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NMSU PHIL 201G - Commentary

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Module 2.2 CommentaryModule 2.2 brings us to consider the question, “What is the nature of reality?” Is reality merely what we see around us? Or is there something that underlies what is seen, such a “force” (think Star Wars) or are there levels of reality (think the film “The Matrix”)? Further still, are the sensory and emotional experiences that a human has the nature of what is actually real? The readings I have selected for Module 2.2 explore a few different possible answers to these questions. The first selection in Module 2.2 is from Plato, his book The Republic. This is a classic piece from Ancient Greece that just about every student of philosophy will read. It is referred to as “The Myth of the Cave.” In this reading, Socrates is back talking with his students about the nature of reality. To help explain Socrates’ vision of the cave, I have included in the module, a short, animated video. The next selection is also ancient, but this one is from ancient China. In “The Way of the Universe,” Lao-Tzu talks about the Tao or in English, “The Way.” The reading is a series of vignettes describing the Tao in metaphors. Lao-Tzu also talks about the importance of living in harmony with the Tao. Finally, the last selection I have chosen for you is from Kitaro Nishida, who was a professor of philosophy in Japan in the 20th Century. Nishida’s description of reality is very different as his philosophy critiques Western philosophy and Western science. Nishida says instead, that reality is rooted more in “pure experience” where the separation between subject and object is not present. Pay attention to his example of one who loses themselves in the happiness felt while listening to a piece of music. I hope that reading these selections will inspire you to consider differing ideas of what is real, and to go further by thinking about your life and what is real to


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