On the Plausibility of Idealism: Refuting Criticisms


Several alternatives vie today for recognition as the most plausible ontology, from physicalism to panpsychism. By and large, these ontologies entail that physical structures circumscribe consciousness by bearing phenomenal properties within their physical boundaries. The ontology of idealism, on the other hand, entails that all physical structures are circumscribed by consciousness in that they exist solely as phenomenality in the first place. Unlike the other alternatives, however, idealism is often considered implausible today, particularly by analytic philosophers. A reason for this is the strong intuition that an objective world transcending phenomenality is a self-evident fact. Other arguments—such as the dependency of phenomenal experience on brain function, the evidence for the existence of the universe before the origin of conscious life, etc.—are also often cited. In this essay, I will argue that these objections against the plausibility of idealism are false. As such, this essay seeks to show that idealism is an entirely plausible ontology.

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