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It seems quite clear to me that the "neither view", wherin a neutral entity is one that is neither mental or physical, is a form of metaphysical realism. But it gets confusing, and perhaps downright impossible to make sense of, an entity which is BOTH mental and physical. To make matters even more confusing, in neutral monism there seem to be certain cases where the "subjective" and "objective" "become the identity realtion,"(1) that is, become the same thing only seen from different perspectives.

This "neutral realism/new realism," as I have heard it called... is it a form of metaphysical realism? Or does it deserve some different designation?

--Take "realism" (fundamentality of objectivity) here to be understood as the negation of "idealism" (fundamentality of subjectivity) as understood by someone like Berkeley

--(1) "become the identity relation" taken from SEP on neutral monism

  • As an old man and life long monist, I have never heard the term 'neutral monism' - where did you read this? – Swami Vishwananda May 20 '18 at 7:09
  • Swami Vishwananda - Neutral Monism affirms concrete existence (as apposed to abstract) with "neutral" entities - entities which are neither (or both) mental nor physical. There is a third concrete neutral stuff. I read about it from Russell, Mach, and James, the classical Neutral Monists. – Jdog1998 May 20 '18 at 12:12
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    Yes, neutral monism is a form of metaphysical realism, no it does not mean that its substrate is both mental and physical, it means that it is neither mental nor physical. Just as quantum particles are neither particles nor waves, but may exhibit some properties of each. Mind and matter are idealized extremes of the neutral substrate's behavior. Subject and object are supposed to merge in perception only according to some forms of neutral monism, extreme form of naive realism, percept becomes one with its object. Russell rejected this idea – Conifold May 22 '18 at 8:20
  • What you are calling neutral monism sounds to be like classical Advaita and Mahayana monism. It is correctly referred to as metaphysical idealism and empirical realism. Non-dualism is the ultimate reality, but so long as you are a part of the 'dream' or seeing the mirage, you must accept this sensual universe's reality. Buddhist Vijnanavadins advocate idealism both transcendentally and empirically. You might enjoy - archive.org/details/IndianPhilosophyACriticalSurvey – Swami Vishwananda May 22 '18 at 9:57
  • Did find one good reference. David Loy is his book "Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy" references neutral monism of William James and Bertrand Russell. pp 88 and 94-95. It is comparable to the Adviata and Mahayana. See also William Blake's frontspiece to "The Gates of Hell" and Plotinus's the Six Enneads I.6.9 – Swami Vishwananda May 23 '18 at 12:59

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