Appearance and Reality In Chapter One Bertrand Russell basically wants to know the true meaning of "reality". The truth is that "reality" can never truly be determined. I say this because there is a difference between believing and actually knowing. For example I know the desk in the front of the classroom is real. I know this because all of my senses concur. Now when I try to determine to color, the texture or even the shape of the desk I will run into a problem.
Just as the example given in the text, the tables color may look difference according to the amount of light that is on it. If the amount of light is changed the shade of the color will also change, therefore making the color of the desk impossible to determine. The texture of the table presents the same trouble. When looking at the desk it might appear to be smooth and flat. When looking close range, through a microscope, it will appear rough and jagged. This also makes it impossible to determine the texture.
The shape presents the same questions. Although we believe the desk to have a certain shape, when seen from a different point of view the desk will look different. When you look at something from another perspective it will be different. The point that Bertrand Russell is trying to make is that what is "real" to us may not be "real" at all. There are so many questions that must be answered for one to know the "truth", so many that it is, in my opinion, impossible. How can we truly know the feeling, or taste, or sound, or anything of any given object.
If you touch something how do you know you felt it with enough force? If you taste something how do you know you tasted enough of it? When you hear something how do you know if you heard right? Another thing that Bertrand Russell speaks of is illusion. An illusion is an erroneous perception of reality.
This is when the mind plays tricks. An example is our dreams. When we awake we sometimes aren't sure if what had just happened was a dream or in fact a real occurrence. Another example which everyone is familiar with is an optical illusion. When you see something from a distance and its appearance can be obscure. The closer you find yourself to the obscurity, the less obscure it seems.
If there is a something miles away from you in the distance, your eyes tell you that there is nothing more than a mere dot. As the "dot" comes closer you eventually realize that it was not a dot, but was actually something different all together. Once again it is nearly impossible to determine the "truth". All of our senses combined must agree upon the final result. In conclusion it is hard to determine what is "real" and what is not. Even when consulting all of our senses what is "real" can still be questioned.
How do I as my own person know that my senses concur with someone else's senses? One's senses are determined by the person using them. How a person is raised or educated, or even genetically assembled determines their senses. How we take in information may differ from another person.
So in my opinion, there is no "true reality". There is only what we as people believe is "real" that can truly be determined..