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There has always been another world. In Neolithic times, they built megaliths, steles, timed to the solstices—so they had some astronomical sense. Failing that, there was always a saber-toothed tiger to run them down. In the Grecian Bronze Age was invented the cast of maniac characters known as the gods—each with a different competitive function usually attached to features of the natural world, but showing clearly an awareness of something in existence other than humankind. The pre-Socratics scientized this and spoke of elemental forces that powered the world, and they argued as to which were more elemental than others—water, fire, air or earth. Then came Democritus with his astonishing theory of the invisible atom as the basis of everything. Plato allegorized the problem, describing a cave of firelit shadows where most men lived, unaware of the sun outside. All of this was, of course, monotheisticized by the Abrahamic religions—one supreme Reality with His own reasons, His dos and don’ts. And in the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant spoke of “things in themselves” as being beyond our phenomenological knowing—that the world was something else than what we could actually know, captured as we were in our own minds.
John Searle is a contemporary philosopher with an unalterable belief in “things in themselves.” That makes him, philosophically, a Realist. Reality, in his refreshing advanced diction, is composed of “brute facts,” which for Searle consist entirely “of physical particles in fields of force, and in which some of these particles are organized into systems that are conscious biological beasts, such as ourselves.” The examples he cites of such ur-Reality are “mountains, planets, H2O molecules, rivers, crystals, and babies.” I would include the climatic biomes. But the examples of Reality are endless, of course, and include the stars in the skies, the skies and, in fact, what we understand as the entire universe. So Searle finds it convenient to wrap up Reality by reference to “the atomic theory of matter” and “natural selection.” These, he says, are the constituent facts of “a world independent of our representations of it.”