What Do You Mean By Realism In Education?


What Do You Mean By Realism In Education
“Realism means a belief or theory which looks upon the world as it seems to us to be a mere phenomenon, ” ——Swami Ram Tirth. Introduction: Realism is the doctrine that is associated with the study of the world we live in. It is a philosophy away from the world of ideas or spiritual things.

In Realism the word ‘real’ denotes actual or the existing. It indicates those things or events which exist in the world in its own right. It opposes the thing or event which is imaginary or fictitious. It holds the view that knowledge acquired through senses is true and what we observe and perceive through our own senses is real and the true entity of the world.

It says that physical world is objective and factual whereas personal feelings and desires are subjective and secondary. That is why this philosophy is also known as objectivism. Aristotle is generally regarded as the father of Realism. John Locke, Erasmas, Rabelias, Comenius, Bertrand Russell, Francis Bacon, Milton are the chief protagonists of Realism.

  1. Realism and Aims of Education: Realism explains the aims of education in different perspectives.
  2. Preparation for a Happy and Successful Life: The first and most important aim of realistic education is to prepare learners for a happy and successful life. The American educationist, Franklin Bobit has given following activities for achieving happiness in life:
  • Activities related to language
  • Activities concerned with hygiene
  • Citizenship activities
  • Social activities
  • Leisure activities
  • Religious activities
  • Vocational activities
  • Activities of mental health
  • Activities related to vocational behaviour
  • Activities related to race-preservation

Preparation for Practical Life: Realism recommends preparing students for real and practical life of material world which can be gained through senses.

Training of Senses: Realism believes that fullest development of personality can be possible through proper training of senses. The learners will not have a proper knowledge about the material world unless their senses are trained and improved properly.

  1. Developing Physical and Mental Powers: The physical and mental powers are required for developing intelligence, discrimination and judgements by which learners will be able to overcome the challenges of life.
  2. Developing Vocational Efficiency: This type of realistic aim makes education craft-centric. Realism is in favour of developing vocational efficiencies among learners so that they can prepare themselves for fulfilling livelihood demands.
  3. Realism and Method of Teaching: Realism aims to prepare learners for real and practical life. It calls for teaching-learning methodologies on the basis of subjects and interests of the learners.
  4. Inductive Method: Inductive method of teaching enables the learners to generalize the truth from a particular fact. It encourages the construction of knowledge from particular to general. At first, the object is shown to the learners and then its description is demonstrated. It encourages learners to observe and experiment by means of their senses.
  5. Deductive Method: This method of teaching enables learners to arrive at a specific truth from general principles. It encourages the construction of knowledge from general to particular. It improves the reasoning capacity of learners.

Observation Method: This technique calls for education from direct experiences so that all senses are involved in the learning process. It augments the strength of mind, knowledge and experiences of learners.

  1. Experimental Method: Realism recommends to give emphasize on the learning of science subjects which can be learned effectively through experimental method. This method prepares the learners to face the challenges and to solve these taking systematic procedures.
  2. Field Trip: Realism is in favour of learning by direct experiences. Realism discourages rote learning and bookish knowledge and prefers hands-on experience for the purpose of learning. It gives importance on field trips which facilitate learners to correlate classroom learning with reality.
  3. Realism and Curriculum: Realism recommends the designing of curriculum for realistic education which enables learners to solve different problems of life and to lead a happy and successful life.
  4. Subjects of study: It prescribes to include science subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, astrology, physiology etc.
  5. Vocational subjects: Realism recommends the study of handicrafts, farming etc. in the curriculum because it aims at preparing learners for practical life with respect of their livelihood.

Utilitarian subjects: Realism is in favour of including contemporary subjects in curriculum for facilitating individual and social life of learners.

  1. Language study: Realism gives importance to language study in curriculum and prefers mother language as medium of instruction. The language study facilitates learners in reading, writing and conducting all types of social interactions.
  2. Practical studies: Realism lays stress on the inclusion of reading, writing, drawing, Geography, Mathematics with additional physical activities in curriculum.
  3. Realism and Discipline: Realism lays stress on synthetic form of impressionistic and emancipator discipline on the basis of natural and social procedures. Realism calls self-discipline for the learners by controlling their feelings, desires and perform duties. Realism tells teacher to treat learners with affection and sympathy and it allows considerable freedom to the learners so that moral and religious education in the curriculum are recommended.
  4. Realism and Teachers: Realism is in favour of training of teachers before they involve in teaching. Realism believes that teachers should have full knowledge of the subject matter, psychology of learners and the scientific way of delivering education. The teachers must encourage the learners to observe and experiment the natural objects and phenomena so that learners will be able to find out new facts with respect of construction of knowledge. They should inform learners about the scientific discoveries, inventions and researches in different fields of knowledge.

Conclusion: Realism provides a new light and wisdom which produces remarkable changes in the principles and practices of education. It should be mentioned that in the realm of Indian Philosophy, the doctrine of Realism has been pronounced since the time of Vedas. On the other hand, the notion of Realism was evident in the thoughts of Buddhism and Jainism. Visited 30707 times, 2 Visits today
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What is the concept of realism?

Realism, in philosophy, the viewpoint which accords to things which are known or perceived an existence or nature which is independent of whether anyone is thinking about or perceiving them.
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What is realism in education PDF?

Realism in philosophy of education means a school of philosophy that sees the reality as duality (by physical and spiritual side). The implication of realism in education are the purpose, curriculum, method, students and the teacher.
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How do you teach realism in education?

The Method of Teaching According to Realism Realism has a definite background and outlook which influence considerably the class-room procedures and the preparation of text­books. The method of teaching, according to realism, is to abstract from the personality of both the teacher and the pupils and allow the facts to speak for them.

Image Source: 55510d9f7920f3b5d825-17c608ed19d9debb708dcf2aadbcc929.r37.cf2.rackcdn.com In the process of presenting facts, the teacher is not expected to express his subjective opinion on the matter. He has to present the facts as they are, and he must not add anything of his own. The details of contents and the principles of presentation and the emphasis to be given at places will be determined by the specific nature of facts.

The method of teaching should be strictly objective. The best method is that which no one’s own is. Therefore the teacher should become a faithful translator so that through him the facts themselves may become real and impress themselves on the pupils.

The facts must be presented in a clear and distinct manner and no detraction from the facts should be allowed. The facts should be logically classified and one part should lead to another automatically. The realist method of teaching coincides with the attitude of the scientist as Holt says, “The conscientious scientist knows perfectly well that he ‘constructs’ nothing; and that, indeed, his prime concern is precisely not to construct anything.

It is his purpose to efface the personal will, and if it were possible he would transcend the limitations of his sense organs, so as to be an impartial witness of the events.” The realist method of teaching starts with the parts and considers them real in themselves.

It regards the whole as a product of the parts which while contributing to the building up of the whole, retain somehow their individual independence. The idealist method of teaching is just opposite to this. It starts with the whole and proceeds analytically down to the parts. Parts are nothing in themselves; they are something only in relation to the whole.

The realist teacher uses a synthetic method of presentation in the classroom, as well as in the preparation of a text-book. He begins with “elements” or “parts” and tries to show how under given conditions the “wholes”, the certain secondary entities shape themselves.

  1. Given a few pieces of wood, tools and a carpenter, a table (a whole or a secondary entity) of great beauty may come forth.
  2. The pieces of wood remain pieces of wood, the tools remain tools and the carpenter remains a carpenter.
  3. However, there is something new, the beauty of aggregation which may inspire and give joy to anyone who looks at it.

The pieces of wood were not beautiful in themselves. The tools were not beautiful in themselves. The carpenter was not beautiful in himself. Yet there has emerged a thing of beauty a table, which is additional, new and almost incalculable in terms of its elements nevertheless factual in essence.
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How realism influence education?

Understanding the 4 Main Schools of Philosophy: Principle of Realism Understanding philosophy is important for educators not only so that they possess an individual philosophy but gain more awareness to the philosophies of their students and administrators.

  • In this series on the four main schools of philosophies idealism, realism, postmodernism, and pragmatism will be reviewed to assist with understanding the elements of philosophy.
  • This article focuses on realism.
  • Realism is the notion that the world exists in terms of matter, separate from the world of ideas and independent of it.
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Aristotle (384 BC–322 BC), the father of realism, was a student of Plato, and adapted his philosophies from that of his teacher. Considering that both men were from the same small community, it is astonishing that both Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophies of education have endured for thousands of years.

Much like idealism, there are three branches of realism: classical, religious, and modern. The ideas proposed by Aristotle can be classified as classical realism. Classical realism suggests that matter is real and that it is separate from our perceptions. You may not see it, hear it, or feel it, but it nevertheless exists.

Education cultivates the capacity to reason, which allows for proper choices. Aristotle asserted that ideas can exist without matter, but matter cannot exist without ideas. If one understands the matter, then one will be led to understanding the idea. The idea makes it clear that the underlying question of classical realism is purpose.

Aristotle also theorized the idea of free will. He realized that some people choose not to reason but encouraged humanity to seek the Golden Mean by acquiring knowledge. He warned that failure to think might result in extremes of excess or extremes of restraint. Religious realism in Christianity was founded by St.

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1275). Aquinas presumed that God is pure reasoning, which is the truth of all things. He believed the sole purpose of existence is to reunite the soul with God. Modern realism was fashioned by the philosophers Francis Bacon (1561–1626) and John Locke (1632–1704).

Locke conjectured that everything we know comes from experience and from reflecting on that experience. We are not born with any innate or preconceived ideas, but rather are a blank slate. Bacon attempted to change the structure of realism from deductive reasoning to an inductive approach. The inductive approach would reform realists’ thinking from a specific idea in the physical world to a more general assumption, ignoring preconceived notions.

Bacon identified the origins of our preconceived notions, encouraging humanity to disregard these ideas. Realism has probably had the greatest impact on educational philosophy, because it is the foundation of scientific reasoning. Realist educators encourage students to draw their observations and conclusions from the world around them, rather than confining themselves to an analysis of their own ideas.

  1. The modern role of a teacher—that of an organizer, systematizer, and promoter of critical thinking—is largely founded on realist principles.
  2. Realist educators are objective, believing in a systematic approach to order and classified knowledge, building on previously learned information.
  3. They are less likely to encourage their students to seek the truth in literature and ideas, instead encouraging them to seek the truth by testing learned principles on the world around them.

Military schools tend to promote a realist approach. By developing the character of each soldier, or student, they promote honor and dignity. They promote nationalism: the one truth that is common to each participant. Military schools are orderly and systematic and depend on the process to develop excellence in each man or woman.

  • Military schools maintain a distinct separation from the outside world in order to block distractions and allow the trainees to focus.
  • Based on the three segments of realism does it align with your school’s education system? It is necessary to know the educational foundation of your school because as a teacher you are viewed as one who is upholding these values and beliefs.

Continue reading the other sections of this series to understand the schools of thought pertaining to philosophy. : Understanding the 4 Main Schools of Philosophy: Principle of Realism
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Who is the father of realism in education?

The Father of Realism – Court Theatre By Carissa Villagomez, Marketing and Communications Intern Portrait of Henrik Ibsen Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright in the 19th century who became well-known throughout the world for his significant influence on decades of authors and playwrights after him. Considered the father of realism, he holds a place in history as a founder of modernism in theatrical works.

His plays, often considered quite controversial when published in the morally stringent 19th century, were and continue to be widely discussed beyond just an academic setting. was written in 1888, inspired by the Danish ballad Agnete og Havmanden, In the ballad, a young woman named Agnete meets a merman who rises from the sea and promptly offers a marriage between them.

She goes with him, embarking on a domestic journey underneath the waves as she and her husband make a new family of seven children. However, one day she hears the church bells from above the water and decides to revisit her homeland. Upon returning, she decides to leave her underwater family forever and once again live on land.

The tale is so famous that underwater artwork depicting Agnete’s abandoned family was installed in Denmark, Although Ibsen drew inspiration from it, the tale of Ellida Wangel is significantly different, yet just as enduring for its powerful motifs and a marked departure from Ibsen’s typical characterization.

Motifs of free will, marriage, and the necessity of reconciling dreams with reality permeate the play and their presence ensures it remains startlingly relevant no matter the time period. Scene from a 1901 production of THE LADY FROM THE SEA in Berlin. Ibsen is a figure who led a remarkable life himself. The man who would go on to produce works that are often only outperformed by Shakespeare was born in the Norwegian town of Skien to an opulent household, though this material prosperity disappeared so that the rest of his childhood and part of his adult life was spent in poverty.

  1. His natural talent burgeoned in the face of his responses to the social and political occurrences of the time.
  2. Events of his own life, such as his political activism, his eventual self-imposed exile, his affairs with younger women, and his eventual marriage to another woman all influenced his plays.
  3. The beauty of the Norwegian landscape and local tales also captivated him.

His mystique even captured the imagination of artist Edvard Munch, whose paintings hosted subject matter that was markedly influenced by Ibsen’s characters. Upon its release, The Lady from the Sea was considered less shocking in comparison to Ibsen’s other plays.

However, as Ibsen was notable for doing, the play still challenged the state of Norwegian society at the time, focussing on themes other playwrights overlooked, such as marital unfulfillment, the life of an artist, and grappling with stifling social expectations when trying to formulate one’s individual identity.

In the modern-day, Ibsen fanatics and the newly-initiated can all recognize Lady as a moving and powerful testament to theatre’s ability to critique and change social norms. hits Court’s stage February 25, 2022. : The Father of Realism – Court Theatre
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What is the purpose of realism?

Realism aims to interpret the actualities of any aspect of life, free from subjective prejudice, idealism, or romantic color. It is in direct opposition to concerns of the unusual, the basis of Romanticism.
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What is the importance of realism?

The Importance of Realism Art: It is a Starting Point – There are an incredible number of abstract artists who are educated in realism. They understand the components of making art. The way that you know is that their work is consistent from painting the painting.

It’s, They control color and temperature and understand exactly what they’re doing. They learned that through realistic painting, and then they applied that understanding to the abstract. Realism is still relevant and still the backbone for quality art education. The importance of realism art is evident.

If you understand and can masterfully replicate reality, then you can have true control over abstraction or any other visual representation in art. Realism offers students a starting point from which they can launch themselves into an infinite number of artistic styles.
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What are the characteristics of realism in education?

Chief Characteristics of Education : – The following are the chief characteristics of realistic education: (i) Based on Science: Realism emphasized scientific education. It favored the inclusion of scientific subjects in he curriculum and of natural education.

  1. Natural education is based on science which is real.
  2. Ii) Thrust upon present Life of the Child : The focal point of realistic education is the present life of the child.
  3. As it focuses upon the real and practical problems of the life, it aims at welfare and happiness of the child.
  4. Iii) Emphasis on Experiment and Applied life : It emphasizes experiments, experience and practical knowledge.

Realistic education supports learning by doing and practical work for enabling the child to solve his or her immediate practical problems for leading a happy and successful life. (iv) Opposes to Bookish Knowledge : Realistic education strongly condemned all bookish knowledge, for it does not help the child to face the realities of life adequately.

  1. It does not enable the child to decipher the realities of external things and natural phenomena.
  2. The motto of realistic education is “Not Words but Things.” (v) Freedom of Child: According to realists, child should be given full freedom to develop his self according to his innate tendencies.
  3. Further, they view that such freedom should promote self-discipline and self-control the foundation of self development.

(vi) Emphasis on Training of Senses: Unlike idealists who impose knowledge from above, realists advocated self-learning through senses which need to be trained. Since, senses are the doors of knowledge, these needs to be adequately nurtured and trained.
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What is realism and idealism in education?

Topic: Realism Words: 574 Pages: 9 Apr 23rd, 2021 Realism and idealism are two different schools of thought in terms of their impacts on the purpose of school and education systems. The two schools also advocate for the necessity of embracing different issues in learning processes.

  1. Idealism is rooted in the work of Plato, although Socrates (his student) later developed it (Ozmon & Craver, 2013).
  2. Realism is rooted in the works of Aristotle.
  3. However, this school of thought has been developed to take different, though similar theoretical paradigms (Ozmon & Craver, 2013, p.40).
  4. Idealism is anchored on four main principles.
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The first principle is that the’ ideal is real’. This means, “What is real is the idea of the object, which is at the conscious levels of our mind and not the object that we see, which is a mere shadow of that idea” (Shahid, 2001, p.56). The second principle is that man is the supreme creation, which is capable to take control of the world through his spirit and mind.

In the third principle, God acts as the chief source of knowledge, which man uses to make sense out of the physical things in the environment. Thus, God is the ultimate source of reality. Our experts can deliver a customized essay tailored to your instructions for only $13.00 $11.05/page 308 qualified specialists online Learn more From an idealism school of thought, values are very absolute.

These values are attractiveness, reality, and goodness. Genuineness is an intellectual value (Ozmon & Craver, 2013) with attractiveness being an aesthetic value while goodness is a moral value. To idealists, schools must serve the functions of attaining these values during learning processes.

Plato believed that these three principles are indistinguishable. The above idealistic arguments influence education in different ways. Hence, they can affect me as a professional educator. Idealism has forced learning processes in schools to emphasize the significance of preparing students not only intelligence wise but also to adopt certain prescribed moral values.

Hence, wisdom must be refined. Education must then ensure that the mind, as the intellectual property of students, is sharpened. Teaching students about the wisdom that is possessed by past heroes accomplish this goal. Philosophers who are inclined to the realist school of thought believe in the world in the manner it exists meaning, “reality is what people physically observe” (Shahid, 2001, p.61).

  1. Truthiness is in what people sense and/or observes while goodness is founded on platforms of an order together with the law of nature.
  2. Concerning learning, realism overrules the argument that facts can be taught to students.
  3. Realists believe that facts take the form of images within the human mind (Shahid, 2001).

This implies that educators have the principal role of preparing students so that they can be able to develop such images by themselves. This argument implies that learning is meant to surface the order that guides the universe as students are essentially taught to be factual.

Idealism paints the function of education as symbolic while realism paints it as materialistic. An educator from the idealistic approach is autocratic meaning that he or she possesses more knowledge together with pedagogical capacity compared to the students or the pupil (Ozmon & Craver, 2013). The teacher thus selects contents, which he or she believes would suit the learning requirements of students.

The implication to my professionalism is that a realist teacher advocates for formal teaching methods such as lecturing compared to the emphasis on experimentation together with observation approaches. The learner is principally passive from the realist philosophical school of thought while he or she is active from the idealist school of thought.
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What are examples of realism?

Realism Art Examples – As we defined above, Realism art characteristics included:

Rejecting Romantic idealsRepresenting subjects “as they were”Focusing on everyday people, settings, and situationsResponding to a new national emphasis on French workers

This video does a great job of summarizing key features, dates, and figures of the Realism art movement.
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What are the three types of realism?

Realist thought can be divided into three branches: human nature realism, state-centric realism and system-centric realism.
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Which is the aim of education for a realist educator?

The purpose of education was to prepare for complete living, the Realists believed. Education should equip the learners with the knowledge and skills that are needed to understand and master his physical environment so that he can live a happy and comfortable life.
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Who is the realist theory?

Foreign Policy Analysis – P. Trubowitz, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001 Why do states adopt certain foreign policies? Most foreign policy analysis relies on structuralist reasoning to answer this question. Realist theory emphasizes a nation’s position in the international distribution of power.

A second approach focuses on domestic factors, and stresses a country’s political institutions. The future of foreign policy analysis lies in finding ways to incorporate politics and choice into theories that identify constraints on state behavior. Three main solutions have been proposed: theories that focus on how international pressures affect competing domestic coalitions, rational choices theories that analyse ‘two-level games,’ and constructivism.

Read full chapter URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767012626
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What is the difference between idealism and realism?

Management between idealism and realism Idealism is the world of thoughts, values, principles, and perfection. Realism is the world of things, facts, constraints, and unattainable perfection. Idealism means what we should do and realism means what we actually do.

  • Now the question is: Which is better for manager; to be idealistic or realistic? To be idealistic means that you can only see thoughts and your expectations level will reach the absolute perfection otherwise you will never be satisfied, you will not accept any mistakes or excuses.
  • To be realistic means that you can only see perceive things, and your expectations limited to what could be achieved using the current state of resources as it is, you have no great goals, and you don’t care about the plan constraint, you accept your team members as they actually are.

To be idealistic means that you are “process- oriented” which means that you want to achieve the work outcome by the right way considering procedures, instructions, safety rules, compliance with budget, schedule, and scope. To be realistic means that you are pragmatic or “results- oriented” which means that you want to achieve the work outcome by your way irrespective of process right way, you don’t care about risks, and always prefer shortcuts to outcome and focused only on result whatever the path to it and whatever the cost.

  1. To be idealistic means that you are tough and you are struggling from increasing turnover rate in your team members.
  2. To be realistic means that you keep your team member even if some of them are under performing as you think that compliance with procedures is something ideal and far from your reality.

And now the answer Both of idealistic and realistic have advantages and disadvantages so the answer is depending on the situation In planning phase you should be realistic bearing in mind all potential risks and constraints, environmental factors, vacations, weather factors like storms and heat waves, etc.

So you can add contingency reserves and buffers during scheduling, and take into account environmental factors that may affect the cost like changing in interest rate, currency exchange rate and rising in prices, You should also take into consideration the social responsibility of the organization towards its human resources which may affect the cost and the availability of resource sufficiently during the time of execution.

In execution phase you should turn to idealism and appear your idealistic attitude for your team even if as a mask. So the best for the manager is to balance between idealism and realism, and to have adaptability between both of mindsets according to the situation.
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Who gave the concept of realism?

2.2 Hans Morgenthau’s Realist Principles – Hans J. Morgenthau (1904–1980) developed realism into a comprehensive international relations theory. Influenced by the Protestant theologian and political writer Reinhold Niebuhr, as well as by Hobbes, he places selfishness and power-lust at the center of his picture of human existence.

The insatiable human lust for power, timeless and universal, which he identifies with animus dominandi, the desire to dominate, is for him the main cause of conflict. As he asserts in his main work, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, first published in 1948, “international politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power” (25).

Morgenthau systematizes realism in international relations on the basis of six principles that he includes in the second edition of Politics among Nations, As a traditionalist, he opposes the so-called scientists (the scholars who, especially in the 1950s, tried to reduce the discipline of international relations to a branch of behavioral science).

  1. Nevertheless, in the first principle he states that realism is based on objective laws that have their roots in unchanging human nature (4).
  2. He wants to develop realism into both a theory of international politics and a political art, a useful tool of foreign policy.
  3. The keystone of Morgenthau’s realist theory is the concept of power or “of interest defined in terms of power,” which informs his second principle: the assumption that political leaders “think and act in terms of interest defined as power” (5).

This concept defines the autonomy of politics, and allows for the analysis of foreign policy regardless of the different motives, preferences, and intellectual and moral qualities of individual politicians. Furthermore, it is the foundation of a rational picture of politics.

Although, as Morgenthau explains in the third principle, interest defined as power is a universally valid category, and indeed an essential element of politics, various things can be associated with interest or power at different times and in different circumstances. Its content and the manner of its use are determined by the political and cultural environment.

In the fourth principle, Morgenthau considers the relationship between realism and ethics. He says that while realists are aware of the moral significance of political action, they are also aware of the tension between morality and the requirements of successful political action.

  1. Universal moral principles,” he asserts, “cannot be applied to the actions of states in their abstract universal formulation, but they must be filtered through the concrete circumstances of time and place” (9).
  2. These principles must be accompanied by prudence for as he cautions “there can be no political morality without prudence; that is, without consideration of the political consequences of seemingly moral action” ( ibid,).
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Prudence, and not conviction of one’s own moral or ideological superiority, should guide political action. This is stressed in the fifth principle, where Morgenthau again emphasizes the idea that all state actors, including our own, must be looked at solely as political entities pursuing their respective interests defined in terms of power.

By taking this point of view vis-à-vis its counterparts and thus avoiding ideological confrontation, a state would then be able to pursue policies that respected the interests of other states, while protecting and promoting its own. Insofar as power, or interest defined as power, is the concept that defines politics, politics is an autonomous sphere, as Morgenthau says in his sixth principle of realism.

It cannot be subordinated to ethics. However, ethics does still play a role in politics. “A man who was nothing but ‘political man’ would be a beast, for he would be completely lacking in moral restraints. A man who was nothing but ‘moral man’ would be a fool, for he would be completely lacking in prudence” (12).

  • Political art requires that these two dimensions of human life, power and morality, be taken into consideration.
  • While Morgenthau’s six principles of realism contain repetitions and inconsistencies, we can nonetheless obtain from them the following picture: Power or interest is the central concept that makes politics into an autonomous discipline.

Rational state actors pursue their national interests. Therefore, a rational theory of international politics can be constructed. Such a theory is not concerned with the morality, religious beliefs, motives or ideological preferences of individual political leaders.

It also indicates that in order to avoid conflicts, states should avoid moral crusades or ideological confrontations, and look for compromise based solely on satisfaction of their mutual interests. Although he defines politics as an autonomous sphere, Morgenthau does not follow the Machiavellian route of completely removing ethics from politics.

He suggests that, although human beings are political animals, who pursue their interests, they are moral animals. Deprived of any morality, they would descend to the level of beasts or sub-humans. Even if it is not guided by universal moral principles, political action thus has for Morgenthau a moral significance.

  • Ultimately directed toward the objective of national survival, it also involves prudence.
  • The effective protection of citizens’ lives from harm is not merely a forceful physical action; it has prudential and moral dimensions.
  • Morgenthau regards realism as a way of thinking about international relations and a useful tool for devising policies.

However, some of the basic conceptions of his theory, and especially the idea of conflict as stemming from human nature, as well as the concept of power itself, have provoked criticism. International politics, like all politics, is for Morgenthau a struggle for power because of the basic human lust for power.

  1. But regarding every individual as being engaged in a perpetual quest for power—the view that he shares with Hobbes—is a questionable premise.
  2. Human nature cannot be revealed by observation and experiment.
  3. It cannot be proved by any empirical research, but only disclosed by philosophy, imposed on us as a matter of belief, and inculcated by education.

Morgenthau himself reinforces the belief in the human drive for power by introducing a normative aspect of his theory, which is rationality. A rational foreign policy is considered “to be a good foreign policy” (7). But he defines rationality as a process of calculating the costs and benefits of all alternative policies in order to determine their relative utility, i.e.

Their ability to maximize power. Statesmen “think and act in terms of interest defined as power” (5). Only intellectual weakness of policy makers can result in foreign policies that deviate from a rational course aimed at minimizing risks and maximizing benefits. Hence, rather than presenting an actual portrait of human affairs, Morgenthau emphasizes the pursuit of power and the rationality of this pursuit, and sets it up as a norm.

As Raymond Aron and other scholars have noticed, power, the fundamental concept of Morgenthau’s realism, is ambiguous. It can be either a means or an end in politics. But if power is only a means for gaining something else, it does not define the nature of international politics in the way Morgenthau claims.

It does not allow us to understand the actions of states independently from the motives and ideological preferences of their political leaders. It cannot serve as the basis for defining politics as an autonomous sphere. Morgenthau’s principles of realism are thus open to doubt. “Is this true,” Aron asks, “that states, whatever their regime, pursue the same kind of foreign policy” (597) and that the foreign policies of Napoleon or Stalin are essentially identical to those of Hitler, Louis XVI or Nicholas II, amounting to no more than the struggle for power? “If one answers yes, then the proposition is incontestable, but not very instructive” (598).

Accordingly, it is useless to define actions of states by exclusive reference to power, security or national interest. International politics cannot be studied independently of the wider historical and cultural context. Although Carr and Morgenthau concentrate primarily on international relations, their realism can also be applied to domestic politics.

  • To be a classical realist is in general to perceive politics as a conflict of interests and a struggle for power, and to seek peace by recognizing common interests and trying to satisfy them, rather than by moralizing.
  • Bernard Williams and Raymond Geuss, influential representatives of the new political realism, a movement in contemporary political theory, criticize what they describe as “political moralism” and stress the autonomy of politics against ethics.

However, political theory realism and international relations realism seem like two separate research programs. As noted by several scholars (William Scheuerman, Alison McQueen, Terry Nardin. Duncan Bell), those who contribute to realism in political theory give little attention to those who work on realism in international politics.
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What is the main idea of realism in philosophy?

Realism is the view that a “reality” of material objects, and possibly of abstract concepts, exists in an external world independently of our minds and perceptions. Historically, realism is a metaphysical claim about this independently existing world.

  • Since Aristotle ‘s Metaphysics, two kinds of questions (ontological and epistemological ) are raised – what exists, and how can we know what exists.
  • The ontological status of abstract concepts is a completely different question from the ontology of concrete material objects, though these questions have often been confounded in the history of philosophy.

Information philosophy provides distinct answers to these two ontological questions. Material objects exist in the world of space and time. They are information structures embodied in matter and interacting with energy. Abstract concepts are pure information, neither matter nor energy, although they need matter for their embodiment and energy for their communication.

  • The contrast between material objects and abstract concepts can be illustrated by the difference between invention and discovery,
  • We discover physical objects through our perceptions of them.
  • To be sure, we invent our ideas about these objects, their descriptions, their names, theories of how they are structured and how they interact energetically – with one another and with us.

But we cannot arbitrarily invent the natural world. We must test our theories with experiment. This makes our knowledge of an independent external world scientific. By contrast, we humans invent abstract concepts like truth, justice, and beauty. We know that these cultural constructs exist nowhere in nature as physical structures.

  • We created them.
  • Cultural knowledge is relative to and dependent on the society that creates it.
  • However, some of our invented abstract concepts seem to have an existence that is independent of us.
  • Platonic Realism is the view that abstract things like numbers, perfect geometric figures, and other things that Plato called the Forms or the Ideas, have a real and independent existence, though they are not material objects.

For Aristotle, these “universals” exist only in the concrete objects which share some property. The universal idea of a perfect circle is a shared property of the many actual circles in nature. Naive realists think that we can access concrete physical objects directly and fully with our perceptual sense data.

This is sometimes called the “copy theory,” that our perceptions are fully apprehending the physical objects, that the content of a perception is the same as the object of perception. In information philosophy terms, naive realism mistakenly assumes that the information in the perceived sense data (or the representation in the mind) is (quantitatively) equal to (a copy of) the information in the physical object.

Critical realists, like scientists, start with observations and sense data, but they add hypotheses and experiments to develop theories about the physical objects and the abstract concepts in the external world. Nevertheless, the abstract representation in the mind is (quantitatively) much less information than the information in the physical object represented.

The “axiom of independent reality” claims that “Knowledge unconditionally presupposes that the reality known exists independently of the knowledge of it, and that we know it as it exists in this independence.” ( H.A. Prichard,) The British empiricists Locke and Hume argued that what we were “given” in our perceptions of sense data was limited to so-called “secondary qualities.” These are properties that produce the sensations in the observer’s senses – color, taste, smell, sound, and touch.

Knowledge that comes from secondary qualities does not provide objective facts about things “in themselves.” Kant described these secondary qualities as “phenomena” that could tell us nothing about the “noumena,” which the empiricists called the “primary qualities.” These are properties the objects have that are independent of any observer, such as solidity, extension, motion, number and figure.
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What is the main goal of realism?

Realism aims to interpret the actualities of any aspect of life, free from subjective prejudice, idealism, or romantic color. It is in direct opposition to concerns of the unusual, the basis of Romanticism.
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