Comparing and Contrasting Realism and Idealism

Comparing and Contrasting Realism and Idealism. Comparing and Contrasting Realism and Idealism. The terms idealism and realism are used in many everyday contexts. Idealism refers to the thought or behavior often visionary and imaginative based on the view of a situation as it should be or as an individual wishes it to be. Realism on the other hand refers to a thought or behavior often practical based on the view of a situation as it is regardless of how an individual wants it to be (Fernandes, 2016). Politicians and philosophers use the two approaches to illustrate their ideologies. The concept of idealism and realism has several similarities as well as differences.

To begin with, there are similarities between the theory of idealism and the theory of realism. Both realism and idealism deal with the relationship between the mind and the world. Idealists view things as ideas only in the mind. Realists argue that objects exist in themselves outside of our mind (Fernandes, 2016). Additionally, both theories agree that the reality and ideal oppose each other. Idealists argue that ideas cannot exist outside the mind. Realists argue that objects exist outside the mind. Two similarities indicate that idealism and realism agree to a certain extent.

Comparing and Contrasting Realism and Idealism

However, there are distinct differences between idealism and realism. Firstly, the basic claims of the two theories are different. While idealism rejects the idea that thoughts and behavior are independent of the mind, realism asserts that objects exist outside of the mind (Fernandes, 2016). Secondly, idealists view situations as they want whereas realists view situations as they are currently. Thirdly, idealists always focus on the positive whereas realists focus on objects in the current situation. President Barack Obama is one of the most popular idealists in the world today. The remarks he made recently during the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday illustrates that President Obama harbors ambitions of a prosperous and moral world. On the other hand, President Donald Trump’s strategies take a realist approach. For instance, his recent approach towards disarming North Korea takes a realist approach (Tharoor, 2017). Political leaders’ strategies and ideologies are shaped by either realism or idealism.

The realist viewpoint best fits my outlook on politics and international relations because I believe it is more effective.  I place a lot of emphasis on critical reason that is aided by observation. Realism makes an assumption that all politicians are motivated by individual interests. Also, realism argues that all nations are motivated by the national interests which are often disguised as moral considerations. The realism approach argues that all nations seek to preserve their political interests (Fernandes, 2016). The realist viewpoint is the most effective because it provides the realistic situation of the political system and also the international system.

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