FocusPositioning the ideational and spiritual as the only truths
- Knowledge is … scope of all ideas
- Knowing is … holding ideas
- Learner is … idea-haver (individual)
- Learning is … realizing/developing ideas
- Teaching is … urging
OriginatedAncient (first formally described by ancient Greeks)
SynopsisIdealism might perhaps be better dubbed “idea-ism.” It refers to a range of perspectives that assert that ideas are the only true reality. Most Idealisms accept that there is a material world, but that world is seen to be lesser – subject to change, unstable, uncertain, and corruptible. Prominent branches of Idealism include
- Metaphysical Idealism – interpreted experience is all that is real
- Platonic Idealism – abstracted ideas are more real than perceptions
- Subjective Idealism – sensory experiences are more important than abstracted ideas
- Objective Idealism – an objective consciousness exists prior to and independent of human consciousness
- Epistemological Idealism – reality can only be known through ideas
- Phenomenalism – physical objects exist only as sensory stimuli or perceptions
- Psychologism – an umbrella notion that can be applied to any discourse in which human thought is positioned as the basis of knowledge, meaning, and/or logical truths
- Skepticism – an umbrella notion applied to an array of discourses that, to varying extents, question the possibility of factual knowledge. Positions range from advice to suspend judgment to denying the very possibility of knowledge. Types of Skepticism vary according to scope, method, and associated philosophy
- Solipsism – the view that one can only be certain of the existence of one's own mind – that is, everything else (e.g., other minds, a physical world) might not exist
CommentaryIdealism was largely discounted and dismissed through the 20th century. Even so, many of its principles and assumptions permeate everyday sensibilities – evident in the overwhelming dominance of Mentalisms in popular discussions of learning and teaching.
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesAncient Greeks
Status as a Theory of LearningIdealism is a theory of existence and knowledge that infuses many popular beliefs and assumptions about learning. As such, it can be described as highly influential of common perspective of learning, if not a proper learning theory itself.
Status as a Theory of TeachingIdealism is not a theory of teaching.
Status as a Scientific TheoryIdealism is not a scientific theory.
- Epistemological Idealism
- Metaphysical Idealism
- Objective Idealism
- Subjective Idealism
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Idealism” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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