IDEA


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idea

1. Philosophy
a. a private mental object, regarded as the immediate object of thought or perception
b. a Platonic Idea or Form
2. Music a thematic phrase or figure; motif

Idea

 

a form by which the phenomena of objective reality are comprehended in thought, a form that includes within itself a consciousness of purpose and projections of further knowledge of the world and its transformation in practice.

The concept “idea” was first introduced in classical antiquity. Democritus applied the term “ideas” to his atoms—indivisible, intelligible forms. For Plato ideas are incorporeal ideal essences, which constitute the truly objective reality and exist apart from concrete objects and phenomena; they constitute a separate ideal world. In the Middle Ages ideas were understood as the archetypes of things belonging to the divine spirit; god created things according to his ideas, or ideal forms. In the modern period, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the theoretical and cognitive aspect of the idea came to the fore; the doctrine that ideas are modes of human knowledge was developed, and the question of the origin of ideas, of their cognitive value, and of their relation to the objective world was raised. Empiricism linked ideas with human sense perceptions and sensations; rationalism linked them with the spontaneous activity of thinking. The theory of ideas had an important place in classical German idealism: Kant called ideas notions of reason, for which there were no corresponding objects in sense perception. For Fichte, ideas were immanent goals according to which the Ego created the world. For Hegel, the idea was objective truth, the coincidence of the subject and the object crowning the whole process of development (see Soch., vol. 6, Moscow, 1939, p. 214).

In the Marxist-Leninist conception, the fundamental starting point is the materialist thesis of knowledge as a reflection of reality and of ideas as specific forms of this reflection. “All ideas are drawn from experience; they are reflections of reality, whether accurate or distorted” (F. Engels; in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 20, p. 629). However, an idea cannot be reduced to the registration of the data of experience. It is a reflection of the thing, quality, or relation not only in its present state of being but also in its necessity and potentiality, in its developmental tendency. Lenin regarded ideas as the highest form of the theoretical mastery of reality. He wrote in his conspectus of Hegel’s Science of Logic, “Begriff [the Notion] is still not the highest concept: still higher is the Idea = the unity of the Begriff and Reality” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 29, p. 151). In the idea, there occurs the fullest coincidence between the content of thought and objective reality. This is objective, concrete, comprehensive knowledge of reality, knowledge that is ready for its practical embodiment. These two moments of the idea, the reflection of objective reality and the positing of a practical goal for man, exist in an organic unity and give to the idea its specific quality and its place in the process of human consciousness. Thus, the idea is an active mediating link in the development of reality and in the process of practical human activity, which creates new, previously nonexistent forms of reality.

In science ideas perform various roles. They not only summarize the experience of preceding scientific development in one or another sphere but also serve as a basis for synthesizing knowledge into some sort of an integral system, performing the role of active heuristic principles for explaining phenomena and seeking new ways to solve problems. Depending on their content, ideas, reflecting social existence, influence the course of social life in different ways. Reactionary ideas, which distort reality and serve the interests of classes on their way out of the historical arena, function as brakes upon social progress. Ideas that accurately and profoundly reflect real processes and express the interests of progressive social classes help to accelerate social progress and to organize and mobilize these classes to overthrow the obsolete and to introduce the new and progressive.

P. V. KOPNIN

idea

[ī′dē·ə]
(psychology)
A mental impression or thought.
An experience or thought not directly due to an external sensory stimulation.

IDEA

(language)

IDEA

(algorithm)

IDEA

(International Data Encryption Algorithm) A secret-key cryptography method that uses a 128-bit key. Introduced in 1992, its European patent is held by Ascom-Tech AG, Solothurn, Switzerland. Written by Xuejia Lai and James Massey, it uses the block cipher method that breaks the text into 64-bit blocks before encrypting them. See PGP.
References in classic literature ?
Passing on to the Parmenides, we find in that dialogue not an exposition or defence of the doctrine of ideas, but an assault upon them, which is put into the mouth of the veteran Parmenides, and might be ascribed to Aristotle himself, or to one of his disciples.
So various, and if regarded on the surface only, inconsistent, are the statements of Plato respecting the doctrine of ideas. If we attempted to harmonize or to combine them, we should make out of them, not a system, but the caricature of a system.
All philosophy, even that part of it which is said to be based upon experience, is really ideal; and ideas are not only derived from facts, but they are also prior to them and extend far beyond them, just as the mind is prior to the senses.
The being of God in a personal or impersonal form was a mental necessity to the first thinkers of modern times: from this alone all other ideas could be deduced.
His analysis and construction of ideas has no foundation in fact; it is only the dialectic of the mind 'talking to herself.' The philosophy of Berkeley is but the transposition of two words.
It certainly could not be refuted by a philosophy such as Kant's, in which, no less than in the previously mentioned systems, the history of the human mind and the nature of language are almost wholly ignored, and the certainty of objective knowledge is transferred to the subject; while absolute truth is reduced to a figment, more abstract and narrow than Plato's ideas, of 'thing in itself,' to which, if we reason strictly, no predicate can be applied.
There has been a late excellent and deservedly esteemed philosopher who, no doubt, has given it very much countenance, by seeming to think the having abstract general ideas is what puts the widest difference in point of understanding betwixt man and beast.
"By observing how ideas become general, we may the better judge how words are made so.
Berkeley's view in the above passage, which is essentially the same as Hume's, does not wholly agree with modern psychology, although it comes nearer to agreement than does the view of those who believe that there are in the mind single contents which can be called abstract ideas. The way in which Berkeley's view is inadequate is chiefly in the fact that images are as a rule not of one definite prototype, but of a number of related similar prototypes.
"Undoubtedly," it will be said, "religious, moral, philosophical and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development.
No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.
The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.