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Approaches to the Problem of "Reality"

5. Metaphysics is generally understood as the area of philosophy that deals with the problem of the meaning and structure of reality or existence. Many views have been advanced by philosophers, including Aristotle's objective realism, Plato's dualism, Descartes' conviction that consciousness appears at first as the absolute reality, Berkeley's conviction that "to be is to be perceived," and others. Briefly explain these various approaches to the problem of reality. What do you really think is truly real? Defend your answer.

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5. Metaphysics is generally understood as the area of philosophy that deals with the problem of the meaning and structure of reality or existence. Many views have been advanced by philosophers, including Aristotle's objective realism, Plato's dualism, Descartes' conviction that consciousness appears at first as the absolute reality, Berkeley's conviction that "to be is to be perceived," and others. Briefly explain these various approaches to the problem of reality. What do you really think is truly real? Defend your answer.

Plato's dualism proclaims that there are two kinds of knowledge, mainly that the true substances are not physical bodies, which are ephemeral, but the eternal Forms of which bodies are imperfect copies. Thus, true knowledge comes form the eternal e.g. soul. These Forms not only make the world possible, they also make it intelligible, because they perform the role of universals, or what Frege called 'concepts'. It is their connection with intelligibility that is relevant to the philosophy of mind. Because Forms are the grounds of intelligibility, they are what the intellect must grasp in the process of understanding. Dualism can be argued from various stances, such as the knowledge argument that asks us to imagine a future scientist who has lacked a certain sensory modality from birth, but who has acquired a perfect scientific understanding of how this modality operates in others. This scientist - call him Harpo - may have been born stone deaf, but become the world's greatest expert on the machinery of hearing: he knows everything that there is to know within the range of the physical and behavioural sciences about hearing. Suppose that Harpo, thanks to developments in neurosurgery, has an operation which finally enables him to hear. It is suggested that he will then learn something he did not know before, which can be expressed as what it is like to hear, or the qualitative or phenomenal nature of sound. These qualitative features of experience are generally referred to as qualia. If Harpo learns something new, he did not know everything ...

Solution Summary

Many views have been advanced by philosophers, including Aristotle's objective realism, Plato's dualism, Descartes' conviction that consciousness appears at first as the absolute reality, Berkeley's conviction that "to be is to be perceived," and others. This solution briefly explains these various approaches to the problem of reality in terms of what they really mean.

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