Revisiting Reality

In a previous post I talked about Husserl’s notion that we should bracket off the question of whether reality is distinct from human experience.  You can see that post here: link.  To give a quick rehash for those who don’t want to go re-read, there is an old philosophical debate between realists and idealists.  The realists say that reality is mind-independent, while the idealists say that reality is mind-dependent.  The Husserlian compromise is to essentially say ‘why does it matter?’  I think that this is in many ways the best response to the argument, but I also have some notions I would like to present on the subject.

I’m inclined to say reality exists in a mind-independent way (look at this philosopher going out on a limb).  I think that it is the more probable hypothesis.  I say this mostly citing evolutionary psychology as evidence – the mechanics of our mind make much more sense if reality is mind-independent.  However, I think that reality, as it is possible for us to know, is mind and sense dependent.  This includes my previous statement that reality is probably not mind-dependent.  That is a notion that we have within the mind.  I think that human notions cannot correspond to anything outside of experiential reality.

I think that our perspective on the world is entirely anthropocentric (indeed, it is so much so that it is impossible for me to point out an alternative – never has a thought been had by a human that was not anthropocentric).  We see the world at a certain size, we define organisms by their relation to us, we write history as it relates to us.  It is we who divide the world into objects – into plants and animals, into microbes, into ideas.  Without consciousness these objects vanish – all the wondrous motion of the universe becomes less then nothing.  All the pieces are still moving, but outside of consciousness the pieces have no meaning.  Without consciousness the world as an experience disappears.

So, that is what I think of the substance of reality, let me know what you think,

Thank you for reading,


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