Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(828 words)

The term realism is associated with complex layers of meaning. In general usage, it denotes objectivity, a matter-of-fact sense of reality, a pragmatic attitude focused on immediate benefit, and representations of empirical reality as it manifests itself directly. It has been a philosophical term since the Middle Ages, that is, in the Scholastic debate between realists and nominalists, the latter of whom viewed (conceptual) universals not as real existing things (realia) but only as names of things (nomina). In the early modern period it also became a category in aest…

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Büttner, Nils, “Realism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 30 May 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_026185>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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