A reflection on Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations
I have attempted over several of my previous reflections to examine the difference between reality and perception – particularly from the vantage point of humans. In doing this, I had to differentiate between what is – the fabric of reality – and the artificial delineations that the human mind makes to understand larger reality (see on Reality). Overall, I think this is an acceptable definition – so far – but I want to discuss the objectivity of observation and demonstration, particularly with regards to the accuracy of description in the physical world.
If we want to understand reality, we must first attempt to quantify it. As I have previously discussed it would be folly to suggest that even the most perfect of human minds could understand reality as it truly is. If our mind cannot possess perfect knowledge, as this would require comprehension of everything contained within reality, we must instead attempt to comprehend it through rules that reliably depict the manipulation of matter through time. In creating these rules and measuring the universe, we create units of measurement which artificially delineate reality into comprehensible discrete sections. Although these units are pragmatically useful, they raise the question as to whether or not such delineation actually describes reality or merely provides a convenient mechanism by which to understand the universe.
If we accept discreet segmentation of reality, then we must accept the atomization of matter and the division of time. However, if these natural divisions exist, then it creates a question as to how interaction can occur between these discrete segments – the paradoxes of Zeno. In answer to this challenge, I have posited the conception of reality as a single fabric – of time, matter and the metaphysical. However, if reality is one then what should we to make of quantity? It would appear that we must either reject plurality or motion as an illusion of the mind. I admit that at this stage I cannot truly answer the paradox of plurality and motion – but without my understanding, the universe seems perfectly content to continue functioning.
Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781