Idealism (Philosophy)

idealism

idealism, the attitude that places special value on ideas and ideals as products of the mind, in comparison with the world as perceived through the senses. In art idealism is the tendency to represent things as aesthetic sensibility would have them rather than as they are. In ethics it implies a view of life in which the predominant forces are spiritual and the aim is perfection. In philosophy the term refers to efforts to account for all objects in nature and experience as representations of the mind and sometimes to assign to such representations a higher order of existence. It is opposed to materialism. Plato conceived a world in which eternal ideas constituted reality, of which the ordinary world of experience is a shadow. In modern times idealism has largely come to refer the source of ideas to man's consciousness, whereas in the earlier period ideas were assigned a reality outside and independent of man's existence. Nevertheless, modern idealism generally proposes suprahuman mental activity of some sort and ascribes independent reality to certain principles, such as creativity, a force for good, or an absolute truth. The subjective idealism of George Berkeley in the 18th cent. held that the apparently objective world has its existence in the consciousness of individuals. Immanuel Kant developed a critical or transcendental idealism in which the phenomenal world, constituted by the human understanding, stands opposed to a world of things-in-themselves. The post-Kantian German idealism of J. G. Fichte and Friedrich von Schelling, which culminated in the absolute or objective idealism of G. W. F. Hegel, began with a denial of the unknowable thing-in-itself, thereby enabling these philosophers to treat all reality as the creation of mind or spirit. Forms of post-Kantian idealism were developed in Germany by Arthur Schopenhauer and Hermann Lotze and in England by Samuel Coleridge; forms of post-Hegelian idealism were developed in England and France by T. H. Green, Victor Cousin, and C. B. Renouvier. More recent idealists include F. H. Bradley, Bernard Bosanquet, Josiah Royce, Benedetto Croce, and the neo-Kantians such as Ernst Cassirer and Hermann Cohen.

See J. H. Muirhead, The Platonic Tradition in Anglo-Saxon Philosophy (1931, repr. 1965); A. C. Ewing, ed., The Idealist Tradition (1957); G. A. Kelly, Idealism, Politics, and History (1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Idealism (Philosophy): Selected full-text books and articles

Idealism as a Philosophy By R. F. Alfred Hoernlé George H. Doran, 1927
The Vindication of Absolute Idealism By T. L. S. Sprigge Edinburgh University Press, 1983
Berkeley's Idealism: A Critical Examination By Georges Dicker Oxford University Press, 2011
The Innovations of Idealism By Rüdiger Bubner; Nicholas Walker Cambridge University Press, 2003
German Idealism: The Struggle against Subjectivism, 1781-1801 By Frederick C. Beiser Harvard University Press, 2002
Magical Realism and the Legacy of German Idealism By Warnes, Christopher The Modern Language Review, Vol. 101, No. 2, April 2006
The Columbia History of Western Philosophy By Richard H. Popkin Columbia University Press, 1999
Heidegger and Kant: The Question of Idealism By Raffoul, Francois Philosophy Today, Vol. 40, No. 4, Winter 1996
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues By George Berkeley; Howard Robinson Oxford University Press, 1996
Problems from Kant By James Van Cleve Oxford University Press, 1999
A History of American Philosophy By Herbert W. Schneider Columbia University Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Idealisms"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.