Idealism Without God

In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenny Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
Abstract
I develop a nontheistic (quasi-)Berkeleyan idealism. The basic strategy is to peel away the attributes of God that aren't essential for role he plays in idealist metaphysics. God's omnibenevolence, his desires, intentions, beliefs, his very status as an agent ... aren't relevant to the work he does. When we peel all these things away, we're left with a view on which reality is a vast unity of consciousness, weaving together sensory experiences of colors, shapes, sounds, sizes, etc. into the trees, electrons, black holes, and central nervous systems that fill the world around us. This phenomenal unity is governed by laws analogous to those posited by materialists, governing the unfolding of reality. I argue that if reality is fundamentally phenomenal in this way, we can give a unique account of perception that robustly captures direct realist intuitions of reality forming the "constituents" of our experiences: In perception, our finite unities of consciousness come to literally overlap with the unity of consciousness that is reality. I assess the unique virtues and challenges such a view faces, paying particular attention to the question of whether idealism entails a profligacy of physical laws.
Keywords idealism  direct realism  perception
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