Objective idealism is an idealistic metaphysics that postulates that there is in an important sense only one perceiver, and that this perceiver is one with that which is perceived. One important advocate of such a metaphysics, Josiah Royce (the founder of American idealism), wrote that he was indifferent "whether anybody calls all this Theism or Pantheism". Plato is regarded as one of the earliest representatives of objective idealism. It is distinct from the subjective idealism of George Berkeley, and it abandons the thing-in-itself of Kant's dualism.
Idealism, in terms of metaphysics, is the philosophical view that the mind or spirit constitutes the fundamental reality. It has taken several distinct but related forms. Among them are objective and subjective idealism. Objective idealism accepts common sense realism (the view that material objects exist) but rejects naturalism (according to which the mind and spiritual values have emerged from material things), whereas subjective idealism denies that material objects exist independently of human perception and thus stands opposed to both realism and naturalism.
If subjective idealism locks itself within the sphere of the cognizing individual and the sensuous form of his cognition, objective idealism, on the contrary, lifts the result of human thought, of man's entire culture, to an absolute, ascribing to it absolutely independent suprapersonal being and active power. — Alexander Spirkin. Fundamentals of Philosophy. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990. p. 30.
Objective idealism … interprets the spiritual as a reality existing outside and independent of human consciousness.
The one intelligible theory of the universe is that of objective idealism, that matter is effete mind, inveterate habits becoming physical laws (Peirce, CP 6.25).
- Daniel Sommer Robinson, The Self and the World in the Philosophy of Josiah Royce, Christopher Publishing House, 1968, p. 9: "Josiah Royce and William Ernest Hocking were the founders and creators of a unique and distinctly American school of idealistic philosophy."
- Frederick Beiser, German Idealism: The Struggle Against Subjectivism, 1781-1801, Harvard University Press, 2002, p. 470.
- Michael Beaney (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 5. n. 6.
- Paul Guyer, "Absolute idealism and the rejection of Kantian dualism", Ch. 2 of The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, ed. by Karl Ameriks.
- Peirce, C. S. (1891), "The Architecture of Theories", The Monist vol. 1, no. 2 (January 1891), pp. 161–176. Internet Archive The Monist vol. 1, page 161. Reprinted in Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 6 (1935), paragraphs 7–34, and in The Essential Peirce, vol. 1 (1992), pp. 285–297).
- Peirce, C. S., Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vols. 1–6, Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (eds.), vols. 7–8, Arthur W. Burks (ed.), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1931–1935, 1958. (Cited as CP vol.para.)