FOM: reality

Kanovei kanovei at
Tue May 9 05:51:47 EDT 2000

> Mohammad Sal Moslehian <MSALM at> 
> on Mon, 8 May 2000 10:41:24 GMT+330

>(A1). Is there anything (so called "reality" as an unseen world) beyond 
>human experiences (so called "appearances" or "phenomenon" as a sensible 

Three principal answers are known: 

(1) Yes there is some "reality" which a human can touch, 
see, smell, and investigate by other means available, and 
the "protocols" of these studies are kept as "appearances" etc.  

(2) No, one is sure only in his own experience, but not in 
any "reality" in the background, both in its properties and in 
its very existence.

(3) The question is meaningless until we know what means "Is", 
what means "there", what means "anything" (and other words 
in (A1) above), and as it is impossible to fix this so that 
everybody agrees, the question is unsolvable forever and will 
forever remain the feeding field of all wittgensteins of the 

>(A2). Is there any distinction or separation between "phenomenon" and 
>"reality"? why?

If we accept (2) or (3) then there is no "reality" other than 
"experience". If we accept (1) then the difference is clear 
as explained above. 

>(A3). Why should we assume that there is "reality"? Isn't it superfluous?

Nobody "should". Both (1), (2), and (3) are internally 
consistent. Yet living in this world one could not be 
practically consistent viewing everything around as a 
sort of persistent nightmare. 

>Suppose that there is "reality".
>Is "reality" essentially of mathematical form, in other words, is it 
>necessary to use the mathematics for perceiving, explaining, justifying or 
>describing "reality"?

Depends on which kind of faith (if any) one observes. 
There is a well-known point that the numbers is a divine 
creature, so taking this one concludes that the "reality" 
has a mathematical nature at least partially. 
Other would say that mathematics is a human creature, 
giving then the answer "NO" for C.

>(i) If the answer is No, why do we study the mathematics?

It is interesting, inspiring, and gives means of existence.  
But if you really want to ask why mathematics has been 
so successful as a social phenomenon then in the very bottom 
this is because it gives correct and truthworthy picture 
of (some aspects of) "reality". 

Vladimir Kanovei 

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