New Realism

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New Realism


a trend in contemporary bourgeois philosophy. New realism was influenced by the Scottish school as well as by F. Brentano, A. Meinong, E. Mach (Austria), and the early B. Russell.

The epistemological tenets of new realism were set forth by G. E. Moore in his article “The Refutation of Idealism” (1903) and were subsequently formulated into a specific doctrine in the United States by R. Perry, E. B. Holt, W. Montague, W. Marvin, E. Spaulding, and W. Pitkin, who in 1910 issued “The Program and First Platform of Six Realists.”

The cosmology of new realism was developed by S. Alexander, A. Whitehead, J. Smuts, and L. Morgan. It represented a variant of the metaphysical concept of development—the theory of emergent evolution. In the 1930’s, new realism declined in influence and was replaced by critical realism.

New realism criticized subjective idealism for reducing reality to the consciousness of the subject and rejected absolute idealism (F. Bradley), which identified reality with universal consciousness. New realism asserted the existence of object independent of subject. At the same time, it rejected materialism as a “dualistic” theory that supposedly regarded subject and object as absolute opposites. New realism developed the doctrine of epistemological monism.

New realism holds that the nature of being is neither material nor ideal. It is an aggregate of neutral elements that, depending on the situation, acquire either physical or mental significance. In cognition, the neutral object directly enters the consciousness of the subject, thereby becoming “mental.” However, when the object is not included in an epistemological situation, it appears as “physical.” However, the thesis of the direct inclusion of an object by consciousness does not make it possible to resolve the problem of the origin of false consciousness and contradicts the basic premise of new realism—the existence of reality independent of consciousness. Thus, new realism is essentially a variety of idealism.


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