Idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies that asserts that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial.

If I'm an idealist and I'm right, it means that the reality I know is entirely in my mind, right? Now how is there any room for other minds?

  • 1
    "Idealism" is too broad : see e.g. Pluralistic idealism : "Pluralistic idealism such as that of Gottfried Leibniz takes the view that there are many individual minds that together underlie the existence of the observed world and make possible the existence of the physical universe." And compare with Solipsism. May 10, 2018 at 14:19
  • IMO, speaking of "-isms" without reference to specific thinkers and texts is quite pointless. May 10, 2018 at 14:19
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    You must explain what do you mean by "right". From definitions you can conclude: other minds as you can know them exist only in your mind. And that does not seem wrong, it allows other minds you can't know of.
    – rus9384
    May 10, 2018 at 14:24
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    The most popular form of idealism has all minds encompassed within 'Mind-in-General'. Some see Kant as taking this view. Solipsism would be unfalsifiable because it would be true for unified Mind, and undecidable because it would be false for discrete individual minds.
    – user20253
    May 10, 2018 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


If solipsism is the view that I alone am the whole of reality - that only I exist - this has no logical connexion with idealism if idealism is the view (say Berkeley's) that the whole of reality consists of minds and their ideas . After all, solipsism's claim need not be that only I exist and that I am only a mind. I might the sole existent and a purely physical object.

'Idealism' is a vague term. It is very roughly in one of its major forms the view that reality is mental - that it consists of minds or is wholly the product or construction of minds. How if I am an idealist do I know that it does not consist only of my mind or is wholly the product or construction of my mind ? In other words if solipsism as such does not lead to idealism, how does your version of idealism (which I take it I have just outlined) not lead to idealist solipsism ?

There's no easy answer. Perhaps idealist solipsism is true ? But I rather think it isn't and the argument I'd urge is the following. If reality consists only of my mind or is wholly the product or construction of my mind, why do I not have complete control over it ? Why does it prove recalcitrant to my wishes and expectations ? If I am the sole reality or the sole author of reality, why do I not know everything about it and make discoveries about it through experiments which often fail ?

If the existence and activity of my mind do not answer these questions, might their answer - and best explanation - not lie in the existence of other minds that affect my experience ? Hence an argument, contra idealist solipsism, for a plurality of minds.


I am not an idealist in the sense I have outlined above - it would take much more courage than I possess to defend such a view. I am just doing the intellectual empathy of putting myself in the position of such an idealist and seeing how they might maintain idealism and avoid idealist solipsism.


If one takes the proposition, my mind defines reality, and the reality it has defined is correct, substantial and perfect ie "right".

This is just a description of the framework and not the rules. It could both include other minds or exclude them.

You could suggest that arriving at this place is our "heaven", except because it is 100% subjective, there is no way of proving it, as the source of the proof is also the thing that believes it has got it right, which means you could be totally delusional and be sure everything was fine.

This is why some philosophies that disconnect the believer from the outside world can lead to insanity.

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