Of course, the biggest knock against idealism is the seeming continuity of reality. When you leave a room or suspend sense perception of an object, it almost always returns to its prior known form. Reality appears to continue, even without a mind to perceive it.
Therefore throwing into questing the validity of any idealistic notions. Particularly George Berkeley’s radical form of idealism. And philosophers everywhere have attempted to avoid any form of Berkeleyism, to include Immanuel Kant who was accused of such heresy during his time.
The stank of idealism has hurt many philosophers of the post-Hume era. Thinkers like John Searle and Bertrand Russell have questioned the necessity of studying such philosophies, believing that David Hume (and his radical form of empiricism) got it right the first time. To them, all metaphysical arguments against his form of skepticism have failed. To some, although this view is fading, Hume posed a serious danger to the future of philosophical pursuits. His thought (although slightly amended) has yet to be toppled.
Although I sympathize with thinkers trying to remove philosophy from any religiously dogmatic grip (which was possibly what Hume was responding to), throwing out any metaphysical questions that might’ve been posed by such religious investigation is a mistake. Or throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Which is what the extreme positivists and empiricists are essentially doing.
It’s wallowing in the existence of the human mind. It’s having an arrogance of human capability and understanding. It’s basically engaging in the same arguments that the dogmatically religious use.
“What I know is what I know. We can completely and utterly understand the existence of reality. And we can absolutely use human understanding, although imperfect, to understand the nature of the universe.”
And proponents of this extreme form of empiricism usually share the same views: Free will is an illusion, everything is just matter in motion, etc. And this becomes the dogma in which they view the world.
It’s not all that different from the religious folk. They believe that it is impossible for the universe to exist without the hand of God, and it’s pointless to engage in any theory that would suggest otherwise because they’ll only point to what we already know: That the universe was created by God. This argument is also motivated by the fear that investigation might reveal something that would contradict their worldview. This fear isn’t all that different from the radical positivist.
But instead of preventing such investigation, the positivist dismisses any such speculation as mere fiction. Not worthy of actual critical evaluation.
I don’t know, this might just be an idiotic rant. My point is that it’s important to not fall too deeply into either the purely supernatural perspective of the religious…where anything and everything is permitted without proof….and the dogmatically empirical where we pretty much can’t speculate on anything that isn’t pragmatic.
Which leads me back to idealism. Clearly we don’t live in a purely idealistic world (as differentiated from a purely ideological world, but more on that later). There are certain properties about the world that are shared by everyone and that remain constant, even when they are not being perceived. So the mind isn’t just ONLY perceiving ideas, but are actually perceiving objects that exist in the world.
BUT, it’s an even harder argument to make to say that objects perceived remain exactly the same without a mind to dictate what it is. And what if NO minds existed to perceive anything? Well then, I guess philosophy, thinking, and everything becomes impossible and therefore we arrive at a dead-end, so who cares? However, to what effect does the mind have on reality?
It’s common sense to believe that the mind has NO alterable affects on reality. Our minds are just impartial spectators of the world outside. Or at least we take this assumption.
But perhaps the mind doesn’t necessarily change the matter in-itself, but does play a role in forming the objects of perception. This is the process of not idealism, but ideology. Meaning that objects that WE see are of our own construction and are easily transferable to other minds, leaving room for an objective reality that other can perceive. BUT, this reality is not universal.
I know, it sounded like I just contradicted myself.
The process of ideology is both cultural and biological. I would say a priori, but I don’t know what the fuck that means anymore. It’s cultural and biological because this is where we form ideas of what makes something a ‘chair’, or ‘red’, or whatever. Things vary culturally, but we can usually agree on things biologically. I don’t really feel like making a distinction between the two at this time. But this is how humans can collectively create an objective reality.
BUT, this ‘objective’ reality is dictated by processes in the mind that only fellow humans can share. The object in question possesses properties that allow the processes in the mind to give a sensation of being something. But this process of ideology, the one exclusive to humans, is (in all likelihood) not universal to all species and active consciousnesses across the universe. To say that it is would take a massive intuitive leap, one similar to the dogmatically religious believer.
What this process or perception IS, honestly…I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just one perception of many among all possible perceptions. Like something akin to the Many-Worlds Hypothesis. Perhaps because this process is exclusive to humans, and these sensations can ONLY be found in the human brain. Don’t know, we’ll just have to see. But, in my opinion, we can’t undervalue evolutionary psychology at this point…as we are adapted to view the world in a very HUMANISTIC way in order for survival, this probably has a tremendous effect on HOW and WHY we perceive the world the way we do.
But, that’s neither here nor there at this point.
Right now, I’m just concerned with how the continuity of reality is possible. Are other interpretations of reality possible? Perhaps that’s an obvious question with an obvious answer. So, I guess I should ask if there are other continuous (yet alterable) perceptions, and can we know anything about them?
Hope that made sense.