If idealism is correct, why (the idea of) a brain can change all the other ideas?



If ontological idealism is correct, a brain is an idea among the others. Then why if we modify (the idea of) a brain, the whole mental world changes accordingly? Why is there a mental representation (the brain) that, if modified or eliminated, brings with it all the others? How can an idealist explain this asymmetry?

Francesco D'Isa

Posted 2019-03-28T13:02:32.640

Reputation: 1 240

Good question, you're on the right track when you question the brain as anything other than a body maintaining and data storage device! CS – None – 2019-03-28T14:10:24.860

Under ontological idealism ideals and mental representations are different things. The claim of idealism is merely that what the world is made of is more like mind than matter, there is nothing wrong with some of that stuff supporting mental representations, just as the matter does for materialists. – Conifold – 2019-03-28T20:04:47.373

@Conifold I can’t grasp the difference between ideals and mental representations – Francesco D'Isa – 2019-03-28T21:07:12.603

1"Ideals" should be "ideas", sorry for the typo. Just as not all matter is brain matter, not all ideas are mental representations, or mental at all, at least not to idealists. Plato certainly did not think that his Highest Good or Justice are the result of re-presenting something else to a lowly someone like us, let alone mentally. They are self-standing forms of immaterial sort. Of course, we typically think of ideas as ideas in a mind, but you should not take the word "idealism" too literally. – Conifold – 2019-03-28T22:31:09.263

Why should it not? – Cort Ammon – 2019-03-29T05:36:09.187

I can think of many ideas which have this property. "The truth" for example, is famously good at this. If a politician modifies the idea of the truth, entire mountains move. – Cort Ammon – 2019-03-29T05:36:38.163

@Conifold, yes, I agree. But also in other form of idealism the asymmetry remains, there should always be a fundamental idea, a "big dreamer" if you pass me the metaphor. We can agree on that, but I think it's a perplexing issue about this explanation of the world. – Francesco D'Isa – 2019-03-29T08:05:57.497



"The physical is simply the verifiable contents of perception, a particular category of experience. As such, what we call ‘physical interference with the brain’ is simply the extrinsic appearance of experiential activity external to an alter that, in turn, disrupts the inner experiences of the alter from across its dissociative boundary." Bernardo Kastrup, The Idea of the World (pp. 85-86).

William Pennat

Posted 2019-03-28T13:02:32.640

Reputation: 117