Idealism (from Greek: ιδέα "idea, archetype") is one of the 12 fundamental worldviews of which Rudolf Steiner speaks, and represents the epistemological standpoint that actual reality is founded in ideas and thus at the same time in reason and consciousness, and that the material world and sensuous phenomena are only secondary derivative phenomena. The opposite position to this is realism. In the zodiac, idealism corresponds to the sign of Aries. In German idealism, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel stand out as philosophical idealists.
„But there may be other people who say something like the following. Around us is matter and the world of material appearances. But the world of material appearances is actually empty of meaning in itself. It has no real meaning if it does not contain that tendency which moves forward, if it does not give birth to that which the human soul can strive for in this world which is spread out around us, as not being contained in the world which is spread out around us. According to the view of such people, the ideal must be within the world process. Such people give their right to the real world processes. They are not realists, even though they give real life its justice, but they are of the opinion that real life must be saturated with the ideal, only then does it acquire a meaning. - In a mood of this kind, Fichte once said: "All the world that spreads around us is the sensualised material for the fulfilment of duty. - The representatives of such a world view, which lets everything be only a means for ideas that permeate the world process, can be called idealists and their world view idealism. Beautiful and great and glorious things have been said in favour of this idealism. And in the field which I have just characterised, where it is important to show how the world would be purposeless and senseless if the ideas were only human figments of the imagination and were not really founded in the world-process within, in this field idealism has its full significance. But with this idealism one cannot explain, for example, the outer reality, the outer reality of the realist. Therefore one has to distinguish from the others a world-view which can be called idealism.“ (Lit.:GA 151, p. 37)
- Rudolf Steiner: Der menschliche und der kosmische Gedanke, GA 151 (1990), ISBN 3-7274-1510-X English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Vergangenheits- und Zukunftsimpulse im sozialen Geschehen, GA 190 (1980), ISBN 3-7274-1900-8 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Beiträge zur Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, Heft 30: Rudolf Steiner und der deutsche Idealismus Zum 200. Geburtstag von Hegel Beiträge (Contributions) 30
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
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Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
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