Realism is a philosophical approach to understanding political behavior. Although presumably anybody wishes to be as realistic as possible in their judgments of their actions and social environment, realism carries a number of commitments that go beyond such an everyday use of the word realistic. Realism has both methodological and normative aspects. The most salient methodological aspect is the concentration on relations of power and the fragility of political and social order. The limitation of political aspirations to securing order and stability is usually viewed as its most important normative aspect.


Realism has a long tradition in political thought going back to ancient Greece and has since assumed a variety of meanings. This entry discusses how realism approaches human behavior and which aspirations realism views ...

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