While talking philosophically, I want to know the difference between Reality and Truth.

Especially while Asking this question, I've used Reality/Truth because I don't know How they are different in philosophy.

So, I want to know the Philosophy behind these words i.e. philosophical difference.

  • 1
    First, do you mean the terms ? Second, those terms may have specific meanings in discussions of hinduism that don't apply outside of those bounds.
    – virmaior
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 8:01
  • The main difference is the condition of a positive notion of truth respectively reality: Truth is something that can be measured by the reality of our use of concepts (broader: language). Reality is something that can be measured in a completely different relation: our relation to the world.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 15:28
  • As virmaoir suggests, because the practice of Vedantic Hinduism (as per your linked question, and its notions of “absolute truth,” “ultimate reality”, etc.) and the practice of western analytic philosophy (the language primarily spoken here) would seem to be (entail languages/vocabularies which are) incommensurable (ie, they lack a common basis, standard, measure of comparison), it is difficult to see how the answers provided, while broadly accurate enough, will be useful to your project.
    – gonzo
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 20:47
  • It might be helpful if you shared what you presently consider the terms 'truth' and 'reality' to mean, or, better yet, more precisely identify what you want to do with them.
    – gonzo
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 20:48

3 Answers 3


In Western thinking a big difference exists between reality and truth.

Reality is difficult to define. Reality denotes the world outside and its facts. As Wittgenstein states in Tractatus Logico-Philosophical:

The world is all that is the case. The world is the totality of facts, not of things.

Truth is a property of propositions, mostly propositions claiming facts. Hence truth lives in a completely different domain.

"It rains today" is a proposition which claims a fact. The proposition can be true or false. On the other hand, facts are not true or false. Instead, they are or they are not.

See also What is the difference between Fact and Truth?

In Eastern thinking, e.g., in Hinduism, truth is considered something which can be discovered in the world like a treasure. Moreover, truth can be realized. But I did never understand what it means to "realize" a truth.

  • Reality can only be investigated through modeling: you build & refine models of a given observed situation until you get such a model that reliably agree with observations and tests. Truth is a particular, not a universal, it depends on context, and without context is meaningless.
    – slashmais
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 15:01

As Jo Wehler says, the two notions apply to different realms. Truth applies to linguistic entities, whereas reality applies to things in the world.

Something is real if it exists in the world independently of our observations or conceptions of it. For example, tigers are real if there is an objective group of objects in the world that forms a natural class that does not depend on our conceiving them as such (the classification is not "in our heads", it's not a mere conventional or practical way of grouping objects) and the objects and their class continue to exist even if not observed.

Truth, for a realist, is correspondence of a statement to reality. This is why the two notions are tightly related: for example, "there are tigers" is true if tigers are real. However truth crucially depends on the meaning of our words whereas reality does not (there could be tigers even if we had no word for them). Note that there are other conceptions of truth available for anti-realists (coherence, ideal assertability...) that are less tightly related to reality.


As with all philosophical terminology, the issue is that different philosophers have used the terms in different ways, and come to radically different conclusions.

One of the most prominent theories of truth is that a "true" statement is one that corresponds with a "real" state of affairs. So truth describes reality. The problem, however, is to determine what is real. For instance, for Plato Truth describes Reality, but neither truth nor reality are equated, for him, with the physical/material states of being that most people view as constitutive of reality.

A related but distinct theory is the semantic theory which holds that "truth" is a property of sentences. A sentence "X" is true just in the case that the state of affairs it describes is accurate. This is similar to the correspondence theory, but places truth entirely within the world of linguistic communication --a very different view than Platonic Truth.

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