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Word Count: 1,496
Philosophy and science have always been based on the idea that the world of appearances is an illusion that both reveals and conceals an underlying reali-ty In many instances this idea has been attached to mystical systems of thought as in some Eastern philosophies that view reality as a play of fictions manifested by a universal mind In the West it has been the intellectual under girding for rationalism and empiricism which have given rise to contemporary science and social science First we should understand the main principles and issues of human nature How does an individual define what is real One does it through ones perception of the world which is based on learned interpretations This learning is social we learn from and among persons in social interaction The main vehicles which convey this meaning symbols including language cultural myths -- larger social meanings of objects actions signs episodes the structure and practice of our institutions our rules for congruent action These vehicles of meaning together construct our world-view -- our sense of how the world works what is valuable why things are the way they are Our sense of ourselves our identity purpose our ideologies -- our sense of the appropriateness of the structure of and the exercise of power action and roles in society Our selves our societies our institutions change continually through interaction The real conditions of our existence are not subjective however they only have meaning through social interaction their perceived value causes and significance are socially produced Reality insofar as it means to us is situational or pragmatic the context governs our interpretation The social construction of reality thus becomes important because it is a subjective reality a product of the conventions of society Without society and the inherent conventions therein man would man would have no way to define the reality which he perceives and the social language which has risen up around us would not
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