A friend asked me this question on my facebook wall a couple of days ago. I didn’t give it much thought until today.
Is there fallacy in reality?
I’ll start by considering what I believe are generally acceptable definitions of the terms “fallacy” and “reality”.
A fallacy is an assertion that is logically incorrect. Put another way, a fallacy is an an error in reasoning that renders an argument or assertion invalid. For instance, if I say “My dog is white, therefore, all dogs are white”. The problem with this argument is that “my dog” is not representative subset of the entire set “dogs”. This renders the assertion a fallacy.
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.
Consider the above definitions of reality. If you look from Mr. A’s perspective, the picture of the world you would get would be different from what you would see if you look from Mr. B’s perspective. There are as many perspectives of the world as there are people in the world; that is if we accept the assertion that no two people have exactly the same perspectives and opinions.
All human beings have their unique genetic make-ups, life experiences, intentions, ambitions, loyalties, belief systems, etc. All these factors combine to form our unique frames of reference from which we view, think and imagine the world. These individual frames of reference in turn uniquely colour and tailor our view of the world and create our own very personal and unique ‘realities’.
This means that we cannot accept one person’s perspective or opinion of reality as indisputable; we cannot accept it as universal reality. And, if we cannot accept it as universal reality, it is not valid reality. Thus, we can safely conclude that it is fallacy. Every individual’s opinion of reality is actually a fallacy. I might go as far as to propose that the only true (valid) reality is a superposition of all individual realities, a kind of depository of all individual viewpoints of what reality constitutes.
But the above position is based on the conclusion that our individual perceptions of reality are a fallacy. If we however concern ourselves with reality alone, without the adulterations created by our individual frames of reference, then we can conclude that there is no fallacy in reality. This conclusion is valid only in an ideal world where we can observe reality in its unadulterated form.
In a real world however, our frames of reference will always adulterate our view and interpretation of reality. Therefore, what we see as reality would always be a fallacy.
Thanks to Mr. Yina Emmanuel (facebook name) for inspiring this piece.