Meet scholars who are working on the frontier of knowledge about the true nature of reality. Part 1/4.
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MaryLynn: What level of reality do you live on? And what is the true nature of reality? Sound like strange questions? Well, they maybe to most people. But there are researchers who are pondering these questions and asking us to consider that, maybe we're not seeing the complete picture in the way that we approach our knowledge of reality. We could look at life strictly from a scientific of biological perspective or from a sociological or political perspective. We can also look at it from an artistic philosophical or spiritual perspective. But which view gives us the most accurate or the most profound understanding of reality? Welcome to Matter and Beyond, I’m your host MaryLynn Shiavi. Certainly Plato and Aristotle attempted to plumb the depths of the nature of reality, but now quantum mechanics have shaken the foundation of how we think about the world. In this program, we're going to hear from scholars who are working on the frontier of knowledge about the true nature of reality, an inquiry that began over 1000 years ago. Male: Dr. Roberto Poli is co-founder and member of the board of directors Mitteleuropa Foundation. A recently established research center in Milano, Italy. Dedicated to anthology and cognitive analysis. He is abject professor at the University of Trento, Italy, where he lectures in the general philosophy, applied ethics, and the philosophy of language. Poli sees reality as very complex and asserts that in order to understand it, we must consider that there are many levels of reality. Dr. Poli: Well, the theory of the levels of reality starts from kind of phenomenological attitude. There are different things around us, some of them are physical, and some of them are organisms. But then we have ideas and feelings and emotions and perceptions. And then we have a social realities, we have language, we have laws, we have politics, and business, and many other thing. And the problem is we have many, many different sciences and some of them are very successful in understanding part of this multiplicity. Male: Throughout history, human kind has attempted to understand the nature of reality through many different disciplines. Including math, physics, chemistry, biology, and the social sciences. Including economics, politics, sociology, and psychology. And while each discipline has shed light on one aspect of our world or reality, according to Poli, there is something missing. Dr. Poli: We live in one world. So we have many sciences, each of them able to modern and to understand bits of reality. But then we have the problem how to merge, to fuse together all these different types of information. Male: Dr. Poli characterizes the levels of reality through categories such as the world of material things. Those things we can see, hear and touch. Then there are categories of the mental worlds such as things we can visualize, dream, and think about. He also sees another category which includes the social world or the world of social conventions which emerges only when human beings are together in a group. Dr. Poli: The theory of levels of reality provides some guiding lines, some frameworks for trying to develop a synthetic vision in which the results, the outcomes that we have been successfully collecting from the various sciences can be eventually provided general vision of the world and the reality they're there. And this is part of the effort, the part that pertains, let's say to the visible world. Male: For Dr. Poli, what is most important in exploring the levels of reality is establishing the relationships between the different levels. While each is separate and distinct in many ways, Dr. Poli sees a common trend. Dr. Poli: Our mind is at the same moment, a type of reality, because obviously what happens from the psychological point of view is different from the physical side or the biological or the social side. But at the same time is the only way we have for understanding the other parts of reality. So