| Von Glasersfeld's answers - August II 2005  |

 
 
 


QUESTION 1:
 
I have just finished your 1995 book. I am a doctoral student and a physics
and math teacher. Formal philosophy and the nasty terms therein are
difficult to such a mind as mine! The terms objective reality, ontological
reality and ontic reality are used in your book. Could you tell me what
the difference is. I understand that objective reality is the reality that
would exist out side of us and that we can probably never truly re-present
it in ourselves. Ontology is the study of reality or what is real, so I do
not understand the use of the modifier.
 
Thank you
Jeannie Scown
Arizona State University
If we were meant to be educated in herds, we would be born in litters!


 

 
ANSWER 1:
Dear Ms Scown,

 

In most contexts the three terms you have picked out are interchangeable.
They are all intended to refer to what is supposed to lie beyond our
experience - as though you could know what it is without having
experienced it. "Objective" is intended to indicate that the thing to
which the word is applied has not been distorted by an individual's
observation - as though one could talk about it if it hadn't been
observed by someone. Ontology is the study of "being", and "ontic" is an
adjective derived from this; it refers to something that is supposed to
be engaged in the activity of "being", which is what things are supposed
to be engaged in whether or not we experience them. As George Berkeley,
the Irish philosopher said, there is no way of knowing what "to be" or
"to exist" should mean outside the range of our experience.
 
Did you find any other "nasty" terms in my book?
 
Best wishes,
 
Ernst von Glasersfeld

 

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