Who Is Regarded As Spiritual Father Of Realist School?
Axel Hagerstrom – 1868-1939-He is considered to be the spiritual father of the Scandinavian Realists. He mastered the Roman Law. He was essentially a jurist of philosophical times.
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- 1 Who is the originator of the thought of realistic school?
- 2 Who is the mental father of realist movement?
- 3 Why Aristotle is considered as father of realism?
- 4 Who invented the realist?
- 5 Who are the pioneers of realistic philosophy?
- 6 Which professor is associated with the realist school of thought?
- 7 Which philosopher is a realist?
- 8 Who is the father of social realism?
- 9 Who was realist Plato or Aristotle?
- 10 Who is realist theory by?
Who is the father of realist school?
It concentrates on scientific observation of law and studies law in its actual working which is prescribed in court. Also known as ‘Uppsala school of jurisprudence’. The father of the realist school of jurisprudence is ‘ Axel Hagerstorm.
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Who is the originator of the thought of realistic school?
Who is the founder of realist school of law? John Chipman Gray is regarded as one of the ‘founding fathers of the realist movement’ and is credited with inventing the term ‘realist.’ According to Gray, the court, rather than the legislature, is the most significant source of the law.
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Who is associated with realist school?
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- The purpose of this essay is to examine the main differences between classical realism and neorealism by focussing on landmark books written by scholars from the realist school of thought.
- Realism will be approached as a united tradition, implying that neorealism is not a chronological continuity of classical realism, but rather, a change from within it that was adapted to the challenges of the real world and to those of other schools of thought.
For this purpose, classical realism and neorealism will be considered as strands of thought from within the same school, and therefore, each time the term ‘strand’ is used, it refers to the contents of the same body and not of another school. It is only in this framework that the main purpose of the realist theory of international relations, which is to explain international outcomes, will remain intact.
In the first part of the essay, classical realism in contemporary international politics and neorealism will be defined. Moreover, the main scholars of each strand will be mentioned. In the second part of the essay, an outline will be provided illuminating what the major contributors to each strand have written on international politics, and the basic issues that matter for realism will be provided as well.
The works of Carr, Niebuhr, and Morgenthau, will be examined for the account of classical realism, while Mearsheimer and Waltz will be studied for the account of neorealism. Then, it will be possible to proceed to the final and most essential part of the essay, which examines the differences between these two strands.
- Before moving to the main body of the essay it is useful to provide some definitions of the tools that neorealism uses in its effort to explain international outcomes.
- Self-Help: Since anarchy is what defines the international system, Waltz differentiates domestic from international politics, by arguing that in the latter survival (for him security) can only be achieved through self help.
‘ Self-help is necessarily the principle for action’ (Waltz, 1979, p.111) Security Dilemma: The situation that emerges when a state or coalition of states grows in power, thus, making another state or coalition feel threatened, leading it to seek ways to check the other (Waltz, 1979).
Definition of terms In the literature regarding realism, terminology can be found that questions if there is one unified and coherent tradition of thought under this name. If realism is codified chronologically, then there are the distinctions of classical, modern, and neorealism (Dunne and Schmidt 2008).
If it is codified according to the content of their respective analysis and consequent hypotheses, then more lines of distinction will appear. For example, within realism one can distinguish an offensive (Mearsheimer) and a defensive (Waltz) version, according to how much power they believe that states need to achieve for survival.
- Furthermore, if a chronological perspective is taken, after the end of the Cold War some scholars of realism tried to incorporate into Waltz’s realism the element of foreign policy, and these scholars were named, by Rose (1998), as neoclassical realists.
- For the purpose of this essay, the core assumptions and hypotheses of all strands within realism will be used by making one main distinction which can be seen either chronologically, or methodologically, since the two are correlated.
The distinction takes place chronologically after the writing of Waltz’s book the “Theory of International Politics” in 1979. Methodologically, he distinguishes himself from the previous efforts of realism to explain international outcomes by trying to create a theory, on realism’s behalf, for international politics by finding law-like regularities, clearly influenced from his era’s predominance of positivism (Burnham et al, 2008).
- The term ‘classical’ realism will be used in the broader chronological sphere, rather than how it is usually referred to.
- Therefore, except for Thucydides, Nicollo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Hans Morgenthau, when the term ‘classical’ is used here, it also refers to the works of Edward Carr (1929) and Reinhold Niebuhr (1932).
However, the guiding text that is used for classical realism will be the one written by Morgenthau and revised by Thompson (1985), which is ” Politics Among Nations, The struggle for Power and Peace, ” as it is the most conscious effort to codify classical realist thought by organising it into principles.
- On the other hand, the term ‘neorealism’ will be used to refer to Mearsheimer’s work (2001), but primarily to the work of Kenneth Waltz for the reasons mentioned above.
- The novelties he introduced will be examined in the appropriate part.
- The guiding text that is used for neorealism is, of course, Waltz’s (1979) “Theory of International Politics.” Classical Realism Classical realism’s roots can be found in the works of Thucydides in ancient Greece, Kautilya in ancient India, Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes in the 16 th century, and most recently with Hegel and Weber (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff Jr., 1990).
This essay, however, will focus on the work of three 20 th century scholars because each one’s writings can be considered a valuable contribution to the understanding of international relations, during the particular time it was written. After the First World War, and during the interwar period of the 1930s, the basic assumptions of the predominant school of thought were challenged by a number of factors.
Liberal institutionalism declared that it is in mankind’s best interest to cooperate, and therefore, law should be the guiding collective principle, not war. Facts, however, like the behaviour of Hitler and Mussolini, and most of all, the ongoing failure of liberalism’s favourite League of Nations, gave rise to a different way of conceptualising international politics.
In this context, the work of Ronald Niebuhr in 1932, ” Moral Man and Immoral Society-A study in Ethics and Politics,” is the first serious challenge to liberal institutionalism. His central argument is that liberals overestimated the ability of humans to work collectively in a way that is truly moral (Brown, 2001).
Throughout Niebuhr’s work the morality argument is obvious and it is used to explain that international cooperation is unachievable due to human nature. He does not believe that statesmen do not have the capacity to be good, rather, this capacity is “always in conflict with the sinful acquisitive and aggressive drives, present in human nature” (Niebuhr in Brown 2001, p.28).
Consequently, he had theses on some of the basic analytical tools mentioned earlier. In regard to national interest, he believed that since national interests are subjective for each nation, the rule that statesmen must frame policies within it cannot always apply (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff Jr., 1990).
- Regarding the balance of power, he believed that “it is the organisational device for achieving a semblance of justice” (ibid, p.94).
- Since human nature is sinful there can be no absolute justice, and in conditions of disproportional power, the balance of power is the closest thing to justice.
- The second work that can be considered a turning point, which defined the turn from liberalism to realism, is Edward H.
Carr’s “The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939, An Introduction to the Study of International Relations.” Carr refers to liberalism as utopianism and he believes that utopia lies in the liberal notion that a harmony of interests can be achieved. Up to this point he agrees with Niebuhr, but he distinguishes himself when he argues that cooperation cannot be achieved, not because of human nature, but because of a conflict between the haves and have-nots (Carr, 2001).
He sees scarcity as the central feature of the world and it is within this context that international politics are to be understood. On the concept of power, he contributes by separating the theoretical models of military, economic, and persuasive power, arguing that every form is needed from states and power should be treated as a whole, which is the law through which social dynamics are shaped (ibid, Ch.8).
Carr is himself concerned with morality, distinguishing it between the individual and the state (ibid, Ch.9), he argues that international morality comes as a result of the morality of each state, but he conceives the personalisation of each state as a tool, however a tool cannot have morality.
- Consequently, morality is irrelevant in international relations.
- The final, but most influential, classical realist work is Hans Morgenthau’s “Politics Among Nations, The struggle for Power and Peace,” written in 1948.
- It shaped the post-war synthesis in international politics literature, which at the time was dominated by realists (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff Jr.1990, Brown 2001, Dune and Schmidt, 2008).
In the study of international politics, the novelty which Morgenthau introduces is that he consciously tries to systematize realism (Brown, 2001). This can be seen in the first chapter, in which he depicts the 6 principles of political realism. By examining his six principles of political realism, his main points are that states are the primary actors, national interest is hard to define but the minimum goal is survival, and national interest is defined, however, in terms of power.
Morality is once again irrelevant since there are no universal moral principles which can be applied at all times. Morgenthau, as Niebuhr and Carr, separated the morality of states from the morality of individuals, but he goes a step beyond stating that statesmen are the ones responsible for distinguishing the morality of the state from the morality of an individual, in order to assure national survival.
Finally, he suggests the autonomy of the political sphere from all other social spheres (Morgenthau, 1985). In this sense, his work is not really an objective effort to theorize, but it also has propositions and indications for policy making. Morgenthau dedicated a whole chapter on the balance of power in order to introduce it as the most effective technique to manage power.
For him, only through the balance of power can international peace ultimately be achieved. He gives four different meanings for it and proposes many different methods to achieve it, but what matters for it to work is the consensus upon which it is built. In other words, states as the primary actors of the international system have to accept that they work within a balance of power system and within this context only, can power be checked (ibid 1985, ch.11 and 12).
Overall, his rationale is simple and can be reduced to the sentence: international politics is governed by states which pursue their natural interests by pursuing power. Morgenthau, just as Niebuhr did, by bringing to the front the aggressive, power seeking nature of states, highlights the imperfection of human nature.
Neorealism It is difficult to define neorealism without comparing it to classical realism. In this part, however, the main characteristics of neorealist theory will be mentioned as presented by Waltz, and later supported by Mearsheimer. Waltz first conceptualised the idea of international politics as a system.
In his first book, the “Man state and the War – A theoretical analysis,” he studies why wars happen because of human behaviour, state behaviour, and introducing a new dimension, he studies why wars happen because of international political systems, which he examines as one entity.
This first book was the basis for the second, which would be the defining one for contemporary realists and students of international politics in general, the “Theory of International Politics.” It is in this latter book that international politics are examined as a particular theory by introducing the idea of structure to the international political system (Kleiser, 2003).
As Waltz states in his second book, the goal of his theory is to explain “why patterns of behaviour reoccur a theory of international politics will, for example explain, war recurs but it will not predict the outbreak of particular wars” (Waltz 1979, p.69).
In a few words, Waltz consciously tries to create an independent theory of international politics, which as he says, like every theory, can explain how the system works but not make particular predictions. The principal characteristic of the international political system is that it is a whole that cannot be reduced into parts, which is why his theory is called a systemic one.
The international political system has separate units but these act according to the structure of the system (Waltz 1979, Ch.5). There are also other important characteristics. First, the organising principle of the system is anarchy, as it was for previous realists.
In this context the minimum goal of states is survival (ibid). The second characteristic of the structure of the international system is the nature of the units that constitute its parts and their functions. He argues that in the anarchical system, states are primary actors, as previous realists also suggested, which perform similar functions (ibid).Third, Waltz talks about the distribution of capabilities among states as parts of the system, and here he argues that although capabilities are characteristic of the units (states), it is the system that defines how those capabilities are to be distributed.
Within the Waltzian concept, states are the primary actors, and act as unitary parts of the international political system. National interest could be defined, at a minimum, as state self preservation, and at a maximum, as the state’s drive for universal domination (ibid).
Therefore, the balance of power is once again needed to preserve the system and it will happen as a condition of the system, meaning that if the actual distribution of power is such that a balance can emerge, and if states take notice of their surroundings, they will adjust their policies to the configuration of worldwide power (ibid).
Of course, that presupposes two critical provisions, one systemic and one of the state, but this is exactly how the Waltzian concept works. It could be argued that Mearsheimer cannot be included in the same basket as Waltz due to a critical difference that they have when answering the question; how much power do states need ? However, since Mearsheimer agrees with the underlying core assumption of the Waltzian concept, that it is the structure of the international political system that defines the actions of states as its unitary actions (Kreisler, 2002); I believe that his work can be included in the neorealist strand.
- In his book, which is considered his main contribution in the field of international politics, “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, ” Mearscheimer concludes the same points as Waltz in the following matters.
- First, anarchy is what defines the system and therefore states continue to feel threatened.
- Second, the primary goal of national interest remains survival and since the system is anarchical they turn to self-help.
Here is where their paths separate, however, since Mearscheimer believes that in order to achieve survival it is necessary to dominate the entire regional international system (Mearscheimer, 2001), whereas Waltz believes that too much power can be risky as it leads to security dilemmas.
Now that a comprehensive view of the classical realist and neorealist traditions has been provided, their main differences will be analysed, as they appear by comparing the previously mentioned books. Main Differences The focus now turns to what distinguishes neorealism from classical realism. An inversion of the question, what distinguishes the latter from the former, would not be appropriate here because Waltz’s neorealism came as an answer to classical realism and it actually revitalised it (Dunne and Schmidt, 2008).
In order to answer the above question, it could be asked what distinguishes Waltz’s work from that of Morgenthau. In Waltz’s own words: “Morgenthau and other realists failed to take the fateful step beyond developing concepts to the fashioning of a recognizable theory” (Waltz, 1990).
- So, what he tried to do in the “Theory of International Politics” was to first ” develop an idea of the structure of international politics, which would make it possible to think of international politics as a subject matter that could be studied in its own right” (Kleiser 2003).
- It could be argued that Morgenthau in “Politics Among Nations” tried to provide a theory of international politics by making reference to many ‘laws of politics’ or by codifying basic concepts.
However, this is not exactly the case because although he argues that he tries to explain how the world works according to his theory, what he really does is tell statesmen how they should behave by providing prescriptive elements (Brown 2001). In this sense, his work is mostly a textbook for foreign policy making rather than a general explanatory theory.
Where Morgenthau failed, Waltz succeeded by introducing the idea of structure. Waltz (1979, 1990) argues that international politics should be perceived as a system with a precisely defined structure. Unlike Morgenthau (1985) who believed that when studying international politics one should not distinguish it from the realm of influences, such as national politics, economics, and international politics; Waltz isolated the realm of international politics by depicting an international political system as a whole, just to deal with it intellectually.
By introducing the concept of structure, meaning the autonomy of international politics, he was able to produce what can be perceived as a theory. For him ” international structure emerges from the interaction of states and then constraints them from certain actions while propelling them towards others” (Waltz 1990, p.29).
Structure is defined by the ordering principle of the system which is anarchy, and by this structure is able to perpetuate itself because of a differentiated distribution of capabilities across the system’s units, which are states (ibid and Waltz, 1979). After this core assumption, of international political systems as a defining structure, is introduced, we can proceed to the next differentiations of neorealism from classical realism.
Keeping in mind that the main purpose of realism is to explain international political outcomes, a second difference emerges. Classical realists’ work on this matter is inductive, meaning that they explain outcomes by focusing on unit level explanations.
- They focus on states to explain outcomes.
- This way the characteristics and interactions of the units are taken as the causes of outcomes.
- Neorealists, on the other hand, take a deductive approach, arguing that political outcomes can be understood only when the affects of the structure, that Waltz introduced, are added to the classical realist unit level explanation.
This way international political outcomes are explained when the effects of structure on the units are added, and the focus shifts from the characteristics of the states to the characteristics of the structure. While Niebuhr (1932) and Morgenthau (1985) concentrate on evil human nature, Waltzian neorealism focuses on the structure defined by anarchy and the differentiation of power and capabilities among states.
On the other hand, however, it could be argued that Carr, one of the main figures among classical realists when examining the causes of war, did not focus on evil human nature, but on scarcity (Carr, 2001), and in this way he underlined a structural characteristic and came closer to the neorealist perception of international politics.
A third difference emerges in how power is perceived in each strand. By focusing on state level analysis, classical realists argue that the desire for power emerges from the nature of states, which in turn emerges from the nature of man (Niebuhr, 1932).
- In this context however, power is never enough and it is perceived as an end in itself, and as Morgenthau noted, “The desire to attain a maximum of power is universal” (1985, p.36) and it is “one of objective laws that have their roots in human nature” (ibid, p.4).
- Waltz, however, argues that power is a means to an end, and that end is security, and as Waltz notes, “Because power is a possibly useful means, sensible statesmen try to have an appropriate amount of it.
In crucial situations, however, the ultimate concern of states is not for power but for security” (Waltz 1988, p.616). This also explains the classical realist notion of engaging with moral philosophy and issues of morality in general (Niebuhr 1932, Carr 2001 and Morgenthau 1985), whereas neorealists do not rely on it to explain outcomes.
Neorealists like Waltz perceive power as a means to an end because their focus is on the structure of the international political system which is anarchical, and therefore, their ultimate concern should be security. Waltz argues that power is risky if one has too little or too much. If a state has too little, it is vulnerable to threats, but if it has too much it raises the issue of a security dilemma, therefore its ultimate concern should be survival (Waltz, 1979).
Finally, a fourth difference can be spotted among the two strands in how each of their theorists perceives anarchy. In classical realism anarchy is a condition of the system, whereas in neorealism anarchy is what defines it. Consequently, in their respective efforts to explain international outcomes they see different ways how states would react to it.
In classical realism, states react to anarchy according to their population, location, domestic politics, and leadership qualities, whereas for neorealism there is no question of reaction to anarchy, rather than similarity in the way they function, since anarchy defines the structure of the system (Waltz, 1990).
In this sense, the difference among states’ reactions emerge not from their domestic features, but from the constraints that the system imposes on them. Consequently, each strand, commencing from a different assumption, concludes with a different interpretation of international political outcomes.
Neorealism, in order to explain these outcomes, introduces the concept of distribution of capabilities. It is the anarchical system that distributes power and capabilities among states, and states use them in order to achieve security. Waltz argues that it is normal for changes in the unit-level to affect the system’s structure, but this however will not change the way we should theorise international politics (ibid).
An example is needed in order to depict how Waltz perceives anarchy. In today’s anarchical world, different states follow different policies according to what anarchy imposes on them. For example, Italy which has few resources will react to a security threat, not by trying to increase its military power, but through joining an alliance (NATO) or by cooperating regionally.
However, China, with increasing wealth, is likely to respond to such a threat by increasing its military strength. Morgenthau would argue that Italy and China would respond to such a threat only if their political leadership or domestic policy necessitated it. However, this is not enough to explain international political outcomes on the whole.
These are the main differences between classical realism and Waltz’s realism. Mearsheimer, as a contemporary neorealist, would also concur with most of Waltz’s points, but not on how power is perceived. There he would agree with Morgenthau that the desire for power has no limits, he would say however, that this happens not because of human nature but because of the system’s structure (Kleiser, 2002).
- In the literature that is considered as neorealist there is also a part that focuses on relative and absolute gains, like Grieco’s work (Dunne and Schmidt, 2008).
- However, they are mostly concerned with explaining issues of cooperation and the study of their work would be more appropriate in comparison with the neoliberal tradition of thought, so for the purpose of this essay it has been omitted.
Conclusion After having examined both strands, differences and similarities have emerged not only between these two approaches, but also within themselves. In order to find those differences I focused on the defining difference between neorealism and classical realism, that the concept of structure has emerged in order to theorise international politics.
After this clarification I found that classical realists explain international politics by focusing on human nature and, apart from Carr, they perceive power as the ultimate goal of states, like Mearsheimer. Moreover, for classical realists anarchy is not the primary focus when explaining different state policies.
Hence, classical realism remains more of a foreign policy guide than a theory like the one Waltz wanted to introduce. I have consciously preferred to limit the debate to its theoretical applications, since no strand can fully explain particular cases from the real world.
Bibliography: BURNHAM Peter et Al. (2008), ” Research Methods in Politics” (2 nd ed.) New York: Palgrave MacMillan BROWN Chris (2001), “Understanding International Relations” (2 nd ed.), New York: Palgrave CARR, H. Edward (2001), “I ikosaetis krisi 1919-1939, Isagogi sti meleti ton diethnwn sheseon” (2 nd ed), Athens: Poitita translated from CARR, H.
Edward (1939), “The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939, An Introduction to the Study of International Relations” Rights released from Curtis Brown Group Ltd. DOUGHERTY, E. James and PFALTZGRAFF E. Robert (1990), “Contending Theories of International Relations- A comprehensive study” (3 rd ed.), New York: Harper & Row DUNNE, Tim and SCHMIDT C.
- Brian (2008), ‘Realism’ in BAYLIS et.
- Al (4 th ed.) “The Globalization of World Politics, An introduction to international relations”, Oxford: Oxford University Press KEGLEY, JR.W.
- Charles (2008), “World Politics, Trend and Transformation”, (12 th ed.), Belmond: Wadsworth Cengage Learning KLEISER Hennry (2002), “Trough the Realist Lens- Conversation with John J.
Mearsheimer “, Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, Available: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people2/Mearsheimer/mearsheimer-con0.html KLEISER Hennry (2003), “Theory and International Politics- Conversation with Kenneth N.
- Waltz”, Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, Available: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people3/Waltz/waltz-con0.html MEARSHEIMER, John (2001), ” The Tragedy of Great Power Politics “, New York: W.W.
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- MORGENTHAU, Hans and THOMPSON Kenneth (1985), “Politics Among Nations, The struggle for Power and Peace” (6 th ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill NIEBUHR, Reinhold (1932), “Moral Man and Immoral Society-A study in Ethics and Politics”, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons ROSE, Gideon (1998), “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy” in “World Politics”, 51:1, 144-172 WALTZ N.
Kenneth (1979), “Theory of International Politics”, London: McGraw-Hill, Inc. WALTZ N. Kenneth (1989), “The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory” in Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Sring 1988, 18 (4), p.615-628, Available: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/sipa/S6800/courseworks/OriginsOfWar.pdf WALTZ N.
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Who is the mental father of realist movement?
Origine Du Monde: Epitome Of Gustave Courbet’s Realism – Origine do Monde by Gustave Courbet, 1866, in Musée d’Orsay, Paris, via The Guardian Gustave Courbet was the figure who came to define the Realism movement and it was in this painting that he most actively achieved many of his aims. After all, this painting was so ‘real’ that it wasn’t publicly exhibited until more than 100 years after it was created for fear of controversy and public outrage.
- The painting was initially commissioned for a private collection by the wealthy Ottoman diplomat, Halil Şerif Pasha, who lived in Paris.
- After he found himself in financial difficulty, the work danced around Europe from collector to collector until eventually, it ended up in the possession of the Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in 1955.
It was only in 1988 that the work first went on public display as part of a Courbet retrospective held by the Brooklyn Museum, It has been on display at the Museé d’Orsay since 1995 when Lacan died and his family offset their inheritance tax bill by gifting the work to the French state. By John Sewell BA & MA Art History, University of Birmingham John holds both a BA and an MA in Art History from the University of Birmingham, UK. His academic research focussed on nineteenth and early-twentieth century depictions of narcotics use, addiction and race-relations.
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Is Aristotle the father of realism?
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.
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.
The modern role of a teacher—that of an organizer, systematizer, and promoter of critical thinking—is largely founded on realist principles. Realist educators are objective, believing in a systematic approach to order and classified knowledge, building on previously learned information. 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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Why Aristotle is considered as father of realism?
Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher who can be considered an early realist. Perhaps the best reason for categorizing his thought as realist is his belief in natural kinds. The idea of natural kinds refers to the ability to group beings according to their own, natural concept rather than simply by convention.
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Who invented the realist?
Painting – Gustave Courbet was the first artist to self-consciously proclaim and practice the realist aesthetic. After his huge canvas The Studio (1854–55) was rejected by the Exposition Universelle of 1855, the artist displayed it and other works under the label “Realism, G.
Courbet” in a specially constructed pavilion. Courbet was strongly opposed to idealization in his art, and he urged other artists to instead make the commonplace and contemporary the focus of their art. He viewed the frank portrayal of scenes from everyday life as a truly democratic art. Such paintings as his Burial at Ornans (1849) and the Stone Breakers (1849), which he had exhibited in the Salon of 1850–51, had already shocked the public and critics by the frank and unadorned factuality with which they depicted humble peasants and labourers.
The fact that Courbet did not glorify his peasants but presented them boldly and starkly created a violent reaction in the art world. The style and subject matter of Courbet’s work were built on ground already broken by the painters of the Barbizon School,
Théodore Rousseau, Charles-François Daubigny, Jean-François Millet, and others in the early 1830s settled in the French village of Barbizon with the aim of faithfully reproducing the local character of the landscape. Though each Barbizon painter had his own style and specific interests, they all emphasized in their works the simple and ordinary rather than the grandiose and monumental aspects of nature.
They turned away from melodramatic picturesqueness and painted solid, detailed forms that were the result of close observation. In such works as The Winnower (1848), Millet was one of the first artists to portray peasant labourers with a grandeur and monumentality hitherto reserved for more important persons.
Another major French artist often associated with the realist tradition, Honoré Daumier, drew satirical caricatures of French society and politics. He found his working-class heroes and heroines and his villainous lawyers and politicians in the slums and streets of Paris. Like Courbet, he was an ardent democrat, and he used his skill as a caricaturist directly in the service of political aims.
Daumier used energetic linear style, boldly accentuated realistic detail, and an almost sculptural treatment of form to criticize the immorality and ugliness he saw in French society. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
Subscribe Now Pictorial realism outside of France was perhaps best represented in the 19th century in the United States, There, Winslow Homer ‘s powerful and expressive paintings of marine subjects and Thomas Eakins ‘s portraits, boating scenes, and other works are frank, unsentimental, and acutely observed records of contemporary life.
Realism was a distinct current in 20th-century art and usually stemmed either from artists’ desire to present more honest, searching, and unidealized views of everyday life or from their attempts to use art as a vehicle for social and political criticism,
The rough, sketchy, almost journalistic scenes of seamy urban life by the group of American painters known as The Eight fall into the former category. The German art movement known as the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), on the other hand, worked in a realist style to express the cynicism and disillusionment of the post- World War I period in Germany.
The Depression -era movement known as Social Realism adopted a similarly harsh and direct realism in its depictions of the injustices and evils of American society during that period. Socialist Realism, which was the officially sponsored Marxist aesthetic in the Soviet Union from the early 1930s until that country’s dissolution in 1991, actually had little to do with realism, though it purported to be a faithful and objective mirror of life.
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Who are the pioneers of realistic philosophy?
The roots of Scottish Common Sense Realism can be found in responses to such philosophers as John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.
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Which professor is associated with the realist school of thought?
|Mearsheimer in 2007|
|Born||December 14, 1947 (age 75) New York City, U.S.|
|Education||United States Military Academy (BS) University of Southern California (MA) Cornell University (PhD)|
|Institutions||University of Chicago|
|Main interests||International relations theory, international security, deterrence theory|
|Notable ideas||Offensive realism|
John Joseph Mearsheimer (; born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought, He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago,
- He has been described as the most influential realist of his generation.
- Mearsheimer is best known for developing the theory of offensive realism, which describes the interaction between great powers as being primarily driven by the rational desire to achieve regional hegemony in an anarchic international system,
In accordance with his theory, Mearsheimer believes that China’s growing power will likely bring it into conflict with the United States. In his 2007 book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer argues that the Israeli lobby wields disproportionate influence over U.S.
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Who is the most famous realist?
The Third-Class Carriage – Honoré Daumier –
|Artist||Honoré Daumier (1808 – 1879)|
|Date Painted||1862 – 1864|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||65.4 cm x 90.2 cm (25.7 in x 35.5 in)|
|Where It Is Currently Housed||Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York|
Considered to be one of the most famous Realist painters was the French artist Honoré Daumier, who created the series of paintings titled The Third-Class Carriage between 1862 and 1864. Known to be a very graphic painter, Daumier frequently characterized the livelihoods of the lower class and the impact that industrialization had on modern urban life in France. The Third-Class Carriage (1862-1864) by Honoré Daumier; Honoré Daumier, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons A recurrent theme of Daumier’s that can be seen within this work is the effect that urbanization had on the working-class people of Paris. While still paying particular attention to the form of public transport, The Third-Class Carriage places more emphasis on the way that social hierarchy was still enforced in a time that was supposedly so modern.
By portraying members of a lower class in the third-class carriage, a scene that was not by any means uncommon, Daumier commented on the social politics still at play within France. The individuals within the carriage appear to be exhausted after a long day’s work, with the focus of the painting falling on the figures seated on the wooden bench in the foreground.
A soft glow of light seeps in through the window, which further highlights the nursing mother, the old lady, and the sleeping boy, who exude a peacefulness not often accompanied with public transport. Wealthier passengers appear to be seated behind them and are separated by a bench that divides the two classes, which further implies the division that existed in France.
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Which philosopher is a realist?
Realism | | | | | Realism, at it simplest and most general, is the view that entities of a certain type have an objective reality, a reality that is completely ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc.
- Thus, entities (including abstract concepts and universals as well as more concrete objects ) have an existence independent of the act of perception, and independent of their names,
- The doctrine had its beginnings with Pre-Socratic philosophers like, and, but its definitive formulation was that of and his theory of Forms (see the section on Platonic Realism ).
Later philosophers (especially Christians) amended and adapted the doctrine to suit their needs:
modified ‘s realism by holding that universals existed before the material universe in God’s creative mind, and that humanity as a universal preceded individual men (thus explaining away problematical theological concepts such as the transmission of original sin in the human race, and the oneness of the Trinity ). believed that he could derive truth about what actually exists from consideration of an ideal or universal, and argued that because God is the greatest of beings, he must exist in reality as well as in thought (for if he existed in thought only, a greater being could be conceived of). built on ‘s watered down Realism (see the section on Moderate Realism ) to argue that human reason could not totally grasp God’s being, but that one could use reason in theology whenever it was concerned with the connection between universals and individual objects.
It is a concept which has repercussions throughout philosophy – in,,,,, Philosophy of Perception, Science, Mathematics, Religion, Law, etc – and it is as contentious today as it was for the Ancient Greeks.Realism is contrasted with Anti-Realism (any position denying the objective reality of entities) and with (the position that abstract concepts, general terms or universals have no independent existence, but exist only as names ) and with (the position that the mind is all that exists, and that the external world is an illusion created by the mind).There are many different types and degrees of Realism, some of which are described in detail in the sections below, and other which are touched on in brief in the Other Types of Realism section,
Platonic Realism is the view, articulated by the ancient Greek philosopher, that universals exist. A universal is a property of an object, which can exist in more than one place at the same time (e.g. the quality of “redness”). As universals were considered by to be ideal forms, this stance is confusingly also called Platonic Idealism,
The problem of universals is an ancient problem (introduced by Pre-Socratic philosophers like, and ) about what is signified by common nouns and adjectives, such as “man”, “tree”, “white”, etc. What is the logical and existential status of the “thing” that these words refer to? Is it in fact a thing, or a concept ? Is it something existing in reality, external to the mind, or not ? If so, then is it something physical or something abstract ? Is it separate from material objects, or a part of them in some way? How can one thing in general be many things in particular ? ‘s solution is that universals do indeed exist, although not in the same way that ordinary physical objects exist, but in a sort of ghostly mode of existence, outside of space and time, but not at any spatial or temporal distance from people’s bodies,
Thus, people cannot see or otherwise come into sensory contact with universals, and it is meaningless to apply the categories of space and time to them, but they can nevertheless be conceived of and exist. One type of universal defined by is the Form, which is not a mental entity at all, but rather an idea or archetype or original model of which particular objects, properties and relations are copies,
- The “forms” (small “f”) or appearances that we see, according to, are not real, but literally mimic the real “Forms” (capital “F”).
- Forms are capable of being instantiated by one or many different particulars, which are essentially material copies of the Forms – the particulars are said to “participate” in the Forms, and the Forms are said to “inhere” in the particulars.
According to, Platonic Forms possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. They are perfect because they are unchanging, The world of Forms is separate from our own world (the world of substances ) and is the true basis of reality. Removed from matter, Forms are the most pure of all things.
True knowledge or intelligence is the ability to grasp the world of Forms with one’s mind, ‘s main evidence for the existence of Forms is intuitive only, arguing from human perception (a generalization which applies equally to objects which are clearly different e.g. blue sky and blue cloth), and from perfection (a perfect model for various imperfect copies, which are different but recognizably copies of the same thing e.g.
flawed circles must be imperfect copies of the same thing). himself was well aware of the limitations of his theory, and in particular concocted the “Third Man Argument” against his own theory: if a Form and a particular are alike, then there must be another (third) thing by possession of which they are alike, leading to an infinite regression,
In a later (rather unsatisfactory) version of the theory, he tried to circumvent this objection by positing that particulars do not actually exist as such: they “mime” the Forms, merely appearing to be particulars. points out that proof of Forms and universals rests on prior knowledge : if we did not know what universals were in the first place, we would have no idea of what we were trying to prove, and so could not be trying to prove it.
He also asserted that universals and particulars imply each other : one is logically prior or posterior to the other and, if they are to be regarded as distinct, then they cannot be “universal” and “particulars”. Other critics have argued that Forms, not being spatial, cannot have a shape, so it cannot be that a particular of, say, an apple is the same shape as the Form of an apple.
Moderate Realism is the view that there is no separate realm where universals (or universal concepts) exist, but that they are located in space and time wherever they happen to be manifest, Moderate realism represents a middle ground between Platonic Realism or Extreme Realism (see section ) and the opposite extreme, (the position that abstract concepts, general terms or universals have no independent existence, but exist only as names ).
It distinguishes between the thing itself with the way it exists : a thing exists in the mind as a universal, and in reality it exists as an individual, Thus, what our ideas present to us in a universal does not exist outside the mind as a universal, but as an individual. Moderate Realism therefore recognizes both sense knowledge, which presents things in their individuality, and intellectual conceptual knowledge, which presents things in their more abstract nature.
A similar attempt to bridge the gap between Realism and is known as Conceptualism, the doctrine (initiated by ) that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality. Modern Conceptualism, as represented by, holds that universals have no connection with external things because they are exclusively produced by our a priori mental structures and functions,
Modal Realism is the view, notably propounded by David Lewis (1941 – 2001), that possible worlds are just as real as the actual world we live in, and not just abstract possibilities, The term goes back to ‘s theory of possible worlds, which he used to analyze modal notions of necessity and possibility, Lewis claimed that:
Possible worlds exist : they are just as real as our world. Possible worlds are the same sort of things as our world: they differ in content, not in kind, Possible worlds cannot be reduced to something more basic : they are irreducible entities in their own right. When we talk of our “actual” world, the term “actual” is indexical (merely indicating some particular state of affairs ): it does not mean that our world is any more real than any other. Possible worlds are spatio-temporally isolated from each other: they do not exist in the same space or time. Possible worlds are causally isolated from each other: they do not interact with each other.
Lewis himself raises several lines of argument against the theory, and then proceeds to counter them, and it has proven to be remarkably resilient, despite its apparent affront to common sense,
Moral Realism (or Moral Objectivism ) is the meta-ethical view (see the section on ) that there are objective moral values which are independent of our perception of them or our stance towards them. Therefore, moral judgments describe moral facts, It is a cognitivist view (cognitivism being the view that ethical sentences express propositions and are therefore “truth-apt” i.e.
they are able to be true or false ), and it contrasts with expressivist or non-cognitivist theories of moral judgment, error theories, fictionalist theories and constructivist or relativist theories. and (arguably) and were moral realists, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as and Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982).
Moral Realism purportedly allows the ordinary rules of logic to be applied straightforwardly to moral statements, It also allows for the resolution of moral disagreements, because if two moral beliefs contradict one another, Moral Realism (unlike some other meta-ethical systems) says that they cannot both be right and so there should be some way of resolving the situation.
|Other Types of Realism|
Other than the more widely known types of Realism described in the sections above, there are many others disciplines which are related to Realism, including:
Transcendental Realism is the theory, described (although not subscribed to) by, that implies individuals have a perfect understanding of the limitations of their own minds. himself was a Transcendental Idealist in that he believed that our experience of things is about how they appear to us, and he did not believe one could ever understand the world as it actually exists. Organic Realism (or Philosophy of Organism, now known as Process Philosophy ) is the metaphysical philosophy of, in which subjective forms complement ‘s eternal objects or Forms. The theory identifies metaphysical reality with change and dynamism, and holds that change is not illusory or purely accidental to the substance, but rather the very cornerstone of reality or Being.
Epistemological Realism is the view (considered a subcategory of ) that what you know about an object exists independently of your mind. It is directly related to the correspondence theory of truth (that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world, and whether it accurately describes, or corresponds with, that world). Indirect Realism is the view (also known as or Epistemological Dualism ) that the world we see in conscious experience is not the real world itself, but merely a miniature virtual-reality replica of that world in an internal representation, New Realism is a 20th Century theory which rejected of the epistemological of and the older forms of Realism, on the grounds that, when one is conscious of an object, it is an error to say that there are two distinct facts : knowledge of the object in a mind, and an extra-mental object in itself,
is the meta-ethical view that there are objective moral values which are independent of our perception of them or our stance towards them. Therefore, moral judgments describe moral facts, It purportedly allows the ordinary rules of logic to be applied straightforwardly to moral statements, It also allows for the resolution of moral disagreements, because if two moral beliefs contradict one another, Moral Realism (unlike some other meta-ethical systems) says that they cannot both be right and so there should be some way of resolving the situation. and (arguably) and were moral realists, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as and Ayn Rand (1905 – 82). Quasi-Realism is the meta-ethical theory that, although our moral claims are projectivist (attributing or projecting qualities to an object as if those qualities actually belong to it), we understand them in realist terms as part of our ethical experience of the world. The theory was developed by Simon Blackburn (1944 – ), who challenged philosophers to explain how two situations can demand different ethical responses without referring to a difference in the situations themselves, and argued that, as this challenge is effectively unmeetable, there must be a realist component in our notions of ethics. However, Blackburn admitted that ethics cannot be entirely realist either, for this would not allow for phenomena such as the gradual development of ethical positions over time,
Aesthetic Realism is the view that reality, or the world, has a structure that is beautiful, and that unifies opposites like a great work of art should, and can therefore can be liked honestly, as one would a work of art. The theory was developed by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel in 1941, and became something of a cult as its proponents claimed the one true answer to universal happiness, on the grounds that everyone’s deepest desire to like the world on an honest or accurate basis.
Political Realism (or Power Politics ) is the theory in that the primary motivation of states is the desire for military and economic power or security, rather than ideals or ethics, It views mankind from the perspective that it is not inherently benevolent, but rather self-centered and competitive, as well as being inherently aggressive and/or obsessed with security. Historically, such a view can be traced back to Sun Tzu and Han Feizi in ancient China, Thucydides in ancient Greece and Chanakya in ancient India, through the political philosophers and, to more modern day politicians and theorists like Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 98), Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831), Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) and Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953). Liberal Realism (also known as the English School of international relations theory) is the theory in that there exists a society of states at the international level, despite the lack of a ruler or world state, It supports a or Grotian tradition, seeking a middle way between the power politics of Political Realism and the utopianism of revolutionary theories. Liberal Realism holds that, while the international system is anarchical, order can be promoted through diplomacy, international law and society. Neorealism (or Structural Realism ) is the theory that international structures act as a constraint on state behavior, so that only states whose outcomes fall within an expected range can be expected to survive,
Christian Realism is a 20th Century philosophy, advocated by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971), which holds that the kingdom of heaven can not be realized on Earth because of the innately corrupt tendencies of society. Due to the natural injustices that arise on Earth, a person is therefore forced to compromise the reality of the kingdom of heaven on Earth. Mystical Realism is the view, originating with the Russian philosopher Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (1974 – 1948), that divine entities are real, even if they do not exist in terms of the normal definition of existence (i.e. occupying space, having matter, existing in time, and being affected by causation).
In Philosophy of Perception :
Critical Realism is the theory which maintains that there exists an objectively knowable, mind-independent reality, and that some of our sense-data accurately represent these external objects, properties and events, while others do not, The theory is a modern take on the ideas of and that the sense-data of secondary qualities (such as color, taste, texture, smell and sound) do not represent anything in the external world, even if they are caused by primary qualities (such as shape, size, distance, hardness and volume). Nave Realism (also known as Direct Realism or Common Sense Realism ) is a common sense theory of perception, holding that the world is pretty much as our common sense would have it (all objects are composed of matter, they occupy space, and have properties such as size, shape, texture, smell, taste and color, all of which are usually perceived correctly ). Opponents of the theory (like ) have attacked it as not accounting for the phenomenon that the same object may appear differently to different people, or to the same person at different times, This theory can be contrasted to Scientific Realism (see below). Representative Realism, (also known as Indirect Realism, Epistemological Dualism and The Veil of Perception ), is the theory that we do not (and cannot) perceive the external world directly, Thus, a barrier or a veil of perception (between the mind and the existing world) prevents first-hand knowledge of anything beyond it. Instead, we know only our ideas or interpretations of objects in the world (), although it maintains (unlike ) that those ideas come from sense-data of a real, material, external world. The theory was subscribed to at various levels by,,, and, Hyper-Realism (or Hyper-Reality ) is the view in semiotics and philosophy that consciousness is unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, especially in technologically advanced post-modern cultures. In this way, consciousness defines what is actually “real” in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter the original event or experience being depicted.
Scientific Realism is the view that the world described by science is the real world, independent of what we might take it to be, and that unobservable things talked about by science are little different from ordinary observable things. Its proponents point out that scientific knowledge is progressive in nature, and that it is able to predict phenomena remarkably successfully. An example of a Scientific Realist is, who held the world only contains the primary qualities (such as shape, size, distance, hardness and volume), and that other properties were entirely subjective, depending for their existence upon some perceiver who can observe the objects. However, although it is related to much older philosophical positions including and, it is essentially a 20th Century thesis, developed largely as a reaction to, Entity Realism is a theory within Scientific Realism which claims that the theoretical entities that feature in scientific theories (e.g. ‘electrons’) should be regarded as real only if they refer to phenomena that can be manipulated and investigated independently. Entity Realism does not commit itself to judgments concerning the truth of scientific theories, but posits “manipulative success” as the criterion by which to judge the reality of (typically unobservable) scientific entities. Constructive Realism is the view in Philosophy of Science that the theory of (that humans construct meaning from current knowledge structures, and that knowledge is contingent on convention, human perception, and social experience ) be applied to science, It utilizes a strategy called strangification, which means taking a scientific proposition system out of its context and putting it in another context.
In Philosophy of Mathematics :
Mathematical Realism is the view that mathematical truths are objective, and that mathematical entities exist independently of the human mind, and therefore are to be discovered rather than invented, There are various types of Mathematical Realism depending on what sort of existence one takes mathematical entities to have. The view effectively echoes the ancient doctrine of Platonic Realism (see section ).
In Philosophy of Law :
Legal Realism is the theory that all law is made by human beings and is therefore subject to human foibles, frailties and imperfections, The theory was developed in the first half of the 20th Century, principally by Oliver Wendell Holmes in the United States and Axel Hgerstrm in Scandinavia. Many legal realists believe that the law in the books (statutes, cases, etc) does not necessarily determine the results of legal disputes (the indeterminacy of law ); many believe that interdisciplinary (e.g. sociological and anthropological) approaches to law are important; many also believe in legal instrumentalism, the view that the law should be used as a tool to achieve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests.
There are also several Realism movements within the arts (visual arts, theatre, literature, film, etc), which generally attempt to depict subjects as they appear in everyday life, as well as many Realism-related movements like Hyperrealism, Fantastic Realism, Magical Realism, Photorealism, Poetic Realism, Social Realism, Socialist Realism, etc.
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What is a realist school?
This school believes that law is only on official action. Roscoe Pound has defined Realist School as: ‘Fidelity to nature, accurate reordering of things as they are, as contrasted with things as they are imagined to be, or wished to be or as one feels they ought to be.’
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Socialist realism | Tate A form of modern realism imposed in Russia by Stalin following his rise to power after the death of Lenin in 1924, characterised in painting by rigorously optimistic pictures of Soviet life painted in a realist style The doctrine was formally proclaimed by Maxim Gorky at the Soviet Writers Congress of 1934, although not precisely defined. In practice, in painting it meant using styles to create highly optimistic depictions of Soviet life. Any pessimistic or critical element was banned, and this is the crucial difference from, : Socialist realism | Tate
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Who was realist Plato or Aristotle?
Plato as ‘Idealist,’ Aristotle as ‘Realist’ —the concept of ‘idea’ arises into a pure epistemological world, whereas the concept of ‘ousia’ searches for an absolutely rational corresponding of episteme and for a particular thing in the real world.
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Was Karl Llewellyn a realist?
Karl Llewellyn is the best known and most substantial jurist of the group of lawyers known as the American Realists. He made important contributions to legal theory, legal sociology, commercial law, contract law, civil liberties and legal education.
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Was Einstein really a realist?
1. Introduction: Was Einstein an Epistemological “Opportunist”? – Late in 1944, Albert Einstein received a letter from Robert Thornton, a young African-American philosopher of science who had just finished his Ph.D. under Herbert Feigl at Minnesota and was beginning a new job teaching physics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.
- He had written to solicit from Einstein a few supportive words on behalf of his efforts to introduce “as much of the philosophy of science as possible” into the modern physics course that he was to teach the following spring (Thornton to Einstein, 28 November 1944, EA 61–573).
- Here is what Einstein offered in reply: I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science.
So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering.
- This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
- Einstein to Thornton, 7 December 1944, EA 61–574) That Einstein meant what he said about the relevance of philosophy to physics is evidenced by the fact that he had been saying more or less the same thing for decades.
Thus, in a 1916 memorial note for Ernst Mach, a physicist and philosopher to whom Einstein owed a special debt, he wrote: How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there no more valuable work in his specialty? I hear many of my colleagues saying, and I sense it from many more, that they feel this way.
- I cannot share this sentiment.
- When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching, that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not merely their quick-wittedness, I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology.
- They happily began discussions about the goals and methods of science, and they showed unequivocally, through their tenacity in defending their views, that the subject seemed important to them.
Indeed, one should not be surprised at this. (Einstein 1916, 101) How, exactly, does the philosophical habit of mind provide the physicist with such “independence of judgment”? Einstein goes on to explain: Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such an authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens.
- Thus they come to be stamped as “necessities of thought,” “a priori givens,” etc.
- The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors.
- For that reason, it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing the long commonplace concepts and exhibiting those circumstances upon which their justification and usefulness depend, how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience.
By this means, their all-too-great authority will be broken. They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with given things be far too superfluous, replaced by others if a new system can be established that we prefer for whatever reason.
Einstein 1916, 102) One is not surprised at Einstein’s then citing Mach’s critical analysis of the Newtonian conception of absolute space as a paradigm of what Mach, himself, termed the “historical-critical” method of philosophical analysis (Einstein 1916, 101, citing Ch.2, §§ 6–7 of Mach’s Mechanik, most likely the third edition, Mach 1897).
The place of philosophy in physics was a theme to which Einstein returned time and again, it being clearly an issue of deep importance to him. Sometimes he adopts a modest pose, as in this oft-quoted remark from his 1933 Spencer Lecture: If you wish to learn from the theoretical physicist anything about the methods which he uses, I would give you the following piece of advice: Don’t listen to his words, examine his achievements.
- For to the discoverer in that field, the constructions of his imagination appear so necessary and so natural that he is apt to treat them not as the creations of his thoughts but as given realities.
- Einstein 1933, 5–6) More typical, however, is the confident pose he struck three years later in “Physics and Reality”: It has often been said, and certainly not without justification, that the man of science is a poor philosopher.
Why then should it not be the right thing for the physicist to let the philosopher do the philosophizing? Such might indeed be the right thing at a time when the physicist believes he has at his disposal a rigid system of fundamental concepts and fundamental laws which are so well established that waves of doubt can not reach them; but it can not be right at a time when the very foundations of physics itself have become problematic as they are now.
At a time like the present, when experience forces us to seek a newer and more solid foundation, the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations; for, he himself knows best, and feels more surely where the shoe pinches. In looking for a new foundation, he must try to make clear in his own mind just how far the concepts which he uses are justified, and are necessities.
(Einstein 1936, 349) What kind of philosophy might we expect from the philosopher-physicist? One thing that we should not expect from a physicist who takes the philosophical turn in order to help solve fundamental physical problems is a systematic philosophy: The reciprocal relationship of epistemology and science is of noteworthy kind.
- They are dependent upon each other.
- Epistemology without contact with science becomes an empty scheme.
- Science without epistemology is—insofar as it is thinkable at all—primitive and muddled.
- However, no sooner has the epistemologist, who is seeking a clear system, fought his way through to such a system, than he is inclined to interpret the thought-content of science in the sense of his system and to reject whatever does not fit into his system.
The scientist, however, cannot afford to carry his striving for epistemological systematic that far. He accepts gratefully the epistemological conceptual analysis; but the external conditions, which are set for him by the facts of experience, do not permit him to let himself be too much restricted in the construction of his conceptual world by the adherence to an epistemological system.
He therefore must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist: he appears as realist insofar as he seeks to describe a world independent of the acts of perception; as idealist insofar as he looks upon the concepts and theories as free inventions of the human spirit (not logically derivable from what is empirically given); as positivist insofar as he considers his concepts and theories justified only to the extent to which they furnish a logical representation of relations among sensory experiences.
He may even appear as Platonist or Pythagorean insofar as he considers the viewpoint of logical simplicity as an indispensable and effective tool of his research. (Einstein 1949, 683–684) But what strikes the “systematic epistemologist” as mere opportunism might appear otherwise when viewed from the perspective of a physicist engaged, as Einstein himself put it, in “the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations.” The overarching goal of that critical contemplation was, for Einstein, the creation of a unified foundation for physics after the model of a field theory like general relativity (see Sauer 2014 for non-technical overview on Einstein’s approach to the unified field theory program).
Einstein failed in his quest, but there was a consistency and constancy in the striving that informed as well the philosophy of science developing hand in hand with the scientific project. Indeed, from early to late a few key ideas played the central, leading role in Einstein’s philosophy of science, ideas about which Einstein evinced surprisingly little doubt even while achieving an ever deeper understanding of their implications.
For the purposes of the following comparatively brief overview, we can confine our attention to just five topics:
- Theoretical holism.
- Simplicity and theory choice.
- Univocalness in the theoretical representation of nature.
- Realism and separability.
- The principle theories-constructive theories distinction.
The emphasis on the continuity and coherence in the development of Einstein’s philosophy of science contrasts with an account such as Gerald Holton’s (1968), which claims to find a major philosophical break in the mid-1910s, in the form of a turn away from a sympathy for an anti-metaphysical positivism and toward a robust scientific realism.
- Holton sees this turn being driven by Einstein’s alleged realization that general relativity, by contrast with special relativity, requires a realistic ontology.
- However, Einstein was probably never an ardent “Machian” positivist, and he was never a scientific realist, at least not in the sense acquired by the term “scientific realist” in later twentieth century philosophical discourse (see Howard 1993).
Einstein expected scientific theories to have the proper empirical credentials, but he was no positivist; and he expected scientific theories to give an account of physical reality, but he was no scientific realist. Moreover, in both respects his views remained more or less the same from the beginning to the end of his career.
- Why Einstein did not think himself a realist (he said so explicitly) is discussed below.
- Why he is not to be understood as a positivist deserves a word or two of further discussion here, if only because the belief that he was sympathetic to positivism, at least early in his life, is so widespread (for a fuller discussion, see Howard 1993).
That Einstein later repudiated positivism is beyond doubt. Many remarks from at least the early 1920s through the end of his life make this clear. In 1946 he explained what he took to be Mach’s basic error: He did not place in the correct light the essentially constructive and speculative nature of all thinking and more especially of scientific thinking; in consequence, he condemned theory precisely at those points where its constructive-speculative character comes to light unmistakably, such as in the kinetic theory of atoms.
(Einstein 1946, 21) Is Einstein here also criticizing his own youthful philosophical indiscretions? The very example that Einstein gives here makes any such interpretation highly implausible, because one of Einstein’s main goals in his early work on Brownian motion (Einstein 1905b) was precisely to prove the reality of atoms, this in the face of the then famous skepticism of thinkers like Mach and Wilhelm Ostwald: My principal aim in this was to find facts that would guarantee as much as possible the existence of atoms of definite size.
The agreement of these considerations with experience together with Planck’s determination of the true molecular size from the law of radiation (for high temperatures) convinced the skeptics, who were quite numerous at that time (Ostwald, Mach), of the reality of atoms.
(Einstein 1946, 45, 47) Why, then, is the belief in Einstein’s early sympathy for positivism so well entrenched? The one piece of evidence standardly cited for a youthful flirtation with positivism is Einstein’s critique of the notion of absolute distant simultaneity in his 1905 paper on special relativity (Einstein 1905c).
Einstein speaks there of “observers,” but in an epistemologically neutral way that can be replaced by talk of an inertial frame of reference. What really bothers Einstein about distant simultaneity is not that it is observationally inaccessible but that it involves a two-fold arbitrariness, one in the choice of an inertial frame of reference and one in the stipulation within a given frame of a convention regarding the ratio of the times required for a light signal to go from one stationary observer to another and back again.
- Likewise, Einstein faults classical Maxwellian electrodynamics for an asymmetry in the way it explains electromagnetic induction depending on whether it is the coil or the magnet that is assumed to be at rest.
- If the effect is the same—a current in the coil—why, asks Einstein, should there be two different explanations: an electrical field created in the vicinity of a moving magnet or an electromotive force induced in a conductor moving through a stationary magnetic field? To be sure, whether it is the coil or the magnet that is taken to be at rest makes no observable difference, but the problem, from Einstein’s point of view, is the asymmetry in the two explanations.
Even the young Einstein was no positivist. First generation logical empiricists sought to legitimate their movement in part by claiming Einstein as a friend. They may be forgiven their putting a forced interpretation on arguments taken out of context. We can do better.
Einstein’s philosophy of science is an original synthesis drawing upon many philosophical resources, from neo-Kantianism to Machian empiricism and Duhemian conventionalism. Other thinkers and movements, most notably the logical empiricists, drew upon the same resources. But Einstein put the pieces together in a manner importantly different from Moritz Schlick, Hans Reichenbach, and Rudolf Carnap, and he argued with them for decades about who was right (however much they obscured these differences in representing Einstein publicly as a friend of logical empiricism and scientific philosophy).
Starting from the mid-1920s till the end of the decade Einstein show some interest in the rationalistic realism of Émile Meyerson (Einstein, 1928; cf. Giovanelli 2018; on the contemporary debate between Einstein and Bergson, see Canales 2015). Understanding how Einstein puts those pieces together therefore sheds light not only on the philosophical aspect of his own achievements in physics but also upon the larger history of the development of the philosophy of science in the twentieth century.
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Is Quincy Wright a realist?
Contrary to conventional belief, IR theorist Quincy Wright and his cohort before World War II were neither idealists, legalists, nor moralists. Deeply grounded in the realism and pragmatism that marked the University of Chicago’s interwar climate, Wright applied an ethically neutral and empirical approach to understanding international relations.
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Who is realist theory by?
1 Europe of Nation-states – War and peace during the twentieth century have not only changed the political geography within Europe but have also stimulated an interest in international studies. Born as a reaction to World War I, international studies has focused on the relationship among states on the line of the treaties of Westphalia (1648), declaring a territorial sovereignty of all states of the Empire and their right of concluding alliances with one another and with foreign powers.
- This perspective developed by the ‘realist’ theory of international relations relies on concepts such as sovereignty, territoriality, and security.
- In addition to the Weberian definition of the state—a collectivity that within the limits of a given geographical space claims for its own interest the monopoly of a legitimate violence—the ‘realists’ have considered the state as a homogeneous unit on the international scene.
Its action is qualified as ‘rational.’ Following the path of positivism in social sciences, the ‘realist’ approach expressed for the first time by E.H. Carr in 1939, and formalized by H.J. Morgenthau after World War II aims at ‘objectivity.’ The analysis of the international scene relies on a sociological and political knowledge that is ‘real’ and amoral.
- It brings to light states’ interests and a scheme of rational actions that characterize them.
- Such an approach reminds one indeed of Auguste Comte’s formula: ‘to know in order to predict.’ The sentence illustrates best the link between international studies and foreign policy as well as security issues: to know about other societies, other political systems, other administrative structures in order to protect the nation and define an appropriate foreign policy.
This tradition based on the logic of expertise has guided the area studies in Europe. More than any theoretical considerations, knowledge about other ‘places’ and other ‘customs’ have been produced by the military, by missionaries, and by diplomats. Based on their imperial tradition, France and Great Britain have given priority to the study of their colonies in order to understand the functioning of the society and obviously to exercise their power.
- National characteristics appear also in their method in connection with the tradition of social sciences in each country.
- Whereas France has privileged a juridical and administrative approach in the description and analysis of other countries, Great Britain looked for grand strategy through international history of diplomacy, based on the descriptions of British diplomats recalling the methods of social anthropology, and developed theories on international studies along the line of the International Society tradition of the English school.
Enriched by the missionaries and useful for diplomats, the realist vision on international studies meant to fight, during the interwar period, against the idealist approach according to which ideas are more important than states’ interests. Away from a Machiavellian logic, their approach, qualified as ‘utopian,’ was based on juridical analysis and aimed at finding new theoretical models and solutions to avoid conflict by introducing a moral argument in interstate relations (Kant).
- The confrontation of realists and idealists nevertheless brought a dynamic perspective in the perception of the state, where moral values can generate social change and affect relations among states.
- According to the liberal vision developed in the 1960s in the United States, ‘the good of individuals has moral weight against the good of the state or the nation’ (Doyle 1997 ).
The state is not a homogeneous unit but is split into various interest groups and individuals; it is considered as an actor influenced by rational individuals acting and shaping the institutions and the political decisions (Keohane and Nye 1972, Waever), and the ‘competition among states’ takes into consideration the relationship within and across societies (Raymond Aron 1962 ).
Liberal economic and political models have been transposed in international studies in Europe with the objective of reducing the risk of war and establishing a permanent ‘democratic peace,’ a concept that has gained more legitimacy after the end of the Cold War with a new perspective called liberal internationalism.
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