Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reality, worldviews, and theories of reality

A common slang usage would have "reality" mean "perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes toward reality," as in "My reality is not your reality." This is often used just as a colloquialism indicating that the parties to a conversation agree, or should agree, not to quibble over deeply different conceptions of what is real. For example, in a spiritual discussion between friends, one might say (attempting humor), "You might disagree, but in my reality, everyone goes to heaven.” But occasionally — and mainly in the case of those who have been exposed to certain ideas from viewpoint, sociology, literary criticism, and other fields — it is thought that there simply and factually is no reality beyond the perceptions or beliefs we each have about reality. Such attitudes are summarized in the popular statement, "Perception is reality" or "Life is how you pick out reality" and they show anti-realism, that is, the view that there is no objective reality, whether acknowledged clearly or not.

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