Idealism and Common Sense

In Joshua R. Farris & Benedikt Paul Göcke (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 496-505 (2021)
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The question I wish to explore is this: Does idealism conflict with common sense? Unfortunately, the answer I give may seem like a rather banal one: It depends. What do we mean by ‘idealism’ and ‘common sense?’ I distinguish three main varieties of idealism: absolute idealism, Berkeleyan idealism, and dualistic idealism. After clarifying what is meant by common sense, I consider whether our three idealisms run afoul of it. The first does, but the latter two don’t. I conclude that while Moore’s famous common sense critique is sound against external world skepticism, against Berkeleyan idealism and dualist idealism it is unavailing.

Author Profiles

Constance A. McIntosh
University College London
C. A. McIntosh
Cornell University (PhD)


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