International Journal of Social Policy & Education

ISSN 2689-4998 (print), 2689-5013 (online)

Consciousness, Analytic Idealism and Buddhist Foundations: Exploring Non-Materialist Ways of Connecting Eastern and Western Spiritual Perspectives

Terry Hyland


Contemporary approaches to explaining the connections and reconciling perceived differences between spiritual and scientific interpretations of reality have tended to accept mainstream interpretations of physics, cosmology and biology. The resultant putative combinations of ideas – seeking to equate materialist with non-materialist worldviews – display anomalous, artificial and deeply problematic features. Instead of accepting the validity of scientific materialism – expressed in accounts offered, for instance, by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, and, in a more secular context, Deepak Chopra and Fritjof Capra – the central thesis of this paper is that it is more plausible to question the foundations of materialism and argue for an idealist interpretation of both science, reality and spirituality as suggested in recent work by Bernardo Kastrup, Steve Taylor and Donald Hoffman. After exploring the central claims of these new interpretations of idealism – and their principal critiques of scientific materialism – arguments that such perspectives offer a richer, more cogent and more parsimonious method of linking Eastern and Western worldviews than the flawed materialist perspectives will be explained and justified.