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    In philosophy, Idealism is a broad term with two main conceptions:

    • Metaphysical or Ontological Idealism: This asserts that the mental realm (mind, spirit, reason) is the ultimate foundation of all reality. The physical world may be seen as a construct of the mind or not truly real, as in George Berkeley's "immaterialism," where everything consists of ideas perceived by minds.
    • Formal or Epistemological Idealism: This acknowledges the existence of a mind-independent reality but argues that knowledge about it is shaped by the mind's creative activities. Immanuel Kant's "transcendental idealism" exemplifies this, stating that our knowledge's structure is a result of the mind's organization, but there is still a reality independent of our knowledge.

    On a side note, most general interpretations of idealism regard it as an ideology which has a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially as held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones.

    Variants[edit | edit source]

    Idealism as a metaphysical stance holds that ideas of things are more important than those of the material, or otherwise that everything is an idea.

    Pluralistic Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Pluralistic Idealism is a philosophy that believe that there are many individual minds which together underlie the existence of the observed world. Pluralistic idealism does not assume the existence of a single ultimate mental reality.

    Objective Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Objective Idealism is a type of Idealism that acknowledges the existence of physical objects in the world, but rejects the idea that the mind and spiritual values are simply byproducts of material causes.

    Unlike Subjective Idealism, which claims that material objects do not exist apart from human perception, objective idealism accepts that these objects have an independent existence, while also asserting that the mind plays an active role in shaping our understanding of reality. In other words, objective idealism differs from both Realism and Naturalism, as well as from the view that the mind is simply a passive receiver of sensory information.

    Subjective Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Subjective Idealism is a type of Idealism that proposes that material objects exist only to the extent that a human being perceives them

    Epistemological Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Epistemological Idealism is a philosophical position that emphasizes the role of the mind or consciousness in the construction of knowledge and reality. It asserts that our knowledge and understanding of the world are fundamentally shaped by our mental perceptions, concepts, and interpretations.

    Italian Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Italian Idealism is a idealist movement that derived from Italy from interest in the German movement and particularly in Hegelian doctrine, developed in Italy starting from the spiritualism of the nineteenth-century Risorgimento tradition, and culminated in the first half of the twentieth century in its two greatest exponents: Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile

    During the Romantic era, Italian patriots, particularly in Naples, were drawn to Hegelian idealism as a means to imbue the historical journey toward national unification with spiritual and cultural significance. Interest in Hegel's ideas in Italy was primarily driven by figures like Augusto Vera and Bertrando Spaventa, along with Francesco De Sanctis, who explored Hegel's "Aesthetic" in his work on Italian literature. De Sanctis's ideas, inspired by Hegel, laid the groundwork for Crocian idealism. Vera interpreted Hegel's Absolute in a religious and transcendent light, while Spaventa saw the Spirit as immanent in the history of philosophy. Spaventa also proposed a reinterpretation of Hegelian dialectics through a Kantian and Fichtian lens, prioritizing the act of thinking over objectification and synthesis, thus emphasizing the role of the mind in original production. He believed that Italian Renaissance thought had laid the groundwork for modern philosophy, and it was now essential for Italy to engage with European philosophical currents while drawing from its own intellectual heritage.

    British Idealism[edit | edit source]

    British Idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century in Britain. It was primarily influenced by Hegelianism, and developed as a response to the challenges of modernity and the crisis of faith.

    British idealism believed in an overarching Absolute reality that formed a coherent system. Reason was highly valued as the means to understand this Absolute. Unlike some other philosophies, British idealism rejected the idea of a separation between thought and reality, seeing them as deeply interconnected.

    This movement was greatly influenced by German idealism, especially the work of Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel. These ideas gained traction in Britain in the mid-19th century, particularly after the publication of James Hutchison Stirling's book "The Secret of Hegel" in 1865. While British idealism adopted some of Hegel's concepts, it didn't fully embrace his philosophy. It criticized individualism, utilitarianism, and socialism, emphasizing the importance of society while still valuing individual freedom. The movement was also politically active, advocating for social reform.

    Bradleyan Idealism[edit | edit source]

    Bradleyan Idealism is the philosophy of British Idealist Francis Herbert Bradley.

    Bradley, born in Clapham, Surrey, England (now part of Greater London), to Charles Bradley, an Anglican preacher, and Emma Linton. Educated at Cheltenham College and Marlborough College, he was influenced by Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. In 1865, he entered University College, Oxford, and in 1870, was elected to a fellowship at Merton College, where he remained until his death in 1924, buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford.

    Bradley, a respected philosopher, received honorary degrees and was the first British philosopher awarded the Order of Merit. His fellowship at Merton College allowed him to focus on writing without teaching obligations. He advocated for a monistic unity in philosophy, influenced by Hegel's dialectical method.

    Bradley disagreed with popular British philosophical views of his time, like those of Locke, Hume, and Mill. Instead, he was a key figure in British idealism, influenced by Kant and German thinkers like Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, though he didn't emphasize his influence as much.

    In 1909, Bradley wrote an essay called "On Truth and Coherence," where he criticized a certain type of certainty-based approach in epistemology. Some scholars, like Robert Stern, argue that Bradley saw coherence not just as a way to justify beliefs but also as a test for truth.

    Bradley also had a unique take on facts. He believed facts could support our beliefs but none were beyond questioning. He said that facts are true only to the extent that they're useful and contribute to our understanding. He saw historical facts as conclusions drawn through reasoning, emphasizing that everything we claim to know is based on inference, making facts subject to revision based on the soundness of our reasoning.

    Bradley believed that morality is rooted in social connections rather than individualism. He argued against utilitarian ethics that focus on self-interest, instead emphasizing the cultivation of a "good self" in contrast to a "bad self." While he recognized that society alone cannot dictate morality, he suggested that religion could guide individuals toward their ideal selves.

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