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Idealism: the history of a philosophy

Dunham, Jeremy; Grant, Iain Hamilton; Watson, Sean


Jeremy Dunham

Sean Watson
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy


There has been no comparable attempt at a comprehensive history of metaphysical idealism for over 70 years, and this book, ranging from Parmenides to Deleuze, exceeds all previous work in size and scope. It also puts forward arguments that are important, and controversial. Firstly, it presents compelling evidence that idealism begins much earlier than is commonly argued. Secondly we show that idealism is not a reductive metaphysics, but an inflationary one - a 'realism with respect to the idea'. This, contrary to many accounts, makes idealism compatible with naturalism, the sciences, and even many forms of materialism. Indeed we include detailed accounts of the work of contemporary biologists and physicists who's work is demonstrably idealist. Metaphysical idealism is currently at the centre not only of debates within continental philosophy, but is enjoying a great resurgence within the analytic tradition (as is evidenced by our own coverage of McDowell, Brandom etc.). This book is a timely and important intervention in those debates.


Dunham, J., Grant, I. H., & Watson, S. (2011). Idealism: the history of a philosophy. London: Acumen

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date Feb 24, 2011
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781844652419
Keywords metaphysics, idealism, history of philosophy, philosophy of nature
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