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Idealism vs Materialism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 932 times Debate No: 102871
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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IDEALISM (1) : a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena (2) : a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason
b (1) : a theory that only the perceptible is real (2) : a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable
MATERIALISM : a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter

I will be arguing on the idealist side!

*My opponent may choose to use the first round for acceptance, or make his/her case in the first round
*No kritiks please!


Thanks to my opposition for this chance to defend and present materialism.
I will use this round as acceptance to see from what angle you wish to establish idealism, to more understand the sphere of philosophical debate you are concerned with.
Debate Round No. 1


In the last half century, science has made some bizarre discoveries that has left many rethinking what we know about our existence. Virtually all physicists accept the big bang as irrefutable. An incomprehensible sized explosion that took place hundreds of billions of years ago which began all existence, but that left some scientists wondering, what was there before the explosion? Does this mean that everything came from nothing? How could that be? The materialist concept of reality claims that all life is a byproduct of matter, and since all matter is energy and energy can't be created or destroyed, then how could everything have come from nothing? The big bang theory does not fit into the materialist view of existence. Einstein spent thirty years trying to disprove the theory of nonlocality that his rival Niels Bohr was proposing. Nonlocality basically claims that everything in existence influences every other thing that exists, but materialism states that for an object to be influenced by another object, they would have to be in close proximity. Just before Einstein died, he conceded that he could not find a way to disprove nonlocality.

If you take a piece of plywood and cut two square holes in it side by side and faced it at the wall, then shot at the holes with a sand blaster, what would happen? If you live in an apartment, you're probably gonna lose your security deposit because you'll have two square spots sand blasted into your wall. If you aimed a flashlight at the holes, you'd get an interference pattern on your wall. Since electrons are matter, they should behave like the sand and make two spots on the wall, but for some reason they don't, it makes an interference pattern like the light does. That doesn't make any sense, electrons don't even move like light waves. When scientists went to figure out which electrons were going through which holes, the pattern changed to the way they expected initially. Did that mean the electrons knew when they were being observed? When the scientists tried to observe the electrons after they went through the holes, but before they hit the wall, they realized that not only did it change the pattern of the electrons, but it effected how the electrons behaved in the past. Does this mean the scientists were infuencing the past? Non of this phenomenon fits in with what we know about time and how matter travels. Non of this fits in with the materialist point of view.

When Dr James Gates told Neil DeGrasse Tyson that the tiniest particals that make up the universe were actually made up of bits, like in a computer, Neil Degrasse Tyson almost had a mental breakdown. It only got worse when Dr Gates revealed that those bits were made up of one and zeroes, and the code being used is a type of computer code that was invented in the fortees and is still used today. Are we actually in a complex simulation program? This certainly doesn't fit into the materialist view of the universe.

Holographic principle basically claims that our three dimensional perception of the universe is being projected onto our minds from a two dimensional plane, as if our entire life is a cartoon.

All we have to gather information about our universe, our world, our existence, is our senses, but our senses are only suited for us. Our senses may be useless when it comes to other aspects of our universe. Other dimensions, other systems of time and distance that we cannot even begin to comprehend because our senses don't allow us to. If you were born blind, and nobody ever told you that sight existed, you would go on with life only depending on the other senses you have and you wouldn't know otherwise, but what if you somehow gained your sense of sight latter on in life. It would be very dramatic to gain an extra sense that you never knew existed. It would be jarring to realize that you could now have a visual display of your world around you, and you didn't even know that your world could be seen. The concept of sight would have been incomprehensible to you if nobody ever told you about it. Perhaps there are other senses that humans lack, which would give us a comprehension of our existence that we don't realize exists, a different perspective of our dimension. Materialism claims that our life, the universe, and every phenomena within, is all the by-product of matter. The idealist view is, our existence is based entirely off our senses. Think about it, everything you know or have ever done, every feeling you've ever had, every bit of information you've encountered in your life required your brain to process information from your senses. Your entire existence is based on your senses.

In lew of some interesting or even unnerving discoveries in the field of physics, one can only conclude that the materialist point of view is either flawed and need revisions, or is obsolete altogether.

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting my debate, and wish him/her luck.


Ex nihilo, nihil fit (nothing comes from nothing) but to conflate physical matter with the laws of conservation is obviously false. Matter is subject to the Law of Universal Decay: once in form, it will decay until it has returned to a form of energy. The question is how all energy came about as a result of nothing. This is unverifiable by all accounts of philosophy and science, including idealism. Yet, surely you would take it more probable to believe that the origins of the universe were devised from some form of energy rather than ideas (which always need a physical substrate to occur)? In any case, a mind could not devise physicality without being of or using energy as a form of matter.

Similarly, we do not understand how consciousness arises from abiogenesis or why electrons act as they do in the Double-Split experiment. To then conclude an idealistic model of the universe is a non-sequitur. What you have argued is that there are things that we do not understand by the materialist view of nature, not that idealism is true. From Kant, we have understood that our understanding of the world is highly dependent on our perceptions extending into the world. Let me refer to your own definition of idealism as “(2) : a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable.” Yet, each mental state is only possible because of the physical brain and because there is an external world which it can access. A mind without a material world would have nothing to think about. It is dependent on it for information and for relations of intentionality. By looking at my laptop, I know more than a mental state: I know a mental state about an object in front of me. I gain knowledge of the world of objects beyond that of my mind; this likely arises from my experience and habituation around objects rather than my mind referring to some essential Platonic idea.

Even the Simulation theory gives way to materialist view of the world. Non-locality does not disprove the materialist position. And, if we live in a simulation where spatiality does not matter because of non-localised particles, it would still depend on the stuff that it is constituted of. Say you are playing a video game, do you argue that the game is not material? Since it is only possible by and through material. Similarly, it is absurd to argue that just because we may not understand other dimensions currently, that they are for some reason not compromised of some form of energy. I think what you are trying to argue is perspectivism and not idealism (that all we can know are our individual human perspectives of the world) which is a completely different position.

The world external to us exists of more than just our individual “consciousness of reason”. To suggest that it isn’t, isn’t only an admittance of complete narcissism but deifies the individual. If true, then Neil DeGrasse Tyson is just a form of yourself: he cannot exist outside your mind. That is, unless there is a material world by which objects exist externally to the mind. Once you grant this, then it is only one more step to grant that without the brain your perspective is lost. Hence, the materiality of your brain is required as well. Your senses are a by-product of your material body and not ideas. Ergo, the proposition that “that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena” has not been established for our individual realities are as ultimate as it gets, from which all truth values are derived. To argue that there are things that we cannot currently explain from science, is not an argument for idealism. The diversity of animals led many to believe that the mind of God had formed them from material. When the theory of evolution arose, we discovered that there was a material explanation for their form.

Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
yeah sure, I would like to debate again despite the precarious nature of this site
Posted by Smooosh 1 year ago
I would like to revisit this topic. If theunexaminedlife would like to try this one again I can challenge you directly. If not, I will just repost it as a public challenge.
Posted by Smooosh 1 year ago
Ya. Sadly, I think we're witnessing this sites death cry.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
Yeah sure, I've experienced the same glitch... I'm not sure if it won't happen again though...
Posted by Smooosh 1 year ago
My deepest apologies, I could not connect to the site for two days. I am a victim of the glitch. I would like to revisit this debate as soon as possible. Let me know if you're still interested.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
If you make the definition for materialism,

materialism - the philosophical doctrine that nothing exists except matter, energy, spacetime, forces and things contingent on matter, energy, spacetime, and forces,

then I'll accept.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
No materalism...= No idealism..No idealism...= Materialism....Life = materialism..
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