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IdealismNew Essays in Metaphysics$
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Tyron Goldschmidt and Kenneth L. Pearce

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746973.001.0001

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Hassidic Idealism

Hassidic Idealism

Kurt Vonnegut and the Creator of the Universe

(p.158) 10 Hassidic Idealism

Samuel Lebens

Oxford University Press

Hassidic idealism is the view that the world and everything in it (even you and I) exist only in the mind of God. To be is to be part of God’s dream, or the story that God is telling. This chapter argues that Hassidic idealism, coupled with an understanding of the philosophy and semantics of fiction, allows us to generate a distinctive solution to ‘the problem with sefirot.’ The sefirot are the attributes of God, as the Kabbalistic tradition understands them. The problem with the sefirot is that, as they are classically understood, belief in them seems to collapse into polytheism. The problem is analogous to certain problems facing the Christian belief in the Trinity. This chapter proposes an original Hassidic solution to this problem that relies upon various insights about fictions within fictions, and fictions that include their authors as a character.

Keywords:   Hassidism, philosophy of fiction, meta-fiction, tzimtzum, sefirot, Trinity

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