HCJ Revision, Materalism and Idealism

May 24, 2010

Contrast your understanding of philosophical 'materialism' with 'idealism' with particular reference to Hegel and Marx.

Materialism: The only thing that exists is matter, atoms. All things are composed of matter and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. Physical matter is the only reality, and that everything else, including thought and feeling can be explained in terms of matter.

Idealism: the theory that an object, in itself or as it is perceived, consists of ideas. –everything you see is only happening in your mind.

Does a tree falling in a forest make a sound? –Idealists would say no, as there is no one around to hear it.

Marx was a materialist, and believed that ideas have material effects.

Hegel was an idealist, and believed that everything was spirit –an idea of Geist (ghost/mind/God). He believed that the world is evolving towards a perfect society, and that all events in history are necessary to achieve it. He believed everything happened for a purpose (He was also teleological philosopher).