Good Example Of Political Science: Realism vs. Idealism Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Idealism, Art, Realism, Politics, Relationships, Nature, International Relations, Power

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/02

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Realism vs. Idealism

Realism vs. Idealism
The opposition between realism and idealism, though undeniably ontological in broad sense, is deemed distinct from both the general disputes concerning realism and from the disputes that turn on all the notions of truth or the applicability of statements of specified types. Arguably, the basic sense is that idealism does not only assert the existence of various ideas, but also advances restrictive claims concerning the nature or the composition of the concept of reality as a whole (Royle, 2005). As such, idealism can be a form of monism. Nevertheless, the differences and the similarities of realism and idealism in the political field are important.
In politics, realism is one of the theories that explain the relations between different states in international systems. Realism in politics, as both formally and informally espoused by famous and elemental individuals such as Hans Morgenthau and Thomas Hobbes, maintains that in the anarchic system, which is the international relations, a single value above the others explains the different actions of states (Booth, 2008). That value is the pursuit of power. The theory of international relations, as provided under realism, power simply refers to the capacity of getting others to do things or engage in events that they would otherwise not do. In the international system, power is expressed as influence, both in the aspect of the ability of influencing other states and becoming immune to others’ influence.
On the other hand, the concept of idealism in politics in terms of the international relations is rooted in the liberal traditions of the West with the strong beliefs in the inherent good that the human nature can have. Idealists maintain that the international systems of agreements, law, morality, and organization should and can exist as buffers against the anarchic nature of the arena in the international system. Unlike the political realists, the idealists view the human nature as altruistic and the human beings as able to interests beyond the selfish need for power. Idealism seeks to harness this ability for good and employ it in the project of building international communities to replace the anarchy ruling the international system.
Various influential individuals in history also supported idealism. One of these individuals is Immanuel Kant, who noted three core principles of idealism. The first principle is reciprocity, which provides that the States should and can establish international organizational that can allow for the understanding and cooperation between the international states. In addition, in order for these states to join such international agreements and organizations, they have to forego short term goals or interest o secure the long term (Royle, 2005). The second principle is that perpetual peace depends on the types of governments existing in states. The last basic principle of idealism is that trade between different states enhances peace.


Booth, K. (2008). Navigating the `Absolute Novum': John H. Herz's Political Realism and Political Idealism. International Relations. doi:10.1177/0047117808097314
Royle, T. (2005). Realism or idealism? Corporate social responsibility and the employee stakeholder in the global fast-food industry. Business Ethics: A European Review. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8608.2005.00385.x

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