In philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been
Being , is an English word used for conceptualizing subjective and objective aspects of reality, including those fundamental to the self —related to and somewhat interchangeable with terms like "existence" and "living".In its objective usage —as in "a being," or "[a] human being" —it...

, whether or not it is observable
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

 or comprehensible
Comprehension (logic)
In logic, the comprehension of an object is the totality of intensions, that is, attributes, characters, marks, properties, or qualities, that the object possesses, or else the totality of intensions that are pertinent to the context of a given discussion...

. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.

Philosophers, mathematicians, and others ancient and modern such as Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, Frege, Wittgenstein, Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 etc., have made a distinction between thought
"Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

 corresponding to reality, coherent abstractions, and that which cannot even be rationally
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Philip K. Dick, in "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (1978)

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

John Lennon, quoted in Sunday Herald Sun (19 January 2003)

It is not the form of things that must be attended to but their spirit. The real is what matters, not the apparent. In politics, reality is that which is unseen. ~ José Martí

I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.

Groucho Marx, quoted in Philosophy on the Go‎ (2007) by Joey Green, p. 78

The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have.

Rollo May, in Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know.

Alan Moore in What Is Reality?

Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.

Alan Moore in What Is Reality?

Reality is what you make of it.

Prot in "K-PAX" (1995)

There is no reality but God, says the completely surrendered sheik, who is an ocean for all beings.

Rumi|Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Grasses" in Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 44

You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.

Rumi|Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Gift of Water" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 200