Saving the Real

The question “What if reality isn’t what you think it is?,” once the domain of philosophy seminars and dorm-room bull sessions, has gained an unnerving cultural hold of late. The sense of reality in crisis underlies a great many cultural anxieties today — from solemn pronouncements of a new “post-truth era” to the growing worry that our neighbors are moving to fantasyland to the speculation that our world is actually a simulation.

The essays in this symposium ask how we can keep hold of the real — and what that means, anyway. This symposium also marks the beginning of “Reality: A Post-Mortem,” an essay series that will continue in future issues.

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