Merits and Limitations of Idealism as a Philosophy of Education 

Merits and Limitations of Idealism as a Philosophy of Education

Harold Titus opines,

“Idealism, asserts that reality consists of ideas, thoughts, minds, or selves rather than materials, objects and force.”

The word ‘Idealism’ is derived from the word ‘ideals’ meaning higher values or essence which are of supreme cosmic significance. They are considered to be the most important thing in human life. These values are eternal and unchanging. They are different from material forces because they do not have dimensions such as length and breadth.

Idealism is a branch of Philosophy that deals with the central role of the ideal or the spiritual through interpretation of experience. Brubacher defines, “Idealists point out that it is the mind that is central in understanding the world. To them nothing gives a greater sense of reality than the activity of mind engaged in trying to comprehend its world.”

Merits of Idealism as a Philosophy of Education

  1. Idealism lays emphasis on inculcating the highest values among learners which include truth, beauty, and goodness which helps in the overall moral development of the child.
  2. Educational idealism also enables learners to discover and develop the different abilities of each learner and enables them to reach their full moral potential so that they can serve the society in a better manner.
  3. Idealism also helps in the complete evolution of mind, the self realisation, and the emancipation of spirit.
  4. Idealism stresses upon the higher values which are perennial, eternal, and are never subject to change.
  5. Idealism also believes in developing self-realisation among learners which promotes the idea of facilitating education without any differences and discriminations.

Limitations of Idealism as a Philosophy of Education

  1. Idealism is often regarded to be a vague and an abstract doctrine.
  2.  It enables the learners to be prepared for the next world but it does so by avoiding the present realities. 
  3. It is also concerned with the ultimate end of life which leads it to neglect the real problems that occur in day to day life. 
  4. It lays too much significance on the mind and the spirit which can sometimes be extreme. 
  5. It also stresses too much on bookish knowledge and gives less importance to children in the educational process. 

J.S. Ross defines,

“Idealistic philosophy takes many and varied forms, but the postulate underlying all this is that mind of spirit is the essential world stuff, that the true reality is of a mental character.”

He further states,

“Human personality is supreme and constitutes the noblest work of God.”