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The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A rigorous case for the primacy of mind in nature, from philosophy to neuroscience, psychology and physics. The Idea of the World offers a grounded alternative to the frenzy of unrestrained abstractions and unexamined assumptions in philosophy and science today. This book examines what can be learned about the nature of reality based on conceptual parsimony, straightforwar ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Iff Books (first published March 29th 2019)
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James M. Madsen, M.D.
Bravo for “Scientific American,” which has not been afraid to give author Bernardo Kastrup the opportunity to present his views on science and philosophy in a series of blogs in the magazine. That’s how I first heard of him, and I bought “The Idea of the World” as soon as it came out. The world needs big bold ideas, even though the ideas behind revolutions in both science and philosophy are usually ridiculed at first. The big idea here is a variety of monism (the idea that the universe is basica ...more
Anish Malpani
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I begin?

Just when I thought nothing could really rattle my inner journey, this book came along and shook things up. It was recommended to me by one of my mentors who added, "don't just add it to your list, put it right at the top." For once, I paid heed to his advice, and this was quite a journey.

Kastrup logically and (almost) empirically debunks the prevailing theory of being. And yes, that makes you question reality if you haven't questioned it enough. For eons, the most prevalent bel
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Book for the Ages

Tremendous tension is building in the world of neuroscience over the relationship between mind and brain -- just what is the true nature of consciousness? A building consilience from the fields of psychology, physics and neuroscience supports the primacy of consciousness in the universe, or a top-down organizing principle at the heart of all reality. One of the strongest new elements of this bridge comes from the physics perspective of Bernardo Kastrup in support of the realit
Nour Elhuda Zuraiki
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, Bernardo if you’re reading this, I’m so grateful for you because no one has expanded my mind as much as you have done.

This was the last book I finished for Kastrup, after reading his other 6 books. I’m left with a whole new collection of ideas and thoughts about this world, I could certainly say that Kastrup has just transformed the way I used to look at the world. I was a convinced materialist (how little I knew) and now I’m starting to reformulate my worldview as an idealist person, I su
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely phenomenal book, broken down into bite-sized sections, based on original articles by the author. If you are someone who appreciates the sometimes difficult concepts of philosophy, this book will definitely interest you. I feel like I know a lot more about this subject now than I did before reading this book.

The idealism vs. Physicalism debate has been raging for some time, and it is interesting to watch from both sides. Whilst I consider myself to be somewhere in the middl
Paul moved to LibraryThing
"You think string theory is unfalsifiable and simply an explanatory theory with predictive power lacking practicability? Hold my beer." That's what I imagine started the author on his quest.

I don't know why the author thinks it's important for us to know his papers were submitted and mostly published in reputable journals. The point of journals is to make dissemination of different ideas possible. It doesn't mean much else. Same reason I read this book till the end. People are curious, they want
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Strong mind expander. Written as a collections essays building and defending "idealism" as the best hypothesis of ontology (i.e. what is the nature of reality?). Accessible to anyone (though you may need a dictionary) yet wide ranging and multi-disciplinary.

The core of the argument is a philosophical hypothesis that consciousness is the "ontological primitive" - or the basic building block of reality - as opposed to atoms, strings, membranes, or whatever other physics constructs are the flavor
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It all started with quantum physics’ contextuality.

Measuring something with different methods give different values in quantum physics. So we have a problem. Nothing has any ‘intrinsic value’.

We were brought up with the Realism school of scientific thought. That is, even when we are not looking at something, that something must exist with inherent properties. But that is contradicted by quantum physics.

Kastrup proposed Idealism: universal consciousness is the basis of all matter. Matter is a
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The case for idealism is excellently presented here, with an analytical approach that will resonate with people who don't like woolly discourse but prefer a thorough treatment in compliance with science of what, at heart, is a metaphysical theory, or fundamental assumption about reality, that explains all the facts about reality, i.e. experience, better and more parsimonious than materialism.

Kastrup has become even more rigorous in his reasoning than in his earlier work. I'm happy to notice he's
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
For the innovative and fascinating theory of mind and world it propounds, this gets five stars despite some underdeveloped features of the system. Minus one for its repetitious and under-edited format (the book is a collection of previously-published articles with overlapping content; alas, for this reason I can't in good conscience give it a full five stars as I would if it were cohesively constructed). So four stars total. :) Note: YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK, BUT NOT AS YOUR FIRST ACADEMIC PHIL ...more
Paul O'Connor
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sociological reflection on the book.

This is a truly multi-disciplinary work that treads firm and deliberate steps across philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, quantum mechanics, and religion. Far from suffering from this mixture the book is lucid and thoughtfully planned. Kastrup has compiled ten previously published articles from highly regarded Open Access journals into an unfolding and progressive narrative that delineates his argument. As the foreword by Menas Kafatos acknowledges, this is
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ever so gradually the Wheel of Fortune turns. Very ancient lessons need to be learned over and over again, even though their essence remains the same. Modern science can empower ever more of us to attain infinite vision, but only if the sum of it's knowledge includes that of successful 'dreamers' from aeons ago. In "The Idea of the World" Bernardo does an admirable job of weaving the most recent and rigorous science, psychology and philosophy into that intricate cloth of transcendence espoused b ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some quibbles here and there (e.g., undeveloped epistemology, simple interpretation of quantum mechanics), but overall a hypothesis worth considering and taking seriously. The expansion of the phenomenon of dissociation into a universal reality is the most innovative and interesting idea in the book, IMO. But there are several cool insights and proposals throughout.
Benjamin Keller
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely terrific for anybody open-minded and interested in ontology. Although it walks the line between science and philosophy - it likely becomes a spiritual book for most readers. When I started the book I identified as a panpsychist but after absorbing and agreeing with Kastrup's points; I'm now a believer in Idealism.

If you've had one or a few of these prerequisites then this book will be easier to digest: 1) Knowledge of non-dual traditions (Taoism, Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, Shaivism),
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is essentially a dozen different academic journals or so written by the author and then knitted together to provide his thesis on the overarching nature of reality. It's reasonably chronological.

I think I'll have to read this book again. I'm afraid that I may have jumped into the deep end when looking for books that explain me or the things that happen around me.

If you're looking for a book which explains reality and you've already read a few, this one is probably a great shout!
If you
Sassan Sadeghi
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly brilliant. Kastrup has made a promising case for the idealist ontology based on rational thinking and the latest empirical evidence from a variety of scientific disciplines. One doesn't have to agree with all the ideas discussed in the book to admit the author's philosophical position is a valuable one.
Whether or not this kind of worldview turns out to be true, it deserves to be taken seriously by the intellectual elite as opposed to be arrogantly dismissed based on allegations of wishful
Skipped around a bit, because much of this was repetitive. Kastrup makes a persuasive argument for idealism, but my imagination wasn't captured the way I was hoping it would be. In the final chapter, for instance, he essentially says, "I've shown why life is meaningful." And although by that point I was more or less convinced of "the mental nature of reality," it was entirely unclear to me how that knowledge should give my life meaning. I understand he was trying his hand at respectable analytic ...more
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kuhn's real successor...
If you want to dismiss it with just a skim I beg you to leave this book...
read both side arguments and then decide...
Consciousness needs scientific theories and REAL discussions between them. Kastrup's objective Idealism is neat and with many potentials... I wonder what experiments and models can be added to further support it...
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Bernardo is the current node in spacetime I'm downloading my OS update from. Changing my ontology from materialism to idealism. Check out his YouTube channel to see what the guy is all about.

PS: it's a shame he seems to be heavily invested in denying his Brazilian identify despite his extreme Brazilian accent. I'd kill to see a talk of his in Portuguese.
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The second Bernardo Kastrup book I've read in as many days. More, please! This book makes a rigorous case for idealism that is geared more to the skeptic, scientist or philosopher, though it's accessible enough for the inquisitive layman. For those more scientifically inclined, start here. For those more spiritually inclined, start with 'More Than Allegory.' ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, elegant, outstanding...

Absolutely brilliant. It is rare to come across a such a book with unmatched profoundity, clarity, and sweeping breath of coverage. It offers a brilliant and elegant worldview echoed in mystic traditions throughout the ages. I have been a student of Adwaita Vedanta for 20 years, but this book clarified the few doubts I always struggled with.
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was a very informative and eye opening book. Unique perspective on idealism and how realistic the idea of idealism really is.
Gerhard Kessell-haak
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately the argument reduces to "this is the philosophy that has the fewest leaps of faith". True, but ultimately not convincing to materialists.

A pity as I think he's on the right track.
Sergey Bir
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: buy, favourite
This books explains the fundamental nature and gives meaning to everything. It also unites science, spirituality and experience. Absolutely amazing.
Ophir Yerushalmy
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Jun 03, 2020
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Apr 15, 2020
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Bernardo Kastrup's work has been leading the modern renaissance of metaphysical idealism, the notion that reality is essentially mental. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy (ontology, philosophy of mind) and another Ph.D. in computer engineering (reconfigurable computing, artificial intelligence). As a scientist, Bernardo has worked for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philip ...more

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