# Realism and idealism

If realism is not opposed to idealism, but to anti-realism, and realism is just a generic position applied to certain things but not others, why we often hear that idealism is anti-reality, that realism is opposed to idealism (here for instance), and why realism is defined somehow in opposition to idealism (See this question and its answers, amont other sources backing my question).

• This is because there are multiple "flavors" of antitheses: inverse, reverse, and obverse come to mind; or think of antipodes (opposite ends of a spectrum) vs. not being on the same spectrum at all, or being on a spectrum A that is antipodal to a spectrum B (on a higher-order level). Offhand, anti-realism is the inverse of realism, whereas idealism is a reversal (of the priority of res over eidos, so to say). (I am not confident in this exact assessment and offer it merely for illustrative purposes.) Feb 23, 2023 at 6:00
• The higher-order spectra description: imagine first a line segment A, each of whose endpoints is antipodal relative to the other. Label the endpoints a and b. Now, a and b are opposites internally for A. But now imagine, second-dimensionally, another line segment B, which is antipodal for a square determined by the parallelism of A and B. So while some a.2 might be parallel to a, there, with some b.2 diagonal to a, yet a.2 is still "opposed to" a on this higher-order/higher-dimensional level. Feb 23, 2023 at 6:06
• Because uses of "idealism" historically were and still are all over the place and, overall, incoherent, as Wikipedia illustrates. Their attempt to square the circle by distilling a common denominator only confuses it further. SEP gives up on that, distinguishes "two fundamental conceptions of idealism" in modern philosophy, metaphysical and epistemological, and sticks to the former only. It is still a mess, but less so. Feb 23, 2023 at 7:10
• @Conifold The wikipedia page says: "Metaphysical idealism is an ontological doctrine that holds that reality itself is incorporeal or experiential at its core." and "subjective idealists and phenomenalists tend to privilege sensory experience over abstract reasoning" But I thought that precisely idealists believe in the superiority of mental representation over sensory experience, that to me can not but be physical Feb 23, 2023 at 7:29
• "Precisely idealists" do not exist, the word has no precise meaning even remotely. SEP is a much more authoritative source, but even they give a whole spread of what "idealists believe", including interpreting sensory and other experience as non-physical, and foundation of reality at that, or not. The label is just not of much use you'd like to make of it. Feb 23, 2023 at 7:38