My question is from the Metaphysical Anti - Realism's perspective which argues that "nothing exists outside mind". Are three of these philosophical approaches same terminologically? Or they do differ at some point?

  • Did you already find out what an encyclopedy like plato.stanford.edu says about the issue? If you did, it would be helpful to provide some context from this source.
    – Jo Wehler
    Dec 18, 2023 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


Anti-realism is a broad umbrella term, which encompasses lots of ideas, including subjective idealism and sometimes immaterialism. It's just generally the idea that reality is non-objective.

Subjective idealism is the idea that all of reality is just constructed by the mind. It states that only minds and mental contents exist. This doesn't encompass all of metaphysical antirealism though as a subjective idealist could believe in multiple minds, whereas a solipsist would say that other people's minds are also made up by your own.

Immaterialism just states that material reality does not exist, but it still could theoretically allow for the existence of abstract objects like normativity and numbers.

  • 1
    Good answer, but a few caveats/clarifications. The view that all of matter reduces to math, the "mathematical physical reductionism" idea, is a version of immaterialism, but is not anti-realist, nor subjectivist. Capital P Platonism, which presumes the reality of Ideal Forms - is likewise a realist abstract entity worldview. Also, subjective idealism COULD hold that minds and ideas exist, and they generate matter. This would make matter an emergent real, derivative from mind. Also generally Mentalist Idealism is realist but disagrees with materialists about what part of our world is real.
    – Dcleve
    Dec 20, 2023 at 20:53
  • @Dcleve I think I acknowledged the first bit by saying that immaterialism is only sometimes antirealist, although I see where the vagueness could be. I'm unclear about your point on subjective idealism though. When you say 'matter' and 'mind-generated', what do you mean? The existence of some, even mind-produced, mind-independent things seems inconsistent with what I've read of subjective idealism.
    – edelex
    Dec 20, 2023 at 21:02
  • Edelex -- I have encountered non-theist idealists who hold that the superimposed expectations of all of humanity create our physical universe. We humans can change our physical universe, but that needs some minimum collective critical mass. This is a version of subjective idealism, in which matter is emergent from mind, but still affects mind. I have also encountered a LOT of subjective idealists who hold by a theistic Mind At Large which creates matter, as well as spawning us as agents who interact with matter. This too is an emergent idealism, with matter strongly interactive.
    – Dcleve
    Dec 20, 2023 at 21:43

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