Intuition and Ideality

By David Weissman

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Systematic Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887064289, 309 pages, July 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064272, 309 pages, July 1987

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Table of contents



One. Method, Mind and Ontology


1. The alleged neutrality of philosophic method
2. Descartes' method
3. Functionalism
4. Psychologism
5. Descartes' intuitionism
6. Plato and Descartes
7. Descartes' notion of intuiting mind
8. A different way of determining mind's features
9. Is mind inspectable?
10. The ontology of Descartes' method
11. Does knowledge reach beyond our inspecting minds?
12. God's role in Descartes' theory of knowledge
13. The opposition of theory and method
14. Method's ascendence over theory


Two. The Dialectical Cycles of Intuitionist Method


1. A privileged sanctuary
2. Four organizing notions
3. Content and form
4. The dialectical refinements of content and form
5. The reciprocity of mind and experience
6. Providing for content and form, mind and experience
7. The justifications for intuitionist method
8. Conclusions


Three. Intuitionist Method's Defining Properties


1. The given
2. Contingency and necessity
3. The given is inspected
4. Analysis and synthesis
5. The temporality of things given
6. Certainty
7. Summary


Four. The Intuitionist Ontology and Psychology


1. The intuitionist ontology
2. The intuitionist psychology
3. The alternative again


Five. Topical Metaphysics: Cause and Effect


1. Systematic and topical metaphysics
2. Two kinds of topical analysis
3. Cause and effect as an example for topical analysis
4. Hume's theory of cause and effect
5. Unsatisfactory alternatives
6. Some reasons for Providing a different theory of cause
7. Two kinds of theory about causation
8. A theory of cause alternative to Hume's
9. Hume on stable systems and their causes
10. Why we defer to Hume
11. Some twentieth century Humean views about cause
12. Whitehead's notion of cause
13. Whitehead and Hume


Six. Systematic Metaphysics: Mind's Appropriation of Being


1. Systematic metaphysics
2. Two meanings of systematic
3. The result to be explained
4. A prescriptivist creation story
5. Three features for which to provide when making a world
6. Four additional questions
7. Elevating the cogito to Godhood
8. The more rigorous formulation of this result
9. Idealism is the consequence of intuitionist method
10. Why intuiting mind disappears
11. Intuiting mind as the paradigm for reality
12. An alternative to intuitionist idealism





This book shows how idealism is a consequence of the intuitionist method. Idealism develops from mental content inspected by mind, or as mind characterizing itself. Weissman declares that the idea of an independent world, of a nature whose character and existence are independent of mind, cannot be recovered until we repudiate the intuitionist method. This psycho-centric ontology has been pervasive in Western philosophy since Parmenides and Plato. Intuition and Ideality characterizes its varieties, dialectical cycles, and idealist consequences.

What is required is a method that is speculative and testable—a method that makes speculation responsible by testability. Weissman characterizes such a hypothetical method, and he describes some of the categorical features that are discovered in the world as this alternative method is used.

David Weissman is Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York.


"This work is a brilliant interpretation of Western philosophy. It is original to the core. I was struck again and again by the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the work, matched by an equally extraordinary grasp of detail. The author has totally revised my way of reading philosophers as diverse as Whitehead and Quine. The work is philosophy at its best." — Andrew J. Reck

"In my judgment, Weissman's work is as close to 'brilliance' as that by any contemporary philosopher whom I have read. His book is clear, crisp, profound. Weissman is 'easy reading,' something few authors accomplish in the difficult terrain of metaphysics and epistemology. The book is an in-depth defense of a realistic theory of knowledge. His thesis rings true against the backdrop of common sense, classical philosophy, and contemporary science. He has a solid grasp of the history of Western philosophy and he displays that learning on nearly every page. He uses historical figures to create a dialogue from which he produces his own insights." — Jude P. Dougherty