Objective reality is the idea that there are universal truths that apply to all. This has long the basis of society, science, culture and religion but competing philosophies do exist and are increasingly accepted, particularly in social sciences. The following are examples of objective reality and competing philosophies.
Scientific ObjectivityScience is fundamentally based on the idea that there are universal truths that can be determined with a process of systematic experimentation, observation and analysis. Scientific objectivity is the principle that science be based on repeatable, unbiased observations that are always open to challenge and peer review.
Journalistic ObjectivityJournalistic objectivity is the principle that the truth can be determined with diligent research and unbiased analysis of objective evidence. This is supposed to be a basic ethical requirement of journalists. In practice, much of the news is colored by ideology and the influence of interests such as advertisers.
Moral RealismMoral realism is the idea that there are basic principles of right and wrong that do not vary by person or culture. This is the basis of things such as religion, constitutions, rights, freedoms and law.
RelativismRelativism is the idea that objective reality doesn't exist such that individuals and culture are free to define every aspect of reality.
PostmodernismPostmodernism is a broad academic trend based on relativism. Generally speaking, social sciences are heavily influenced by relativism whereby individuals define reality. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are less influenced by relativism because objective facts are important if you're designing an aircraft.
Naive RealismNaive realism is the tendency to believe that the universe is exactly as you perceive it. For example, the view that your own ideas are completely true and that all people who disagree with you are inherently wrong. This view would be validated by postmodernism and relativism.
IdealismIdealism is the philosophy that ideas define reality and not the other way around. For example, the observation that stories can become true.
SkepticismSkepticism is the idea that if universal truths exist they are unknowable. This can be essentially proven with thought experiments such as the idea that we could all be trapped in a simulation that completely differs from reality. This isn't particularly useful and can be overcome with the one assumption that our perceptions are somewhat reflective of reality.
Subjective RealitySubjective reality denotes the fact that all perception is shaped by the mind. If you perceive a flower as blue, this is because your mind maps a particular combination of wavelengths of visible light to the abstract concept of blue. As such, blue doesn't truly exist beyond the mind†.
Quantum PhysicsHistorically, science viewed the universe as a deterministic machine that could be predicted with accuracy. Modern science has largely invalidated this view. For example, quantum physics has revealed that at the smallest scale, the universe is probabilistic and chaotic. In other words, objective reality can't be fully known because the universe is somewhat random and is influenced by observation itself.
PragmatismPragmatism is the view that something is true if it is true for all practical purposes. For example, blue exists as an important element of human perception and experience -- even if the universe has no such concept.
Notes† The mind ignores non-visible wavelengths of light and non-dominant wavelengths such that color perception doesn't map accurately to the realities of light.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about philosophy.
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