Dmytro Sepetyi. John Foster’s phenomenalistic idealism under scrutiny





physical realism, phenomenalistic idealism, perception, intrinsic content, empirical immanence


The article discusses John Foster’s last attempt at refutation of physical realism and defence of phenomenalistic idealism. Main Foster’s arguments against physical realism, the argument from «the problem of perception» and the argument from the inscrutability of intrinsic content of the external reality are scrutinized and found wanting. The argument from «the problem of perception» is shown to fail against «the decompositional view» because it falsely assumes that the perception of an object, if it is mediated by some processes and states, requires the perception of those mediating processes and states. The argument from the inscrutability of intrinsic content is found unsuccessful because physical realism can accommodate Kantian agnosticism about intrinsic contents, while holding that physical reality is knowable in all structural and dynamical respects that in fact constitute the realm of study of natural sciences. Foster’s further argument that involves the spatial swap scenario is shown to beg the question: a physical realist can plausibly and arguably deny either the logical possibility of such a scenario, or Foster’s idealism-favouring construal of it. On the other hand, it is pointed out that Foster’s treatment of the timing of the prehuman history of the Universe is gravely unsatisfactory and suggests the refutation of phenomenalistic idealism.

Author Biography


PhD in Philosophical Sciences, Associate Professor at the Department of Social Disciplines, Zaporizhzhia State Medical University,

26, Mayakovskyi Ave., Zaporizhzhia, 2669035


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How to Cite

SEPETYI, D. (2020). Dmytro Sepetyi. John Foster’s phenomenalistic idealism under scrutiny: PHILOPSOPHY OF MIND. Filosofska Dumka, (2), 102–118.



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