Philosophy

Articles

Realism v. Idealism

J. J. C. Smarta1

a1 The Australian National University

It is characteristic of realists to separate ontology from epistemology and of idealists to mix the two things up. By ‘idealists’ here I am mainly referring to the British neo-Hegelians (‘objective idealists’) but the charge of mixing up ontology and epistemology can be made against at least one ‘subjective idealist’, namely Bishop Berkeley, as his wellknown dictum ‘esse ispercipi’ testifies. The objective idealists rejected the correspondence theory of truth and on the whole accepted a coherence theory. The qualification is needed here because H. H. Joachim, in The Nature of Truth, found the coherence theory unable to deal with the problem of error.