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. Unlike absolute idealism, pluralistic idealism does not assume the existence of a single ultimate mental reality or "Absolute". Leibniz' form of idealism, known as Panpsychism, views "monads" as the true atoms of the universe and as entities having perception. The monads are "substantial forms of being",elemental, individual, subject to their own laws, non-interacting, each reflecting the entire universe. Monads are centers of force, which is substance while space, matter and motion are phenomenal and their form and existence is dependent on the simple and immaterial monads. There is a pre-established harmony established by God, the central monad, between the world in the minds of the monads and the external world of objects. Leibniz's cosmology embraced traditional Christian Theism. The English psychologist and philosopher James Ward inspired by Leibniz had also defended a form of pluralistic idealism. According to Ward the universe is composed of "psychic monads" of different levels, interacting for mutual self- betterment.
Personalism is the view that the minds that underlie reality are the minds of persons. Borden Parker Bowne, a philosopher at Boston University, a founder and popularizer of personal idealism, presented it as a substantive reality of persons, the only reality, as known directly in self-consciousness. Reality is a society of interacting persons dependent on the Supreme Person of God. Other proponents include George Holmes Howison and J. M. E. McTaggart.
Howison's personal idealism was also called "California Personalism" by others to distinguish it from the "Boston Personalism" which was of Bowne. Howison maintained that both impersonal, monistic idealism and materialism run contrary to the experience of moral freedom. To deny freedom to pursue truth, beauty, and "benignant love" is to undermine every profound human venture, including science, morality, and philosophy. Personalistic idealists Borden Parker Bowne and Edgar S. Brightman and realistic personal theist Saint Thomas Aquinas address a core issue, namely that of dependence upon an infinite personal God.
Howison, in his book The Limits of Evolution and Other Essays Illustrating the Metaphysical Theory of Personal Idealism, created a democratic notion of personal idealism that extended all the way to God, who was no more the ultimate monarch but the ultimate democrat in eternal relation to other eternal persons. J. M. E. McTaggart's idealist atheism and Thomas Davidson's Apeirionism resemble Howisons personal idealism.
J. M. E. McTaggart of Cambridge University, argued that minds alone exist and only relate to each other through love. Space, time and material objects are unreal. In The Unreality of Time he argued that time is an illusion because it is impossible to produce a coherent account of a sequence of events. The Nature of Existence (1927) contained his arguments that space, time, and matter cannot possibly be real. In his Studies in Hegelian Cosmology (Cambridge, 1901, p196) he declared that metaphysics are not relevant to social and political action. McTaggart "thought that Hegel was wrong in supposing that metaphysics could show that the state is more than a means to the good of the individuals who compose it". For McTaggart "philosophy can give us very little, if any, guidance in action... Why should a Hegelian citizen be surprised that his belief as to the organic nature of the Absolute does not help him in deciding how to vote? Would a Hegelian engineer be reasonable in expecting that his belief that all matter is spirit should help him in planning a bridge?
Thomas Davidson taught a philosophy called "apeirotheism", a "form of pluralistic idealism...coupled with a stern ethical rigorism" which he defined as "a theory of Gods infinite in number." The theory was indebted to Aristotle's pluralism and his concepts of Soul, the rational, living aspect of a living substance which cannot exist apart from the body because it is not a substance but an essence, and nous, rational thought, reflection and understanding. Although a perennial source of controversy, Aristotle arguably views the latter as both eternal and immaterial in nature, as exemplified in his theology of unmoved movers. Identifying Aristotle's God with rational thought, Davidson argued, contrary to Aristotle, that just as the soul cannot exist apart from the body, God cannot exist apart from the world.
Famous quotes containing the words idealism and/or pluralistic:
“My formula for greatness in human beings is amor fati: that one wants to change nothing, neither forwards, nor backwards, nor in all eternity. Not merely to endure necessity, still less to hide itall idealism is mendacity in the face of necessitybut rather to love it.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“Of course Im a black writer.... Im not just a black writer, but categories like black writer, woman writer and Latin American writer arent marginal anymore. We have to acknowledge that the thing we call literature is more pluralistic now, just as society ought to be. The melting pot never worked. We ought to be able to accept on equal terms everybody from the Hassidim to Walter Lippmann, from the Rastafarians to Ralph Bunche.”
—Toni Morrison (b. 1931)