Marten Björk

The Noise of Unheard Sounds

Donald D. Hoffman, Chetan Prakash, and Nick Bostrom on the Subjectivity of Being

Volume 8 () / Issue 1, pp. 29-52 (24)
Published 16.03.2022

31,20 € including VAT
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This article examines the emergence of idealism in evolutionary cognitive science by analyzing the conscious realism of the cognitive theorist Donald D. Hoffman and the mathematician Chetan Prakash. Perception is for them not about veridical experience, but rather a mechanism for survival. It helps us survive but does not give us access to reality as such. By relating Hoffman and Prakash's conscious realism to the simulation argument of the philosopher Nick Bostrom, this article shows how Hoffman and Prakash's theories are part of what the anthropologist Roy Wagner has called the holographic worldview. But in contrast to Bostrom's technocratic philosophy, Hoffman and Prakash use evolutionary arguments to contest physicalism. They raise metaphysical questions by insisting that time, space, and matter emerge out of a network of conscious agents that even points to the need of a scientific theology. Thus, for Hoffman and Prakash, an evolutionary understanding of perception as a tool for survival rather than a way to grasp truth poses the speculative question whether consciousness and life itself are immaterial and immortal.