Metaphysics is the branch of Philosophy that focuses on the nature of reality, including abstract concepts such as being and knowing. The term literally means ‘beyond the physical.’ It attempts to find unity across the domains of experience and thought. There are five broad philosophical schools of thought that apply to education today and these general frameworks provide the base from which the various educational philosophies are derived. Idealism is the view that ideas or thoughts make up fundamental reality. Idealism is a label which covers a number of philosophical positions with quite different implications and tendencies, including: 1. Objective idealism asserts that the reality of experiencing combines and transcends the reality of the object experienced and that of the mind of the observer.2 Objective idealists accept common sense realism but reject naturalism. In other words, objective idealists accept the view that material objects exist but reject the concept that the mind and spiritual values have emerged from material things. * Proponents include Thomas Hill Green, Josiah Royce, and Benedetto Croce. 2. Subjective Idealism describes a relationship between experience and the world in which objects are no more than collections or "bundles" of sense data in the perceiver.2 Subjective idealists assert both metaphysical and epistemological idealism while denying that material objects exist independently of human perception and thus are opposed to both realism and naturalism. * Proponents include Berkeley, the Bishop of Cloyne.
3. Transcendental idealism is a doctrine that maintains that the mind shapes the world we perceive into the form of space-and-time.2 Transcendental idealists are strong skeptics of a mind-independent world, asserting epistemological and not metaphysical idealism. * Proponents include founder, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schelling. 4. Absolute idealism is the view that in order for human reason to be able to know the world at all, there must be, in some sense, an identity of thought and being; otherwise, we would never have any means of access to the world, and we would have no certainty about any of our knowledge.6 * Proponents include founder, G. W. F. Hegel.
As well as several more minor variants or related concepts, including: 5. Epistemological Idealism asserts that minds perceive only their own ideas, and not external objects; therefore we cannot directly know things in themselves or things as they really are. The only thing we can ever have knowledge about is the world of phenomenal human experience which leaves no reason to suspect that reality mirrors our perceptions and thoughts. 6. Actual Idealism is a form of idealism that contrasted Transcendental Idealism and Absolute Idealism. This system saw thought as all-embracing, and claimed that no-one could actually leave their sphere of thinking, or exceed their own thought.6 * Proponents include Giovanni Gentile.
7. Buddhist Idealism is the concept in that all existence is nothing but consciousness, and therefore there is nothing that lies outside of the mind. 8. Panpsychism holds that that all parts of matter involve mind or that the whole universe is an organism that possesses a mind. Therefore all objects of experience are also subjects. * Proponents include Gottfried Leibniz.
9. Practical Idealism is a political philosophy which holds it to be an ethical imperative to implement ideals of virtue or good. * Proponents include Mahatma Gandhi.
Realism is the view that entities of a certain type have a reality that is completely ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. There are many different types and degrees of Realism, including: 1. Platonic Realism is the view that universals exist. A universal is a property of an object, which can exist in more than one place at the same time. * Proponents...
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