On Idealism and “On What There Is”

Dallas Willard Part 12 of 16

Continuing the topic of the last lecture, Dallas works on the issues in metaphysical idealism using A.E. Taylor’s Elements of Metaphysics Book II, Chapters 1-3 as his text. Midway into the lecture he performs his classic experiment which purportedly shows that objects do not depend on perception for their being. He says at one point, “[Absolute idealism] has in it arguments and considerations which are not easily gotten rid of. . . . American pragmatism — as it is developed ,. . . earlier through Royce, but through Dewey primarily, into C.I. Lewis, the teacher of Quine, into Quine, into Carnap — it is another form of absolute idealism.”

In the second part of the lecture the text is Willard Quine’s essay “On What There Is” in From a Logical Point of View and his cute slogan: “To be is to be in the range of a bound variable.” At the end of the lecture Dallas says that Quine does not want to be an idealist but “very often in philosophy we do no succeed in avoiding what we do not want to be.”

Listen to all parts in this Metaphysics (1984) series