Objective Idealism

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Robert Hanna:

"In view of liberal naturalism, to borrow an apt phrase from the later Wittgenstein, our rational human free agency is just our own “form of life,” and free agency, as such, grows naturally in certain minded animal species or life-forms. Correspondingly, freedom grows naturally and evolves in certain species of minded animals, including the human species, precisely because minds like ours grow naturally and evolve in certain species of animals, including the human species

Another name for liberal naturalism is “Objective Idealism.”

Objective idealism is sharply distinct both

  • from subjective idealism, which says that the world is nothing a phenomenal mental construction of an individual cognizer (as defended, e.g., by Berkeley, the neo-Kantians, early Carnap, C.I. Lewis, and Nelson Goodman) and also from
  • absolute idealism, which says that the world is nothing but a giant mind, its thought-forms, and its thought-processes (as defended, e.g., by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel). As opposed to either subjective idealism or absolute idealism, liberal naturalism, aka objective idealism, says that rational human mindedness grows naturally in the manifestly real physical world, in organisms whose lives have an appropriately high level of non-mechanical thermodynamic complexity and self-organization. The manifestly real natural physical world necessarily includes our real possibility and is immanently structured for the dynamic emergence of lives like ours and minds like ours.

Or in Thomas Nagel’s apt, crisp formulation: “rational intelligibility is at the root of the natural order.”