Three Schools

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  • #1
wuliheron
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By who you hate, by this are you truly know.
Frank Herbert


There are three main schools of thought I can count here that are frequently at odds with one another:

1)Realism

2)Idealism

3)Mysticism

Anyone care to take a stab at describing the rudamentary schools of thought here? How would you describe yourself? How would you contrast all three schools and their differences of opinion?
 

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  • #2
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
By who you hate, by this are you truly know.
Frank Herbert


There are three main schools of thought I can count here that are frequently at odds with one another:

1)Realism

2)Idealism

3)Mysticism

Anyone care to take a stab at describing the rudamentary schools of thought here? How would you describe yourself? How would you contrast all three schools and their differences of opinion?

Do you categorize materialism under the label 'realism'?

My categorization would look a bit different.

1) Materialism (matter is primary, mind secondary)

2) Idealism (mind is primary, matter secondary)

2a) Objective Idealism (the Absolute Idea, etc).

2b) Subjective Idealism (only one's own mind has existence, solipsism)
 
  • #3
Mentat
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Originally posted by wuliheron
By who you hate, by this are you truly know.
Frank Herbert


There are three main schools of thought I can count here that are frequently at odds with one another:

1)Realism

2)Idealism

3)Mysticism

Anyone care to take a stab at describing the rudamentary schools of thought here? How would you describe yourself? How would you contrast all three schools and their differences of opinion?

What do you mean by "Realism"? People, in either of the other two schools of thought, consider their conception to be "real", do they not?
 
  • #4
wuliheron
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Yes, of course, materialism goes under the realist catagory. Realists believe their are real objects or things with real properties. Whether or not we look at the moon, it is there and has an independent existence of its own.
 
  • #5
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Yes, of course, materialism goes under the realist catagory. Realists believe their are real objects or things with real properties. Whether or not we look at the moon, it is there and has an independent existence of its own.

The philosophical school is known under the name materialism, not realism. Anyone can invent there own labels, but I would just propose use the conventional labels.
 
  • #6
wuliheron
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Realism is a more broad term. It includes for example the modern idea that there is no such thing as a material object, that everything could be made of energy instead.
 
  • #7
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Realism is a more broad term. It includes for example the modern idea that there is no such thing as a material object, that everything could be made of energy instead.

Which only explains that you have a wrong concept of the philosophical term 'matter', which is not the same as the physical term 'matter'. Matter in the philosophical sense implies motion, and does not just denote something that has mass. It includes therefore anything material, which is bot mass-having matter (particles and so), energy, fields, or whatever. Philosophical materialism leaves that up to science, to make more definite statements about the forms of matter.
 
  • #8
Dissident Dan
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I am a materialist. I have ideals and try to follow them, but I don't think that makes me an idealist, according to its definition in this thread.
 
  • #9
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens
Which only explains that you have a wrong concept of the philosophical term 'matter', which is not the same as the physical term 'matter'. Matter in the philosophical sense implies motion, and does not just denote something that has mass. It includes therefore anything material, which is bot mass-having matter (particles and so), energy, fields, or whatever. Philosophical materialism leaves that up to science, to make more definite statements about the forms of matter.

What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is motion without some "thing" to move? What is matter without substance? What is form without shape?

Being ignorant of ultimate physical or metaphysical basis of existence does not mean one cannot take a realistic perspective that is neither materialistic nor idealistic.
 
  • #10
heusdens
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Originally posted by Dissident Dan
I am a materialist. I have ideals and try to follow them, but I don't think that makes me an idealist, according to its definition in this thread.

Right! I'm a materialist too, and have ideals too.
To be a materialist does not imply that one is looking for material benefit or so. We should distinguish the meaning of the philosophical terms materialism and idealism from their ordinary meanings in ordinary language.
 
  • #11
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
What is the sound of one hand clapping?

It's a bit dimmer then clapping with two hands. Never tried to clap with one hand??? It is doable, and it does make a sound!

What is motion without some "thing" to move? What is matter without substance? What is form without shape?

Right! Motion and matter can not be seperated.

Being ignorant of ultimate physical or metaphysical basis of existence does not mean one cannot take a realistic perspective that is neither materialistic nor idealistic.

Is in your viewpoint realism a seperate school of philosophy? Name some exponents of this philosophical school.
 
  • #12
wuliheron
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Realism was founded by Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle believed universals (properties or relationships) exist in everything around us, in space and time. Plato's realism diverged in that he believed in a supernatural heavenly realm of perfect universals after which all earthly ones were imperfect copies. With the advent of Idealism Plato's ideas have largely been divorced from the school of what we now call realism.
 
  • #13
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Realism was founded by Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle believed universals (properties or relationships) exist in everything around us, in space and time. Plato's realism diverged in that he believed in a supernatural heavenly realm of perfect universals after which all earthly ones were imperfect copies. With the advent of Idealism Plato's ideas have largely been divorced from the school of what we now call realism.
Of course if the Divine were real, then it "must" be held as part of realism. Does that mean Plato was also a "spiritualist?"
 
  • #14
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
Of course if the Divine were real, then it "must" be held as part of realism. Does that mean Plato was also a "spiritualist?"

Exactly, Plato believed God was infinitely real while our ordinary everyday lives are finite but real.

It occured to me that I left out the forth school of thought, Pragmatism. So, to update the list we have:

1)Realism

2)Pragmatism

3)Idealism

4)Mysticism

These are listed according to how strong their fundamental assertions are. Realism asserts that the objects and relationships of our ordinary lives are real and have an existence independent from ourselves. The moon is still there whether we look or not. Pragmatism says maybe it doesn't matter if they are real or not, we still have to deal with them. Idealism says they are all constructs of consciousness, and in some sense the moon isn't there when we don't look. Mysticism says its all real, unreal, and neither.
 
  • #15
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Mysticism says its all real, unreal, and neither.
Does that mean it's all relative to the observer then? Or, that there are different ways of looking at things, depending on the situation?

Of course this would also apply to Plato now -- at this time -- wouldn't it?
 
  • #16
FZ+
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Subjective realism?
Real objects exist, but we can only observe via virtual concepts.
 
  • #17
heusdens
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Since you declared that realism is a seperate school from materialism, it shows up you forgot to mention materialism, and especially the most modern school of materialism: dialectical-materialism.
 
  • #18
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
Does that mean it's all relative to the observer then? Or, that there are different ways of looking at things, depending on the situation?

Of course this would also apply to Plato now -- at this time -- wouldn't it?

Mysiticism can be interpreted any way you want. That's where the name comes from: its a mystery. Plato's philosophy was not terribly mysterious but extremely well defined.

Originally posted by heusdens
Since you declared that realism is a seperate school from materialism, it shows up you forgot to mention materialism, and especially the most modern school of materialism: dialectical-materialism.

Both subjective and dialectical materialism fall under the catagory of Realism. Each proposes there are real objects in the world with non-arbitrary properties and relationahips. The moon is definitely there when you look away.
 
  • #19
Royce
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Well, I guess then that I a pragmatisic, semi-platonic, idealistic, realist with mystical leanings.
Pragmatist because I believe that science and knowlege must be based on experimentation and experience.
Semi-platonic because I am a realist at heart. While I don't agree with Paalto's forms I do agree that we must look at the whole object to know it while Aristotle wanted to disect everything to know its inner workings.
Idealistic because I do believe in ideals
A realist be cause I believe that reality exists whether we are looking at it or not and couldn't care less about us looking or not.
Finally a mystic because I believe that all is one and we are all part of the one and that the universe was created and it in and of itself is a mystery, paradox.
There are probably more but since I could only choose from the given list I have to stop here.
 
  • #20
Sounds ok to me, Royce.

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789
 
  • #21
wuliheron
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I hadn't really thought of it till you brought it up guys, but yeah, I lean towards different schools of thought according to the situation. My own personal beliefs lean towards the mystical, but the philosophy I've developed here is a distinctly pragmatic one. Within that pragmatic context, at times I adopt a realist perspective and at other times an idealistic one.

Idealism is better suited to cognitive sciences while realism is better suited to physical sciences imo. Pragmatism brings these two into an overarching scientific and practical personal context for me. Mysticism is what goes beyond all such abstractions and brings them together with attitude. :0)
 
  • #22
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Both subjective and dialectical materialism fall under the catagory of Realism. Each proposes there are real objects in the world with non-arbitrary properties and relationahips. The moon is definitely there when you look away.

Pardon? What do I hold of 'subjective materialism'? The world around me realy exist, independend of my mind, but not to someone else's mind, or so?

I do not know of a philosophical school named 'subjective materialism'.
 
  • #23
drag
Science Advisor
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Greetings !
Originally posted by wuliheron
1)Realism

2)Idealism

3)Mysticism

Anyone care to take a stab at describing the
rudamentary schools of thought here? How
would you describe yourself? How would you
contrast all three schools and their
differences of opinion?
1. If you mean by being real = accepting
the observed (not through my eyes but ALL the
input of my conscousness) and not accepting
absolutes, then that's me.

2. BS.

3. BS.

4. Whatever - very likely (but not absolutly) BS. :wink:

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #24
heusdens
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As argued in this thread I do not see a reason to leave materialism out of the list of primary philosophical schools. specially 'realism' has different roots as materialism, and materialism can not be hold to be a subdivision of materialism, I would suspect that realism is a subdivision of materialism instead.
The distinction mentioned between 'realism' and 'materialism' is not a real distinction. Materialism does not claim that everything is made up from mass having stuff. Energy, or fields fall under the same philosophical category of matter. So what does realism claim that materialism doesn't or vice versa?
 
  • #25
drag
Science Advisor
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Greetings !
Originally posted by heusdens
Materialism does not claim that everything is
made up from mass having stuff. Energy, or
fields fall under the same philosophical
category of matter. So what does realism
claim that materialism doesn't or vice versa?
It's very simple really. Materialism claims
that everything can be explained, realism
claims nothing(as I see it, but then again that
is only the result of the word "realism" for me,
if it has some other defined philosophical
meaning then perhaps I should chatacterize my
point of view differently, anyway it's as
I discribed it in my message above this one).

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #26
Originally posted by heusdens
I would suspect that realism is a subdivision of materialism instead.
So would I. There are and have been, as I see it, only two main camps thoughout the history of philosophy. One camp which believes matter is primary over consciousness, and the other which believes it is the other way around. They are; Materialism and Idealism. Subdivisions take place under each.
 
  • #27
heusdens
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
So would I. There are and have been, as I see it, only two main camps thoughout the history of philosophy. One camp which believes matter is primary over consciousness, and the other which believes it is the other way around. They are; Materialism and Idealism. Subdivisions take place under each.

Right! And as far as I understand the definition of the mentioned schools, they are all under the category of Idealism, and Materialism had been simply left out. I don't think 'realism' entitles itself to be a subcategory of materialism, cause it smuggles in concepts which violate that of materialism. And for Pragmatism, I would just think that that is a baseless school of thought, which simply misses a foundation. Mysticism clearly falls under Idealism. And for "subjective materialism" let us just state that such a school simply doesn't exist.
 
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  • #28
heusdens
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German text about naive Realism and Materialism

or: why the term Realism does not cover Materialism

4. Philosophischer Materialismus und naiver Realismus

Keinem gesunden Menschen, der nich im Irrenhaus oder bei den idealistischen Philosophen in der Lehre war, wird es jemals einfallen, daran zu zweifeln, "daß die Dinge, die Umgebung, die Welt unabhängig vond unserer Empfindung, von unserem Bewußtsein, von unserem Ich un dem Menschen überhaupt existieren" .
Diese feste Überzeugung eines jeden gesunden Menschen wurzelt in der menschlichen Praxis. Die tägliche Praxis bewirkt die feste Überzeugung, daß unabhängig und außerhalb unseres Bewußtsein die Dinge, die Umgebung, kurzum die materielle Welt existieren und daß unser Bewußtsein uns ein getreues Abbild dieser materiellen Welt gibt.
Die naive und unbewußte Annahme, daß die Dinge, die Umgebung, die Welt außerhalb und unabhängig von unserem Bewußtsein existieren, bezeichnen wir als naiven Realismus.
Der naive Realismus is jedoch keine bewußte, keine theoretische Antwort auf die Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Materie und Bewußtsein. Er ist nichts weiter als die elementare, gar nicht bewußte und daher naive Überzeugung der Mehrheit der Menschen, daß außerhalb und unabhängig von unserem Bewußtsein materielle Dinge existieren. Der naive Realismus ist keine theoretisch formulierte Fragestellung nach dem Verhältnis von Materie und Bewußtsein, er is daher auch keine materialistische Philosophie. Vielmehr enthält er die im Keim, er ist eine spontan materialistische Auffassung. Philosophischer Materialismus und naiver Realismus sind daher nich identisch, aber diese "naive" Überzeugung der Menschheit wird vom Materialismus bewußt zur Grundlage seiner Erkentnistheorie gemacht" .
Der philosophische Materialismus bleibt der spontan materialistischen Auffassungen des naiven Realismus nich stehen.
Der philosophische Materialismus untersucht wissenschafltich das Verh;altnis von Materie und Beweßtsein und gibt eine theoretische begründete Antwort auf die Grundfrage der Philosophie.
Es kommt also darauf an, die spontane, naive Überzeugung von den objektiven Existenz der Außenwelt auf die bewußte Stufe der materialistischen Philosophie zu heben.
Zudem is der Begriff "Realismus" nich exact, eben weil er nut eine spontane und unbewußte überzeugung zum Ausdruck bringt. Der Begriff Realismus wird heute wie zu Beginn dieses Jahrhunderts von idealistischen Philosophen dazu benutzt, um den Idealismus ihrer Auffassungen zu vertuschen. So bezeichnen die Neopostivisten zwar ihre Empfindungen als real, verlieren jedoch keine Wordt darüber, daß die Quelle der Empfindungen in der Materie liegt. Die Neothomisten sprechen von der realistischen Anerkennung der Dinge außer uns, leugnen aber den materiellen Zusammenhang der Dinge und ersetzen ihn durch einen göttlichen. Lenin wendet sich daher dagegen, den philosophischen Materialismus durch den Begriff Realismus zu charakterisieren. Er erklärte: "Was mich betrifft, so gebrauche ich wie Engels in diesem Sinne (als Gegensatz zum Idealismus - d. Verf.) nur das Wort Materialismus und halte diese Terminologie für die einzig richtige, besonders da das Wordt "Realismus" von den Positivisten und anderen Wirrköpfen, die zwischen Materialismus und Idealismus schwanken, abgegriffen worden ist."
Materialismus heißt, wie Engels betonte, nichts anderes, als die Welt so zu betrachten, wie sie ist, die Tatsachen in ihrem wirklichen, dem ihnen eigenen Zusammenhang zu sehen und nicht in einem konstruierten mytischen Zusammenhang.
 
  • #29
Lenin didn't seem especially taken with it...

Would you consider from this that Realism might be an example of ‘doublethink’?
The term realism is used today as at the beginning of this century from idealistic philosophers in order to hush up the idealism of their views.
Did the Idealist hold in their heads two contradictory thoughts, or was it just a scam as implied in the part I translated above?
 
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  • #30
heusdens
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
Lenin didn't seem especially taken with it...

Would you consider from this that Realism might be an example of ‘doublethink’?
Did the Idealist hold in their heads two contradictory thoughts, or was it just a scam as implied in the part I translated above?

The philosophical school called "Realism", while on one side preaching that the sensations perceived realy exist, did not adress the issue that these sensations originate in material things, which exist outside of our sensations, and independend of our sensations.

The article / text above was solely explaining as to what naive Realism is and how that compares to materialism, and it talks about why Realism is not the same as materialism.
 
  • #31
I think I understand now

Yes, check out this definition;

2. In epistemology realism represents the theory that particular things exist independently of our perception. This position is in direct contrast to the theory of idealism, which holds that reality exists only in the mind.

Taken from; http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0841276.html

The claim is made there that Realism is in direct contrast with Idealism, which would by default, place it in a sub-category of Materialism. Yet, failure to address that these sensations originate in material things, to use your words, means that Realism does not in fact belong under Materialism, which would by default place it back under Idealism.

Am I getting the proper understanding here?

There is an interesting boundary between Materialism and Idealism, and when I read of a philosophy which seems to straddle the bridge I cannot help but attempt to place it more on one side than the other.
 
  • #32
drag
Science Advisor
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
2. In epistemology realism represents the theory
that particular things exist independently of our
perception. This position is in direct contrast to
the theory of idealism, which holds that reality
exists only in the mind.
In that case, that is TOTALLY not what I'm
talking about.
I hate assumptions, they just fill your brain
like the grey matter...
 
  • #33
heusdens
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
Yes, check out this definition;

2. In epistemology realism represents the theory that particular things exist independently of our perception. This position is in direct contrast to the theory of idealism, which holds that reality exists only in the mind.

Taken from; http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0841276.html

The claim is made there that Realism is in direct contrast with Idealism, which would by default, place it in a sub-category of Materialism. Yet, failure to address that these sensations originate in material things, to use your words, means that Realism does not in fact belong under Materialism, which would by default place it back under Idealism.

Am I getting the proper understanding here?

There is an interesting boundary between Materialism and Idealism, and when I read of a philosophy which seems to straddle the bridge I cannot help but attempt to place it more on one side than the other.

I do think you have the proper understanding of what distinguishes Materialism and Idealism.

On Realism, well if what you say is correct, and some forms of philosophy that present themselves under the name of 'Realism' do in fact acknowledge the fact that our sensations come from material entities that exist outside of our mind, and independend of our mind, it is clear that such a philosophy can be placed under materialism.

However, it can be assumed that under the name of Realism go more then one philosophy, and some of them might take another point of view on that.

I can not judge this, I don't have inside knowledge about all those philosphies that present themselves as Realism.

But I do think it makes clear that for sake of clearity, we should use the better definef term materialism, instead of realism when mentioning the main categories of philosophy.
 
  • #34
heusdens
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Look at this definition of Realism:

"realism, in philosophy. 1. In medieval philosophy realism represented a position taken on the problem of universals. There were two schools of realism. Extreme realism, represented by William of Champeaux, held that universals exist independently of both the human mind and particular things—a theory closely associated with that of Plato. Some other philosophers rejected this view for what can be termed moderate realism, which held that universals exist only in the mind of God, as patterns by which he creates particular things. St. Thomas Aquinas and John of Salisbury were proponents of moderate realism. 2. In epistemology realism represents the theory that particular things exist independently of our perception. This position is in direct contrast to the theory of idealism, which holds that reality exists only in the mind. Most contemporary British and American philosophy tends toward realism. Prominent modern realists have included Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and C. D. Broad."

The fact is that what realism is or not is, and how it relates to idealism and or materialism, is confusing.

The idea of Plato (the existence as what is called 'universals') can be considered a form of Objective Idealism. The distinction between 'extreme realism' and 'moderate realism' is that the first claims that 'universals' exist on their own, and the latter claims that 'universals' only exist in the mind of God.

Both ideas, however, contrast the ideas of materialism, in which the world in primary instance has to be understood in terms of matter and motion, and that only in secondary instance mind exist. "Absolute ideas" (wether that of 'universals' that exist outside of the human mind or 'universals' that exist in the mind of God) must be placed as having no material existence, but are just constructs of the mind itself.

Therefore realism is in clear contrast with materialism.

The reason why this philosophy under this name has come up, is to present idealism in another form and under another name, and in order to hide it's actual content (the idea that in primary instance no material world exists, but mind).
 
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  • #35
Royce
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wuli etal. I just coined a phrase while revisiting this thread to read the lastest post to define my and possibly BH's and your philosphical positions, "SITUATIONAL PHILOSOPY", as in situational morality or ethics that was so in vogue a number of years ago. Was it the Jusuits that came up with that or were they just blamed for it. Since I just invented it I can call it anything I want and define it any way I want. The biggest advantage to holding to Situational Philosophy is the holder can ligitimately argue any point at any time reguardless of what the topics is, was, or originally intended to be. Situational Philosophers unite!!! On second thoughts that an oxymoron isn't it.
Sorry I'm in a flippant mood again, must be my medication.
 

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