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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Appearance and Reality

In daily life, people tend to make contradictions about what is real and what is apparent. For example, when I look, out the window, at the sun, in my little knowledge I will tend to distinguish between its real size and its apparent size. Also, looking at a table, one will tell its real color under standard conditions and its apparent color given some certain conditions. Then the question is how do we know what is ultimately real and what is merely apparent? We then find out that it is hard to believe what we simply see, feel, touch or hear.
According to Bertrand Russell, certain things on a closer scrutiny are filled with many contradictions. Therefore the quest for certainty has to start from present experiences. Now, doubt, and our personal experiences and that of others leads to one of the greatest problems of philosophy, the real and the unreal. The quest is to know what objects are, and what they seam to be. Russell stated that although different people see different colors when looking at the same table owing to their positions, we can not straight up say that those that see it in a different way are not right. In essence, when we tend to seek reality, we should not be objective about the whole idea. But then, some will conclude that the table has no specific color, and in the long run say that the table never really existed. The variations in the way people see colors, shapes textures and objects as the immediately become aware of is a sensation. Thus one’s view will be different from the other. Thus if the table really exists, it has a relationship between its physical structure and the sensation about it. Some philosophers attribute the existence of “physical objects” as ideas of the mind, not of one man or God but of a collection of souls in the universe.
Now the question of whether there exists a real table has been answered by some philosophers. Berkeley and Leibniz admit that there is a real table, but while Berkeley says it is ideas in the mind of God, Leibniz admit that it is a collection of ideas from different souls. Thus the differences in the way we perceive things depend on each single individual. Thus appearance is some sort of a sign to reality which lies behind the appearance.
In my opinion, I think that there is reality behind every thing that appears to be. Just for instance let’s consider when you stand waist-deep in a swimming pool. You will notice that you’re a legs appear shorter and fatter than they really are, and may seem to bend. But we know that our legs are straight and not as fat as they seem to appear in the pool. Thus, there must be something that influences such appearance, in this case the water in the pool. Without this water, what we see is our normal and real legs. We know the “real” leg, and also know the apparent one as it appears inside the water in the pool. Therefore we cannot know the reality of objects from their appearances owing to the fact that certain conditions make them appear that way. We can tell of things as they appear to be, but not as the really are. Just as the popular saying, don’t judge a book by its cover; we cannot say that real objects are exactly the way seem to be. Looks can be deceiving, because they are not entirely what they are. If we can look at something with our naked eye and see a different thing as we see with the microscope, it vividly shows that there is more to what the ordinary eye (and even the microscope) can see as to the way reality is.

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simple thing to do....just say it.
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