Label for Everyone

Definitions suck! In order to placate to the ideology of individualism, the most simple and basic of terms is broken down into so many variants that it completely loses its meaning. Meanwhile, people trying to understand it all completely lose their minds. All the while these ideologies are creating nothing more than various sets of collectivistic phenoms which destroys the individualistic idea. The best part of it all… the individual doesn’t even realize it!

Whatever happened to the basics? Is the glass half full, half empty, or twice as large as it needs to be? The Optimist, the Pessimist, the Realist!

Apparently… Not good enough!

I like to occasionally look up words that people toss around like a frisbee in order to better understand what they are talking about. Today, I started with ‘realist’. Apparently there is no such thing anymore. Heck, with the multitude of sub-groups, each having their own defining position within what it means to be ‘real’, just about everyone can be classified as a realist nowadays. And any true realist knows that is not the case.

Realism, Realist or Realistic are terms that describe any manifestation of philosophical realism, the belief that reality exists independently of observers, whether in philosophy itself or in the applied arts and sciences. In this broad sense it is frequently contrasted with Idealism. ~wikipedia [emphasis added]

“In this broad sense…” Yes, let’s ascribe more detailed senses to it then, shall we?

  • Realism in the arts concerns the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life.
  • Political realism is a dominant school of thinking within the international relations discipline that prioritizes national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions.
  • In ethics moral realism takes the view that there are objective moral values.
  • Scientific realism is the view that the world described by science is the real world and Mathematical realism a branch of philosophy of mathematics. (notice there are two nestled in here together)

But wait! What it means to be a realist doesn’t stop there, oh no… it goes on!

Philosophical Realism:

Realism as a philosophy of mind is rooted in the “common sense” philosophy of perception known as naive realism, which has been developed as “direct” realism when distinguished from representative realism, the view that we cannot perceive the external world directly. Critical realism is the philosophy of perception concerned with the accuracy of human sense-data. In epistomology realism is accounted a subcategory of objectivism. Hyper-realism or Hyperreality, on the other hand, doubts the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy. Transcendental realism is a concept implying that individuals have a perfect understanding of the limitations of their own minds


In metaphysics Platonic realism decribes a philosophy articulated by Plato, positing the existence of universals. Moderate realism is a position holding that there is no realm where universals exist. New realism (philosophy) denotes a school of early 20th-century epistemology rejecting epistemological dualism and Organic realism or the Philosophy of Organism, decribes the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, now known as process philosophy. [Australian realism]] or Australian materialism is a 20th Century school of philosophy in Australia. Truth-value link realism is a metaphysical concept explaining how to understand parts of the world that are apparently cognitively inaccessible.


Cornell realism is a view in meta-ethics associated with the work of Richard Boyd and others.Quasi-realism is an expressivist meta-ethical theory which asserts that though our moral claims are projectivist we understand them in realist terms. In religious philosophy Christian Realism was advocated by Reinhold Niebuhr and Mystical realism, a philosophy concerning the nature of the divine, was advanced by Nikolai Berdyaev. Constructive realism and Entity realism are philosophical positions within scientific realism. Modal realism is a philosophy propounded by David Lewis, that possible worlds are as real as the actual world.

Did you count them all? I did – 19/20! That’s 19/20 subgroups of realism, and those are just under the subtitle of Philosophical Realism.

Let’s move on…

Socio-political Realism:

Legal realism is the theory that law is made by human beings and thus subject to human imperfections. Left realism and Right Realism are contrasting theories about the prevention and control of crime. Classical political realism holds that it is fundamentally the nature of man that pushes states and individuals to act in a way that places interests over ideologies while Liberal realism or the “English school of international relations theory” centres upon the theory that there exists a ‘society of states’. Defensive realism is a theory that anarchy on the world stage causes states to increase their security while offensive realism takes the view that states will exploit opportunities to expand whenever they are presented. Neorealism or structural realism is theory that international structures act as a constraint on state behavior. Post-realism sees international realism as a particular rhetoric of international relations while Subaltern realism concerns the theory that Third World states are more concerned with short term gains.

For real? Well apparently so, since it all falls under the term ‘Realistic’, right?

Artistic Realism:

Realism in theatre denotes any movement towards greater fidelity to real life, as in Kitchen sink realism, an English cultural movement in the 1950s and 1960s that concentrated on contemporary social realism, or Poetic realism, a film movement in France in the 1930s that used heightened aestheticism. In the visual arts the term denotes any approach that depicts what the eye can see, such as in American realism, a turn of the 20th century idea in arts, Classical Realism, an artistic movement in late 20th Century that valued beauty and artistic skill. Literary realism particularly denotes a 19th century literary movement. Neorealism is a movement emphasising realism in cinema and literature while the New Realism is an artistic movement founded in 1960 by Pierre Restany and Yves Klein. Romantic realism is an aesthetic art term popularized by writer/philosopher Ayn Rand. Aesthetic Realism is a philosophy founded by Eli Siegel.

Forms of political realism in the arts have included Nazi heroic realism or the art of the third Reich, a style of propaganda art associated with Nazi Germany, Social realism, an artistic movement which depicts working class activities, and Socialist realism, a style of propaganda art associated with Communism.


Photorealism is a genre of painting that resembles photography, Hyperrealism (painting) resembles high resolution photography while Pseudorealism, is a term coined by American film critics to describe films in which digital unreal images are created and amalgamated with regular scenes thereby creating an illusion that is difficult to distinguish from reality, or a genre of art initiated by Indian artist Devajyoti Ray where reality is approached via abstraction Surrealism and Magic realism are artistic genres in which magical or impossible elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting.

Now please, don’t get me wrong, I understand, in a forced laborious way, that there are realistic issues within every single facet of life. Sure, the realistic properties of legal realism is that there are laws and guidelines, as well as blood sucking parasites that carry briefcases (ever wonder why is it called a ‘brief’ case? ;)). But what is the meaning of breaking it down so far that it no longer holds any value for one to call themselves a realist? Now, whenever I see someone say that, I am going to be prompted to ask them, “What kind of realist are you?”

I was going to do a little quip about realism vs. idealism vs. surrealism, but let’s be realistic… the lines are so blurred thanks to everyone wanting so badly to be their own individual title that there is little to no difference anymore. Give you one guess as to which ‘realistic category’ this last statement falls under.

P.S. With reference to the half-n-half glass: one must not forget about the opportunist who drinks the glass’ contents while others debate the glass’ status.


Other fields

  • Depressive realism, a theory that individuals suffering from clinical depression have a more accurate view of reality
  • Ethnographic realism, a writing style, in anthropology, which narrates the author’s experiences and observations as if they were first-hand

See also

Oh yea, it went on….

Kyouri is an ardent seeker of knowledge and truth which is the reason behind Toukaisha. She expresses her creative nature through writing and graphic design, also offering these services as a Freelance Virtual Assistant in her working life.