• The Philosophy of Perception : an explanation of Realism, Idealism and the Nature of Reality

    Rochelle Forrester (see profile)
    Realism, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Idealism
    Item Type:
    Einstein, animal perception, Berkeley, Philosophy of Perception, Theory of knowledge, Epistemology
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    This paper investigates the nature of reality. It will do so by looking at the philosophical debate between realism and idealism and at scientific investigations in quantum physics. The concept of perceptual relativity will be examined and this will involve looking at sense perception in other animals and various examples of perceptual relativity in science. It will be concluded that the universe is observer dependent and that there is no reality independent of the observer, which is knowable to the observer. The paper concludes by an investigation of what an observer dependent universe would be like. The paper will describe the nature of reality as we can understand it through our sensory apparatus. It will argue that it is only through our sensory apparatus that we can know the real or external world. It will also argue that there are many and possibly an infinite number of realities each as valid and true as any other. Each reality is not something which is out there in the physical world, if such a world exists, but consists of a relationship between the sensory apparatus and the physical world. The world is observer dependent and changes in the sensory apparatus used to perceive the world will result in changes in the world. This situation exists both in our macro world and in the micro world of quantum entities. Animals with different sensory apparatus receive different sensory perceptions from each other and from those received by human beings. Each animal’s sense perceptions can be regarded as a set and each set of sense perceptions constitute that animal’s world. Every individual’s world within a species will be very similar but not identical; but the worlds of different species may vary greatly. However each species world is as valid as any other species world, so that there is no single objective reality but rather a great variety of subjective realities each as valid as the other.
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago


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