Realism. This word is used to denote very different things.
1st. Realism is opposed to nominalism, and means the attribution of reality to universals, as the latter term
means the denial of such. This was the great philosophical controversy
of the Middle Ages.
2ndly. Realism is used in opposition to
idealism, and in such case means the attribution of external
reality to matter, as opposed to idealism, the doctrine of
Berkeley and others, which denies this; also the immediacy of
perception, without the interposition of a mental
representation, according to what used to be called the ideal
3rdly. Realism has been lately used in
criticism, as opposed to idealism in art. Realistic pictures are
such as aim at reproducing exact facts, instead of exhibiting ideals.
It is singular that in the two last usages, the words idea and ideal
take the opposite place to that which they would occupy in the old
controversy of realism and nominalism, for the mediaeval realist was the