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Idealism.

System of philosophy* which ascribes existence to ideas or thought perceptions rather than to material objects; i. e., the essence of the world as a whole and of its various parts does not consist in phenomena that can be perceived with senses, but in “ideas” of external perceptions. The metaphysical idealism of Plato* holds that there existed in the divine mind ideas, patterns, according to which individual things are formed. Reality belongs to the idea rather than to the phenomenon. The degree of reality attributed to any phenomenal form is to be measured on the scale in which it embodies the original idea. Modern psychological idealism tries to answer the question: Do things exist in themselves (realism*), or do only the ideas we have of them exist? It holds that there is no reality indep. of consciousness. A person cannot be sure of the reality of a tree, but only of his personal perception, mental picture, idea, of a tree.

Modern idealism was developed esp. by such Ger. philosophers as G. W. v. Leibniz* (ideas are innate; there is disparity bet. mind and matter), I. Kant* (critical or transcendental idealism), J. G. Fichte* (subjective idealism), F. W. J. v. Schelling* (transcendental idealism), G. W. F. Hegel* (absolute idealism), R. H. Lotze* (teleological idealism).

More recent idealists include F. H. Bradley,* B. Bosanquet,* J. Caird,* Maine de Biran,* B. Croce,* J. Royce,* W. E. Hocking,* G. H. Howison,* J. M. E. McTaggart,* H. Rashdall.*

Sometimes the term “idealism” is used in reference to the formation of ideals as goals.

See also Monism; Nominalism.

J. Royce, The Religious Aspect of Philosophy (New York, 1885); N. Hartmann, Die Philosophie des deutchen Idealismus, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1923, 1929); W. Lütgert, Die Religion des deutschen Idealismus und ihr Ende, 4 vols. (Gütersloh, 1923–30); N. K. Smith, Prolegomena to an Idealist Theory of Knowledge (London, 1924); J. H. Muirhead, The Platonic Tradition in Anglo-Saxon Philosophy: Studies in the History of Idealism in England and America (London, 1931); G. W. Cunningham, The Idealistic Argument in Recent British and American Philosophy (New York, 1933); W. E. Hocking, Types of Philosophy, rev. ed. (New York, 1939); A. C. Ewing, Idealism: A Critical Survey (London, 1933).


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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