Philosophers say the key to understanding human life is answering the really philosophical questions such as why are we here? Where did we come from? Where will we go? And so on and so forth. This has truly been a debate for the ages in philosophy, one that has stimulated thinkers, philosophers, theologists and scientists for thousands of years, hence led emergence of idealism and realism as two major traditional philosophical schools of thought in the realm of philosophy. So this paper projects the meaning of idealism and meaning of realism then discusses in detail the basic assumptions of idealism and those of realism and how these two traditional schools of thought differ and their implications within the educational setting. Meaning of idealism
Idealism is one of the traditional philosophical schools of thought, idealism as describe by Ishumi and nyirenda (2002) that it is the traditional philosophy where by ideas are primarily and matter is the derivative of ideas, matter exist only in the form of ideas. Idealism, in philosophy, a theory of reality and of knowledge that attributes to consciousness, or the immaterial mind, a primary role in the constitution of the world, Idealism is the view that all physical objects are mind-dependent and can have no existence apart from a mind that is conscious of them. Chandra and Sharma (2002) show that idealism is opposed to realism, the view that mind-independent physical objects exist that can be known through the senses and has thereby provided an important basis for theories of idealism, which contend that reality is mind-dependent and that true knowledge of reality is gained by relying upon a spiritual or conscious source. Leading proponents of Idealism was Plato a Greek philosopher Considered father of idealism while Descartes, Kant and Hegel are the prominent idealists in 19th c. Idealism falls into three categories which are platonic idealism, religious idealism and modern idealism Platonic idealism, this category of the idealism based on the Plato Theory of Forms. In the 5th and 4th centuries BC, Plato postulated the existence of a realm of Ideas that the varied objects of common experience imperfectly reflect. He maintained that these ideal Forms are not only more clearly intelligible but also more real than the transient and essentially illusory objects themselves. Another category is Religious idealism, in this Idealism was considered as dominant movement of modern German philosophy that had a profound effect on Lutheran theological thought Lutheran theology, during the 18th century, reflected the rationalism of the Enlightenment. During the 19th century, the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, who emphasized universal religious experience. While modern idealism was influenced by George Berkeley (1685-1753), Irish philosopher and clergyman, generally regarded as the founder of the modern school of idealism. He held that matter cannot be conceived to exist independent of the mind; the phenomena of sense can be explained only by supposing a deity that continually evokes perception in the human mind (Popkin, 2008). Consequently the Idealism said that mind is superior to matter in the sense that mind is material and therefore superior to material substances. They believed that the universe is the product of intelligence and will. They said that the order or harmony which we witness in our world is originated by a spiritual and eternal reality. The idealists do not deny the existence of the physical world. But what they are saying is that the material things of the world like houses, trees, or animals are not the ultimate reality because they are constantly changing (Annick , 2001). Meaning of Realism
Realism in philosophy is a term used for two distinct doctrines of epistemology. In modern philosophy, it is applied to the doctrine that ordinary objects of sense perception, such as tables and chairs, have an existence independent of their being perceived...
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