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Fr. 335

June 2, 2013

Glasses as philosophical parable.

Is the real world such as one sees it with or without glasses? From a realist perspective, one might contend that the fact of seeing the world without glasses corresponds more closely to the constitution of one’s organism and being to the extent that the absence of lenses reveals the real features of one’s perspective and vision, as well as the true way in which one’s being apprehends that of the world.

Yet it could be contended from the opposite position that removal of one’s corrective lenses amounts to a refusal of the world that one shares with others, that which is common to all beings looking upon it. For glasses are precisely that which enables one to see as others see and to see what they see. In this sense, glasses would bring one closer to a shared reality, a reality that can be shared, and the fact of refusing this proximity to world and others would amount to mere solipsistic anti-realism.

In light of this objection, the first position could respond that its opposite is itself a form of anti-realism as the latter introduces a sort of artifice in order make sense of reality, to impose a form on an unstable and shifting world, to create a reality from a diverse and everchanging being. Accordingly, the fact of wearing glasses and accepting the ontological commitments that come with it amount to a refusal of the fundamental difference that underlies the complicated being of the organism and the world in which it finds itself.

Finally, the second position might hold that reality is only that which all beings can report on and which is to be found in all of their experiences, as this is that which is effectively real for all of them, in the sense that it is the features of this reality that produce an effect on every being and not the features of this or that organism’s experience of the world.

Which has the right of it? Which is the realist and which the anti-realist? For which are the roses red and for which must the roses be painted red?

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 2, 2013 10:16 pm


    We could tiptoe around for a few years and quietly slit the throats of every vibrant rose we could get our hands on…..eventually most would appear anemic.

    A shared reality where beings perceive things in a common fashion seems far less reliable than an acceptance for looking into beings as the architects of their own reality. Appreciate the consistentcy of the inconsistencies if you will.


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