Idealism in Brief

From philosopher Keith Ward:
What idealists maintain is that the ultimate nature of reality itself is mind-like, and that human and other finite minds are the best clues we have to what objective reality is like. The cosmos is not a mindless, unconscious, valueless, purposeless, yet somehow strangely intelligible, mechanism. Such a view is the result of extrapolating a machine-model, very useful in many scientific contexts, to provide the most comprehensive and adequate picture of the real cosmos.

Idealists propose that the human mind provides a better model from which to extrapolate to the cosmos as a whole. That is not because the cosmos looks like a very large human person or because there is some large person hovering just beyond the cosmos. It is because human minds play a creative and constructive role in producing the phenomenal world. They seem to point to a level of reality that is not merely phenomenal or an appearance to consciousness. Human minds generate an idea of reality as mind-like in a way that far transcends human mentality, yet that does include something like consciousness, value, and purpose as essential parts of its nature. (More Than Matter, p. 58)
 (Hat tip to Lee M.: if you follow the link, there is a video as well.)


  1. Ken, here's how to have your comments deleted at this blog: make sure they're absolutely devoid of intellectual content, and then throw in an insult to boot.

  2. Gene,

    Thank you. I don't know why Bob Murphy puts up with him over at Free Advice. I understand the need to be Christian and therefore be kind, but this doesn't imply that you need to let people treat you rudely.

    Just a quick question; I thought that Idealism had died out in philosophy, with G.E. Moore supposedly delivering a critical argument against it.

    What are your thoughts? I apologize if I'm ignorant; I'm a beginning philosophy major!


    1. Alex, Moore held up his hands and said their presence refuted idealism, as if idealists thought people did not have hands! It is the most ridiculous "refutation" of a philosophical idea ever offered.

  3. So, aside from the book that you quoted from (and that I have bought online already), is there anything else that you would recommend...?

    Also, has Idealism died out in philosophy...?

    I know that this is a little off topic, but I'm a former atheist who has 'reconverted' back to his old religion of Catholicism, and I'm excited to find so many very good Christian philosophers!