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Meaning and definition of Idealism | Aims of idealism and education


Meaning and definition of Idealism

Meaning of Idealism : 

Idealism, which we call in English, is made up of two words - Ideal+ism, but some thinkers believe that it has two words - Idea+ism. One has been added to it for convenience. 

In fact, if seen, it should be considered to originate from Idea or thought only. Since its promoters believe in the continued existence of philosophical thought, it is called positivism of ideology. But in practice we only use idealism. 

This philosophy gives importance to thoughts, feelings and ideals rather than things and accepts that the goal of life is the attainment of spiritual values and development of the soul. For this reason it considers the spiritual world as superior and accepts it as truth and reality.

Definition of Idealism


According to Ross - “ There are many forms of idealists, but the essence of all is that the mind or soul is the substance of this world and the mental form is the truth. ”

Brubacher: “ According to the idealists, mind is the central point to understand this world. For them there is no other reality greater than the functioning of the mind to understand this world. ”

According to Henderson – “ Idealism emphasizes the spiritual aspect of man, because for idealists spiritual values are the most important aspects of life and man. A philosophical idealist believes that the limited mind of man is born from the unlimited mind. Both the individual and the world are expressions of the intellect and the physical world can be interpreted through the mind. ,

According to D.M. Dutta - “ Idealism is the theory which believes in spirituality as the ultimate authority. ,

According to Rajan – “ Idealists believe that the universe has its own intelligence and will and that all physical things can be explained by the mind behind them. ,

Process of Idealism


Idealism is an ancient ideology of life. Even today there is enough respect for this. As a philosophy of life, it has attracted high-ranking philosophers of the world.

Idealism believes in evolution, but its evolution is different from naturalistic evolution. According to idealism, the ultimate goal of development is the attainment of soul and not evolution from a lower level to a higher level being. 

According to idealism, matter is not the ultimate truth. The idea of matter is real, the physical form of matter is unreal. The physical world is perishable and changeable. Truth should be permanent and unchanging. 

Therefore, truth is conceptual and mental, because there is stability in thoughts and ideas. On this basis, body is mortal, hence untrue, soul is immortal and true. Knowledge of the ultimate truth is real knowledge, the rest is ignorance or illusion. 

This knowledge is logical, the result of thinking and contemplation and insight. This is not a matter of senses. Idealism sees unity in diversity. Truth is mental. To see that one ultimate truth in the many forms of creation is to see unity in diversity.

Write the aims of idealism and education (Aims of Education according to Idealism)


According to idealist philosophers, the goal of human life is to attain salvation, spiritual development or to know it. For this work, man has to achieve success in four stages. 

At the first stage he has to develop his natural 'self'. This includes the physical development of humans. 

At the second stage he has to develop his social 'self'. This includes social, cultural, moral, character and citizenship development. 

At the third stage he has to develop his mental 'self'. Under this, mental, intellectual and rational powers have to be developed. 

And at the fourth and final stage he has to develop his spiritual 'self'. This includes development of spiritual consciousness. 

Idealists fix these as the objectives of education.

  • Idealism and objectives of education
  • development of self realization
  • development of spiritual values
  • upgradation of child's personality
  • philosophy of unity in diversity
  • Development of civilization and culture
  • Importance of ideas rather than things
  • Importance of human being compared to inanimate nature


1. Development of self realization - 

Idealistic ideology believes that if there is any conscious being beyond nature then it is 'man'. For this reason, man cannot experience the conscious existence that pervades the world until the consciousness that pervades him develops. 

Therefore, the highest function of education is to make man so capable that he can recognize and realize his true nature. There are mainly four stages of this self-realization:- 

  • Physical Self
  • Social self
  • Intellectual self
  • spiritual self

The physical 'self' is the lowest level of self-realization, which naturalists call self-expression. The meaning gives functionalist importance to the social 'self', in this the person envisages social interest and abandons personal interests for social welfare. 

At the level of intellectual experience, a person realizes his 'self' through conscience and rising above social morality, he can differentiate between good and bad and his conduct, thinking and beliefs become rational. 

Spiritual 'self' is the highest level of self-realization, where a person adopts the qualities in his personality through a natural process and starts identifying with the universal soul within himself. We express this universal soul in three forms:- Truth, Shiva and Sundar. When idealists talk about imparting education for self-realization, they have only one goal,


2. Development of Spiritual Values - 

Idealistic ideology considers the spiritual world more important than the material world. 

Therefore, even in the objectives of education, importance is given to the spiritual development of the child. They observe man as a moral being and consider character building as the aim of education. 

While developing the values of 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram', he also discusses that the main objective of education is to develop the child spiritually.

3. To Exalt Child's Personality - 

According to Bogoslovsky - "Our objective is to enable the students to lead a rich and meaningful life, to develop an all-round and colorful personality, to experience the joy of being happy. If problems arise, they can face them with dignity and benefit and can help other people in living this higher life.

While discussing the upgradation of personality, Plato and Ross also believe that through education human personality should be perfected and at the same time his personality should be upgraded.


4. To Establish Unity in Diversity - 

Idealism supports this ideology and emphasizes that the aim of education should be to enable the child to understand the different things present in the world. 

To bind all beings in the thread of unity, that is, the understanding should be created within the child that there is a supreme power that governs this world, which is known by the name of God and this power of God governs all the living beings of the world. 

The aim of education should be to make one realize this divine power. Only after realizing this can a person establish identity with this world and provide completeness to his personality. 

5. Development of Culture and Civilization- 

Idealism believes that it is absolutely necessary for a person to be introduced to the culture of the society of which he is a member. 

Also, if the child wants to keep the society alive, then he should also protect the civilization and culture that he receives as the heritage of the society. 

Civilization and culture provide the basis through which development of society is possible. Idealism gives importance to society rather than the individual. 

For this reason he considers the aim of education to be the development of civilization and culture. 

Rusk's view is that "cultural environment is man's self-created environment or it is the result of man's creative activity, whose protection and development should be the aim of education."


6. Importance of ideas than objectives - 

Idealism believes that in this world matter is perishable and ideas are immortal. 

Thought is true, real and unchanging. 

Thought is the medium to impart knowledge to man. This world lies only in man's thoughts. He believes that this world is not mechanical. 

Since the things existing in this world are born as a result of mental processes. His view is that "the universe is like a thought rather than a machine."

7. Importance of man compared to inanimate nature (Man is important than Nature) - 

Idealists consider man's place to be slightly lower than God. Their view is that man is capable enough to experience the spiritual world and establish his identity with God or experience Him. 

For this reason that root is very important in nature. He also believes that man is an intelligent and rational creature and intelligence becomes the basis of various types of human activities, due to which man elevates himself above animalistic qualities.