The Concept of Ideal and the Future of Philosophy

By Zeev Katvan.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper rejects a post-modernistic view of philosophy as a genre of literature, which has no cognitive or historical significance. Though it accepts the notion of philosophy that views philosophy more as a world-view than as a science, it argues that philosophy always performs an important social task of creating ideals. The notion of the ideal in its present sense, as a name for the highest perfection of anything, came into being only during the 18th and 19th centuries, but the concept of the ideal is ancient. It combines two meanings: perfection and aim, and expresses people's striving for the highest perfection and for the Absolute. People speak about social, political and national ideals; the male and female ideal, the ideal state and government; ideals in sport, art, science, etc. I believe that the concept of the ideal lies at the very root of philosophical thinking and, to a great degree, shapes the world outlook of common people. The philosophical significance of the notion of the ideal should be located in the connection between the definition of the human essence and the possibility of its realization in a perfect society, which would correspond to it. The achievement of such a society is regarded as the supreme aim of human progress – a social ideal. Every conscious attempt to improve human conditions and to create a better society requires some philosophical ground because it needs to explain the connection between Man and World, between human aims and social reality, and between freedom and necessity. The creation of ideals, the search and striving for ideals, is an essential part of human nature. The confrontation with “ideals” is an important part of human history. All political, social and cultural movements are guided by some “philosophy of ideal”, so philosophy should play a major role in creating and examining of ideals, in order to help to turn the ideals of today into the norms of tomorrow.

Keywords: Ideal, Post-Modernism, Philosophy, Humanity, Value-Systems

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.41-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 511.707KB).

Dr. Zeev Katvan

Lecturer in English, Department of history, The Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel

Graduated from Ural State University in Sverdlovsk, former Soviet Union. Worked in Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Haifa and now I am working in the Open University of Israel. Received Ph.D from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Fields of interests: history of ideas, philosophical anthropology, "project of Enlightenment", marxism and pragmatism, post-modernism. Published several articles about "Reflection Theory", Anthropological Trend in Marxism, Pragmatism's Conception of Truth, Neo-pragmatism of R.Rorty. Currently I am working on the book dealing with the philosophical problems of the concept of ideal and taking part in development of several courses of the Open University.

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