Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Philosophy Breaking Down The Meaning Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 2823 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

The meaning of philosophy is broken down into two parts; Philos meaning love and Sophia meaning wisdom. Philosophy has five main branches; aesthetics, meaning beauty, epistemology, meaning truth, ethics, meaning good, logic, meaning reasoning and meta-physics, meaning "state of being qua being" otherwise known as first philosophy. Of these branches we raise questions of what and why. What is it really? Philosophy is what we can observe and feel internally and externally. Philosophers seek to know what part of things really exist. In society, people are use to the motto "seeing is believing." This is a concept that works wonders in the judicial and executive branches. In everyday life among everyday people, how much of what we are seeing is really worth believing?

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, until we shut them at night, a human being sees countless shapes, images and objects around them in their acute vision. That's not including the million other objects in the world we may never see. Yet, what we see and how we interpret the object's idea, ideal, function and form allows society to question reality and in the end cope with it.

There is a very thin line between what is real and what is not. It is even more complicated when comparing individual beliefs to societal beliefs. An individual can have a dream in all aspects yet, as soon as they awaken he in turn realizes it was all an illusion. A group's beliefs are bias on the principal of consensus. It is a belief based on what is best for everyone collectively.

When looking up the word "reality" in the dictionary, the conventional definition of reality is being "a fact or something that is the quality or state of being actual or true." One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual." According to philosophy, reality is something which exists independently of ideas concerning it and all other things from what all other things derive.

So, with two different explanations, how do we find the common middle ground? How do we know what is real and is not? How we determine that what IS "real" is worth acceptance as true. With these questions and more it is evident that reality is not pure common sense.

"In the common-sense view, to be sure, knowledge belongs to the man who has no further need to learn because he has finished learning. No, only that man is knowing who understands that he must keep learning over and over again and who above all on the basis of this understanding, has attained to the point where he is always 'able to learn.' This is much more difficult than to possess information," (Heidegger, pg. 21-22.)

Things that we us our five senses, our mind interpret as real; thus as reality; such as a magician can make a bridge "disappear." Common sense would say that it cannot be done. However, in response to the trick society believes it has been done as an illusion. What was once known as seeing must be believable; in turn today's society; there is a new group of illusionists which makes it even harder to determine what is real and is not. Now it takes two or more evidence to be considered reality. For example, there is the computer and other high tech types of technology which allows the capability to change and manipulate shapes, images and information; proving that seeing is obviously not believing.

Most people think that physical objects are real and that they exist independent of human contemplation. Objects do not change depending upon our thoughts about them. They exist objectively whether or not we think about them, observe them, measure them, or ignore them. The "common sense" philosophy has always been around. John Locke acknowledged that everyone deem that a real world exists beyond our minds and imaginations and that we can truly know things about the world around us.

"Realism as opposed to idealism, concerning the 'external world' is correct. To perceive an object (a physical object, that is) it is at least necessary that that subject should enjoy some experience of realism," (Lowe, 61.)

Locke viewed "idea" as a depiction of difference with reality. Locke had two things to explain: the universal element, that is, the general start with which knowledge is worried or which it involve; and the orientation to reality which it claims. He thought of the objective reality on which our experience depends and which, he believed, it reveals. In response, a real world does not exist on its own. It is up to society to create the implications for which the world can subsist. Humanity has the resources and aptitude to take the world we know and improve on it to make it better for the present and ultimately the future. We take the primitive understanding of the images and abstract from our minds and build to suffice the world we want to create.

At birth we started to experience the constancy of physical reality. As we develop, we slowly become aware of an environment of objects and forms.  We begin to develop a sense of division between our entity as object from all other objects that surrounds us.  We start to classify and group everything into categories; thus the classification of fat, skinny, short, tall.

"Many argue that objects or "models" can never be perfect, or even particularly accurate, representations of the physical world; questioning ever knowing "reality." "What we call 'reality,'" he says, consists of an elaborate papier-mâché construction of imagination and theory filled in between a few iron posts of observation. Accordingly, all that we can really know is what we observe. All the rest is a creation of the human mind," (Morris, 195.)

One demonstration of "reality" and how it affects mind and thought control is through Plato's work, "Allegory of the Cave". A Greek philosopher and a follower of Socrates, Plato presented his ideas through dramatic dialogues, in the most celebrated of which (The Republic), a utopian society ruled by philosophers trained in metaphysics.

Plato was best known for his theory that ideal Forms or Ideas, such as Truth or the Good and how it subsist in a realm beyond the material world. Plato sought after the hidden potentiality in reality; discovering it and convey the hidden state of potentiality into the actual reality. By disclosing what society does not see nor know, Plato aimed that any creation is mindful and the discovery of the new values and forms disclosed to society by a new combination unique forms heightening reality. If one imagines all theoretical morals eliminated, and all knowledge reduced to strictly "scientific discoveries" originated in dry scheme, how notably our cognition of the world and reality would be reduced.

In the allegory, the prisoners chained in a cave and are incapable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them a fire is burning. Amid the fire and the prisoners there is a rampart, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. Unable to see these puppets, the real objects, which pass behind them, the prisoners can only see and hear shadows and echoes emitted. The prisoners mistake these facades for reality. In their mind, they assume that what they see on the as real and nothing otherwise.

"The Allegory of the Cave starts with a pessimistic situation. The prisoners in the cave have a very pitiful life indeed, for they are confined to their location and thus live a very passive life. The cave is an allegory for the human condition. In the cave the prisoners look at shadows, not of real things but of puppets and they do not hear real voices, only echoes. They take over second-hand opinions and beliefs," (Arthur C. Clarke.)

The "Allegory of the Cave," Plato represents a metaphor that is to gap the way we perceive and believe in what is reality. The thesis behind his allegory is the basic opinion that all we perceive are imperfect "reflections" of the ultimate Forms, which later represent truth and reality. Plato is teaching us seeing. He tries to help human nature understand what makes it what it is and the education required to be what we are.

This is an important development to the story because it shows us that what we perceive as real from birth is not completely false based on our imperfect interpretations of reality and Goodness. Each thing is what it is due to the form. It is a reflection of the form.

The point of the allegory is that the universal terms of our language are not "names" of the physical objects that we can see. They are in fact names of things that are not visible to us, things that we can only grasp with the mind. The people holding cutouts represented people in our lives who have impacts on people such as politicians, family and media. The cutouts represented the words and images. The shadows represented reality for the chained men. The captives represented ordinary people who live in a world of theory and delusion, while the freed captive is able to manage the most precise view of reality possible within the continually shifting world of awareness and knowledge. The world outside of the cave represents the realm of being, the understandable world of truth that is occupied by ideal, rigid knowledge.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Truth; an issue surrounding reality and society. Reality is manipulated among society in the novel "1984". An anti-utopia novel written in 1949 by George Orwell takes place in 1984 and presents an imaginary future where a totalitarian state controls every aspect of life, even people's thoughts. The state is called Oceania and is ruled by a group known as the Party; its leader and dictator is Big Brother.

"Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal," (George Orwell).

The development of the language "Newspeak" which destroys old words like "freedom" so that they can be "unthinkable" was sadly remarkable. To live in a society where words are unknown and reality changed by a "Big Brother" government damages society and misrepresents understanding the true goal of human nature being happiness.

"The ambiguity of words reflects not merely a quirk of language but a deep feature of the structure of reality. Things are in radically different ways, and it is the primary function of metaphysics (the study of the most fundamental principles of the nature of things, [Wolff 242]) to make this perspicuous. This is a fact about the ontological diversity of the world, but shares with many philosophers the view that if we are to achieve a correct ontology we must use the structure of natural language as a guide," (Lawson-Tancred, 404.)

Through "Doublethink", society accepts all that the party tells them; even if it contradicts what they already know to be concerning right and wrong and that "we (the party), control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull," (Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 268). Society suppresses all thoughts and information that goes against what the Party believes of the past and present to eventually gain a "utopian" future. Society has rules that are imposed on members and some of these are reasonable. If they aren't reasonable, they aren't really fit for human association.

Being perspective, some would argue that reality is not always something good and tangible and that being blinded by the light may actually overweigh the true knowledge of reality. In the movie, "The Matrix", makes it clear that life inside the matrix is quite agreeable and happy giving promise to the motto, "ignorance is bliss". Knowing that everything is false on the outside they are content not knowing anything in the matrix. It is a metaphor of what it is that keeps society asleep. Society wants an illusory safety being asleep when one thinks they are awake. Society want to numb itself.

This relates to a famous thought experiment in philosophy. Philosopher Robert Nozick imagined an experience machine. It is described as a perfect machine that can give one any experience one desires with no strings attached plug in and live out a fantasy life without knowing they are plugged in. Nozick assumed that most people would not plug in because most people don't believe in just pleasure. One cares about being in touch with reality in a basic logic primitive realm. It is a fundamental concern not only to be happy but to live a "real" life and to be in touch with truth. This science fiction is western philosophy and transformed to a higher degree of metaphysics.

"In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality - what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. Some treat metaphysics as the study of "higher" reality or the "invisible" nature behind everything, but that isn't true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible; and what constitutes reality, natural and supernatural. Because most of the debates between atheists and theists involve disagreements over the nature of reality and the existence of anything supernatural, the debates are often disagreements over metaphysics," (Austin Cline).

Reality is based on what the viewer allows him/her to see at a given time and is able to internalize what they are seeing. Our reality stems back to our childhood; even in our infancy. Babies can see mostly shapes and colors. For them, at that time no name exists for them to comprehend. How we learn to interpret and understand is through teaching. Our parents, guardians and teachers are society's biggest influences. Adults teach the young what things are and how they came to be. Without them, no one would be able to surface the meaning of the surroundings. Only later will a child begin to realize what objects are. Information on forms and functions for objects is further explained by older relations to express concerns of reality. This form of oral teaching passed down throughout the years is the idea of sense of bias perceptual reality. Society understands minimally the concept of forms but also the changeable occurrence of that form.

"Knowledge, Reality, and the difference they make are wisdom areas in philosophy; usually they are identified by the words metaphysics for reality and epistemology standing for knowledge. Metaphysics means everything REAL, even though the word literally means "what is beyond the physical", or what is "spiritual", while Epistemology means knowledge and includes the criteria for knowing anything we claim to know. For the metaphysician, reality is both what is perceptible or sensible and what is beyond the perceptible. If what is perceived or sensed is what appears to our senses, then metaphysicians want to know if there is anything beyond what we sense. Most metaphysicians have included five to seven ideas or ideals associated with the invisible or beyond what we can clearly sense, and have concluded some sort of meta-physical character to these ideas," (Burke).

A person's beliefs are their map of reality. It guides one through the day. They are lenses throughout which one perceives the world around us. Humanity hopes for truth because in them there is a sense of reality. The belief will contribute to humanity's ultimate goal; happiness.

Reality; what is reality? The word reality is the state of things as they actually exist whether or not it is observable, perceivable or even comprehensible by society. It is said, "Reality is what you make of it". Society makes sense of the world and how the world perceives it and questions observed. What is the light reflecting on things people see? To what knowledge is excluded from language, or, even all five senses? What is it that society sees?

Reality is independent of how society perceives it. Society only gathers a miniature portion of the reflected particle which society refers to as visible light. Society is blind to all other frequencies. The reality is, our brain has never seen an image, heard a sound, touched or smelled anything. It is all signals in our brains. Our brain's purpose is not to perceive reality to its high level of accuracy but, to make sense of it in order to survive. Reality is what society makes of it. For society to claim knowledge of things to the highest level of accuracy is fraudulent as one's perception as a large margin of error or perhaps could even be completely wrong. Society is built to survive and reproduce; not to find truth and reality which people has an effect on one's non-trustworthy sense and connections to the outside world.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: