What is Idealism? thoughtfulness

What is Idealism? thoughtfulness

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

Idealism is the general name of the teachings that reduce existence to thought. The doctrine that argues that the first element of existence is idea (thought) is called idealism. Idealism is a philosophical doctrine that connects everything that exists to thought and that there is no world of objects independent of human thought.

According to idealism, matter is not real and everything in the universe is purely mental. Therefore, it is not possible to talk about any reality other than our thinking. Idealists argue that abstract relations between beings are more real than objects perceived by the senses, and that people know everything that exists in an intellectual context, through ideas and as ideas.

Although there are many types of idealism, it can be mentioned that they all share common principles. You will find these principles in our article, in order, in the list below.

Idealism rejects the idea of ​​being outside of thought.
The existence of universals,
transcending the here and now,
The assumption that the relationships between entities will transform those entities,
The dialectical approach to building systems that integrate contradictory components;
Counting the mind, especially the spirit, before matter…

Idealism, on the ground of reducing existence to thought, is in complete opposition to materialism, which reduces existence completely to matter. In order to give a clearer answer to the question of what is idealism, it is necessary to reveal the distinction and opposition between idealism and materialism.


In modern substance metaphysics, idealism is opposed to the understanding of materialism. Because where materialism says that matter is the only reality, idealism vehemently opposes this and argues that what really exists is the idea or thoughts and the mind in which these ideas are contained.

Idealism, which is actually an old view, whose roots go back to Plato, asserts that there is an unfailing order in the universe; not only that, he argues that this order is the work of the mind. Because according to idealism, matter cannot acquire order on its own.

Although idealism is an old view, it can be said that it emerged as a reaction against modern materialism.

In other words, while idealism developed its own theses, it also claimed that materialism is an idea, a thought that is the work of the human mind. From this point of view, it should be said that Berkeley is the biggest representative of idealism.

George Berkeley is seen as the greatest representative of idealism.

Indeed, Berkeley was concerned that modern science would lead to materialism. When science gained strength, it was inevitable that materialism would emerge from it. He thought that atheism would emerge from materialism. Because materialism, which claims that matter is real, leaves no room for either the divine or the individual spirit in the universe.

It is inevitable that nihilism will emerge from atheism as the view that there is no value and that “everything is permissible” in the absence of God.

Berkeley thought this would be a disaster for European Civilization. To prevent this situation, he traveled all over Europe and America like a missionary; preached to the people. In his philosophy, he said that what really exists is mind or spirit; By saying “to exist is to be perceived”, he reduced the existence of matter to the existence of the mind.

Idealism, as a philosophy movement, takes place in the mainstream and is the source of many sub-disciplines. In this context, there are different philosophical movements originating from idealism. Two of these are metaphysical idealism and epistemological idealism.

In the rest of our article, we will take a look at these two types of idealism.

Metaphysical Idealism: This current argues that all reality is based on ideas. Metaphysical idealism is the opposite of materialism, which asserts that the fundamental substance in the world is matter, and that this too will be known by material forms and processes.
Epistemological Idealism: This view argues that the mind can only grasp the spiritual in the process of knowledge or that the reality of objects stems from their perceptibility. Epistemological idealism is the opposite of realism, which argues that human consciousness sees and grasps objects that exist outside and independently of the mind as they really are.
Topics About Idealism
What is the political meaning of idealism?
The four main arguments of idealism
The development of idealism in the history of philosophy
Plato and idealism
Aristotle and idealism
Farabi and idealism
Hegel and idealism
Kant and Idealism
External Links
Idealism and Education
Idealism in Educational Philosophy

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook