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Realism, Realist or Realistic may refer to:


  • Aesthetic Realism, a philosophy founded by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel
  • Australian realism or Australian materialism, a 20th Century school of philosophy in Australia
  • Christian Realism, a philosophy advocated by Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Constructive realism, a philosophy of science
  • Cornell realism, a view in meta-ethics associated with the work of Richard Boyd and others
  • Critical realism, a philosophy of perception concerned with the accuracy of human sense-data
  • Direct realism, a theory of perception
  • Entity realism, a philosophical position within scientific realism
  • Epistemological realism, a subcategory of objectivism
  • Hyper-realism or Hyperreality, the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy
  • Mathematical realism, a branch of philosophy of mathematics
  • Moderate realism, a position holding that there is no realm where universals exist
  • Modal realism, a philosophy propounded by David Lewis, that possible worlds are as real as the actual world
  • Moral realism, the view in philosophy that there are objective moral values
  • Mystical realism, a philosophy concerning the nature of the divine, advanced by Nikolai Berdyaev
  • Naive realism, a common sense theory of perception
  • New realism (philosophy), a school of early 20th-century epistemology rejecting epistemological dualism
  • Organic realism or the Philosophy of Organism, the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, now known as process philosophy
  • Philosophical realism, the belief that reality exists independently of observers
  • Platonic realism, a philosophy articulated by Plato, positing the existence of universals
  • Pseudorealism, a genre of art initiated by Indian artist Devajyoti Ray where reality is appraoched via abstraction.
  • Pseudorealism, a term coined by American Film critics, used to describe films in which digital unreal images are created and amalgamated with regular scenes thereby creating an ilusion that is difficult to distinguish from reality.
  • Quasi-realism, an expressivist meta-ethical theory which asserts that though our moral claims are projectivist we understand them in realist terms
  • Representative realism, the view that we cannot perceive the external world directly
  • Scientific realism, the view that the world described by science is the real world
  • Transcendental realism, a concept implying that individuals have a perfect understanding of the limitations of their own minds
  • Truth-value link realism, a metaphysical concept explaining how to understand parts of the world that are apparently cognitively inaccessible

Aesthetics & Literature

  • Realism (arts), the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life
  • Realism (theatre), a movement towards greater fidelity to real life
  • Realism (visual arts), a style of painting that depicts what the eye can see
  • Classical Realism, an artistic movement in late 20th Century that valued beauty and artistic skill
  • Hyperrealism (painting), a genre of painting that resembles high resolution photography
  • Kitchen sink realism, an English cultural movement in the 1950s and 1960s that concentrated on contemporary social realism
  • Literary realism, a 19th century literary movement
  • Magic realism, an artistic genre in which magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting
  • Nazi heroic realism or the art of the third Reich, a style of propaganda art associated with Nazi Germany
  • Neorealism, a movement emphasising realism in cinema and literature
  • New Realism, an artistic movement founded in 1960 by Pierre Restany and Yves Klein
  • Poetic realism, a film movement in France in the 1930s that used heightened aestheticism
  • Photorealism, a genre of painting that resembles photography
  • Pseudorealism, a genre of art initiated by Indian artist Devajyoti Ray where reality is approached via abstraction.
  • Real estate realism, the factual depiction of the state of a market as it is in a given point in time.
  • Romantic realism, an aesthetic art term popularized by writer/philosopher Ayn Rand
  • Social realism, an artistic movement which depicts working class activities
  • Socialist realism, a style of propaganda art associated with Communism

International relations

  • Defensive realism, a theory that anarchy on the world stage causes states to increase their security.
  • Liberal realism or the "English school of international relations theory", the theory that there exists a 'society of states'
  • Neorealism or structural realism, a theory that international structures act as a constraint on state behavior
  • Offensive realism, a theory that states will exploit opportunities to expand whenever they are presented
  • Political realism, a theory that the primary motivation of states is the desire for power or security, rather than ideals or ethics
  • Post-realism, a theory that international realism is a particular rhetoric of international relations.
  • Subaltern realism, a theory that Third World states are more concerned with short term gains.


  • Legal realism, a theory that law is made by human beings and thus subject to human imperfections
  • Left realism, a theory that crime disproportionately affects working class people
  • Right Realism, a theory about the prevention and control of crime.

Other fields

  • Depressive realism, a contested theory that individuals suffering from clinical depression have a more accurate view of reality
  • Ethnographic realism, a writing style, in anthropology, which narrates the author's experiences and observations as if they were first-hand


See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

REALISM (from Low ' Lat. realis, appertaining to res, things, as opposed to ideas and imaginations), a philosophical term used in two opposite senses. The older of these is the scholastic doctrine, traceable back to Socrates, that universals have a more "real" existence than things. Universals are, in scholastic language, ante res, in rebus and post res. Behind all numerous types of chairs there is in the mind the ideal chair of which particular chairs are mere copies. In the most extreme form realism denies that anything exists in any sense except universals. It is opposed to nominalism and conceptualism. For the history of the doctrine, see Scholasticism. Realism in this sense has been called "an assertion of the rights of the subject" (cf. the Protagonean maxim, "Man is the measure of all things"). The modern application of the term is to the opposing doctrine that there is a reality apart from its presentation to consciousness. In this sense it is opposed to idealism, whether the purely subjective or that more comprehensive idealism which makes subject and object mutually interdependent. In its crude form it is known as "Natural" or "Naive" Realism. It appears, however, in more complex forms, e.g. as Ideal Realism (or Real Idealism), which combines epistemological idealism with realism in metaphysics. Again, Kant distinguishes "empirical" realism, which maintains the existence of things in space independent of consciousness, from "transcendental" realism, which ascribes absolute reality to time and space.

In literature and art "realism" again is opposed to "idealism" in various senses. The realist is (I) he who deliberately declines to select his subjects from the beautiful or harmonious, and, more especially, describes ugly things and brings out details of an unsavoury sort; (2) he who deals with individuals, not types; (3) most properly, he who strives to represent the facts exactly as they are.

<< Realgar

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Simple English

Realism is a word that can be used in many different ways. It is used mainly in the arts to describe the way that writers, musicians, painters etc thought in the late 19th century. These artists were trying to show the world as it really is, instead of trying to escape to a world of fantasy, which is what the Romantics had been doing. The Realists wanted to give an accurate description of Nature and of the way people lived in society.


Realism in literature

Realism in literature was a movement which started in Germany. The poet and writer Heinrich Heine tried in his books to accept the world as it is instead of trying to escape from it. Realistic writers tried to find good things about society.

The interest in Realism led to a movement called Naturalism. This meant describing scenes in nature accurately. The novelist Emile Zola was a Naturalist.

Realism in Philosophy

In philosophy Realism has a somewhat different meaning. Realist philosophy is a way of thinking about the world in which things have an existence even if no one is studying them (looking, hearing, smelling, touching them). This was different from older philosophers who said that things only exist because of people who are aware of them. For example: beauty only exists because someone sees something that they think is beautiful. A realist philosopher might say that beauty is there whether anyone sees it or not.


In music there was a movement called Verismo which was the Italian word for “reality”. Verismo was popular in Italian opera around the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Puccini was an opera composer whose style is typical of Verismo.

Other meanings

The term social realism describes an art form in America in the 1930s which expressed social protest in a naturalistic way. This is different from what is usually called socialist realism which was a term used by Soviet politicians from 1932 to the mid 1980s to describe art which showed the workers' struggle, glorifying the Soviet Union.

In the early 20th century Realism led to other movements such as Dadaism and Surrealism.

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