Lately, I have been giving a good deal of thought to what is needed to exist in order for us to know reality. For it seems that how I can know something depends at least upon what that thing is. How I would know the truth of the law of non-contradiction, say, is different than how I would know how a Starbuck’s Vivano chocolate smoothie tastes, due to what kinds of things they are. It also seems to depend upon what kind(s) of things I am.
Of course, this topic also raises the issues about the mind-world “nexus,” and how we could know reality. I have been studying a long history of constructivist thought, starting with Descartes and following, & there are interesting ontological themes that keep surfacing, ones that play into the debate about the “myth of the given” & also about the “taken.” Can we know reality if we only have access to what we take to be the case? And, what are the ontological issues associated with this debate?
When I had a class in grad school with Dallas Willard
on phenomenology & constructivism, I found it interesting that we ended with John Searle
, a leading naturalist. That fascinated me, because to me, one of philosophical naturalism’s greatest perceived strengths is that on the basis of what it says is real, we can know truth. After all, that seems to be part of the philosophical basis behind the present fact-value split – on science (and not just any science, but naturalistic science), we uniquely have knowledge of truth.
For now, I’d like to kick around a question: what is needed ontologically for us to know reality? What do you think?