Critical Realism


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Critical Realism

 

a trend, or method, in realistic literature and art in the 19th and 20th centuries. The concept of critical realism was adopted by Soviet literary and art criticism from M. Gorky, who used the expression “critical realism” in 1934 to describe the stress on expose in realistic literature of the 19th century. However, the revelatory themes by no means exclude an element of reaffirmation in the realistic art of the 19th and 20th centuries.

REFERENCES

Lavretskii, A. “O sud’be odnogo literaturovedcheskogo termina.” Izv. AN SSSR: Otdelenie literatury i iazyka, 1957, vol. 16, no 1.
Nikolaev, P. “Realizm kak teoretiko-literaturnaia problema.” In Sovetskoe literaturovedenie za 50 let. Moscow, 1967.

Critical Realism

 

a trend in modern idealist philosophy that traces its origins back to the critical philosophy of Kant.

The principles that served as a point of departure for critical realism were formulated in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century by A. Riehl, O. Kulpe, and A. Messer, among others. Critical realism was established as an independent school in the USA in 1920, when D. Drake, A. Lovejoy, D. Pratt, A. Rogers, G. Santayana, R. W. Sellars, and C. Strong published their Essays in Critical Realism, a detailed exposition of the doctrine of critical realism. The most essential part of the doctrine is its theory of cognition, in which critical realism opposes itself to new realism: whereas the latter considers the process of knowing the external world to be directly included in consciousness of the subject, to be “seized” by it as it is, critical realism assumes that the process of knowing is mediated by datum, or the content of consciousness.

The problem of the nature of the datum is resolved by critical realists variously. Pratt and Lovejoy identify it with perception. They believe that the datum to a certain extent presents the features of external reality, the knowledge of which allows the subject to orient himself in the world around him. Their views thus come close to the subjective idealist “theory of hieroglyphs.” Santayana, Drake, Strong, and Rogers look upon the datum as an abstract concept, the logical “essence” of a thing, which in the case of correct cognition can coincide with the real essence of the thing. Here ideal essences acquire an ontological character that leads to a new variant of Platonism. Sellars occupies a separate place: he identifies the datum with an adequate reflection in consciousness of the external world and is thus led to a materialist treatment of the process of cognition.

REFERENCES

Bogomolov, A. S. Anglo-amerikanskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia epokhi imperializma. Moscow, 1964. Chapter 8.
Lukanov, D. M. Gnoseologiia amerikanskogo “realizma.” Moscow, 1968.
Iulina, N. S. “Kontseptsiia real’nosti v amerikanskom ’kriticheskom realizme’.” Filosofskie nauki, 1958, no. 2.
Hicks, G. D. Critical Realism. London, 1938.

D. M. LUKANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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