The discussion of the way things appear to us and the way they actually are comes down to the visual world and a constructed reality. Virgil is a man who was blind almost from birth but had surgery to remove cataracts and his replace the lens in his eyes; the world after gaining eyesight became very different to Virgil than before it. Prior to the surgery, Virgil’s reality was completely dependent upon touch and sound and his sense of reality completely changed afterwards. With newly clear vision, Virgil had a very difficult time putting meaning to everything he was visually seeing; in fact, he questioned if his cat is even his when he saw it change position and in motion. Virgil’s experiences before and after question reality in the sense that is quite different for everyone in terms of how you operate in your day to day life.
Quantum physics kind of coincides with the change Virgil experienced. Quantum physics is a newer subcategory of physics that studies the behavior of particles and energy within a single atom. And research in this field changed the way physicists observe our world and reality. Before quantum physics, physics relied solely on measurements and momentum to determine how the universe behaves, it was concrete. With the discovery of quantum physics that certainty is no more. Further research in this subdiscipline states that momentum and measurements are uncertain principles; the more accurate one is, the less accurate the other is. And if we decide to take both measurement and momentum into consideration that the thought of precision is essentially impossible. In quantum mechanics, it is better to speak in probabilities rather than certainties. And this greatly affected, the way scientists looked at the universe as a whole.
So if reality can appear differently at different times and/or to different observers, this raises the question regarding how do we decide what is really “real?”
I personally agree with Aristotle’s view regarding the “really real.” His view directly relates to his epistemology and axiology. His point of view was that we can all learn the real forms of things by observing and studying the thing itself. For example, if we identify, observe, and learn about horses then we will learn what makes a horse a horse and how it is different from donkeys and zebras. Aristotle believed that world itself was our laboratory and was the primary source of research and learning. The textbook states “If the perfect Forms can only exist in the material world, then studying that world is the best to study reality itself.” And I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. The only way to understand and conceptualize reality is to study it what is; we must study what is going on in our present world.
Plato’s theory of Forms is very idealistic and so idealistic that it is just unreasonable. Plato believed that thought that our ideas of Form are realer than the Forms themselves. I think Plato’s idea of Forms is somewhat alike to the thought that reality is no more than a dream. For example, if someone believes in life after death then to some degree they are accepting Plato’s notion of Forms. If death is not the end all be all, then it is more dreamlike than reality. I think Plato was on to something, but just not quite there yet like Aristotle and for that, I side with Aristotle.
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