August 6, 2007

More on Idealism and Realism

Some clarifications on the foregoing...

I didn't intend the schema to categorize the "liberals" as the "realists" and "conservatives" as "idealists" -- the situation is much more complicated, and I did not intend this as an outline of the two surmised "camps." There are progressives and conservatives among those who favor the development of a covenant, for example, and I'd suggest they all tend towards idealism. I find myself (a progressive at heart) torn from side to side as I go down the list, and on a number of points don't find my own view represented at all.

I suppose I should have made the caveats in the opening paragraphs more emphatic, as I find that progressives are often quite as idealistic (or absolutist) in their own way and to their own ends as conservatives. So I did not mean this to be a binary presentation at all, but rather a kind of chart to the field, which includes a lot of variety, and is far from exhausting all possibilities.

For example, the reason I assign Kendall Harmon's terms as I do isn't because I think all the people who might call themselves "reasserters" in a binary choice are idealists, but because the idea of reassertion comes from an idealist sensibility (i.e., the Truth has been revealed and only needs to be expressed anew in each age) as opposed to the "reappraiser" notion that the transcendent Truth itself is only asymptotically apprehended. This perhaps reflects the limitations on these labels themselves. I am actually far less interested in the labels than in the world-view by which the line of thought is informed.

Hope this clarifies what I was trying to think through, which is the ways in which idealism and realism can be found in many different human approaches to many different things.

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