What is Subjective Idealism, Phenomenalism?July 2, 2021
Subjective idealism is an idealist understanding that regards objective existence as a product of human consciousness. It is also called mentalism or phenomenalism. Subjective idealism has been asserted in various forms in the historical process.
All Greek thinkers who used skepticism as a method, all sophists, especially Protagoras, and all skeptics, especially Pyrrhon and Anesidemos, could not avoid falling into subjective idealism. The reason for this is that all skeptics; their denial of the fact that sensations reflect the qualities of objects.
The metaphysics of the French thinker Rene Descartes, the founder of rationalism (rationalism), is a purely subjective idealist doctrine, considering the object as a design of the human mind. Descartes, who is a materialist in his physics, is a thinker in his metaphysics. The English thinker Berkeley is also one of the three great and typical representatives of subjective idealism, together with Fichte and Mach.
“To be is to be perceived” is Berkeley’s most famous phrase.
The skeptical teaching of British philosopher David Hume, who denies objective reality and argues that the only reality consists of human sensations, which prepared the German thinker Immanuel Kant, is also an open subjective idealism. One of the subjective idealist teachings is the positivism of the French thinker Auguste Comte.
The new name of ‘perceptions’ put forward under various names in various subjectivist teachings in positivism is ‘fact’. The positivists understand ‘perceptions’ by ‘facts’. According to them, the only information that is given to us without tools is ‘facts’, that is, our perceptions and sensations. Science should be content with these, and the desire to acquire other information should not be in vain. This means detachment from the objective world and closing into one’s own consciousness, that is, falling into subjective thoughtism.
The prevalent doctrine of the 20th century, ‘existentialism’, is also a certain subjective idealism. According to Heidegger, “the universe exists only to the extent that there are people in it”. So it is man who creates objective reality, and there is no objective reality without humans. Pastor Berkeley has said nothing more than this in his famous immaterialism.
For the existentialists, freedom means the individual’s separation from society and its objective laws. Neopositism, neorealism, philosophy of dissonance, philosophy of life, etc. Subjective idealism, which has many examples such as objective idealism, is an unscientific assumption. Moreover, it is based on an absurdity such as solipsism.
The understanding of idealism, subjective idealism, which regards objective existence as the product of human consciousness, reduces the source of existence to the human spirit and considers matter the product of thought. The arguments of the objective idealists and the subjective idealists are almost nonexistent. Both are united in providing a philosophical basis for theology, both are metaphysical, both deny objective reality by prioritizing the soul as the fundamental problem of philosophy, construct intellectual assumptions from reality, both implicit or explicit, anti-science and agnostic.