Appearance and Reality?

1 January 2017

The Allegory  of the Cave, Plato,presents, in brief form, most of Plato’s major philosophical assumptions: his belief that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended Looking Beyond the Structure Chapter Two – What are Appearance and Reality Example given – Parthenon “column isn’t straight” “From where you are standing the column isn’t straight. People believe what they see – and this is not always how things are. Looking at an object from different angles will appear different, this is called perspective.

Perspective distorts – example entasis VItriuvius, Palladio Representation – (plans, sections, orth) capture only partial aspects of reality *Bertrand Russell’s – essay appearance and Reality – “The Problems of Philosophy” In Architecture and Interior Design the Architects need to decide how the design will look to the client. Success of project depends upon how effectively the designer communicates how the client will experience its spaces.

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Appearance and reality have to do with the more philosophical issues regarding the problem of knowledge.

Designers deal with this problem everyday of appearance and reality. The architect uses drawings (representation) mock-ups and renderings as ways to describe to my client how they will experience the spaces I design for them. Object depends upon its representation (tools-software). Becomes a fundamental problem how one is to adequately communicate how someone will experience a space. Bertrand Russell – table – we can’t be sure a table has a single uniform color, texture, we can’t say a table has either a color texture inherent to it. sense-data)

The experience of object depends on the person who experiences it. How can we guarantee our clients will see, smell, feel and hear our design in the way we suggest it. Each spectator experiences an object differently *Plata – the Allegory of the Cave We can begin to think of design as a kind of critical thinking. Russell-contends that philosophy deepens our interest in the world by asking basic questions about the conditions of experience, such as the appearance and reality of the objects we see, hear, touch, and feel.

Philosopher: the objects we believe we see, hear, touch, and feel – philosophy provokes us to reflect on the ordinary and see it in a new way by questioning our basic assumptions in everyday experience. It gives us a valuable tool: skepticism. A skepticism that takes nothing for granted. A skepticism that allows us to ask larger questions and see more than what we may be expected to see (this is the philosopher’s approach (Socrates) our approach in design, we call this critical thinking. The architect takes a previous condition, a site, a plan-and transform it into a new condition.

In order to do that, though, he must be attentive to what constitutes the previous condition, to all the factors that make up the site, for instance, not only physical and material factors but social, political and historical factors that determine in many ways a site’s material conditions. The trouble is critical thinking is fundamental to the design process becomes confused with problem-solving. Problem solving involves the creation of solutions to given problems. Critical thinking asks about the conditions of a given problem. “why is this a problem to begin with?

Critical Thinking involves reflection on: * the tools of perception and representation * Language, so far as this can be considered fundamental to how things are represented and then communicated to other * The distinction between real problems and apparent problems Russell states that even the tools we use (example of microscope) to perceive things can offer only a position from a certain perspective. It is always possible to experience the object from a different perspective, which changes our experience and sometimes challenges our experience.

Arch: gives the example that the drawing in front of the student, physical drawing or a computer model, is a representation of something that does not yet exist. The drawing or model is the appearance of that “future reality” it is this way because it is necessarily imperfect because it is partial and incomplete. It is impossible to represent all the possible perspectives from which to experience the object, in time and space.

Even when the building becomes real with material, one still has to experience the building from a certain perspective, at a certain time of ay, during a specific season and climate Drawings and renderings are representations of an object intended to communicate characteristics of the object. (example, when cutting a column in an elevation-the result in plan is the space is divided into two space) Drawing as a form of language in design, the, is subject to correct and incorrect interpretations and readings. Because the client (sponsoring the project) is the one who will decide whether your project becomes a “future reality” it is best to find a way to communicate your design clearly to him.

Philo: to present your designs to the design audience, you could expand on issues involving perception and perspective. For the client, one approach might be to approach the design as part of an architectural history dating back to the Greeks. Some clients might even find it interesting to think their commission could be part of a long tradition while still departing from it. How fundamental appearance and reality are to critical thinking?

Critical thinking differs from problem-solving, in critical thinking the designer questions the problem he or she is given to solve, then what designers do is differentiate between real problems and apparent problems. The example is given about the Parthenon’s columns, (the conventional aesthetic terms) is that they designed the column to be wider in the middle to compensate for an illusion due to perspective. If we are satisfied with this answer, we are missing out on a critical opportunity to ask why correcting for perspective was a problem for the Greeks in the first place.

Entasis shows us that architecture, at least for the Greeks is more than a practical science. It entails a reflection on a human spectator and a reflection on the limits of human perspective – architecture concerns itself also with a shaping of perception. The Table – page 40 to the eye it is oblong, brown and shiny, touch, smooth and cool and hard, when tapped, it gives out a wooden sound.

Anyone who sees and feels and hears the table will agree with this description. As soon as we try to be more precise we run into problems…. lthough I believe the table is really of the same color all over, the parts that reflect the light look much brighter than the other parts. If I move, the parts that reflect the light will be different. If several people are looking at the table at the same moment, no two of them will see exactly the same distribution of colors, because no two can see it from exactly the same point of view and any change in the point of view makes some in the way the light is reflected. To the painter this difference is important –he must learn to see things as they appear-this is the distinction between appearance and reality.

He must unlearn the habit of thinking that things seem to have the color which common sense says they really have and to learn the habit of seeing things as they appear. Back to the table-the color of the table appears to be of different colors from different points of view. The color of the table can change depending on different points of view , color will seem different from artificial light, or a color-blind man or a man wearing blue spectacles. Color is not inherent in the table, but something depending upon the table and the spectator and the way the light falls on the table.

These colors which appear under other conditions have just as good a right to be considered real. Same thing applies to texture, with the naked eye we see the grain, but otherwise the table looks smooth and even. Under a microscope, we see roughnesses and hills and valleys and all sorts of differences that are imperceptible to the naked eye. We would say that what we see under the microscope is real, but that would change under a more powerful microscope. The shape of the table is no better, we judge the table as to the real shape, but we know from drawing, a gien thing looks different in shape from every different point of view.

If the table is really rectangular, it will look, from almost all points of view rectangular. We don’t see the real shape…. it is inferred. What we see is constantly changing in shape as we move around the room. Our senses do not give us the truth about the table itself, but only about the appearance of the table. What have we discovered so far? Our senses do not tell us the truth about the object but only the truth about certain sense data, which depend upon the relations between us and the object. What we directly see and feel is “appearance” which we believe to be a sign of some ‘reality’ behind.

Russells marks a distinction between the ways a “practical person” , a painter and a philosopher might approach the problem of appearance and reality. Russell coins the term “sense-data” in order to distinguish between the characteristics we experience of the table and the table itself. According to Russell, we do not know the table “immediately”: our knowledge of the table is mediated by our perception of certain sense-data color form, texture, etc What we have is an immediate relationship to is our perception of the table, not the table itself.

We thus infer the existence of the table, Russell argues, from our perception of these sense-data. intellectually; his idea that knowledge cannot be transferred from teacher to student, but rather that education consists in directing student’s minds toward what is real and important and allowing them to apprehend it for themselves; his faith that the universe ultimately is good; his conviction that enlightened individuals have an obligation to the rest of society, and that a good society must be one in which the truly wise.

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