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What Is Reality

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What is reality? Webster's New World Dictionary defines reality as the quality or fact of being real. But the truth is, reality can be defined as anything depending on what you think it is. Pre-Socratic thinkers such as Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Thales all had various ideas of what is and what is not real "stuff". It all came down to one point. There had to be a material or "stuff" that everything in this great world comes from. This is known as materialism. This is the same for Aristotle and Descartes, two of the greatest thinkers of the pre-Modern and Modern era. While their perspectives of what reality is are different they still have highly valid points that create some of the best philosophical theories of their time.

The modern era began with Rene' Descartes whose belief of reality was ideas and something that could not be doubted. Descartes became the first to talk about the mind while Plato and Aristotle talked about the soul. Of course, the modern period was based more on intellect than the soul or anything supernatural. In this period there was a sense of secularism and humanism which focused more on human thought and need. Descartes believed that your senses can deceive you and that they will not tell you what is actually real. He has a very pessimistic yet intellectual approach. Descartes seemed to believe that religion made people ignorant and the disciplines of science and math could conquer that. Because there was never any indubitable facts, people tend to give into superstition. So, Descartes began to have methodical doubt meaning that anything can be doubted and one's senses can not be trusted. Descartes came to the conclusion that everything can be doubted except doubt itself. Thus, this absolute certainty is thinking in itself (Cogito). His ideal would become less pessimistic when he began to question where his ideas came from. These ideas have to come from somewhere. He concludes that it all goes back to God. Then, he wants to prove the physicality of a thing. All things have primary ideas and attributes which are secondary. He then questioned if everything is mental how do you apply it to your body? Immaterial things can not cause motion. This is when Cartesian



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