Sunday, 1 June 2014

'Does reality really exist?'

Let's take my apple example. I can see it, feel it, taste it and smell it. But if I'm dreaming or under hypnosis or drug induced, the apple then isn't real. And being awake may not matter if the apple is an illusion or if my senses are altered to create that apple.

“So does reality really exist? When can we trust our senses with 100% reassurance?” - Philosophy Explorer

You can say that instead of the question 

"Does reality really exist?"

the question should be: 

How do I know that I'm not dreaming, etc.? 

After all, such scenarios (as is often the case) seem to be written into questions such as "Does reality really exist?" In other words, the sceptic is, in a way, begging the question or at least assuming some preliminary questions and answers.

The question is, then, about knowledge

How do I know that reality exists? 
How do I know I'm not dreaming? 
How do I know that this apple isn't a Ford Escort?

If you miss out the word "know" from the question, then you're certainly feeling, tasting and smelling something that you think is an apple. Those experiences are real even if dreamed. Those experiences are real even if simulations of the real thing.

I personally wouldn't ask a question like "Does reality exist?". I'd stick to something traditional like: 

"How do you know your hand in front of you exists?"

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