The dialectic between “appearance” and “reality” in philosophy is really one about the relationship between the “objective” and the “subjective”. It centers around the concept of how we distinquish between an individual’s internal perception of reality vs. an external ‘truth’. ‘Appearance’ is essentially ‘reality’ filtered through the senses. It is a cognitive exercise.
How does the lay person process this dialectic? I think, the common perception, is that we as individuals are experiencing the external world in the same way. That there is, indeed, an objective reality…..the sky is blue…and we all experience that blueness in the same way. Is that ‘true’, though? If we are filtering that blueness through the lens of our own perception, ‘reality’ becomes dependent upon a biological mechanism that can be biased.
For me, as someone who organizes her world using scientific method as a guide, I do think that there is an essential reality….and that it is up to us to ask the right questions, use the most effective tools, explore the complexity of the phenomena to get at the nature of that reality.