Idealism (check definition)

Andrew Wayne Austin aaustin at
Sat Aug 21 12:57:45 MDT 1999

[Here is that longer post I mentioned]

On Wed, 18 Aug 1999, Xxxzx Xyyxyz wrote:

>Then, for idealists in general, is the crux based up the proof -- what
>other methods of proof do Idealists use? (faith, etc?)

The method of proof for a rationalist is non-contradiction. I wasn't
talking about all idealism. Religion rests on faith/doctrine. Empiricism
relies on sense data. It depends on which form of idealism we wish to
discuss. Some idealisms say that ideas which are unknown to us are

>Yes, materialism is of course the practice (application) of what we
>know. But fundamentally, in theory, it must accept that there is
>something beyond our knowledge (ie a working of the universe) that is
>behind all things. This has little or no consequence in PRACTICAL
>matters -- you work with what you have -- what you can do. I should make
>this more clear for both.

I don't think the argument is saved by clarification. For materialists--at
least for that form of materialism to which I subscribe--there is
something that operates behind the phenomenal world, but this something is
constituted by objective structures and relations and their dynamic
interdependencies and is, at least in part, knowable.

>  I see, thank you. A similar example may succeed in its place: A tree
>falls in the forest, does it make a sound if nothing is there to hear

I don't think this is similar. The tree falling in the forest depends
quite a bit on how you define sound. The chicken and the egg bit doesn't
depend on how one defines chicken or egg.

>In this, the negation of the ability to emprically prove is laid inside.
>I do not, however, know if this would be a problem for the idealist, as
>it is difficult for me to think without basing thought on empricism.

I am not sure of your position, but to clarify: empiricism is a form of

>Ok, this can be improved. Then, instead of the fickleness I introduced,
>what needs to be written is that taking to the one side is using the
>material basis of the world as the reason for choice;  taking to the
>other side is using the ideal basis of the world as the reason for

This is basically saying the same thing as before, isn't it?


[PS--actually this post wasn't that long. Maybe I had planned to write

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