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Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be.[1] In its widest definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.

Historically, philosophers have sometimes considered reality to include nonexistent things such as "gold mountains" in a sense referred to as a subsistence, as well. By contrast existence is often restricted solely to being (compare with nature).


Phenomenological reality

On a much broader and more subjective level, private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and the selectivity involved in personal interpretation of events shapes reality as seen by one and only one individual and hence is called phenomenological. While this form of reality might be common to others as well, it could at times also be so unique to oneself as to never be experienced or agreed upon by anyone else. Much of the kind of experience deemed spiritual occurs on this level of reality.

Phenomenology is a philosophical method developed in the early years of the twentieth century by Edmund Husserl and a circle of followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. Subsequently, phenomenological themes were taken up by philosophers in France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl's work.

The word phenomenology comes from the Greek phainómenon, meaning "that which appears", and lógos, meaning "study". In Husserl's conception, phenomenology is primarily concerned with making the structures of consciousness, and the phenomena which appear in acts of consciousness, objects of systematic reflection and analysis. Such reflection was to take place from a highly modified "first person" viewpoint, studying phenomena not as they appear to "my" consciousness, but to any consciousness whatsoever. Husserl believed that phenomenology could thus provide a firm basis for all human knowledge, including scientific knowledge, and could establish philosophy as a "rigorous science".[2]

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