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Analytic Idealism Course

This is a carefully produced but free, online, video-based course on Analytic Idealism, with over 6 hours of content, conducted by Essentia Foundation’s executive director, Bernardo Kastrup. Whereas the course has been designed to be accessible to a non-specialist audience, it makes very few concessions in terms of the substance and thoroughness of the material discussed. As such, the discussions aren’t breezy, requiring instead focused attention and engagement on the part of the audience.

The course is divided into seven different videos, each covering a particular topic. The videos are linked below, next to brief descriptions of their respective contents. We recommend that you follow the course rather slowly, giving yourself time, after each video, to digest and integrate the material, allow it to sink in and get used to looking upon the world through new intellectual lenses. Overcoming deeply ingrained, culturally inherited, unexamined physicalist assumptions is a slow process, although ultimately very rewarding.

Analytic Idealism is theory of the nature of reality that maintains that the universe is experiential in essence. That does not mean that reality is in your or our individual minds alone, but instead in a spatially unbound, transpersonal field of subjectivity of which we are segments. Analytic Idealism is one particular formulation of Idealism, which is based on and motivated by post-enlightenment values such as conceptual parsimony, coherence, internal logical consistency, explanatory power and empirical adequacy. It’s a formulation that will appeal to intellectually hard-nosed, left-brained, science-oriented people, but isn’t the sole formulation of Idealism. Although committed to Idealism in general, Essentia Foundation considers Analytic Idealism in particular just one of perhaps a number of viable Idealist formulations.

Essentia Foundation is dedicated to producing high-quality material such as this course, which we make freely available. But we depend on people like you to reach as many others as possible with this material. Therefore, if you enjoy this course, we ask that you post it across your social media presence, so other people who might benefit from it get to know of its existence.

Part I

We investigate whether our ordinary intuitions about the nature of reality and the world at large can be true at all. Is the world really what it looks like on the screen of perception?

Part II

We discuss why mainstream physicalism fails on all key post-enlightenment values, such as coherence, internal consistency, parsimony, explanatory power and empirical adequacy.

Part III

We investigate the insoluble problems of constitutive panpsychism, a fashionable metaphysics that postulates consciousness to be a fundamental property of matter.

Part IV

We go in depth into Analytic Idealism itself, discussing how it makes sense of reality without requiring anything other than nature’s sole given: experience.

Part V

We review empirical evidence from the fields of foundations of physics and neuroscience of consciousness, which seems to directly contradict mainstream physicalism and suggest the validity of analytic idealism.

Part VI

We discuss the important distinction between phenomenal consciousness and meta-consciousness, arguing that the so-called ‘unconscious’ reflects merely a lack of the latter, not the former.

Part VII

We respond to the main objections raised against Analytic Idealism. This is the closing part of the course, so Bernardo leaves you with some personal reflections about Idealism and life.