[ree-uh-liz-uh m] /ˈri əˌlɪz əm/

interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.
the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.
Fine Arts.



awareness or acceptance of the physical universe, events, etc, as they are, as opposed to the abstract or ideal
awareness or acceptance of the facts and necessities of life; a practical rather than a moral or dogmatic view of things
a style of painting and sculpture that seeks to represent the familiar or typical in real life, rather than an idealized, formalized, or romantic interpretation of it
any similar school or style in other arts, esp literature
(philosophy) the thesis that general terms such as common nouns refer to entities that have a real existence separate from the individuals which fall under them See also universal (sense 11b) Compare Platonism, nominalism, conceptualism, naive realism
(philosophy) the theory that physical objects continue to exist whether they are perceived or not Compare idealism, phenomenalism
(logic, philosophy) the theory that the sense of a statement is given by a specification of its truth conditions, or that there is a reality independent of the speaker’s conception of it that determines the truth or falsehood of every statement

1794, from real (adj.) + -ism; after French réalisme or German Realismus; from Late Latin realis “real.” Opposed to idealism in philosophy, art, etc. In reference to scholastic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (opposed to nominalism) it is recorded from 1826. Meaning “close resemblance to the scene” (in art, literature, etc., often with reference to unpleasant details) is attested from 1856.

An approach to philosophy that regards external objects as the most fundamentally real things, with perceptions or ideas as secondary. Realism is thus opposed to idealism. Materialism and naturalism are forms of realism. The term realism is also used to describe a movement in literature that attempts to portray life as it is.

An attempt to make art and literature resemble life. Realist painters and writers take their subjects from the world around them (instead of from idealized subjects, such as figures in mythology or folklore) and try to represent them in a lifelike manner.


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