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2 definitions found
 for formalism
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Formalism \Form"al*ism\ (f[^o]rm"al*[i^]z'm), n.
     The practice or the doctrine of strict adherence to, or
     dependence on, external forms, esp. in matters of religion.
     [1913 Webster]
  
           Official formalism.                      --Sir H.
                                                    Rawlinson.
     [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  formalism
      n 1: the doctrine that formal structure rather than content is
           what should be represented [ant: imitation]
      2: (philosophy) the philosophical theory that formal (logical or
         mathematical) statements have no meaning but that its symbols
         (regarded as physical entities) exhibit a form that has
         useful applications
      3: the practice of scrupulous adherence to prescribed or
         external forms

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