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The Idealist and Realist Views

Q1. It was suggested in this chapter that, if there were ever to be a unifying ethical theory, it might involve a combination of the Idealist and Realist views. What would be the major problem in trying to produce a unifying ethical theory involving a combination of the Pragmatist and Existentialist views?

  1. There are philosophic systems, just as there are computer systems. There are essentially four such systems in philosophy. These are Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism (sometimes known as Consequentialism or Utilitarianism), and Existentialism.

Existentialist: a person who advocates the philosophical theory of existentialism.

Pragmatist: a person who is guided more by practical considerations than by ideals.

Realist: a person who accepts a situation as it is and is prepared to deal with it accordingly.

Idealist: a person who is guided more by ideals than by practical considerations.

Idealism and Realism are absolutist philosophies. That is, these philosophies assume reality does not depend on external relationships. This is true whether reality is conceived to be spiritual or mental or whether it is conceived to be material. Pragmatism and Existentialism are relativist philosophies. That is, these philosophies assume that reality does depend on external relationships. This is true whether these relationships are consequences or one’s own subjective outlook.No one is completely idealist, realist, pragmatist and existentialist in this world because a person may fluctuate their thinking in different situation. If a particular ethical situation is given to a single person who is not practical then it’s easy for him to come to a particular conclusion whereas the person who is practical has different views which makes it difficult to produce a unifying ethical theory.

The Idealist has ideals or divine commands as a guide, the Realist has nature to follow, the Pragmatist has the guidance of the group, but the Existentialist has only himself or herself as the basis for ethical decisions.A consideration of a nonsystematic philosophy known as Philosophical Analysis. This philosophy believes that the nature of ultimate reality is beyond the ability of language to discuss and therefore that goodness, which depends upon an understanding of reality, is not able to be discussed either.

Answer each of the questions as follows: if you strongly agree,

put 2; if you agree, put 1; if you are undecided, put 0; if you disagree, put

−1; and if you strongly disagree, put −2.

1. Learning is a process of interacting with people and things around us. It leads to new understandings which can then be used to solve social problems? (2).

2. The human person is primarily a nervous system that is influenced by interaction with the physical environment along lines recognized by science? (1).

3. Education should lead a person to spiritual understanding? (1).

4. Knowledge involves successful adaptation to our surroundings? (1).

5. Knowledge is accurate if it reflects physical, material reality? (2).

6. The human person is basically a spiritual being? (2).

7. The human person discovers knowledge from the physical, material world? (2).

8. Knowledge is meant to be used. It is ultimately a means to survival? (2).

9. Education is basically a process of spiritual growth? (1).

10. Good is anything that results in achieving a goal agreed upon by society?  (-2).

11. Knowledge is found by considering the practical implications of ideas? (1).

12. The human mind is simply the brain at work? (0).

13. Learning is a process of choosing our identity? (-1).

14. The mind is a spiritual entity that determines what reality is (rather than reality determining what the mind is? (1).

15. All true knowledge engages the feelings of the knower? (1).

16. The most important thing in reality is the ability to choose or decide? (2).

17. Intelligence is the ability to know physical, material facts? (-1).

18. A person is nobody until she/he takes action. It is in acting (choosing) that a person determines who she/he is? (2).

19. Intelligence is the ability to formulate and test out new solutions to problems? (2).

20. Reality results from God holding the universe in existence by the power of God’s thought? (2).

21. The test of any theory or belief must be its effect on us, that is, its practical consequences?   (-1).

22. Knowledge is objective (rather than subjective), that is, it is in accord with the teachings of physical science concerning the nature of material reality? (-2).

23. A person is really the sum of that person’s choices up to the current point in that person’s life? (-2).

24. God is the spiritual summit of reality? (2).

25. Reality basically consists of dealing with questions of love, choice, freedom, personal relationships, and death? (1).

26. Education is a process of stimulating students to search themselves for their identity? (1).

27. True ideas are those we can assimilate, validate, corroborate, and verify experimentally? (2).

28. Knowledge ultimately comes from a supernatural (that is, a divine) source? (-2).

29. Since a person acts freely, he/she is responsible for his/her actions? (2).

30. A person must reach beyond this material world to fulfill her/his spiritual destiny? (1).

31. The physical world as experienced by our senses is basically factual, objective reality? (1).

32. Knowledge is that which is useful in achieving a solution to some problem? (2).

33. Reality has its basis and origin in the material, physical world? (1).

34. Obtaining knowledge is basically a process of searching the physical universe for objective facts? (0).

35. People receive knowledge by revelation from God? (2).

36. People can reconstruct (remake) solutions to problems and this results in new knowledge? (2).

37. Reality occurs when a person chooses to face a situation and make a commitment? (2).

38. The mind is biological in origin and can be explained in physical, material terms? (1).

39. The laws by which human conduct is judged are determined by God? (2).

40. Reality ultimately exists in the individual person? (1).

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