What Is Real in Metaphysics?


Vincent White

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that seeks to understand the fundamental nature of reality. It has been a topic of discussion for centuries, with various philosophers offering different perspectives on what is real in metaphysics. In this article, we will explore the concept of reality in metaphysics and attempt to answer the question, “What is real?”

Perception and Reality

One of the most significant debates in metaphysics concerns the relationship between perception and reality. Many philosophers argue that what we perceive is not necessarily what is real. They suggest that our senses can deceive us, and therefore, our perception may not always reflect reality accurately.

For example, consider an optical illusion where two lines appear to be different lengths when they are actually the same size. In this case, our perception does not match reality. Therefore, philosophers argue that we cannot rely solely on our senses to determine what is real.

The Nature of Reality

Another aspect of metaphysics concerns the nature of reality itself. Some philosophers argue that reality is objective and exists independently of human observation or interpretation. They contend that there are fundamental truths about the universe that exist whether or not anyone observes them.

On the other hand, some philosophers believe that reality is subjective and depends on individual perception. They suggest that reality only exists as it is perceived by humans, and therefore, there may be no objective truth about the universe.


The concept of existence also plays a significant role in metaphysics. Philosophers debate whether existence is an attribute or a predicate of objects. Some argue that existence is simply a property an object possesses, while others suggest that existence itself defines what an object actually is.

For example, consider a chair. Some philosophers argue that being a chair means having certain properties like having four legs and being able to support weight; existence merely adds another property to this list.

Others contend that existence is what makes the chair, the chair. Without existence, the object would not be a chair at all.


In conclusion, the concept of reality in metaphysics is a complex and multi-faceted topic. Philosophers debate the relationship between perception and reality, the nature of reality itself, and the concept of existence. While there may be no clear answer to the question “What is real?,” exploring these topics can help us gain a deeper understanding of our world and our place in it.