Talk:Philosophical realism

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Coming from critical theory, this terminology is very confusing. We use the term "realist" for people who say literature should depict particular real-world instances rather than abstract universals. We use the term "idealist" for the Platonists who say you should depict universals. The two terms are in some respects the reverse of how they're used here, even though they're based on the same ancient writings. Probably this difference in terminology should be mentioned somewhere. Philgoetz (talk) 05:58, 23 October 2015 (UTC)


-- "Despite the straightforwardness of the realist position, there has been a lot of debate about what is real and what is meant by the term 'real'."

I find this statement very humorous, seeing that realism is defined by having beliefs that correspond to 'reality' or 'real life', and is constantly redefined by new observations about life by living people. Therefore, wouldn't the definition of the word 'real' always be under constant redefinition due to the fact that there are constantly new observations being made by those people?

This is the reciprocal relationship that I admire about realism - those who follow it seek to define the self and the world through an ever-maturing and self-critical self-awareness. 20:32, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

philosophy's not really about life as we know it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

The Chinese "realists" (fa-jia) deny the utility of "knowledge", advocating Tao and rules (fa).FourLights (talk) 21:40, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

"Legalists were political realists who sought to attain a “rich state with powerful army” and to ensure domestic stability in an age marked by intense inter- and intra-state competition." -- That doesn't sound anything like Philosophical realism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Blue Mist 1 (talkcontribs) 23:08, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

In physics[edit]

I added a section on realism in physics, in part because some of the articles in quantum mechanics point at this page. I hope the addition of such a section is not objectionable. Please note that the QM debate is very different than scientific realism, which is an unrelated idea. linas 15:19, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

hello, just a casual reader ... don't really know the formalism of the discussion pages, so I hope I'm not being rude or disruptive. A small but significant point is that Bell's theorem does not prove local realist theories are impossible. It gives an experimentally testable consequence of a theory being local and real. Quantum mechanics has so far failed this test (and therefore seems to be either non-local, or not real). But the accuracy of these experiments is still debated. While quite convincing, Bell's theorem is far from a proof (talk) 18:57, 21 April 2008 (UTC)Daniel

Realist Philosophers?[edit]

Can someone add a list of prominent realist philosophers or links to their wikipedia pages? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:10, 25 January 2007 (UTC).

It might be possible to give a list of some philosophers who have been prominent in the realist-antirealist debate (on the realist side), but it would need to be made clear that, at least as far as contemporary analytic philosophy is concerned, most philosophers can be considered realists. It would be possible to give a list of prominent anti-realists, but this might be better off on a different page. Many use the term, but without a univocal definition, this is an amorphous category.Willg1000 18:53, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


Just noticed a typical example of cite-ism: "It can also be argued that the 'realism' of physics is a much more specific notion than general philosophical realism." It not only can argued, but it is predominant view of those working in this area. But it is backed up by cite of Travis Norsen, someone who for good reason not even is important enough to a Wikipedia article. Without further knowledge, a reader knowing Norsen, but not the current discussions in philosophy of physics would be inclined to believe, that it is a fringe view in this area... --Pjacobi 07:40, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Who Won?[edit]

"This particular dispute over realism is largely moot in contemporary philosophy, and has been for centuries." The dispute in question (between realism, nominalism and conceptualism in regards to Universals) has been rendered moot, it would appear. Unfortunately, the reader is left to decide for him/herself just which of those three came out on top. Perhaps the author would deign to enlighten we poor lesser beings?

In all seriousness, while I get the impression this is quite obvious to those more familiar with the standard presentation of philosophy, shouldn't the implied answer be made explicit in an encyclopedia context? Cyclone77 (talk) 23:29, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

sorry about the double edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:03, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Contention with postmodernism?[edit]

"In recent times, debates concerning realism have become quite contentious due mostly in part to the influence of postmodernism"

Perhaps this can be explained in more detail in a section. What exactly are the relevant issues here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Realism in religion section[edit]

Hello, i have just added a short "realism in religion" section because i had previously linked to this article's page while working on improving the Church of Reality page. As far as i know, the Church of Reality is the only religion founded upon the principles of philosophical realism -- but i would love to hear of any others, if known, with an eye toward including them in Wikipedia as well. Thanks! catherine yronwode, not logged in, and therefore posting as "64" (talk) 18:43, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Is this an "owned" article? The one-paragraph "Realism in religion" section was summarily deleted 2 days after being written with no explanatory edit-comment and with no discussion here. That is not standard operating policy for an open-source encyclopedia, in my experience. I am reinserting the section. If someone has a problem with it, they ought to discuss it here. Thanks! catherine yronwode, not logged in, and therefore posting as "64" (talk) 15:57, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
I've deleted this a second time, as the Church of Reality is off-topic, and would receive undue weight to be included here. Aryder779 (talk) 20:50, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Metaphysical realism[edit]

There are many forms of realism: "metaphysical" is just one of them, is a technical term, not to be used in the introduction. --Gazal Cotre (talk) 17:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

"Realism is contrasted with idealism"[edit]

Not necessarily, many forms of ontological idealism are compatible with realism. I'd suggest removing this, too general. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:58, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. --BDD (talk) 17:43, 27 February 2013 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Philosophical realismRealism – As was mentioned on the Realism talk page back in 2011 (without subsequent comment), the Realism article as it currently stands is halfway between a disambiguation page and an article, listing different definitions of the word "realism" and devoting a section to each. Such articles are prohibited by our disambiguation page guidelines; besides, we already have a "Realism" disambiguation page located at Realism (disambiguation). "Philosophical realism", which is most commonly simply called "Realism", is the general concept that encompasses scientific realism and realism in the arts. This article (Philosophical realism) is already recognized to be the parent article for Scientific realism (ie. that article is summarized in a subsection of this article).

To clarify:

  • "Philosophical" realism - the belief that an objective reality exists apart from subjective experience
  • Scientific realism - the attempt to study the objective reality that is philosophically believed to exist apart from subjective experience
  • Realism in the arts - the attempt to visually depict the objective reality that is philosophically believed to exist apart from subjective experience

As such, Philosophical realism should be moved Realism both 1) to recognize the philosophical concept as being the overarching and primary concept, and 2) to get rid of the half-article, half-disambiguation-page that currently exists at Realism. Neelix (talk) 18:02, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose I don't see how this is the primary topic, you haven't provided any evidence of that. To most people it'd be realism in the arts. To the science oriented, it'd be scientific realism. If anything your position supports moving the disambiguation page to the prime location. You're couching your argument in terms of the philosophical concept. Philosophy itself is just a psychological construct. If anything scientific realism, then is the primary form of realism. -- (talk) 22:46, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose not the primary topic, would support the prime location as a disambiguation page.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:49, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose no way this is primary, and to say ""Philosophical realism", which is most commonly simply called "Realism", is the general concept that encompasses scientific realism and realism in the arts" is frankly rubbish, especially given that there are several different meanings attached to the term in the arts (something, unfortunately, that you won't find covered in our articles). Johnbod (talk) 00:38, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Although a sufficiently diverse and even contentious term in philosophy (just look at the series of discussions further up this talk page), science and the arts each have as much claim to the basic term, and the arts, at least, have just as much diversity and contention (as Johnbod rightly points out). A disambiguation page is the right place for any core term that is as equally divided over several fields as this one is.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:49, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • In all wikis but Engish "realism" is marked as a dab page. IMHO the only required change is to convert a pseudo-article realism to an explicit {{disambiguation}}. Don’t move anything. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 10:09, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Additional comment. I have now added somewhat to Realism (arts), which I hope will help explain why the statement in the nom: "Realism in the arts - the attempt to visually depict the objective reality that is philosophically believed to exist apart from subjective experience" is just not correct. In addition that is dealing only with visual art ("visually depict") and possibly theatre, while "realism" is also a key term in literature, especially for the novel. Johnbod (talk) 10:42, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose, but realism should probably be a disambiguation page. Srnec (talk) 22:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

From the article: "realism is contrasted with idealism."[edit]

No, it is not. There is nothing about idealism that is opposed to the realism. But it seems implicit that realism+idealism=theism, whereas anti-realism+idealism=solipsism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:30A:2E24:AA0:5194:7E86:698E:DD8C (talk) 18:30, 1 April 2015 (UTC)