While in cultural idealism, a lot of focus is directed towards human ideas in the process of understanding culture. Cultural idealists and cultural materialists explain human phenomenon differently. In particular, an idealist will have a different explanation from a materialist on what motivates a human being. Culture materialism is an improvement of the Marxist theory of materialism. This paper is a discussion from the different perspectives of cultural idealists and cultural materialists what kind of culture is important, valuable and worthy of our attention and why.
Culture idealists base mind, spirit and ideas as the cornerstones of understanding human culture. Some philosophers who were associated with the formulation of cultural idealism are the Greek philosopher Plato, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant. Idealists continue to use intangible ideas such as; beliefs, conceptions and values in emphasizing the aspect of culture. In idealism, divine and supernatural forces exist, and these are perceived by mind and spirit. Cultural idealists express that human action, and in this case, culture is derived from ideas. In the mind of a cultural idealist, religious beliefs and moral values are the greatest drivers of human action, which later transforms into cultural practices (Haviland et al, 2010: p 67).
In the opinion of cultural idealists, culture primarily originates from the mind and material substances have no basis. Idealists are religious in nature and believe that God, ethics and moral have roles to play in human culture. Human culture is understood better by analyzing what people think, speak, imagine, feel in relation to the immediate environment that they live. A lot of focus, in an idealist perspective, is primarily centered on superstructure that is ideas and value (Haviland et al, 2010: p 68). Cultural idealist perspective is further exampled in; postmodernism, structuralism, psychological