experiences. They are only evidence for that modality of conscious experiences, which happen, obviously, in mind. The only thing that perceptions of the empirical world prove is that there is a part of our flow of subjective experiences that we do not identify ourselves with. We identify ourselves with our thoughts and emotions; not our perceptions." - Dr. Bernardo Kastrup [5]

Now, there is definitely a difference between what we call a "dream" and what we call "reality". The essential difference is that one is private, and the other is collectively shared:

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." - John Lennon [6]

If something happens inside a system, then it is better to explain it by something else inside the system or the system itself instead of jumping outside the system (that would seem to violate Occam's Razor and be an unnecessary assumption). In fact, this is the reasoning employed by many Atheists with regards to the universe and why God isn't needed. I use the same logic but with different variables. Since we have experiences in our minds, it is more rational and reasonable for look for an explanation inside mind instead of outside it.

What Are The Causes For Our Perceptions If Not From Something Outside Mind?

Just like how our subconscious produces our perceptions private dreams, our collective subconscious produces our perceptions in the collectively shared dream known as reality. Does this imply some sort of Dualism between the "subconscious" and "conscious"? No. The subconscious is just an aspect of consciousness that is obfuscated by the focal point of awareness; it isn't some fundamentally different thing and is still inside mind. So, because perceptions of an empirical world are inside mind, it is more rational to assume the cause of these perceptions are inside mind as well (just like how if something happens inside what people call the "universe", it is more rational to assume the cause is inside the "universe" and not outside of it).

The Interaction Problem

We know the mind is a fundamentally existing thing. Lets assume there is some non-mental aspects outside mind causing these experiences; how is that even possible? In order for something completely non-mental to cause a change in something mental they would have to share properties with it to serve as a bridge for this interaction (the mental would have to have non-mental properties, and the non-mental would have to have mental properties). However, if this happens then the non-mental isn't really non-mental at all (as it has mental properties which are necessary for the bridge of interaction). Thus, non-mental causing changes in the mental seems to actually be contradictory.

Digital Physics And Integrated Information

When we introspect, we encounter integrated information and this is what are consciousness is. This is also the basis for the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness [7]. Also, the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describes all the information in the universe, and it is integrated as is not decomposable into a collection of causally independent parts. We already know the universe most likely boils down to information based on Digital Physics (Which has been shown to be a better way to model reality [8]), but the fact that it is integrated entails the universe is a conscious state. Thus, it must either be a conscious mind or an aspect of a conscious mind.


[2] Video Source (Sam Harris Explains Why God Exists)
[5] Video Source (Materialism verses Idealism)




Sorry for the late response as I am busy with school.

Now pro has put forth a lot of interesting claims and assertions, but this is largely a red herring.
Even if everything he said was true, he still would have not affirmed the resolution.
If your thinking "all this mind stuff is cool", you'd be correct, however pro has offered no mehanism by which any of this is possible void of a brain, which is physical.

I accept that "the mental exists". However this is not significant.

"When you reach out and touch it that sensation is a conscious experience."

This statement is extremely misleading and vague.

Let's revisit consciousness: "
"Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself."

Now the idea that touch is a conscious, does literally nothing to affirm the resolution, it merely means that you're aware you're touching something.

Now, how does one even conceivably non-physically touch anything?
In regards to any ordinary usage of the word "touch", by definition it is a physical act.
The term physical act and the term conscious act are not mutually exclusive.

the quote from Bernardo is merely convulted. This just expresses solipsism in vague terms.
Now the idea that we perceive things through are mind does not negate the notion that they are out of the mind.
If pro was to die, the universe would still exist. IF what pro says is true, then there is no universe without his mind.

Now if it is even possible for their to be more than one mind, we run into even MORE problems:
Now, how do minds even interact with eachother?
How is one to verify if another existing mind is not just a subconscious extension of one's own mind?
It's literally impossible to verify a difference.
The claim that one completely perceives through the mind, does not negate that the universe is external to the mind.

If it is the case that things perceived through the mind are inside the mind, then by definition they are you.
A) You are your mind
B) The mind only perceives things inside of itself
C) The things inside of your mind, are part of your mind.
D) The things perceived, are you.

The next two sections do nothing for the resolution.
Pro offers no evidence or explanation for his claims regarding digital physics, so I have to pay no attention to them.

So the biggest hole in pro's argument is that he has not and probably can not offer a non-physical mechanism for existence of "the mental".

The assertion that: the mental exist by virtue of mental processes in a purely mental universe which synonymous with the existence of the mental is:
1) extremely circular
2) Incoherent

Brain function:
the claustrum has been found as the reason for consciousness.

Mohamad Koubeissi PhD, whom resides at the George Washington University in Washington DC and other scientist also working on the experiment, describe the mechanism by which they were able to activate and disacrivate a woman's consciousness via stimulation of the claustrum. The subject suffers from epilepsy; consequently the team utilized submerged brain electrodes in order to record signals originating in different brain sectors to work out the origin of her seizures. A single electrode was placed next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before.

"When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn't respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments (Epilepsy and Behavior,"

Sorry that, that was kinda brief, I have to get back to school work.

Also pro is providing sources that don't even support his position.
Neurobiologist Sam Harris is a noted Atheist and materialist.
Beatles member John Lennon does NOT count as a scientific authority.
I did not address it, as pro failed to provide evidence, but quantum physics has nothing to do with consciousness and does not prove reality is a virtual simulation(which would still need a physical mechanism).


Debate Round No. 2



Con starts off with a bare-assertion of a red herring, then states that if everything I said was true the resolution would not be affirmed. This is not true. For example, if the Interaction Problem holds then there can be no non-mental world causing changes in the mental, meaning that belief that all is mental is more rational because a non-mental world couldn't even interact with our minds. My opponent then claims the brain is "physical" (as in, not in consciousness), but gives no argument for this. If my position is true, then the brain is just another aspect of consciousness. This is clearly begging the question on Con's behalf.

***Rebutting My Opponent's Objections***

"This statement is extremely misleading and vague."

This is yet another bare-assertion. Why believe what I said was misleading and vague?

"Now the idea that touch is a conscious, does literally nothing to affirm the resolution, it merely means that you're aware you're touching something."

Sensations are mental. Trying to reach outside the mental to explain the mental is a violation of Occam's Razor when we don't know that an "outside the mental" even exists as my position could easily be true (but my opponent concedes the mental certainly exists). Ergo, if all else fails, my position adheres to Parsimony more, which is more rational. We cannot doubt the mental exists, but we can doubt the non-mental exists. Why assume a non-mental cause for mental events? We don't even know if non-mental causation is possible. The belief in the non-mental is radical, but the belief in other minds? Not so much, as you know at least one mind can exist (your own).

How Is "Touch" Possible If All Is Mental?

This one is easy. All we have to do is look at dreams... Last night, I dreamed I was in some random mall that my subconscious conjured up. I "touched" the wall inside with my hand in the dream, but does that mean that the wall was outside mind, and my hand was outside mind? Of course not. The entire scenario is inside mind even though there is what we call "touching" going on. So, if reality is just a collectively shared dream then there is no reason to think "touch" inside this dream is inconceivable. I just don't really find this a good argument from Con.

Bernado Kastrup's Quote

Con says that this is convoluted, but because Con doesn't understand it, that doesn't mean it is too complex and hard to understand for others. Also, it does not express Solipsism at all. As I said before, to account for the difference between "dreams" and "reality"; one is private and the other is collectively shared (as does Bernardo). But, "collectively shared" entails other minds. So, Solipsism is not a necessary consequence of this view. Now, Con says that because our perceptions are mental, that doesn't mean that what we perceive is non-mental. That is false. What we perceive are aspects of our experiences; which are mental (all one has to do is experience to know this). The materialist could say this is still caused by something outside mind, but there is no reason to believe that; it is an irrational unnecessary assumption.

How Do Minds Interact?

Minds have mental properties. Mental properties are what allow for a bridge when it comes to interaction in mind. The non-mental (like a mind-independent atom) has no mental properties by definition, so, without theose shared properties; it cannot interact with the mental.

"How is one to verify if another existing mind is not just a subconscious extension of one's own mind?"

We cannot know for sure, but as I have argued, the existence of other minds explains reality better than Solipsism. The Materialist cannot completely affirm the existence of other minds eitheras there is a P-Zombie problem:

"Zombies are hypothetical creatures of the sort that philosophers have been known to cherish. A zombie is physically identical to a normal human being, but completely lacks conscious experience. Zombies look and behave like the conscious beings that we know and love, but 'all is dark inside.' There is nothing it is like to be a zombie." - David Chalmers [1]

For all Con knows I am a P-Zombie, and everyone he knows. His position cannot prove that other minds/ consciousness exist any more than mine.

If Things That Are Perceived Through The Mind Are Inside Mind, Does That Mean They Are Me?

This argument assumes my mind is me. Even if this was true, this is still a fallacy of composition. Even if my mind is me, that doesn't mean that what my mind is composed of, or is in my mind is me. That would be like saying that because a thought in in my mind; that the thought is me. This is clearly false. Either way, my mind is not me. As I said in my first round, there is only an aspect of the mind that we identify ourselves with; empirical objects are aspects of the mind we do not identify ourselves with but are none the less in mind.

The Last Two Sections Of My Last Round

My opponent only mentions the Digital Physics but completely ignores the Interaction Problem; thus it still stands.
To quickly explain why believing in Digital Physics is more rational, Brian Whitworth mapped out Classical Physics and Digital Physics to see which theory explained more observations. Digital Physics won by a landslide (refer to Table 1.1 [2]). Sort of like how The Big Bang Theory explains more facts than the Steady State Theory (that's why scientists believe it), Digital Physics explains more facts than a non-informational Physical Reality. That coupled in with Totoni's IIT, which is known a priori, we are left with an Idealist Picture of reality (not conclusively proven true, but a way more rational and simpler view of reality).

Do I Need To Offer A Non-Physical Mechanism For The Existence Of "The Mental"?

Of course not. Only if the mental was not fundamental, and was emergent or contingent would we have to look for some mechanism. Since that is not the case for my position; no such explanation on my part is required.

Is The Brain The Reason For Consciousness?

Con cites experiments in which certain brain activity can activate and deactivate consciousness or aspects of it. Firstly, this type of argument assumes that the brain is outside consciousness in the first place (which begs the question). If what we call the brain is just an aspect of the mental, like objects in dreams are part of the mental, then the brain causing changes in the mental is ontologically equivalent to "the mental acting on the mental"; which harms Idealism none as it says all is mental anyway. Secondly, we don't know that consciousness is lost. Memory loss is associated with being "unconscious" in many cases, so for all we know, they are having experiences but cannot recall them. Also, even if this wasn't the case, it would only the the networking of consciousness being effected; not consciousness itself. The third response is that many experiments say the exact opposite; consciousness actually survives as the brain is dead:

"Dr Pim van Lommel and colleagues from the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem, Holland, investigated the experiences of 344 heart patients resuscitated after cardiac arrest. All had been clinically dead at some point during their treatment, says a report in The Lancet today... The researchers said: 'Our results show that medical factors cannot account for occurrence of NDE..." [3]

Plus, I wasn't quoting Lennon as an authority, I liked his wording. I can also still quote Harris regardless of his Atheism.


I was able to show that all of my opponent's objections miserably failed. Even if they didn't for the sake of argument, the BOP is shared, and Con did not provide any valid arguments for his side and spent most of his time rebutting my arguments without any real solid foundation for his. I think it is clear I have sustained my BOP.



KhalifV forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent forfeited the last round; all arguments extended.


KhalifV forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
I would debate Immaterialism. On a second note I would also debate the B-Theory of Time (Pro), that both theories of Time can be true, and that a priori knowledge exists.
Seeing how you are a fan of Berkeley we can also debate the existence of abstract ideas.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Or I'll debate "The mind is physical".
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
I'd like to do a debate on this very topic with RT.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
Just noticed that Con hasn't logged in for a while so hope everything is OK with him.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
How could I not? lol Also, I would consider my position Post-Berkeleyan.
Posted by Jedi4 3 years ago
OMG relly? Barkely idealism LOL like omg. How can you? Err! Oh? LOL
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Some girl left a comment in here and it got removed. Sorry for the confusion, that wasn't directed at you.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
Who are you directing that question to RT,

I thought it was clear I was talking to you. You responded to my initial comment and I replyed.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Who is that directed to exactly?
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
Well to save blowing up the comments section I don't think I should comment any further, but I will try to follow this debate and offer my vote, I just hope I can grasp entire topic.

Good luck to both
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct point for the forfeit and argument points because Pro'S final rounds were not contended.
Vote Placed by Ajabi 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture. Will vote on arguments if I am reminded tomorrow.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF