Definition, Chief Tenets and Types of Realism


Realism is the theory that holds that the existence of objects is real. For also sometimes called objectivism. Both realism and objectivism are theories concerned with the existence of things. In epistemology realism is process of knower things are independent of the existence and influence knowledge. Hence the main tenet of this theory in the epistemological field is the its qualities are independent of and uninfluenced by the knower and the process of knowledge.

The Chief Tenets of Realism

As a general rule the chief tenets of realism are the following:

  • Existence of objects is independent of knowledge. According to the native real
    objects exist irrespective of our knowledge of them. Scientific realism acceptenotion but according to it thoughts concerning the objects are based on the mind.
  • Qualities are inherent in known objects. According to the naive realist the qualities
    that are experienced in the objects are part and parcel of the object while the
    scientific realist distinguishes between primary and secondary qualities. maintaining that primary qualities belong to the object while the secondary are
    attributed to the object by the mind in the process of knowing.
  • Knowledge does not affect the object or its qualities. According to the naive realist the object or its qualities do not suffer by becoming the subjects of knowledge but according to the scientific realist this theory does not hold true for secondary qualities.
  • Knowledge of objects is direct. According to the naive realist, knowledge of the objects is direct and perceptual. According to representation, this is true of simple thoughts, for in complex thought knowledge is indirect since complex thoughts are compounded of simple ones.
  • Objects are common. According to the analytical realists objects are common while according to the representation objects are commonly available only for the
    purposes of primary or elementary thought. Scientific realism holds that the same object may be experienced different by different individuals.
  • Relation between object and thought. Naive realism holds that there is relation between object and its thought, but the scientific realist rejects this theory.

Types of Realism

The main types of realism are the following:

Naive realism

This is propounded by common sense are independent of mind whether they are known or not opounded by common sense according to which objects qualities. Knowledge does not affect the object. The whether they are known or not. Object possesses its own
seen to be. Objects are known directly and objects not affect the object. The object is precisely what it is seen to be.


This theory is the product of directly and objects are common for all. object’s existence is independent of knowledge but metap theory is the product of Locke’s mind. It states that theupon the mind. Primary, obiective individual and see independent of knowledge but metaphysical thought depends
in the object. Knowledge
objective, individual and secondary qualities are inherent knowledge does not impress upon the object but it can influence metaphysical thought. Thoughts are the representation does not impress upon the thoughts are the representations of objects. Knowledge of objects is direct in the case of simple thoughts but indirect in the case of complex
ones. In simple thoughts objects are common or universal but not so in complex thinking.


This is a novel approach to the Platonic theory of reality. In this
theory it is believed that the total object is not the subject of knowledge but its aspects are, and they are independent of knowledge. The qualities of the object are its own and knowledge does not affect them. An object is what it is manifestly seen
to be. Knowledge of the aspects of an object is direct while logical entities are universal.

Critical Realism

The theory was first propounded in America at the turn of the century and is critical in nature. It also believes that the existence of objects does not depend upon knowledge in any way. The object is possessed of qualities and is directly known. Objects may or may not be universal. Critical realism does not hold that the object is previously what it is seen to be or that it is seen to be exactly what it is. When the object becomes object of knowledge it is influenced by knowledge. Knowledge can be direct as well as indirect. The relation between the knower and known is not direct but takes place through the medium of thought. which is the subject matter of knowledge. Different people can have different knowledge of an identical object.

These different theories of realism have been arranged in order of their historical appearance and none of them has been found to satisfy completely. Each and every one has been objected to and found wanting in some respect.


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