The formalism consists in applying rigorously, and without deviating from its precepts, a determines doctrine or methodology in the development of an investigative or teaching process. The term, however, has several uses depending on the field.
Within the context of art, formalism is the current that exalts the aesthetics value over other considerations. That is why the formalists believe that art should be judged by its aesthetic condition beyond the social or ethical aspects linked to the work.
Formalism, on the other hand, attaches great importance to formal features (abstract) of creations, such as form, structure or composition.
For the literature, formalism is a trend that was born in Russian territory around 1914 and that it is based on understanding literary works as a particular language structure. This means that the literature, for formalist theorists and critics, is not useful from a pragmatic point of view.
Within this aforementioned Russian formalism we cannot miss the opportunity to mention the one who is considered to be the father of it. It is about Víktor Shklovski who has also gone down in history for having created the OPOYAZ, the Society for the Study of Poetic Language, within which some of the most important theories were developed within that aforementioned formalism.
However, the figure of the also Russian Roman Jakobson should not be overlooked, who developed a wide collection of works on the subject at hand. In addition to this, he stood out for the creation of a series of theories that mainly revolved around poetics and stylistics. The main exhibitions made by said author are included in the article entitled Linguistics and Poetics, which was published in 1960.
Statistics, information theory and computer science, among other disciplines, speak of formal system to mention a grammar used in model development.
In mathematics, a formal system (also know as axiomatic system) is an artificial construction that is formed from symbols linked together, which allows creating chains that can be manipulated according to certain rules to create, in turn, new chains. These formal systems are used to achieve representations of different facets of a reality.
In this particular field, one cannot talk about it without referring to David Hilbert. This was an indisputable figure within the mathematical field, both during the XIX and XX centuries, since thanks to his theories and approaches, the appearance of the aforementioned formalism was fostered. In this way, it was established that the aforementioned mathematics was not only a game but also a totally autonomous thinking activity.
Such was his intellectual capacity within the aforementioned field that thanks to him they were able to found, in the same way, such vital questions as mathematical logic, the theory of proof and even the difference between what is general relativity and quantum mechanics.
The formalism, finally, also a school inside of philosophy of mathematics that develops proofs of the axiomatic type in theorems.