Perception and Reality

Wilson, Keith (2013). ‘Perception and Reality’. New Philosopher, 1 (2): 104–107.


Taken at face value, the picture of reality suggested by modern science seems radically opposed to the world as we perceive it through our senses. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear scientists and others claim that much of our perceptual experience is a kind of pervasive illusion rather than a faithful presentation of various aspects of reality. On this view, familiar properties such as colours and solidity, to take just two examples, do not belong to external objects, but are fictions generated by the brain that we mistakenly ascribe to the world around us.

Contrary to this view, I argue that properties like colour and solidity are as much a part of the fabric of reality as gravity and electrons, and that our scientific and common-sense world views are not as opposed to one another as it might first appear.

Reproduced by kind permission of New Philosopher magazine

Wilson 2013b.pdf