What is 'reality'?

QIs reality an idea held in common by everyone?

I’d guess it isn’t: for some it’s measured in terms of the logic of science, for others in terms of the economy or religious belief, and for probably most people it’s actually also connected with how you just feel about what’s going on around you.

And that’s no doubt only some small part of the many ways reality can be perceived.

So how can these different perceptions of reality be brought together? Or can’t they?


Posted on June 27, 2010, in Questions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Daniel Gilbert

    What I perceive as “reality” is surely tied up in my own take on philosophy, whether that take is tacit or explicit in my mind. A critical take on “reality” would see it as a highly contested term, and not straightforward in meaning at all. The concept of reality is itself a construct, and a person’s world view will take into account both their understanding of how the world is constructed, how it is populated by things, and what it all means. For example, a religious view often stated throughout history is that the world we actually live in now (“reality”, if you like) is but a pale and insignificant reflection of a higher level of reality that can only be reached through the death of a justified believer.

    My conclusion is that agreement on the nature of reality is pending the agreement on what is correct philosophy and religion, i.e. no chance.

  2. Oh god this is postmodernism gone crazy. If a tree falls in the forest it *does* make a sound. None of us can breathe underwater, no matter what our belief system. All of us need food and oxygen. There is a reality. The same experiments produce the same results regardless of our belief systems.

  3. It is interesting reading the 2 comments so far. The reality here, you could say, is that 2 people have opposing ideas. One person is defining reality, in terms of “theory” or maybe as part fo a thesis…. I perceive this as there is reference to a “world view” and “conclusion”. The other person (Jar Jar Binx), is defining reality in terms of something physical….for instance the tree falling. So, things are clear, there is a yes and a no, a black and a white, life and no life…yet there is also some humour here, with the use of the name Jar Jar Binx…….from Star Wars, …I am sure he could breath under water. I guess Jar Jars reality would be different?….if he existed.

    If I was to try and define “reality” now, in some context, thinking on the spot. I would say, Reality is “an awareness of your own life, including the phyical and non physical”, “It is determined by your senses, knowledge, feelings, physical surroundings, time of the day, family, friends, your attitude and well being”. In this respect I would say that a persons reality can change several times during their life and even during the day.

    Maybe there is an underlying reality, a kind of baseline that we as indiviuduals revert back to time and again. This may be due to our core belief system or commitments we have in life, such as paying the bills, looking after the kids, etc. ….. So, for now, I must get back to work….

  4. ‘Reality’ is my experience, the only thing that is directly accessible to me; I cannot know what underlies it as my senses are fallible. We believe that ‘reality’ is the world that we believe we collectively experience, but I have no more evidence for the existence anything outside of me than I do for the assertion that I am not dreaming now.

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