The Enigma Of The Universe ► 1 ►What is the Universe? ► (A) Nature Of Reality: Idealism And Realism ► 3. Philosophical Realism ► Ancient Realists

Posted: 24.08.2014

In the Western Philosophy, realism is found even in the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides (fifth cent. B.C.). He believed that the real universe was a single uniform unchanging material sphere. The ancient monists such as Democritus accepted the existence of an infinite number of atoms as objectively real. Although Democritus denied the objective reality of the qualities such as colour, taste, etc., he considered all the things of the universe to be composed of the atoms, which had real existence His theory of atoms was a clear expression of realism. Also, he believed that soul or consciousness was created out of a special type of atoms. Thus, in his view, matter in the form of atom was the ultimate reality. Materialism is one of the sub-groups of monism.

Aristotle supported realism and tried to refute Plato's Theory of Ideas. His concepts of 'substance' and 'essence' imply the real character of matter and mind. Also, his assertion that the changes are real, points out that the things of the universe are real substances.

In the middle age, one school of thought known as 'Scholasti­cism' was put forward by the Christian scholars.[1] The Scholastics who mainly based their views on Aristotle's philosophical thoughts, strongly criticised idealism. They maintain that there are many substances in the universe and their existence is objectively real. They believe that the material things as well as the soul have independent existence.

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