CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

On the Possibility of Pre-Cartesian Idealism

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Publication Title

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review

Volume

48

Issue

3

First Page

643

Last Page

653

Abstract

In a seminal article on the origin of philosophical idealism in the western philosophical tradition, Myles Burnyeat argued that idealism could not have come about prior to Descartes. According to Burnyeat, Descartes introduced a radical version of external world scepticism which made it possible for subsequent philosophers (Berkeley, e.g.) to argue that reality is composed exclusively of immaterial minds and their contents (ideas). I argue that (1) the success of Burnyeat’s argument depends upon the meaning of the term ‘idealism’ and (2) that one of Burnyeat’s definitions of the term does not rule out the possibility of Pre-Cartesian idealism

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0012217309990163

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