Saturday, 22 July 2017

Rumours of Reality

There’s a persistent philosophical rumour that there are different sorts of objects of varying saturation of reality. First among those is the unknown object which might be a Saxon hoard or a shilling under a rock. It’s there, the unknown unknown. That a thing could be an unknown object is a guarantee of its independent reality status. As a corollary there are those mental states that only come to exist in the moment that they are known. An emotion comes into existence as it is known and then after it has abated drops into the memory well. So they are not really objects but they are real as objects of awareness. Other items have a reality contingent on agreements, legal instruments and so on. There are wills, contracts, vows, promises that are eternal or temporary or transient; fragile or adamantine. They exist within the sphere of the commitment of the parties involved and are real enough but they have ‘no face before they were born’ as the Zenists say.

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