Samuel V. Adams in The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N. T. Wright says that Wright’s method is based on the philosophical position called critical realism.
Now I have seen this term used broadly of several divergent thinkers. Originally, as I understand it, critical realism was used by thinkers who wanted to distinguish their position from Kant’s philosophy characterized as critical idealism. Kant’s critical idealism, in turn, was a contrast to Hegel’s absolute idealism.
For writing history it is important to have an understanding that we have some access to events in the past. I think this is why historians need some kind of realism.
Philosophical realism is confusing because Plato had a doctrine that is called realism. That is not what we are talking about. We are talking about realism as the belief that physical objects continue to exist when we do not perceive…
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