Philosophy: The Nature Of Knowledge And Reality Essay Sample For College

Philosophy is a science that studies the most profound aspects of knowledge, reality, and understanding. The scholarship seeks to acquire significantly finite elements regarding reason, existence, values, and knowledge. As per philosophy, a truth in one perspective can become an opinion when viewed differently. The absence of a standard view about reason, knowledge, reality, and existence amounts to a fundamental problem worth researching and solving. Critical discussion, systematic presentation, rational argument, and questioning are examples of philosophical methods utilized to identify unbiased truth. As such, philosophy as a science matures with time to offer philosophers better comprehension of knowledge and reality-related concerns.

Historical Development of Philosophy and Contemporary Positions Concerning the Nature of Knowledge and Reality

Philosophy is a Greek term meaning the study of knowledge and the existence of reality. It is one of the oldest sciences that impact the lives of humans to date. Like any other discipline, philosophy keeps experiencing new classifications and definitions of knowledge and reality as new players come into the domain. Ancient, modern, medieval, and nineteenth and twentieth centuries philosophies are some of the existing classifications of the scholarship. A significant difference between the old and contemporary philosophies concerns the general view of knowledge seekers as philosophers. Marmodoro (2022) says that the term ‘philosopher’ means a scholar, while ‘philosophy’ refers to the general search for scientific knowledge during ancient times. For example, Carr (2021) uses the case of Isaac Newton’s work in arithmetic and its description as mathematical philosophy to depict the generality of the term in the ancient days. However, the development of philosophy through the medieval and modern periods led to more distinct classifications.

Some disciplines initially marked as philosophy now fall into unique fields of study such as physics, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy, generally known as the ‘natural philosophy’ during the antique era. Other currently specific disciplines initially falling under the general philosophy term include psychology, linguistics, sociology, and economics (Okrent, 2020). Metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and ethics form the current subfields under academic philosophy. The subareas focus mainly on the ultimate nature of reality, beliefs, knowledge, rules of inference, and moral values (Okrent, 2020). Different scholars under each of the four philosophical subfields also exist, each attracting a substantial following leading to movements that often contradict one another. It is expected that the field of philosophy will continue changing with time and as humans further their search for unbiased understanding, truth, and reality.

Philosophical Puzzle

Philosophy concerns issues that never make sense to the average person. For example, things like illusion, reality, and meaning creation do not matter to many individuals. However, philosophy purposes of identifying such using all the possible ways available. The present work applies philosophy to solve a long-time riddle of whether “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The work employs John Locke’s approach to investigate the problem and elucidate possible judgements.

Surveillance and Reality

Understanding a philosophical case demands that one acknowledges its basic concepts and situation. For example, reality and observation are crucial aspects worth appreciating when analyzing a philosophical paradox like the one involving a tree falling in the forest. Sound, as a sensible and mechanical process, constitutes a crucial reality to consider. Other reality elements include a tree, falling, and an observer. Trees are actual elements with independent features notable by humans. Typically, a tree grows vertically, especially in a forest where plants compete to access sunlight for photosynthesis. Any tree lying horizontally on the ground thus implies falling. Several other observations also need to be present to confirm falling. Such elements include broken parts, exposed roots, and the hurting of nearby plants. These traits imply a fallen tree, which makes ‘observable’ noise during the falling process.

Moreover, sound refers to wave motion in the air perceivable by audio-decoding objects such as a person’s ears. The sound wave exists due to the vibration of bodies such as wire and moving objects. The point that sound occurs whenever there is pulse implies that it can be produced even without the presence of a person to hear it. The observer’s part in this scenario plays a significant role in demystifying the riddle. At least three types of observers can be utilized to analyze the situation philosophically. The first observer is an individual with a prior experience of a falling tree and what happens during such an event. The other observer is someone without exposure, while the last person is a deaf individual. These cases provide unique realities that require consideration when unraveling the present philosophical riddle.

The persons with an experience of how trees fall will answer ‘yes’ to the question posed by the problem. The positive response comes from Locke’s ideas of sensation and reflection (Locke, 2019). The other party without such an experience will respond by possibly saying “I do not know” or “why?” based on Locke’s argument that innate ideas never exist (Locke, 2019). The deaf person will give a negative answer because of the inability to perceive sound due to the lack of sensory organs.

A Question of Existence

Existence remains a central philosophical mystery that philosophers scrutinize to test a situation’s genuineness. In this riddle, aspects of ‘existence’ include the tree and sound. The observer is a human being involved in making the decisions or experiencing nature and is perceived to exist logically. Realists maintain that a tree always exists whether a person knows it or not (Jones, 2021). An individual thus remains a perceiving being who may be present or absent when a natural event occurs. Immaterialist philosophers further argue that whatever exists is perceivable (Jones, 2021). The two philosophies significantly imply the possibility of a tree existing and falling without a person’s knowledge, which never means the absence of a sound.

The Epistemological Problems of the Enigma

The paradox surrounding the philosophical issue posed here touches on several aspects. Examples of such include whether an observer must be there for an independent event to take place. The other concern touches on the issue of whether all that exists is only what is known to humans, and whether humans must always question regular occurrences taking place in the environment. Realism philosophy holds an essential answer to these and many other philosophical concerns regarding reality and existence. For example, Roy Baskar, a British realist, posits that natural events will continue to occur whether humans exist or not (Jones, 2021). The philosopher further insists that trees in the forest will fall due to natural forces even when an observer is absent.

Moreover, realism posits that sound, which results from the vibration of air particles, will still come out of a falling tree and travel in the air regardless of the observer’s presence or absence. Therefore, Baskar purports that a world unknown to humans still exists (Jones, 2021). Realists maintain that trees, the falling process, and sound are actual things that do not need the presence of a person to occur. Consequently, a realist’s response to the riddle’s inquiry will be “yes,” implying the actual-ness of the natural events.

Locke’s Approach

John Locke’s philosophical concepts play a significant role in unraveling the present riddle. Various concepts put forward by the scholar are worth appreciating for a successful solution. Locke’s arguments that ideas are never innate, experience forms ideas, sensation and reflection, critical realism, and the four types of existents (Locke, 2019), for example, delineate the riddle substantially. Locke’s purpose is to distinguish reality from the individual’s perception. Acknowledging the various concepts of Locke means that people will give different responses to the riddle.

The argument that no idea is innate means that a person without prior knowledge or experience concerning falling trees will give the “I do not know” or “why” response. That is because the brain of such a person will not perceive the independent event. Someone with prior experience will give a “yes” answer to the question because of the reflection aspect (Locke, 2019). Locke’s appreciation of critical realism allows him to believe in the emancipation of sound from independently falling trees because that is an actual event. Lastly, the concepts of ‘ideas’ and ‘things,’ as described in Locke’s kinds of existents, connote reflection and sensation (Locke, 2019), allowing someone with prior experience to say “yes” to the paradox.

In conclusion, the riddle discussed above covers epistemology in its most basic form. Epistemology is a philosophical term that investigates what constitutes comprehension and reality, together with how humans acquire them. People often treat knowledge as what they know to be true. The process through which it is acquired also plays a role in shaping the so-called truth. The paradox discussed here shows that veracity is significantly independent of the observer. Thus, Epistemology helps people acknowledge biases and self-doubt when defending what they call the truth. Nonetheless, the adoption of critical realism in the above discussion helps to understand that understanding exists beyond the human’s understanding and perception.


Carr, W. (2021). Philosophy and education. In W. Carr (Eds.), The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Philosophy of Education (pp. 34-49). Routledge.

Jones, T. (2021). George Berkeley. A philosophical life. Princeton University Press.

Locke, J. (2019). An essay concerning human understanding. Strelbytskyy Multimedia Publishing.

Marmodoro, A. (2022). Why studying the history of philosophy matters. Think, 21(60), 5-20.

Okrent, M. (2020). The truth of being and the history of philosophy. In A. Malachowski (Eds.), A Companion to Rorty, 281-296.

Art And Its Impact On Religion

Artists inspired to formulate religious arts have proven their crafts to be essential as they increase knowledge of historical and biblical occurrences. The artist uses various textures, colors, and styles to bring history to life, expanding one’s visualization of past circumstances. One of the popular arts in religious paintings is that of the crucifixion of Christ. In the piece of art, the painters use realistic colors to depict Christ’s suffering, humility, and agony, transporting us back to events that occurred two thousand years ago.

An artist referred to as Velazquez carried out the art of the crucifixion of Christ in a creative span. This painting was ideally different from his previous portraits of nudists, such as the Apollo in Vulcan. In this art, he uses the medium of oil painting to represent Jesus on the cross, which initializes that he is dead. Moreover, the art succeeds in formulating work with significant serenity and dignity. Nonetheless, the artist succeeds in imbuing the work with great elegance and poise. The posture of Christ on the cross features feet placed together that is supported by a block of wood, four nails, and arms that form a curve. The head crowing is by thorns, and his face rests on the chest, which enables us to see his configuration. Moreover, his hair lies on the right side, and blood is dripping from the wound on his right side.

Art and its Impact on Religion

The crucifixion art is unusually autobiographical as it outlines Velazquez’s advanced influences. First of all, it recalls the iconography and devotional tone of paintings that were in use in decades in Seville under Francisco Pacheco. Secondly, it reflects the skill Velazquez had learned on figure painting in Italy from classical art and in Spain from the study of the Spanish renaissance. The influence of classism in Velazquez’s art can be traced through the idealized posture of the body of Christ and its calmness. The dramatic tenebrous that focuses all attention on Christ’s pale body shows the influence of Caravaggism.

The painting lacks the characteristics of baroque painting, which reflects in other religious arts, such as descent from the cross or the crucifixion of st Peters. Instead, the artist applies the monumental sculptural quality that enables it to keep the spirituality of the subject. Divinity representation occurs, as the composition is starkly simple; however, there is a difference between the white representation of Christ’s body and the dark background. Moreover, there is naturalism in the way Jesus’ head lies on his chest.

The whole representation of Christ as a divine being on the cross represents his humility and his wiliness to die for us. The paintings preserve religious traditions and make it easier for individuals to speculate certain concepts that could be difficult to explain through words. Moreover, the art speaks to different individuals’ hearts and minds, hence helping nonbelievers adapt to a particular religious belief or culture.

Contract Example Critical Analysis: Rental Agreement Evaluatiion

Entering an enforceable contract requires sufficient understanding regarding the agreement’s characteristics, ensuring the success of the endeavor. To avoid negative ramifications and create a legally binding agreement that will benefit both parties, it is essential to address each element of the contract and discuss a potential breach of the arrangement. As defining some of the attributes might become challenging if an incorrect agreement is created, the contract should be thoroughly evaluated prior to signing (Rogers, 2012). In this work, a personal example of entering an enforceable contract, namely a rental agreement, will be discussed, exemplifying its connection to the five elements of a legal arrangement, possible breaches, and subsequent remedies.

Committing to a rental agreement was a significant instance of a legal endeavor for me, as it required a deep understanding of the responsibility delivered. In this arrangement, I agreed to rent an apartment property from the owner of the flat, who would receive fixed monthly payments, as well as a monthly determined sum for the water and electricity bills. It is noteworthy that another party, namely a rental agent, was included in this agreement, receiving a portion of the 1st monthly payment as a reimbursement for the services provided. After that, the only financial transactions were to be conducted between the owner of the property and me, thus excluding the agent from the subsequent participation in the contract.

The arrangement described perfectly represents the five essential elements of an enforceable contract, upholding the legality of this endeavor. First of all, the offering factor was preserved in the arrangement, as the owner of the rented property presented me with an invitation to enter into a legally binding contract (Rogers, 2012). The invitation was submitted in a written form, ensuring its future credibility, and included the terms to be fulfilled by all of the interested parties. The acceptance requirement was also enforced, necessitating the signatures of all involved individuals in order for the agreement to become enforceable.

The renting activity and the transferred monthly payments acted as the consideration, allowing the parties to benefit from the arrangement. As a tenant, I was granted authorization to occupy the named property using the items present on the premises. In return, I was obligated to pay a monthly fixed sum, as well as agreed to calculate and transfer an additional fee for the amount of water and electricity utilized based on the relevant tariffs (Furth-Matzkin, 2017). Furthermore, I also covered the initial services of the rental agent, who provided the contract and ensured its credibility.

Another issue connected to the creation of a legally binding agreement is the legality requirement. According to the current rental property regulations installed by my government, any willing parties might participate in the creation of an enforceable contract, given that the owner legally possesses the apartment (Furth-Matzkin, 2017). Additionally, the involved tenant must obtain the capacity to enter a legal agreement (Furth-Matzkin, 2017). As both of these demands were met, the signed contract demonstrated the legality concept.

Finally, the notion of capacity is an essential factor for establishing a proper enforceable agreement. In my example, each party involved had a legal capacity to agree to the presented terms, demonstrating a lack of limited mental abilities, being over the age of 18, and entering the arrangement willingly (Rogers, 2012). Therefore, all of the five elements of an enforceable contract were fulfilled in the rental arrangement discussed, making it a legally binding agreement, which could be enforced after the signing procedure.

Given the legality of the contract, it is possible to consider the circumstances of a breach of the commitment. A possible violation could arise from payment neglect, for instance, if the tenant does not transfer the appropriate financial sum at the stated date, contravening the terms of the agreement. In this scenario, the owner is capable of terminating the arrangement, refusing to provide further rental services for me (Mungan & Seidenfeld, 2015). Likewise, if the property holder decides to revoke the contract lacking any instances of violation from my side, it will be an illegal action that could be argued in court. An appropriate legal punishment for the owner and compensation for the tenant could be the result of such action.

A potential remedy for the first breach could be additional communication, for instance, asking the property holder to extend the payment period. Therefore, as a result of a spoken agreement, the tenant fulfills their part of the contract, and the owner is presented with the compensation. Considering the second case, it would be possible to discuss reimbursement for the tenant, a monetary recompense, as the circumstances of annulment do not adhere to the terms of the contract.

To conclude, an example of an enforceable agreement, namely a rental arrangement, was discussed in detail in this paper. According to the five elements of a legal contract analyzed, the presented agreement is legally binding, as it adheres to the requirements of an offer, acceptance, consideration, legality, and capacity. The availability of interested, capable parties, an exchange of a living arrangement with the monetary compensation, and the presence of mutual consent preserve the legality of the contract. Furthermore, possible breaches of the agreement might be either mitigated by the parties, suggesting potential remedies, or further debated in court.


Furth-Matzkin, M. (2017). On the unexpected use of unenforceable contract terms: Evidence from the residential rental market. Journal of Legal Analysis, 9(1), 1–49. Web.

Mungan, M. C., & Seidenfeld, M. (2015). Investments to make threats credible, rent-seeking, and duress. Supreme Court Economic Review, 23(1), 341–351. Web.

Rogers, S. (2012). Essentials of business law. Bridgepoint Education.

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