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Naturalism vs. Idealism: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Naturalism emphasizes the physical world and scientific laws, while Idealism focuses on the mind, ideas, and consciousness as fundamental reality.
Naturalism vs. Idealism

Key Differences

Naturalism is grounded in the physical, observable world, asserting that everything arises from natural properties and causes. Idealism posits that reality is mentally constructed or immaterial, emphasizing the central role of the mind.
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Naturalism relies on empirical evidence and scientific inquiry, valuing observable phenomena. In contrast, Idealism emphasizes the subjective experience and intellectual reasoning, often placing ideas over sensory experiences.
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Naturalism interprets reality as the sum of physical and biological processes. Idealism interprets reality as shaped by perception, ideas, and consciousness, often downplaying the material world.
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In art and literature, Naturalism seeks to depict life accurately without idealization, focusing on everyday experiences. Idealism in art and literature often portrays an idealized, perfected version of reality, emphasizing themes of beauty and morality.
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Naturalism often leads to ethical perspectives based on the natural world and human nature. Idealism can result in ethical frameworks that prioritize ideals and moral principles, sometimes detached from practical realities.
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Comparison Chart

Basis of Philosophy

Physical world and scientific laws
Mind, ideas, and consciousness
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Approach to Knowledge

Empirical evidence and scientific inquiry
Subjective experience and intellectual reasoning
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View of Reality

Reality as physical and biological processes
Reality shaped by perception and ideas
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Influence in Arts

Depiction of life without idealization
Portrayal of idealized, perfected reality
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Ethical Implications

Based on natural world and human nature
Based on ideals and moral principles
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Naturalism and Idealism Definitions

Naturalism

A philosophical viewpoint that everything arises from natural properties and causes.
Naturalism in science rejects supernatural explanations.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Idealism

A philosophy that places importance on ideas and consciousness over physical reality.
Idealism in her teaching emphasized the power of ideas.
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Naturalism

Often associated with materialism and determinism.
Naturalism in his philosophy underlined a materialistic worldview.
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Idealism

Suggests that reality is a mental construct or fundamentally mental.
His Idealism led him to believe that our understanding shapes our reality.
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Naturalism

Emphasizes observation and empirical evidence in understanding the world.
Naturalism in his approach to research prioritized observable data.
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Idealism

Often involves the pursuit of higher ethical and moral principles.
Idealism in his activism was evident in his pursuit of justice and equality.
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Naturalism

Regards scientific laws as ruling the universe.
His belief in Naturalism led him to trust in the predictability of scientific laws.
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Idealism

In arts, it often represents things as they might be or should be rather than as they are.
His paintings reflected Idealism, portraying a more harmonious world.
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Naturalism

In literature and art, Naturalism depicts life realistically without idealization.
The novel's Naturalism is evident in its detailed portrayal of urban life.
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Idealism

In education, Idealism emphasizes the development of the mind and spirit.
The school's curriculum was based on Idealism, focusing on intellectual growth.
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Naturalism

The practice of describing precisely the actual circumstances of human life in literature.
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Oct 19, 2023

Idealism

The act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal and often impractical form.
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Naturalism

The practice of reproducing subjects as precisely as possible in the visual arts.
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Idealism

Pursuit of one's ideals, often without regard to practical ends.
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Naturalism

A movement or school advocating such precise representation.
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Idealism

Idealized treatment of a subject in literature or art.
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Naturalism

The principles and methods of such a movement or of its adherents.
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Idealism

(Philosophy) The theory that the object of external perception, in itself or as perceived, consists of ideas.
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Oct 19, 2023

Naturalism

(Philosophy) The system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.
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Oct 19, 2023

Idealism

The property of a person of having high ideals that are usually unrealizable or at odds with practical life.
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Oct 19, 2023

Naturalism

(Theology) The doctrine that all religious truths are derived from nature and natural causes and not from revelation.
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Idealism

The practice or habit of giving or attributing ideal form or character to things; treatment of things in art or literature according to ideal standards or patterns;—opposed to realism.
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Naturalism

Conduct or thought prompted by natural desires or instincts.
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Idealism

(philosophy) An approach to philosophical enquiry, which asserts that direct and immediate knowledge can only be had of ideas or mental pictures.
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Naturalism

A state of nature; conformity to nature.
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Idealism

The quality or state of being ideal.
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Naturalism

The doctrine that denies a supernatural agency in the miracles and revelations recorded in religious texts and in spiritual influences.
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Idealism

Conception of the ideal; imagery.
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Naturalism

(philosophy) Any system of philosophy which refers the phenomena of nature as a blind force or forces acting necessarily or according to fixed laws, excluding origination or direction by a will.
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Idealism

The system or theory that denies the existence of material bodies, and teaches that we have no rational grounds to believe in the reality of anything but ideas and their relations.
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Naturalism

(philosophy) A doctrine which denies a strong separation between scientific and philosophic methodologies and/or topics
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Idealism

The practice or habit of giving or attributing ideal form or character to things; treatment of things in art or literature according to ideal standards or patterns; - opposed to realism.
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Naturalism

(arts) A movement in theatre, film, and literature that seeks to replicate a believable everyday reality, as opposed to such movements as romanticism or surrealism, in which subjects may receive highly symbolic or idealistic treatment.
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Idealism

A belief in the feasibility of the implementation of ideal principles and noble goals, and the practice or habit of pursuing such goals; - opposed to realism and cynicism.
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Naturalism

(nonstandard) naturism, nudism, social nudity.
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Idealism

(philosophy) the philosophical theory that ideas are the only reality
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Naturalism

The belief in natural law.
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Idealism

Impracticality by virtue of thinking of things in their ideal form rather than as they really are
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Naturalism

A state of nature; conformity to nature.
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Idealism

Elevated ideals or conduct; the quality of believing that ideals should be pursued
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Naturalism

The doctrine of those who deny a supernatural agency in the miracles and revelations recorded in the Bible, and in spiritual influences; also, any system of philosophy which refers the phenomena of nature to a blind force or forces acting necessarily or according to fixed laws, excluding origination or direction by one intelligent will.
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Naturalism

The theory that art or literature should conform to nature; realism; also, the quality, rendering, or expression of art or literature executed according to this theory.
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Naturalism

The principles and characteristics professed or represented by a 19th-century school of realistic writers, notably by Zola and Maupassant, who aimed to give a literal transcription of reality, and laid special stress on the analytic study of character, and on the scientific and experimental nature of their observation of life.
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Naturalism

(philosophy) the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms without recourse to spiritual or supernatural explanations
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Naturalism

An artistic movement in 19th century France; artists and writers strove for detailed realistic and factual description
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can Naturalism explain consciousness?

Naturalism often explains consciousness through biological and neurological processes.
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Can Idealism be practical?

Idealism can be practical when it informs ethical decision-making and inspires positive change.
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How does Idealism differ from Naturalism?

Idealism centers on ideas and consciousness as fundamental, contrasting Naturalism's focus on the physical world.
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Can Naturalism lead to pessimism?

Naturalism can be seen as pessimistic if it's viewed as reducing life to mere physical processes.
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Does Idealism deny the physical world?

Idealism doesn't deny the physical world but views it as secondary to the mental or spiritual realm.
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What is Naturalism?

Naturalism is a philosophy focusing on natural forces and scientific laws as the basis of reality.
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Is Idealism optimistic?

Idealism is often optimistic, focusing on the potential for improvement and the power of ideas.
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How does Naturalism influence science?

Naturalism guides science by emphasizing empirical evidence and observable phenomena.
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What role do ideas play in Idealism?

In Idealism, ideas are central and considered the primary component of reality.
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How does Naturalism view human behavior?

Naturalism views human behavior as a result of natural processes and genetic factors.
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Does Naturalism support free will?

Naturalism often challenges the concept of free will, favoring determinism.
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Can Naturalism explain everything in the universe?

Naturalism seeks to explain phenomena through natural laws, though it may not account for all aspects of existence.
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Is Naturalism compatible with religion?

Naturalism often conflicts with religious views, especially those involving supernatural elements.
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How do Idealists view change?

Idealists often view change as driven by ideas, vision, and intellectual movements.
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What is the impact of Idealism on society?

Idealism can have a profound impact by inspiring societal change and emphasizing ethical values.
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What is the Idealist view of ethics?

Idealism often bases ethics on abstract principles and moral ideals.
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How does Idealism influence education?

Idealism in education emphasizes the development of mind, spirit, and moral values.
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How does Naturalism approach art?

Naturalism in art seeks to depict reality as it is, without idealization.
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What is the Idealist approach to politics?

Idealism in politics often involves pursuing visionary goals and high moral standards.
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Does Naturalism value subjective experiences?

Naturalism generally prioritizes objective over subjective experiences.
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Nov 16, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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