Although Lee Smolin (realism) and Bernardo Kastrup (idealism) have quite different views of the cosmos, so much so that I’m pretty sure they’d reject each other outright, they share a common view of the problem they’re solving.
I’ve been struck by several parallels in the last couple of years, but was particularly impressed with Amanda Gefter’s summary of Smolin in the tag line of her review in Quanta Magazine.
How to Understand the Universe
When You’re Stuck Inside of It
How do you understand an object
with no exterior?
Imagine it built bit-by-bit
from relationships between events?
That’s very much my summary of Smolin too.
Both talk about the reality of everything being an inside view. There is no view from outside the mind of a knower or from outside the known universe. The internal-reality <> outward-appearances dilemma must always be resolved from the inside. The inside is the whole of reality.
For Smolin, the “atoms” are events and everything else evolves from these relationships and patterns of relationships. The event points are themselves defined by the extended “view” of the relationship network from “here” – the points have no intrinsic properties, dimensions or composition. Time and causation are precedence dependency relationships. Laws are meta-patterns of relationship patterns, the physical and psychical are simply more evolved patterns. Smolin is a realist in the sense that this is what’s real. Physical properties and laws are something evolved. The distinction between physical and psychical stuff he “tiptoes around” for now, he’s concerned with the more fundamentally real.
Kastrup calls these views or identifiable, bounded, networked collections (graphs), “alters” and calls all such patterns “mind” (implicitly knowing) rather than simply information (knowable). His conclusion is panpsychism (or idealism he would say). For me his choice of “mind” is wordplay to emphasise the non-physical, to not give the physical any privilege. He calls realism “baloney”but when he does so, he’s referring to a physical realism.
The physical and the psychical are both real, but neither are fundamental. The resolution is that all beable and knowable are the same fundamental stuff – information, atomically bit by bit. The conceivable and the possible are the same (Deutsch & Marletto).
It can’t be long before this is accepted science and metaphysics? It all seems so blindingly obvious – and very old.