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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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The Challenge of Nihilism

The Challenge of Nihilism

Chapter:
(p.164) 5 The Challenge of Nihilism
Source:
A World for Us
Author(s):

John Foster

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297139.003.0005

If there is a physical world, its existence must be understood in accordance with canonical idealism, which takes the world to be constitutively created by more fundamental factors and assigns the central role in this creation to the sensory organization. But such idealism, and indeed any form of phenomenalistic idealism, seems to be excluded by our basic understanding of the ontological status of the physical world in relation to the human mind. In the first place, this understanding seems to require the world to have an existence which is logically independent of the human mind. Secondly, an idealistically created world seems to lack the objectivity it needs if it is to qualify as a real world. Unless these difficulties for the idealist account can be overcome, we shall be forced to embrace physical nihilism. This chapter shows how the idealist can overcome the first. He can do this by simply acknowledging that, in the context of the psychophysical reality that is idealistically sustained, the physical world and the human mind are interactive partners, with neither partner logically depending for its existence on the other.

Keywords:   physical world, canonical idealism, phenomenalistic idealism, ontological status, human mind, objectivity, psychophysical reality, interactive partners

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