The natures of realities

What is the difference between virtual reality and (actual or genuine) reality?

Like many seemingly simple questions in philosophy, this can take off in various directions.

  1. What is reality?
  2. What makes something we read in a book or magazine real?
  3. What makes reality something important?

Before we suggest directions in which to respond to these questions, a few points:

  • Not every question makes sense, in that not every question has an answer.
  • We should not assume we can divide the world into the real and the unreal.
  • We have different realities and the parts can change.
  • We can have a variety of responses to philosophical questions, We should choose our words, with care, as part of our intellectual aesthetic.

What is reality?

This is something philosophy has not gotten very far on.

J.L. Austin called a trouser word, suggesting that unreal or not real are the words that have a clear use. As in "Is this real silk?" or "Is this real butter?". Real does not mean not unreal in the various ways we speak of something being unreal, or fake.

Here are some possible ways the the philosophical questions of reality could be taken:

  • What is most important in life?
  • What endures?
  • What is it we can agree on?
  • What should I pay primary attention to?
  • What exists apart from us?
  • What facts about the world are true?
I am sure the question can be extended, or riffed, in other ways as well.

What makes something we read in a book or magazine real?

The answer would be a quick theory of epistemology.

What is real is what we take to be real. But "we" are not free to take just anything or everything as real.

Links of certainty assurances. I have not seen the great wall of china. But others have. pictures of friends there.

Social assurance of basic knowledge. Learned as truth. Tested on it. We are taught, and in various ways tested, on many things: Hamlet, geography, behavior, patriotism, religion.

What makes reality something important?

Reality is the varieties of things through which we navigate, contextually. We can, as it were, navigate different realities, Think movies, and now internet.

There is a simple corporeal sense of reality, an existential concerns: a cliff, a lion, a poison, a food. There are things we do not and cannot make up, and then there are those things we do.

We have a nagging sensation that we know what exists apart from us. And it frightens us.

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