realism


realism
   Realism is the view that things exist independently of the mind. There are three main types of realism that are based on that premise: (1) the view that affirms, in opposition to nominalism, that universals (and perhaps other abstract objects) exist; (2) the view that affirms, in opposition to idealism, that things exist apart from the perception or conscious experience of them; (3) the view that affirms, in opposition to antirealism, that (most or all) things exist independently of conceptual schemes, that is, our particular ways of thinking about the world. To be a realist in the sense of (1) is to affirm that such a thing as beauty exists in addition to the beautiful particulars that exemplify it. To be a realist in the sense of (2) is to affirm that the tree exists even if there is no one in the quad to perceive it. To be a realist in the sense of (3) is to reject Kant's thesis that reality is constituted by our mental concepts, and to deny that existence is only relative to a conceptual scheme. As defined, (3) allows the possibility that some things exist in the realist sense (for example, trees, people) while other things exist only relative to a conceptual scheme (for example, money, chairs). Considered thus far, realism is a metaphysical position, but (3) can also be applied to truth. Alethic realism is the conviction that truth obtains independently of thought, language or conceptual schemes. Antirealist theories view truth as something that exists only relative to human thought (coherentism) or the achievement of human ends (pragmatism). Many Christian philosophers believe that a Christian worldview entails realism, and certainly it would be curious for a Christian to claim that God exists only relative to our conception of God.
   Further reading: Alston 2001; Alston 2002; French, Uehling and Wettstein 1988; Kulp 1997; Wright 1987

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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  • Realism — Re al*ism (r[=e] al*[i^]z m), n. [Cf. F. r[ e]alisme.] 1. (Philos.) (a) As opposed to nominalism, the doctrine that genera and species are real things or entities, existing independently of our conceptions. According to realism the Universal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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