Of this view the part which was not Aristotle's, the state of " universalia ante rem," was due to the Neoplatonists, who interpreted the " separate forms " of Plato to be ideas in intellect, and handed down their interpretation through St Augustine to the medieval Realists like Aquinas, who thus combined Neoplatonism with Aristotelianism.
The controversy between nominalists and realists arose from a passage in Boethius' translation of Porphyry's Introduction to the Categories of Aristotle, which propounded the problem of genera and species, (1) as to whether they subsist in themselves or only in the mind; (2) whether, if subsistent, they are corporeal or incorporeal; and (3) whether separated from sensible things or placed in them.
The Realists held that universals alone have substantial reality, existing ante res; the Nominalists that universals are mere names invented to express the qualities of particular things and existing post res; while the Conceptualists, mediating between the two extremes, held that universals are concepts which exist in our minds and express real similarities in things themselves.
The controversy was between Nominalists and Realists; and, exclusively logical as the point may at first sight seem to be, adherence to one side or the other is an accurate indication of philosophic tendency.
The Realists, he considers, have greatly sinned against this maxim in their theory of a real universal or common element in all the individuals of a class.
Thus the great problem for the Realists is how to derive the individual from the universal.
Indeed, in order to oppose this unity of being to the realistic duality, both materialists and idealists describe themselves as monists, and call realists dualists by way of disparagement.
No realists, they came nearer to Spinozistic pantheism and to Leibnitzian monadism, but only on their idealistic side; for they would not allow that extension and body are different from thinking and mind.
He agrees with Fechner that physical process of nerve and psychical process of mind are really the same psychophysical process as appearing on the one hand to an observer and on the other hand to one's own consciousness; and that physical phenomena only produce physical phenomena, so that those materialists and realists are wrong who say that physical stimuli produce sensations.
Under the second head, according to Ward, as according to Wundt, knowledge is experience; we must start with the duality of subject and object, or perpetual reality, phenomenon, in the unity of experience, and not believe, as realists do, that either subject or object is distinct from this unity; moreover, experience requires " conation," because it is to interesting objects that the subject attends; conation is required for all synthesis, associative and intellective; thinking is doing; presentation, feeling, conation are one inseparable whole; and the unity of the subject is due to activity and not to a substratum.
He was taken literally by spiritual realists, e.g.
Among other works he painted his own portrait with his dog, and "The Man with a Pipe," both of which were rejected by the jury of the Salon; but the younger school of critics, the neo-romantics and realists, loudly sang the praises of Courbet, who by 1849 began to be famous, producing such pictures as "After Dinner at Ornans" and "The Valley of the Loire."
There, in the great cathedral school of Notre-Dame, he sat for a while under the teaching of William of Champeaux, the disciple of St Anselm and most advanced of Realists, but, presently stepping forward, he overcame the master in discussion, and thus began a long duel that issued in the downfall of the philosophic theory of Realism, till then dominant in the early Middle Age.
This was first done, so far as is at present known, by the Sarvastivadins (Realists), who in the century before and after Christ produced a fresh set of seven Abhidhamma books.
He holds a place midway between the romanticists and the realists, with a distinguished and lucid portraiture of life which is entirely his own.
The four upper classes are taught French and German; English and Italian being added for the " realists," Greek and Latin for the " humanists."