This month’s Socrates Café question:

“What’s more real, ideas or experience?”

Sound off e-merica!

2 Responses to “December ’08 Socrates Café”
  1. jordan cooperman says:

    i suppose it’s important to define what exactly reality is. Every person certainly has a unique perspective on reality, and their ideas and experience are derived from this perspective. What is a real experience for one person is only an idea for another person.

    It would seem that an idea can be expressed to the world, whereas and experience can only be expressed as an idea, but on the same token, an idea is experienced differently by everyone who hears it. In this way, the two work interchangeably.

    The only reason anything is “real” to humans is because of our own self awareness. Our self awareness is an understanding of the things we experience. Without the idea that we exist, we can not realize that we are real, and hence, can not truly experience life. I would say that the only reason that we can “experience” anything is because we are aware of that experience, and this is simply an idea. Neither is possible without the other. I would argue that neither is more “real” than the other, and both are only as real as any one person’s reality.

    We could examine a blind person, for instance. They have not experienced the visual sense, and therefor, cannot formulate visual ideas. The way that they experience the world is completely different, but it is hard to say which comes first, their ideas or their experience. Is their experience different as a result of their mind not formulating visual ideas, or are their ideas different as a result of not experiencing the physical world, visually. I would say we have a chicken and egg situation here. Both exist simultaneously and create the unique reality that every individual experiences.

  2. Kristina says:

    “Without the idea that we exist, we can not realize that we are real, and hence, can not truly experience life.”

    Not questioning your argument, because I found it very interesting and well thought out. But a question: If humans are the only animals on the planet with knowledge of their own existence, is it implied then that all other animals “cannot truly experience life”?