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A World for UsThe Case for Phenomenalistic Idealism$
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John Foster

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297139.001.0001

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Realism and Phenomenalistic Idealism

Realism and Phenomenalistic Idealism

(p.83) 3 Realism and Phenomenalistic Idealism
A World for Us

John Foster

Oxford University Press

Physical realism confines our knowledge of the world to properties of structure and organization, leaving its forms of intrinsic content empirically inscrutable. This creates two problems. First, mere knowledge of structure and organization does not seem to provide the materials for an adequate conception of physical space and its occupants. Secondly, if the empirical evidence does not reveal anything about the nature of the supposed space beyond its geometrical structure, it does not reveal whether the external reality is genuinely spatial at all, rather than merely quasi-spatially organized. Along with the problem of perception, these problems suggest that we might abandon physical realism for a certain form of phenomenalistic idealism. This form represents the world as constitutively created by more fundamental factors in which the organization of human sensory experience plays the central role. What gives this sensory organization its idealistic significance is that it disposes things to appear systematically worldwise at the human empirical viewpoint.

Keywords:   structure, organization, intrinsic content, space, occupants, constitutively created, sensory experience, sensory organization, empirical viewpoint

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