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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2008 :  19:51:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

However, your statement that "reality stays as it is" contradicts your position that "there cannot be an immutable reality".
I've never maintained the position that "there cannot be an immutable reality." You're having pronoun troubles. My "There cannot be any such thing" referred to your "nothing yet discovered," not your "immutable reality."
Reality staying as it is is the logically definitive example of an immutable reality.
And reality is quite immutable. Nothing we learn changes reality, it only changes our perception of reality. To think otherwise is to get the metaphysics backwards.
which is why we have to assume that there is, or forget about doing science.
Why? Science will continue to work irrespective of what you may assume or not assume, as long as insightful hypotheses are properly tested.
If reality changes, then all experiments must make the then-unsupportable assumption that reality hasn't changed since we made our latest hypotheses. If reality can change during the course of hypothesis testing, then the results are essentially random and science is only the accumulation of haphazard data all of which has an even chance of being false. That centuries-old experiments yield the same results today suggests (but cannot prove) that reality doesn't change.
Because, as you point out, "reality" constantly changes as more and different information is added to our databases.
That no more changes reality than marketing professionals collecting my Amazon purchase data changes who I am. It would only change their understanding of me, but would have no effect on the actual me at all (especially because I'm unaware of its occurence, just as reality is blindly unaware of science).

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  02:17:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

BNG said
Because, as you point out, "reality" constantly changes as more and different information is added to our databases
Dave answered
That no more changes reality than marketing professionals collecting my Amazon purchase data changes who I am. It would only change their understanding of me, but would have no effect on the actual me at all (especially because I'm unaware of its occurence, just as reality is blindly unaware of science).
The "actual you" is as many things as the perceptions are that create that "actuality"; and it is different for each. Each perceiver's understanding of you is their real Dave. Their perceptions certainly have no effect on you, their understanding of you is you to them! But you are a different reality to the Amazon purchasing professionals than the reality you represent to the Seventh Day Adventists at your door that desperately want to convert you to Christ and save your everlovin' soul from hell!

The geocentric model of the solar system was "Reality" until Copernicus and Galileo. Shortly following the exposition of these luminaries' views, the heliocentric model became "reality"! This will probably endure for some time, unless we discover that what we now think is "orbit" and "revolve" is not what current physics and common sense dictates.

But Newtonian Physics was certainly the very model of a modern major scientific Reality until Einstein and Planck came along; and who knows where we're heading next - tomorrow's "reality" may be startlingly different! Your position is that behind these various historical guesses at "reality" there is a real "reality" that, hopefully, we will someday discover and that does endure forever. Maybe we already have discovered some Reality! Regardless, the reality persists, in your view, irrespective and independent of the current perception and/or it's possible discovery.

But that position is an opinion - as proved by the fact that Ptolemy's "reality" was a wrong opinion, not really reality!
And it is not possible to prove that any reality is immutable and will not change eternally as more information is gathered!
And reality is quite immutable. Nothing we learn changes reality, it only changes our perception of reality.
Reality is our perception! Nothing more, nothing less! And as our perception changes, so changes reality! What we learn creates a new reality that replaces the old. The fact that so many past "realities" have become quite different with the passage of time and acquisition of knowledge, strongly suggests that immutable reality is a chimera.

At least, that opinion is borne out as well by history as is the concept of an Absolute, such as "Reality" or "Beauty" or "God" or "Truth" or "Beelzebub"!
If reality changes, then all experiments must make the then-unsupportable assumption that reality hasn't changed since we made our latest hypotheses.
One does not need to make any assumptions at all about the new reality that the experiment may create. Simply proceed, and if the previous reality changes as a result of the experiment, accept it as such until circumstances dictate that more experimentation is in order. I am not suggesting that some action that you may take as a scientist (such as an experiment) is going to change the manner in which man experiences Time (a reality), only that you may change your view of what that phenomenon is from a Newtonian view to an Einstienian view as a result of your experiment. An older reality transforms into a newer one, as a result of your experiment. Experiential reality of time may not change at all.
If reality can change during the course of hypothesis testing, then the results are essentially random
Reality changes as a result of hypotheses testing, not during the course of the testing, because reality is what the scientist newly perceives when his experimental results become evident at the conclusion of the experiment. Again, the old reality becomes the new reality! The results do not become random simply because a new reality may be perceived.
and science is only the accumulation of haphazard data all of which has an even chance of being false.
This does not follow, because the tentative "reality" you are testing is not changing, your testing is either validating it's current existence; or invalidating it, thereby creating a new reality which replaces the earlier subject of the investigation .

If there were in fact some kind of ageless, immutable "reality" that has existed since the beginning of....what? Time?, or Reality?....If there were such a thing, what is it?, how did it begin?, and when and where does it end? If ever? The whole concept is much too metaphysical, too......religious It smacks of Godliness! An ageless, timeless, immutable Reality that is always there, yet the perception of which changes with the times and the perceiver! Would this be known by any other name but Yaweh, the ancient tetragrammaton?

Dave these are two views of the nature of existence that have been thus argued since before Socrates. Neither can be proven, each rests on a different type of ratiocination.

I do not admit of absolutes, you do. Relativism is the only logic my mind is comfortable with, empiricism is your mentor. Reality, Truth, eternal verities are self-evident to you, for me these things do not exist in and of themselves, only as subjective abstractions.

But, as I was attempting to point out to COA, neither logic nor mathematics, nor experimentation or critical thinking, can demonstrate the superiority of the one view to the other. You believe, as an article of faith, that reality exists independent of perception; I believe with equal fervor that perception is reality. Pragmatically, experientially, there is little difference. One can be a scientist, a poet, a businessman, beggarman or thief and hold to either view, or neither, for that matter. The absolutist view lends itself more kindly to the theologically inclined, but one can certainly be an empiricist and eschew any religious conviction at all as you, and others, very successfully do.

Locke, Hume, even Schopenhauer, in his derivation of Kantian phenomenology, wrestled with this problem. Bertrand Russell writes eloquently of it in History of Western Philosophy, a tome worthy of your library if you don't already have it!

I think we will end this exchange of epistemological opinion with an agreement to disagree, as no "proof" is possible for either position!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  09:32:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

The geocentric model of the solar system was "Reality" until Copernicus and Galileo.
No, it was a model of reality, not reality itself.
If there were in fact some kind of ageless, immutable "reality" that has existed since the beginning of....what? Time?, or Reality?....If there were such a thing, what is it?, how did it begin?, and when and where does it end? If ever? The whole concept is much too metaphysical, too......religious It smacks of Godliness! An ageless, timeless, immutable Reality that is always there, yet the perception of which changes with the times and the perceiver! Would this be known by any other name but Yaweh, the ancient tetragrammaton?
Please. In the middle of the night, pitch-black, you encounter an object. After a cursory examination, you determine that it feels and acts like paper. As dawn begins to break, the increased light allows you to read it, and find that it's a shopping list that fell from your pocket and got mixed up in the bedsheets. It was always a shopping list, despite your early ignorance. There is nothing religious about our ability to change our understanding of a fixed reality as we learn more, and it would only allow a god if a god actually exists.
Reality, Truth, eternal verities are self-evident to you...
That which is self-evident does not need to be assumed.
You believe, as an article of faith, that reality exists independent of perception...
Hardly.
I believe with equal fervor that perception is reality.
And thus your philosophy requires that for those who perceive God, God must exist. Just because you haven't doesn't mean that nobody else has. Why ridicule the faithful, then, as you have?
The absolutist view lends itself more kindly to the theologically inclined...
Then why are so many of them relativists?
I think we will end this exchange of epistemological opinion with an agreement to disagree, as no "proof" is possible for either position!
Proof may not be possible, but I know that mistaking the map for the terrain, as you are doing, is generally unwise.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  10:01:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not to get too high falootin with all this, but isn't the "Copenhagen Interpretation" in quantum physics put forth in the 1920s by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg a way to explain the apparent (from experiments) results that reality itself collapses into a particular state depending on how its measured? Thus placing ultimate reality in a grey area of probabilities rather than a ridged universal truth that we then perceive in various ways? (I don't know.)
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  10:50:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But doesn't it only apply at the quantum level?

And even that, unless I am wrong in my little head, was hotly debated by theoricist such as Schroedinger that, in an effort to ridicule the sheer notion of it, put forth the famed feline that nowadays shares his patronym?



Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
Edited by - Simon on 06/03/2008 10:52:06
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  14:45:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Simon.....

You are indeed right, Schrödinger's cat was a thought experiment designed to illustrate a paradox inherent in subatomic particle quantuum mechanics. The quasi-metaphor constucted by Erwin Schrödinger suggested that the cat could be dead and alive at the same instant (quantuum superposition), until the instant of observation which would then define one state of existence or the other, but not both - which arguably defies the elementary Boolean logic of X=/X as a non-possibility.

However, it is overreaching to maintain that the cat metaphor eliminated the ambiguities inherent in stating a consistent quantuum definition of "existence" (or reality, as Dave and I have been playing with the word here.) Our discussion has been on an ontological platform, really more a matter of semantics than of particle physics.

As Chippewa suggests, existence, or reality may well be a condition properly described in terms of statistical probability. This is a possible consummation that fascinates me, as it fits nicely into a world-view that reality is entirely relative (more properly, relational) rather than absolute and immutable; a world-view that I personally favor!

Chippewa introduces another dimension into the discussion; and it is one that properly should be involved in the whole context of "what is reality", to do justice to the subject!

I am competent to utilize the language attendant to this aspect of the subject as I have read extensively of what is available in the lay literature pertaining to this highly specialized discipline; but my ancient mathematical background did not go much farther than second year D&I calculus and first year differential equations; and much more than that is necessary to do justice to a presentation of reality as seen through a quantuum physics lens.

Apparently, both you and Chippewa are well read in this area, so if Dave wishes to take the discussion in that direction, I am certainly willing to try to try and dance around the equations. I have, however, read enough of particle physics to know that the in-depth understanding necessary of the suggested quantuum phenomena to discuss it with authority, demands competence in mathematics substantially higher than the level that I was trained to!

I am happy to see some additional involvement in the discourse on this subject - the nature of existence - as it is extremely germane to the subject matter of perception upon which I have written at some length. Thanks to both of you for your contributions!

Some sort of synthesis of understanding should be possible involving a conflation of the peculiar particle physics understanding of matter, existence, and reality together with the considerations of the ontological argument we have been having.

It would be interesting to try, and to have a devil's advocate in the highly competent Dave to point out the foolishness inherent in not just believing your eyes, ears and sense of touch (as well as sense of common!)
Edited by - bngbuck on 06/03/2008 15:38:03
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  15:30:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

No, it was a model of reality, not reality itself.
My view is that the geocentric Solar System itself was a perceived reality (and no other reality existed) until a new perceived reality was demonstrated by Copernicus and Galileo!
...It was always a shopping list, despite your early ignorance.
Only to you! Your dog could have found it later in the day, perceived it as food and eaten it! To him, it's reality was one of food! If the paper was biodegradable, his perception of that particular reality would have been correct and his digestion more pleasant!
That which is self-evident does not need to be assumed.
Self-evidence is not apparent to all observers. Me, for example!
You believe, as an article of faith, that reality exists independent of perception...

Hardly.
Then you believe that reality requires perception to exist? This would contradict your earlier position!
And thus your philosophy requires that for those who perceive God, God must exist. Just because you haven't doesn't mean that nobody else has. Why ridicule the faithful, then, as you have?
God does exist for he who perceives a god. I differ in my perception and subsequent reality and value my opinion higher than his! My ridicule of his position as "nonsense" is a statement that I cannot perceive his reality! Many agree with me, more disagree; but numbers do not a truth create!!
The absolutist view lends itself more kindly to the theologically inclined...

Then why are so many of them relativists?
Does this sound like a description of a theist with an Absolute God?? From Webster:
Relativism 1. : a doctrine of relationism or of relativity : as a : a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing and hence not true to the nature of independent reality and that holds that absolutely true knowledge is impossible because of the limitations and variability of sense perceptions or that reality as it is in itself cannot be known by mind whose modes of thinking and perception are essentially subjective or that thinking and perception seize relations of one thing to another only and not the intrinsic nature of an object and hence are merely symbolic
Proof may not be possible, but I know that mistaking the map for the terrain, as you are doing, is generally unwise.
Proof is, in fact, not possible and I am not seeking wisdom here, only finding a map that accurately describes the terrain - all that a map should aspire to do!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  18:43:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

...I am not seeking wisdom here, only finding a map that accurately describes the terrain - all that a map should aspire to do!
But you're claiming that your map is the terrain, and that changes in the map cause changes in the terrain.

I'm saying that the terrain is fixed and immutable, and that increasing our knowledge makes the map more accurate. Just like our increasing ability to measure the Earth has resulted in more and more accurate maps over the centuries.

And just to be clear, the "terrain" in this analogy is the complete set of physical and other laws that govern everything. This would include those laws that describe how observations effect particle interactions (Copenhagen), as well as (for the Many-Worlds interpretation) the "birth" of new "copies" of everything that's existed so far. Whichever one is correct (or both or neither or something else) is reality (the terrain). Both, right now, appear to be somewhat-good maps.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  22:13:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bill:
My view is that the geocentric Solar System itself was a perceived reality (and no other reality existed) until a new perceived reality was demonstrated by Copernicus and Galileo!



All conclusions we draw about reality must be tentative. But that doesn't mean there is no immutable reality. Reality itself is indifferent to our perception of it and our perception of it does not change reality.

There is a god. There isn't a god. Only one of those statements is true no matter what we believe. The sun revolves around the earth. The earth revolves around the sun. Only one of those statements is true no matter what we believe or when we believed it. The reality is that we we're once wrong. That the sun revolves around the earth was never reality no matter how strongly that belief was held. Shit happens. So do better instruments to measure what we once missed. That happens too.

The idea that our reality is one and the same as our perception of reality smacks of woo. The whole new age is built on that kind of thinking.

Why even do science if reality is relative? What's the point? We don't change reality by finding out something more about it. We just change what we know about it. That's why currently perceived reality is a position we hold tentatively.

There is an objective reality whether I know much about it or not. Remove all humans from the earth right now and there will still be an objective reality. The only difference is there will likely be no creature on this planet to consider it at this time. Most animals are too busy trying to reproduce, eat and not get eaten…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2008 :  01:28:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave......

But you're claiming that your map is the terrain, and that changes in the map cause changes in the terrain.
Rather than metaphor, a better explanation would be that the "terrain" is imperceivable in it's actuality, by the perception apparatus of a human being.

"Actuality" may or may not truly exist, but we will never know because all we can do is infer it, not perceive it! Thought experiment is possible, but lack of direct perception denies physical testing of our reality hypotheses.

With respect to the perception of matter, for example, what we structure as "reality" is indeed a "map" drawn with the limited information our perception allows us and that map changes as we ever collect more information. The map is the only reality we can ever perceive, thus my statement that perception is reality.

However, because only a tiny fraction of the complexity of actuality is conceivable by the limited perceptual hints that we receive via our receptors, we are forced to intuit or formulate a analogue structured in the three dimensions our senses allow us.(The Time dimension can be ignored here)

This is our reality map of matter, or the physical world. It is not truly reality, for that is not capable of perception, at least with our limited perceptive abilities. Use of apparatus like a scanning tunneling microscope allows the production of images which increase the accuracy of our reality map named matter, but we will never actually perceive matter directly!

Deduction from experimentation, mathematical modeling, and application of all of the disciplines of chemistry provide us many more information bits and constantly refine our reality map called matter. Theoretical speculation and experimental exploration in particle physics and quantuum mechanics constantly adds detail to our matter map, but sometimes the problem appears to be an infinite fractal; with new, smaller branching tendrils of information constantly appearing as the exploration proceeds ever deeper into previously unknown territory. Wiki asks, as an unanswered question:
How does the quantum description of reality, which includes elements such as the superposition of states and wavefunction collapse, give rise to the reality we perceive?


The above is just an example (the complexity of describing matter) of what I see as the difficulty of successfully defining reality in any kind of absolute terms. I believe the same reasoning may apply to the definition of energy states and the four basic forces! To all of the "terrain" that you have described above in your clarification.

I suspect we (humankind) will pursue the goal of improving our reality map until the end of our existence, never finalizing but always getting closer, with "reality" always remaining the perception, never the absolute! It may exist, that is an article of faith, but it will never be completely perceived - because of it's essentially fractal nature of almost infinite complexity!

It is in this sense that the implication arises (per Chippewa) out of the work of the quantuum Mechanics that "reality" may actually only be defined in terms of statistical probability.

If the measurement of a particle's position or of it's momentum is mutually exclusive (Heisenberg's uncertainty principle), such definition can only be given in probability terms. This news coming from the base root of all matter may be a harbinger of the revelation that reality itself can ultimately only be described in such (probability) terms.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2008 :  12:07:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kil.....

I hope your comments don't reflect today's official policy of SFN concerning the perception of reality, because you and I truly have a different view of this:
All conclusions we draw about reality must be tentative. But that doesn't mean there is no immutable reality.
My view is that all statements we make about reality must be tentative. To begin with, I had understood that Critical Thinking required that declarative statements of fact required substantiation! Yet I know of no way to demonstrate the unequivocal verity of a statement like "There is an objective reality whether I know much about it or not." or "Remove all humans from the earth right now and there will still be an objective reality." These are opinions; not demonstrable, testable statements of fact.

I will present an alternative opinion, namely, there is no conceivable way of knowing or proving that if you removed all humans from the earth, there still would be objective reality. Your's is a pretty good guess, and would rank high on a popularity scale if you did a poll on it, but a declarative statement like that cannot be the result of Critical Thinking or, certainly, application of the Scientific Method!

I do not state that there would not be objective reality if all humans were removed from the earth, merely that there is no way of knowing. It has to be an article of faith, kind of like a lot of other things we both can think of.

So, hopefully, we are agreed that we are dealing with opinion here, not fact. But are we? Recent work in particle physics suggests that Bishop Berkeley may have been partially correct in his "ridiculous" reduction of empiricism to a statement that if it were not for God, matter would only exist while being observed. (We can forget the God part for the purposes of this discussion)

For example:

Quantum physics says goodbye to reality


Some physicists are uncomfortable with the idea that all individual quantum events are innately random. This is why many have proposed more complete theories, which suggest that events are at least partially governed by extra "hidden variables". Now physicists from Austria claim to have performed an experiment that rules out a broad class of hidden-variables theories that focus on realism -- giving the uneasy consequence that reality does not exist when we are not observing it (Nature: 446 871).
The recently mentioned Copenhagen interpretation......
The Copenhagen interpretation, due largely to the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, is the interpretation of quantum mechanics most widely accepted amongst physicists. According to it, the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics predictions cannot be explained in terms of some other deterministic theory, and does not simply reflect our limited knowledge. Quantum mechanics provides probabilistic results because the physical universe is itself probabilistic rather than deterministic.
......indicates the possibility that "reality" is a situation of statistical probability, not a closed system of absolutes!
There is a god. There isn't a god. Only one of those statements is true no matter what we believe.
Your example is incomplete. Unless we know exactly what "a god" is defined as, we cannot make any statement about it's existence. There is a parensotical pherens
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2008 :  18:34:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bill:
And this is exactly the reason that one can only express an opinion on this, not make a statement! Good guess, can't be proved!

Yes, you're right, it's an assumption I make. I should have been more clear on that. I work from the assumptions that I evidently poorly expressed. But you are correct, they are assumptions and not statements of fact.

I stand corrected.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2008 :  21:12:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

It has to be an article of faith...
This is where you're going off the rails, with this false dichotomy that either something can be demonstrated or it must be an article of faith.

Assumptions are neither. And conclusions based in part upon pragmatism are also neither.

There either is an objective reality or there is not. If there is not, then there's no point in doing much of anything because for all I know, "reality" ends within my own neurons and one poorly timed thought could end it all. This leaves me with no starting place at all for knowledge or learning, so pragmatically I need to begin with the idea that there is an objective reality.

Neither can be falsified, but if I don't being with pragmatism, then I can't get out of bed in the morning for fear that overnight, the carpet has turned into lava that just happens to look like carpet. Without an objective reality, there is no reason to think that anything in particular is true (or false).

And science doesn't show us that objective reality, but only draws the map for us. If we're all living in a Matrix that happens to be internally consistent, then both the "real world" outside the Matrix and what we find inside are both reality for us, we just won't know about the outside world. Substitue "brain in a vat" as you like.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2008 :  12:02:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

This is where you're going off the rails, with this false dichotomy that either something can be demonstrated or it must be an article of faith.
There either is an objective reality or there is not.
Thanks for hoisting me back up on the track, it takes one to save one!
If there is not, then there's no point in doing much of anything because for all I know, "reality" ends within my own neurons and one poorly timed thought could end it all.
No, merely change it all for you! Timing is nothing, in this instance.

However, this thought of yours might be an powerful argument for psychokinetic suicide! Hmmnnn. I must start another book!
This leaves me with no starting place at all for knowledge or learning, so pragmatically I need to begin with the idea that there is an objective reality.
As Descartes figured out, the process of ratiocination works, whether existence exists or not. One does not need to find a "starting place" for knowledge or learning, that occured long before you had the apparatus to wonder about it, and was well under way by the time you had developed the pretty fair device you are currently using!

I think you probably are correct in stating that an unspoken but tacitly understood reality framework is necessary for daily activities, but it does not need to be formalized. Most folks never give it a thought and yet more or less successfully go about their daily duties, blissfully unaware that they probably don't exist!

It is only when one starts to think deeply about matters like "reality", that the realization comes that all may not be as it appears and the cognitive matrix that defines existence could be merely a paradigm formed by imperfect (better incomplete) perception delivered by the five (actually nine, plus the internal) senses!


Gérard de Lairesse's Allegory of the Five Senses, in which each of the figures in the main group allude to a sense: sight is the reclining boy with a convex mirror, hearing is the cupid-like boy with a triangle, smell is represented by the girl with flowers, taste by the woman with the fruit and touch by the woman holding the bird.

There either is an objective reality, or there is not, OR we don't know what an objective reality is, so it is senseless to make statements about it - thereby negating your declarative dichotomy.
Neither can be falsified, but if I don't being with pragmatism, then I can't get out of bed in the morning for fear that overnight, the carpet has turned into lava that just happens to look like carpet. Without an objective reality, there is no reason to think that anything in particular is true (or false).
Sorry about your carpet, that's going to be a bitch to clean, but just go ahead and get out of bed without thinking about it! For that is the strongest argument that both of us can put forth for our respective viewpoints! Whether reality is subjectively transient or objectively eternal, it works if you don't think about it. In fact, it works whether you think about it or not, but that fact doesn't provide a clue as to it's nature - as cognition is not (as of now) one of the four forces of Physics. (I intend to remedy that with my next book titled, The Zen of Telepathy, dedicated to Kil and James Randi)
And science doesn't show us that objective reality, but only draws the map for us. If we're all living in a Matrix that happens to be internally consistent, then both the "real world" outside the Matrix and what we find inside are both reality for us, we just won't know about the outside world. Substitue "brain in a vat" as you like.
I like this paragraph! I knew if I just kept hammering away you would come over to the Dark Side!
Substitue "brain in a vat" as you like.
You don't have to bring up my unfortunate drinking habit!
And science doesn't show us that objective reality, but only draws the map for us.
Just omit that one word "objective" and I'm with you 100%
If we're all living in a Matrix that happens to be internally consistent, then both the "real world" outside the Matrix and what we find inside are both reality for us, we just won't know about the outside world.
That's most of what I'm saying, about all we differ on here is that your (and the Wachowski brothers) use of "outside" either states or implies that there is a reality; I say we cannot know!
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bngbuck
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USA
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Posted - 06/06/2008 :  12:17:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kil.....

I stand corrected.

Oh, hell, you don't have to do that! Sit down Kil!
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