Can every question regardless of the subject be answered? ( answer based on reality and not on "Phaneron" ) How is the reality taken to be true? ( Everything that is proven may not be true and the proof may be perceived to be true (it may be the phaneron to the masses) ) How is the reality found out and is differentiated from the phaneron?

This might seem unclear? I am new to the subject and I have kept wondering about the difference between reality and phaneron? Everyone finding answers to new question are Humans? How is the reality found atleast?

  • This might seem unclear? Yes it is. "Can every question regardless of the subject be answered?" What does it mean, really? A question so "general" that we suppose that can apply to every context? A question for which no context is defined? How can we undestand it? Sep 19, 2022 at 11:29
  • Say a question "Are the stars moving" Now the answer would be either the earth is moving or the stars are infact moving, Now say someone has proved that the earth is moving, My question is PROOF DOESN'T MAKE IT REAL, The proof maybe A phaneron to the masses appearing true...So what is the key difference between Phaneron or reality, A proof cannot make something reality Ig @MauroALLEGRANZA
    – Shashaank
    Sep 19, 2022 at 15:36
  • 2
    Intuitively the nature of the answer should be more universal than a particular question as here you're inquiring into the ontological reality identified from the phenomenal existence, see today's another post for exactly the same question... Sep 20, 2022 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


This is a massively broad question, that basically asks the global question of how we should do epistemology.

I can offer the answer that I have found in my exploration of philosophy.

There are, broadly, three ways we can acquire knowledge:

a) logical deduction b) direct intuition c) indirect inference

a) Logical deduction, is basically the method pursued by the analytic approach to philosophy. Identify logical necessities, and infer their reality. In the Western philosophic tradition, Thomas Aquinas exemplifies an analytic approach to philosophy and epistemology.

b) direct intuition is appealed to by disparate philosophic traditions. Intuitions are appealed to by Thomists (that logic is intuitively true, for instance), by materialists (direct realism holds that we just KNOW the physical world is real and as we experience it), by idealist phenomenologists (we KNOW the phenomena we experience, and the reality of that phenomena is unquestionable), and by spiritual mystics (the insights of the Buddha are of the TRUE REALITY).

c) Indirect inference assumes that we do NOT have direct and certain knowledge of the world, and we must make uncertain inferences about it. The methodology that we have developed to do this is empiricism, which we have tuned and refined to use in science. Karl Popper is our best articulator of the science process, which is to: explore a subject, develop speculations, do further guided explorations and refine/tune our speculations, develop hypotheses then test them, toss or refine hypotheses based on test results, repeat and tune until hypotheses pass multiple tests and we can trust them to likely be valid.

Socrates taught us to question the assumptions behind the boxes we think within. One can apply the test/refute process of c), to the claims of the other two methods of knowledge. Relative to "Direct realism" -- modern physics claims that "reality" is nothing like our familiar world, and instead consists of elementary particles, probability fields, etc. This idea is called "scientific realism", and holds that our actual reality is very different from our assumptions about reality.

This approach of empirical testing of the trustworthiness of our intuitions has been applied to perception as well. We know that we experience delusions, false memories, and sometimes invented memories. A good summary of the "anti-trustworthiness of perception" evidence can be found in David Eagleman's book Incognito: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9827912-incognito

And the trustworthiness of our intuitive "logic" was first challenged when we discovered that Euclidean Geometry was NOT "intuitively true", and did not actually even apply to this world! Subsequently, logicians have discovered that not only can infinite different math structures be constructed, but so can infinite logics! https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/think/article/abs/guide-to-logical-pluralism-for-nonlogicians/EDFDFA1C9EB65DB71848DABD6B12D877

What these tests of our intuitions show, is that our intuitions can be fooled. They are not reliable. As can our "reasoning". See https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11468377-thinking-fast-and-slow.

What we are left with, then, is really only method c). Indirect inference, which applies to both our intuitions and our reasoning.

There are major consequences to our understanding of reality from only having c) available to us.

  • There is no certainty we can ever have. We can NEVER know if we have "got it right"

  • All knowledge is judgment based. We interpret our perceptions and intuitions. There is no certain or reliable formula to do this. The best method we have come up with, is to reach consensus with other humans of good judgement. And there is no certain formula for "good judgement" either...

  • Subjectivity, judgement, consensus, skepticism, and uncertainty are therefore intrinsic to how we have to live in this world.


I am not an expert on the subject, but I believe that when you question about reality and phaneron, and how can we be sure about what truly IS reality, ultimately you are questioning about Philosophy of Mind.

This area of Philosophy is currently under active research, mainly because of the recent success of artificial intelligences, and holds a plethora of point of views. As an introduction, I recommend watching this TED talk, and if you want a deeper understanding of the field, the introductory book by David Chalmers is somewhat outdated, but a good summary of the different currents of opinion.

Thus I believe no absolute answer can be given to your question, as it depends on the particular school within Philosophy of Mind you choose to follow, since they all provide different insight on what is reality and how it is related with our consciousness, should it exist.

Also, it seems that even a phaneron itself is not well understood:

for Peirce the world of appearances, which he calls “the phaneron,” is a world consisting entirely of signs. [...] a sign is one term in a threesome of terms that are indissolubly connected with each other by a crucial triadic relation that Peirce calls “the sign relation.” The sign itself (also called the representamen) is the term in the sign relation that is ordinarily said to represent or mean something. The other two terms in this relation are called the object and the interpretant. The object is what would ordinarily would be said to be the “thing” meant or signified or represented by the sign, what the sign is a sign of. The interpretant of a sign is said by Peirce to be that to which the sign represents the object. What exactly Peirce means by the interpretant is difficult to pin down. It is something like a mind, a mental act, a mental state, or a feature or quality of mind; at all events the interpretant is something ineliminably mental.

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