Idealism (check definition)

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Aug 18 11:00:10 MDT 1999

I agree with Sam.  And Hegel was an objective, as opposed to subjective , idealist.

Engels defines idealism in relation to materialism in _Feuerbach_:

"The great basic question of all philosophy, especially of more recent philosophy, is
that concerning the relation of thinking and being... The answers which the
philosophers gave to this question split them into two great camps. Those who asserted
the primacy of spirit to nature and, therefore, in the last instance, assumed world
creation in some form or other...comprised the camp of idealism. The others, who
regarded nature as primary, belong to the various schools of materialism...But the
question of thinking and being has yet another side: in what relation do our thhoughts
about the world surounding u stand to this world itself ? Is our thinking capable of
the cognition of the real world ? Are we able in our ideas and notions of the real
world to produce a correct reflection of reality ? ... The overwhelming majority of
philosophers give an affirmative answer to this question... In addition there is yet a
set of different philosophers - those who question the possibility o!
f any cognition, or at least of an exhaustive cognition of the world."

The last group of philosphers mentioned, dualists. like Kant, are sort of the original
Third Way group on this materialism/idealism relation. Some pronouncements of some
post-modernists can be seen as warmed over dualism by this approach. Note that Engels
discussion of the definition of idealism combines ontology and epistemology in its two
components. By this, in some ways, the objective idealist Hegel is closer to some
materialists than some idealists/dualists. So, Lenin said

"Remarkable: Hegel comes to the "idea" as the coincidence of the notion and the
object, as _truth_, _through_ the practical, purposive activity of man. A very close
approach to the view that man by his _practice_ proves th objective correctness of his
ideas, concepts , knowledge, science."

Lenin also said "The sole "property" of matter with whose recognition philosophical
materialism is boundup is the property of being an objective reality, of existing
outside our mind."

Charles Brown

>>> Sam Pawlett <rsp at> 08/18/99 03:00AM >>>
Idealism just means that the world doesn't exist independant of human
perception of it. There are different varieties, Berkeley's subjective
idealism and Kant's transcendental idealism, for example.

sam Pawlett

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