The nature of reality has been a long-debated issue among scientists and philosophers. In 1930, Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein had a long conversation on the nature of reality. This conversation has been widely quoted and discussed by scientists, philosophers and scholars from the literary world. The important question that Tagore and Einstein discussed was whether the world is a unity dependent on humanity, or the world is a reality independent on the human factor. Einstein took the stand adopted by Western philosophers and mathematicians, namely that reality is something independent of the mind and the human factor. Tagore, on the other hand, adopted the opposite view. Nevertheless, both Einstein and Tagore claimed to be realists despite the fundamental differences between their conceptions of reality. Where does the difference lie? Can it be harmonized at some deeper level? Can Wittgenstein, for example, be a bridge between the two views?
This collection of essays explores these two fundamentally different conceptions of the nature of reality from the perspectives of theories of space-time, quantum theory, general philosophy of science, cognitive science and mathematics.
Introduction Kathleen M. O'Connell 1. Einstein, the Reality of Space and the Action-Reaction Principle Harvey R. Brown and Dennis Lehmkuhl 2. The Hole Argument and the Nature of Spacetime: A Critical Review from a Constructivist Perspective Tian Yu Cao 3. Quantum Information and Reality, Especially the Reality of the Past and Future Charles H. Bennett 4. Einstein and Tagore, Newton and Blake, Everett and Bohr: The Dual Nature of Reality Anthony Sudbery 5. Toward Relational Reality: From Einstein and Tagore to Gaudiya Vaishnava Vedanta Ravi V. Gomatam 6. Science, Poiesis and Visions of Reality Tushar K. Sarkar 7. Physical Reality and the Unobservables of Physical Nature C. S. Unnikrishnan 8. High-Energy Physics and Post-Empiricism K. Sridhar 9. Cognitive Constraints on the Perception of Reality Avi Chaudhuri 10. Embodied Cognition and the Constructivist View of Reality Partha Ghose 11. Incompleteness Theorems and Realities: A Tale of Three Great Thinkers Mihir Kr. Chakraborty Appendix 1 Einstein-Tagore conversation on the Nature of Reality Appendix 2 Einstein-Tagore conversation on Youth, Causality and Music