On appearance and reality – 2 April 4, 2006Posted by silentEcho in Philosophy.
In this second and concluding post on appearance of objects and reality, I try to give my own judgement on the controversy between the two views presented by the sceptic ( Russell ) and Phillips on the matter of our knowledge of the external physical world.
The statement 2 ( please refer to the previous post ) presents a view ( of our knowledge of the external physical world ) which scores over the view presented by the statement 1 in the sense that in the view presented by statement 1, the sceptic suggests that reality exists independent of the observer and that the sense-perception leads us only to an inference about real objects from what is immediately known. Sceptic suggests that we need some other principle ( some sort of a hidden variable theory ) that might help us to know whether what we see is apparent or real. But the possibility that such a principle might be irrational and/or beyond humans takes us closer to the view prersented by statement 2. If reality is somehow hidden from us and is purely inferential or accessible only inferentially or that we can not access it directly, then is there a use for such a reality? I personally see no objective and subjective sense of something which remains hidden from us forever. To postulate such a reality is useless in my view. I regret being empiricist in my approach but that's the way I think. In practical situations the various things, concepts, data et cetera we use are in a way result of sense-data and sensations and since we have come successfully this far with these notions, the concept of a real table hidden from us is redundant. It's better to think that what we perceive is indeed the real object. We can always refine our notions if we do find exceptions in future and that seems more pragmatic than holding adherence to a hidden variable theory ( what we perceive is sense-data rather than the reality as such ) for which we have no objective scientific or subjective scientific or rational justification.
They say that in philosophy if you adhere to one of the two conflicting ideologies, there is something philosophically wrong with you. It is better to try a democratic approach. But to me, it seem that in this case it is better to adhere to things we know from our experience, the only tool we have got to be a part of this ever changing world.