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Appearance and Reality Separation According to Ancient Greek Philosopher Essay Sample 

This essay sample will focus on the thoughts of the ancient Greek philosophers or thinkers on the difference between reality and appearance. It will cover the two Greek Metaphysics philosophers, one is called Heraclitus (535-475 BCE) and the other is known to be one of the founders of Metaphysics called Parmenides.

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Appearance and reality in the field of philosophy are different terms where appearance is a human perception of a thing while the actual objective reality is sought through human experience.

Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher who gave the concept of Allegory of Cave which is a reflection on the distinction of appearance and reality. He believed that the reality of an object is not found through the senses but rather on seeking the truth of reality.

The ancient Greek philosophers always rationalized the universe around them to understand the true reality and nature of it.

What blocks our way to see the reality of the universe is an illusion which creates hindrance in logical and rational thinking.

Understanding of reality and appearance by Heraclitus 

Heraclitus (535-475 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who belonged to the branch of Metaphysics which is a subject of explaining the nature of reality.

He believed that in order to understand the true nature of the universe there has to be a balance of the opposites. He believed that all the universe is capable to be reduced to one single element called “Monism”.

For example – After every day comes a night and seasons change from warm to cold. The very fundamental nature or principle of the cosmos changes bringing incomplete change in reality.

Heraclitus claimed that the universe is in flux and everything changes over time and ‘change’ is the ultimate reality and the only constant in the universe.

The fire would turn into air, air into water, and water into the earth that means every matter constantly changes its forms and structure. Life is followed by death and death is followed by the next birth or life and is a vicious cycle of life that moves in a certain direction without any halt.

Appearance changes according to him but the reality remains the same that is known as change.

In order to explain his concept of flux, he uses the example of a river. He says that no man ever steps into the same river twice unless he is not the same person and it’s not the same river.

He meant that the moment he places a step in the water of the river, the water gets displaced with new water changing its previous nature and texture and making a permanent change. He cannot touch the same water twice causing a permanent displacement.

The man who placed his foot into the water also changes as he ages slightly since stepping in the river, he lost his skin cells and his body got drenched in the water. The reality of his body changes along with the change in the nature of the river.

He proposed the Doctrine of Flux and Unity of Opposites which shows a clear distinction between appearance and reality. It held that everything changes constantly, opposite things are though identical but not the same at a given point in time.

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Understanding of reality and appearance by Parmenides

Parmenides is one of the founders of Metaphysics and is an ancient Greek philosopher who believed that “all is one” and opposed the concept of motion.

He believed that the existing things are present in different forms but have one single reality claiming that appearance is a logical concept of being or in existence.

He didn’t believe in change and claimed that everything is a part of a single unified element and motion or change is an illusion.

He argued that for any change to take place it must progress from being to non-being rising the idea of an extreme or absolute change. He could not relate that how something can come out of nothing.

In the later years, many modern philosophers believed that his concept of absolute change is not possible as every change has its own journey to attain the status of extreme change but it is still not absolute.

Change is ever-evolving and nonabsolute by nature and hence his concept of change was found to be absurd.

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The above sample mentions the understanding of reality and appearance by the ancient Greek philosophers called Heraclitus and Parmenides.

Introduction to Philosophy QQI Level 6, Early Learning Philosophy QQI Level 5, Social Studies QQI Level 5, Social Analysis QQI Level 5, Liberal Arts QQI, Sociology students can read this essay for understanding sociological concepts and for gaining philosophical knowledge.

We have many assignments on sociology and philosophy on our registered Irish website for Irish students. Allegory of the Cave by Plato is one assignment based exclusively on the concept of reality and appearance which can be referred to by the students.

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