The Priority of Mind

By Keith Ward

A thorough justification of the view that mind, not matter, is the fundamental reality.

ISBN: 9780227178973
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Is the mind just a by-product of the brain? Or is mind the fundamental reality, which creates matter? In The Priority of Mind, Keith Ward mounts a definitive defence of mind as prior to matter. In an accessible style, he unpacks the sources and abilities of the mind, situates it in the wider world, or cosmos, and proposes a relation between mind and virtue, and the nature of mind after death.

Along the way, he explores the different philosophical approaches to the mind-matter question taken by thinkers over time, settling on idealism as the teaching of most classical philosophers, and as most consistent with modern science. Lay readers and scholars alike will relish Ward’s clear, methodical exposition, and his counterarguments against the materialist narrative that dominates much of popular philosophical thinking today.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 152 mm
Pages 90

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Keith Ward is Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus at Oxford University, and a Fellow of the British Academy. During his long professorial career, Ward has taught philosophy and theology at universities in Britain and America.



Part One: Mind
1. The Sources of Mind
2. The Brain and the Mind
3. Dreaming
4. Freedom and Creativity
5. The Self as Agent
6. The Sensory World
7. Value and Purpose
8. Thoughts
9. Mind and Objective Reality
10. Artificial Intelligence
11. The Irony of Materialism

Part Two: Cosmos
1. The Cosmic Mind
2. Creative Change
3. Mind and Purpose
4. Emergence
5. Value
6. The Self-Realizing Universe
7. The Unfolding of Mind

Abstract of the Argument in Parts One or Two
Part One: Mind
Part Two: Cosmos
Part Three: Virtue
1. Truth
2. Beauty
3. Love
4. Idealism and Virtues
Part Four: Afterlife
1. The Life to Come



Endorsements and Reviews

Ward distils a sparkling metaphysical vision of the primacy of mind over matter that he has developed over decades of dialogue with secular philosophy and the great religious traditions. It is a vision that might have seemed outlandish at the outset of his philosophical career, but is now beginning to command respect throughout the philosophical guild. Crisply argued, elegantly structured, and effortlessly wide-ranging, The Priority of Mind is one of the most accessible and engaging presentations of the case for idealism that I have ever come across. James Orr, University of Cambridge