Science and idealism

What is the relationship between physical science and the many different forms of idealism?

How has idealism made use of the physical sciences?

How has physical science made use of idealism?



It probably depends who you ask. Many scientists have a materialist perspective, which is opposed to idealism.

I don’t know of any such relationship.

Most scientiists today come down on the side of materialism, and so they have little to no interest in idealism, if you are talking about the kind of idealism I think you are talking about … a reality that transcends matter.

Scientists do have a problem explaining how the mind works in purely material terms.

It’s true there is a nexus between the brain and the mind. Materialists would have you believe that mind is merely a function of the brain, so there is no need to go beyond the brain to find the source *modus operandus *for truth, love, good, evil, etc.

The problem with this is the problem of universals. Why is it that some truths are particular, but others are universal … for example the laws of the universe that transcend our personal experience? These laws exist eternally, even when we don’t perceive them.
E = mc2 was a formula long before Einstein recognized it as such.

Einstein said he wanted to know the mind of God. The human mind doesn’t get any more transcendent than knowing the mind of God.

A tough one to answer. Perhaps the Intelligent Design movement among some scientists recognizes a transcendent operation of mind on matter.

Even Darwin appears to reflect along this line shortly before he died.

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Origin of the Species, 1872 (last edition before Darwin’s death).

Your second reply is were I was thinking idealism would apply.

The idealist recognize that this world is thought. We Christians believe He also is a creator of love, and grants love and freedom to us.

The passage from Darwin is most interesting.

I am puzzled that the idealist have not addressed the issues of evolution–at least in the sense that all of the physical world is orchestrated, structured, a cosmos, of the intelligent being or supra-intelligent being that thought this all into existence.

Or as a online encyclopedia put it:

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

This of course is not in line with Christian philosophy and especially the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

But you knew that! :wink:

I know that.

My point or hope is that there are many, many great minds and historical characters that can see that there is a great mind that created us.

Oh, I totally agree with the Catholic teachings on these matters, the official teachings.


What official teachings do you refer to? Is it an official teaching that matter is fundamental?

It is our teaching that God is a being that created us, loves us, granted us freedom, helps us, hears us, knows us and the like.

That God is infinitely greater than any comparison!

No, it is an official teaching that matter exists separate from spirit, which I think is what Jim meant, though I don’t mean to speak for him.

It was Aquinas who insisted on this distinction, and on the dignity of matter as a product of God’s creation (At the end of each day of Creation God saw that it was good.) In this he sided with Aristotle against Plato, who seems to have had contempt for matter and pure adulation of the Ideal Forms which matter only mirrors as in the Myth of the Cave.

I’m not sure how idealism would imply hate for matter, just that it is the construction of the mental world.

Hate is not the right word.

If you know Plato’s Myth of the Cave, you get my drift. :wink:

Charlemagne III


I don’t spend a great deal of time when I post. I often phrase things poorly.


The physical world is seen to be really, really low.

The way I explain it to myself is: I would rather talk to the artist than merely study the work of the artist.

Apparently you have talked to artists. Did you ever suspect that they lie about their work? :wink:

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