What does idealism mean?

Definitions for idealismaɪˈdi əˌlɪz əm

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word idealism.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. idealism(noun)

    (philosophy) the philosophical theory that ideas are the only reality

  2. idealism(noun)

    impracticality by virtue of thinking of things in their ideal form rather than as they really are

  3. high-mindedness, idealism, noble-mindedness(noun)

    elevated ideals or conduct; the quality of believing that ideals should be pursued


  1. Idealism(n.)

    a belief in the feasibility of the implementation of ideal principles and noble goals, and the practice or habit of pursuing such goals; -- opposed to realism and cynicism.

  2. Origin: [Cf. F. idalisme.]


  1. idealism(Noun)

    The property of a person of having high ideals that are usually unrealizable or at odds with practical life.

  2. idealism(Noun)

    An approach to philosophical enquiry which asserts that direct and immediate knowledge can only be had of ideas or mental pictures.

  3. Origin: First attested 1796, from .

Webster Dictionary

  1. Idealism(noun)

    the quality or state of being ideal

  2. Idealism(noun)

    conception of the ideal; imagery

  3. Idealism(noun)

    the system or theory that denies the existence of material bodies, and teaches that we have no rational grounds to believe in the reality of anything but ideas and their relations

  4. Origin: [Cf. F. idalisme.]


  1. Idealism

    In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind. The earliest extant arguments that the world of experience is grounded in the mental derive from India and Greece. The Hindu idealists in India and the Greek Neoplatonists gave panentheistic arguments for an all-pervading consciousness as the ground or true nature of reality. In contrast, the Yogācāra school, which arose within Mahayana Buddhism in India in the 4th century CE, based its "mind-only" idealism to a greater extent on phenomenological analyses of personal experience. This turn toward the subjective anticipated empiricists such as George Berkeley, who revived idealism in 18th-century Europe by employing skeptical arguments against materialism.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Idealism

    that view of the universe which, in opposition to Materialism (q. v.), refers everything to and derives everything from a spiritual root; is Subjective if traced no further back than the ego, and Objective if traced back to the non-ego likewise, its counterpart, or other, in the objective world. Idealism in art is art more or less at work in the region of the ideal in comparative disregard of the actual.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of idealism in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of idealism in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Herbert Hoover:

    Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.

  2. David T. Wolf:

    Idealism is what precedes experience cynicism is what follows.

  3. David T. Wolf:

    Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.

  4. John Galsworthy:

    Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.

  5. Bertrand Russell:

    Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.

Images & Illustrations of idealism

  1. idealismidealismidealism

Translations for idealism

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