Reality is here defined as "truth."

An example is, if someone killed someone else, then the truth is that person 2 is dead. Here, no one need to know that that person is dead in order for them to be dead. For example, if someone dies on the other side of the earth (it is not reported, and you do not know the person) then they are still dead, regardless of if you know it.

Also, reality does not need anything to exist, because if you blew up the universe the reality would be that there is no universe. Lastly, even if you time traveled, then the event still happened in the original timeline. Nothing can be done to change that. Is my thinking correct or flawed?

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    But objective reality without a subject? Sep 29, 2021 at 20:41
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    I think this might be seen as a reductio of your equating Reality and Truth. It seems totally reasonable that without any speakers to form sentences, nothing in the world might turn out to be true, and yet nonetheless stuff might exist. Sep 29, 2021 at 21:13
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    There are votes to close this question. However, I am inclined to let it stand because the comments it has attracted are informative.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Sep 30, 2021 at 10:12
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    Maybe is useful to make a distinction between fact: the reality "out there" (someone killed a man in a far country), a statement asserting a fact: a linguistic entity, which is true or false according to the "existence" of the fact asserted, and the "propositional attitude of a person: the belief that I have/have not about the truth of an assertion. Sep 30, 2021 at 10:12
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    The fact is independent from my belief/knowledge and it is not per se connected to linguistic expressions... but of course it has little sense to speak of "someone killed a man in a far country" if there is no killed, no killer, no country, no universe at all. Sep 30, 2021 at 10:14

4 Answers 4


I am inclined to believe that if all humans died overnight, the Universe would still be here in the morning, so if you consider the Universe to be real then reality can exist without anyone.

Whether reality/truth can exist without anything is a different matter, as I do not know how you would be able to differentiate, even in principle, between a true nothing and a false nothing, and even a statement such as 'there is nothing' would not exist if there was nothing.

Your final assertion, that an event happened when it happened, seems trivially true (recognising, of course, that the time coordinate used to label the position of an event is observer-dependent).

What I have said is my view, which I take to reflect common sense. Other people may have other views- for example, some take the view that reality exists only in the mind, so they might disagree with my assessment.


"if someone dies on the other side of the earth (it is not reported, and you do not know the person)"

or, if a stone exists in space but no-one has ever seen it . . .

So it depends how you define existence. Personally, I would say the stone exists in the set of undiscovered things. Thus relating it to my point of perception and cognition.

Without relation to a cogito everything is "universal obliteration, everlasting nothingness", (to borrow a phrase from Camus).

  • And yet, the stone could have an effect on the orbit of some body known to us. Like Neptune perturbed Uranus long before someone discovered it. It's far from being clear cut between what has effect on us and what we are cognizant of.
    – armand
    Sep 30, 2021 at 0:50

You asking about mind-dependent and mind-independent reality. There are different aspect of the human mind and the reality-dependence will be based of what we are talking about. For the example of a tree falling down in the woods and no one hears it, is there a sound? No. sounds are mind-dependent as they involve the conscious experience of a stimulus. Though there might bot be an sounds there would be sounds waves bc they not not dependant on consciousness awareness for their reality. They are "in" or logically dependent on nature, not our awareness. Now what about completely mind-independent reality? There is no such thing that we as humans can conceive of without automatically running into a logical contradiction. if u think, imagine, doubt, will, or by any other mental activity get a thing, it is somehow related to the mind. it is ether mental or an object that mental faculty. So when u try to think of the world when everyone is dead, what would that actually be like? would it be atoms floating through space? from what perspective? everyone is dead. what idea of an atom? the atom is a construct of mental concepts? or would the world have color like how it seems to us in our consiousness? We are dead, there is bo consiouns experience like ours. So yes you are flawed in your thinking.


It's an interesting question for geologists and astronomers who are trained in observing the traces left by events that happened billions of years ago, long before anyone or anything could witness any of it.

For example, there are plenty of craters on the moon that, as far as we can tell, have been created by meteorite impacts dated way before anyone was ever there to look at them happen (including animals). We can extrapolate this by observing impacts happening in our life time.

It seems kind of strange to claim that the crater wasn't there until someone looked at it. That would mean the meteorite impact didn't happen until we look, and retroactively appears in the geologic records billions of years ago as soon as we raise our eyes to the moon ?

It seems much more reasonable to consider the moon and the meteorite were there billions of years ago without any witnesses, and the impact did in fact happen, leaving the traces we analyse eons after.

Wittgenstein proposed "The world is all that is the case", as in "It is the case that i am typing on my keyboard". At some point, it was the case that a meteorite created the crater. Now it is the case that there remains a crater. All of this was part of the world at some point, whether someone saw it happen or not.

  • -1: Wittgenstein was a logical idealist and not an empiricist. Sep 30, 2021 at 9:17
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    @moziburullah: your comment is absolutely irrelevant. It is clear that the author of the Tractatus or On Certainty believed that there was a reality and the conformity of propositions with this reality made them true or false. If he didn't believe so the whole Tractatus makes absolutely no sense. "The world is all that is the case", I.e. there is an ensemble of facts that are the case, wether we think they are or not or are cognizant of them or not.
    – armand
    Sep 30, 2021 at 10:16
  • It isn't as the first part of your answer explaims wgat empiricism is and you're suggesting implicitly that Wittgenstein was an empiricist. Sep 30, 2021 at 10:50
  • @moziburullah: The first part of my answer is about realism. I strongly suggest he was a realist yes. This has nothing to do with empiricism. Any argument about why I'm wrong, maybe? Or why the answer is wrong as a whole? Because from here it sure looks petty as hell...
    – armand
    Sep 30, 2021 at 23:19
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    @MoziburUllah So according to you moral realists are also moral empiricists since it's the same thing ? (for whatever that would mean...) And sure, "how we know things" and "how we acquire knowledge" are very different things, obviously... Grasping at straws, much ? do you realize how little sense you're making ?
    – armand
    Oct 1, 2021 at 11:29

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