In this paper, I relativize the widespread representation of the generalized relativism of 1970s philosophy. I will show how the group of thinkers of this period often referred to as the ‘French Theory’ movement is not always defined by the affirmation of a radical relativism, but rather by the obstinate search for an original ‘reality’ (as thing in itself) capable of competing and denouncing the false ‘reality’ constructed by reason. To demonstrate this, I will focus on the journey of a philosopher who is emblematic of this period, namely Jean-François Lyotard. I will demonstrate that Lyotard claims a form of realism, which I will qualify as ‘tragic realism.’ Then, I will compare this ‘tragic realism’ with the more contemporary forms of realism (speculative, phenomenological, etc.).