Difference Between Reality and Knowledge

Reality and knowledge are two very commonly used terms when talking about basic notions in philosophy. Both refer to personal or social interpretations of facts, events or happenings, however, they are terms that differ from each other by virtue of their meaning.

The main objective of this article is to make the reader aware of the differences between both terms based on their definitions, which we will show briefly.


The word reality has its origin in the Latin word -realitas- which refers to -what exists or what is-. This word implies everything that happens in a certain and true way and includes not only material things but also emotions and feelings which are part of people’s lives.

It can be said then that reality is a quality of everything and everything that exists, naturally or created, felt or perceived, and this can be different in each person. It is important to point out that, from its most basic concept, reality refers to everything that exists and that can be perceived by the human being, but this concept has been widely studied within the field of philosophy since ancient times to define the existence of things and the relationships between them.


Knowledge refers to the set of knowledge that we have about something, object, situation, matter or science. The word knowledge comes from the Greek word -gnosis- which means -to know-. It is a compound word that also includes the suffix -ment- which means -result-, therefore, the word knowledge implies the result of knowing.

Knowledge is, in short, the representation, description and meaning of things. It is important to point out that knowledge can be general (what is known about things) or individual (what everyone knows about things), therefore, it is not possible to speak of a single concept of this term and it implies the interpretation of reality that is presented in a given context, space or time.

Having presented the definitions of the terms that concern us, it can be seen that reality and knowledge are words of different meaning and use. For decades they have been the object of study within philosophy to refer to the facts, objects or situations that exist, to the relationships between them and to what is known and learned about them.

According to the above, other differences between both definitions are presented below:

Reality Knowledge
Reality contemplates everything that happens in a certain and true way. Knowledge is a set of knowledge that we have about something.
Reality presents itself spontaneously. Knowledge is acquired through checking things that are presented.
Reality is infinite because it refers to what is, to what exists, existed and will exist. Knowledge is limited because it refers to what is known about what exists or existed.
Reality is a fact or circumstance, as it is. Knowledge is the interpretation of those facts or circumstances.

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