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Thread: Philosophical musings of science, reality, blind men and elephants

  1. #331
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    If we can not communicate with words, then how can we communicate?
    Yes, we communicate with words, so we have to be careful we know what our words mean.
    I say we all know what the words mean.
    Is it so easy? Or can we imagine we know what they mean, only to find the meaning we imagined falls apart on closer scrutiny? I think we throw words around all the time that we have only a dim sense of meaning about, but we have kind of trained ourselves to not notice that, as a kind of social convenience. But anyway, we're busy, we can put this on hold for now.

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    Hi Ken, i have not read all of this thread as i have been busy and find it hard to concentrate on reading all the reply's.

    But, i think i may of noticed something. I have noticed that you are having a discussion about the philosophy of reality but you are using the scientific method. You are suggesting that without evidence we can not know about anything apart from what we perceive. Beyond what we perceive, nothing makes sense.

    However, what other people are suggesting is beyond the scientific method and is pure speculation/philosophy. So if we disregard the scientific method and concentrate on pure philosophy then would you not agree it makes sense to think that reality has an unknown structure and our senses and brain take in that information which forms our picture of reality ? To me, it sounds very logical !

    Sorry for going round in circles, i know this has been mentioned already !

    I also believe that reality existed before our minds due to the fact that our minds are made of matter and not the other way round. However, you could argue, how do i really know that...
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

  3. #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    However, what other people are suggesting is beyond the scientific method and is pure speculation/philosophy. So if we disregard the scientific method and concentrate on pure philosophy then would you not agree it makes sense to think that reality has an unknown structure and our senses and brain take in that information which forms our picture of reality ?
    The question to ask is, which does the word "reality" refer to, our picture of it, or the "real thing"? If you say the latter, then what attributes does reality have-- and be sure to only say things you cannot picture, or else you are actually referring to the former every time you think of what that word means. In other words, how can the word "reality" conjure in your mind any kind of meaning or picture, without that being your "picture of reality"? It is like people are picturing reality, and then saying that's just a picture of something else, now let's talk about that something else-- how do you talk about something that has no meaning to you, and if it does have meaning to you, how is that not your picture of reality that has meaning?
    I also believe that reality existed before our minds due to the fact that our minds are made of matter and not the other way round. However, you could argue, how do i really know that...
    It is part of our picture of reality that it existed before our minds. That creates no problem, we also picture that reality remains when we close our eyes. There are many valuable assets that our pictures of reality help us with-- but that doesn't make them something other than our picture of reality. After a while, you get tired enough of saying our "picture of reality" that you just recognize that this is what the word "reality" has always meant, so saying "picture of reality" is redundant.

  4. #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    The question to ask is, which does the word "reality" refer to, our picture of it, or the "real thing"? If you say the latter, then what attributes does reality have-- and be sure to only say things you cannot picture, or else you are actually referring to the former every time you think of what that word means.
    I do understand where you are coming from. I do understand that we can not know about anything other than what we perceive. To me, the word reality has different contexts depending on how i am using the word. I would say that reality outside of our senses is unknowable but that does not mean it is not there. I am not suggesting it is or it is not, what i am suggesting is that it is a possibility.
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

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    I have no objection to a version of the term that means some unknowable entity that we wish to believe underpins our models and pictures. I am merely saying that since we cannot say anything about it that is not a model/picture, nor in any way test its ramifications without it being a model/picture, it means that this entity is a purely faith-based matter-- something we hold to be true simply because we choose to, it is a belief that we choose to have which helps us organize the things that we can test that are part of our mind-based reality. We can either hold that belief, or not, and no one can say we are right or wrong, but this places such a belief not only outside science, but even outside of rational or logic-based philosophy, into a regime most closely associated with religious faith. It came up above that some may hold that this is still philosophy, perhaps on the basis that religion is sometimes classified under philosophy, but to me, to have overlap with philosophy it should be beholden to the rules of logic. That doesn't mean someone else might not want to still count unknowable and inscrutable articles of faith as part of what they consider to be their philosophy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I have no objection to a version of the term that means some unknowable entity that we wish to believe underpins our models and pictures. I am merely saying that since we cannot say anything about it that is not a model/picture, nor in any way test its ramifications without it being a model/picture, it means that this entity is a purely faith-based matter-- something we hold to be true simply because we choose to, it is a belief that we choose to have which helps us organize the things that we can test that are part of our mind-based reality. We can either hold that belief, or not, and no one can say we are right or wrong, but this places such a belief not only outside science, but even outside of rational or logic-based philosophy, into a regime most closely associated with religious faith. It came up above that some may hold that this is still philosophy, perhaps on the basis that religion is sometimes classified under philosophy, but to me, to have overlap with philosophy it should be beholden to the rules of logic. That doesn't mean someone else might not want to still count unknowable and inscrutable articles of faith as part of what they consider to be their philosophy.
    Where it all seems to regularly come unstuck (around these parts), might be demonstrated by an example:

    - Lost 10 cent coins (dimes) exist, and are usually accepted as being real (here on Earth).
    - I visualise lost dimes existing on an exo-planet, 40 light years distant.
    - Because lost dimes are real, and exist here on Earth, the potential exists that they must also exist, (as per my visualisation), on our exo-planet, 40 light years distant.
    - (They merely await us having the technology to find them on our exo-planet).
    - Therefore the potential of lost dimes on our exo-planet is real and exists, and therefore lost exo-dimes are likely to exist at 40 light years distant.

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    It sounds like you are saying that anything we can visualize in our minds can be regarded as a form of "mind-dependent reality", and I agree that this mistaken idea of what that term means causes a great deal of confusion. But no one thinks that version of "reality" has any importance or meaning, we all know that any useful concept of "reality" must faithfully exhibit the consistencies and logical connections that we experience around us, or it is not a good version of the "reality" idea. In other words, we experience that "mind-dependent reality" exhibits certain consistencies that logically preclude lost dimes showing up on exoplanets. A baby does not know this yet, of course, as they have not yet built the sophisticated mind-dependent reality models that you and I have. The bottom line is, in this thread, "mind-dependent" does not mean "anything our mind can imagine," it means "pictures that our mind forms that we have found to agree with experience and logic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    It sounds like you are saying that anything we can visualize in our minds can be regarded as a form of "mind-dependent reality", and I agree that this mistaken idea of what that term means causes a great deal of confusion. But no one thinks that version of "reality" has any importance or meaning, we all know that any useful concept of "reality" must faithfully exhibit the consistencies and logical connections that we experience around us, or it is not a good version of the "reality" idea. In other words, we experience that "mind-dependent reality" exhibits certain consistencies that logically preclude lost dimes showing up on exoplanets. A baby does not know this yet, of course, as they have not yet built the sophisticated mind-dependent reality models that you and I have. The bottom line is, in this thread, "mind-dependent" does not mean "anything our mind can imagine," it means "pictures that our mind forms that we have found to agree with experience and logic."
    I guess my example is really just a slightly more complicated example which attempts to use more sophisticated (higher level?) concepts developed by the mind, (like 'potential' and 'likely'), to create an instance of something imagined in a remote location, whose type might be normally regarded as being as 'physically real' as something more local, (like the coins in my pocket).

    From that perspective, there must be degrees of 'reality' within mind dependent reality, but more important to note: inductive, deductive and abductive logic are frequently invoked as ways of somehow 'promoting' or demoting' certain things on some arbitrary scale of that 'real-ness' (within MDR). (I guess I'm now talking more about the role logic/philosophy plays in 'reality').

    Are the logical processes mentioned above, sufficient for 'realising' something (in MDR) which might have started out as an empirically based, but purely hypothetical proposition? (I run into this all the time .. there are some here at CQ who are firmly of the view that it can).

    PS: 'Merry Christmas' & 'Happy New Year!' to yourself ... (and all)!

  9. #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I have no objection to a version of the term that means some unknowable entity that we wish to believe underpins our models and pictures. I am merely saying that since we cannot say anything about it that is not a model/picture, nor in any way test its ramifications without it being a model/picture, it means that this entity is a purely faith-based matter-- something we hold to be true simply because we choose to, it is a belief that we choose to have which helps us organize the things that we can test that are part of our mind-based reality. We can either hold that belief, or not, and no one can say we are right or wrong, but this places such a belief not only outside science, but even outside of rational or logic-based philosophy, into a regime most closely associated with religious faith. It came up above that some may hold that this is still philosophy, perhaps on the basis that religion is sometimes classified under philosophy, but to me, to have overlap with philosophy it should be beholden to the rules of logic. That doesn't mean someone else might not want to still count unknowable and inscrutable articles of faith as part of what they consider to be their philosophy.
    Thanks for clearing that up Ken, it is a very helpful post.
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    From that perspective, there must be degrees of 'reality' within mind dependent reality, but more important to note: inductive, deductive and abductive logic are frequently invoked as ways of somehow 'promoting' or demoting' certain things on some arbitrary scale of that 'real-ness' (within MDR). (I guess I'm now talking more about the role logic/philosophy plays in 'reality').
    Yes, I think it's fair to say that any workable "reality" concept must be able to navigate different levels of certainty or reliability. We are pretty sure that "atoms" are useful concepts in regard to reality, but we are less sure about "strings". So does that make atoms more real than strings? Probably, yes, at least at this point. But the same could be said for different individuals-- a non-physicist might be happy with atoms, but not quarks, etc., so a quark is "less real" to them than an atom is.

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    So what do we count as "reality"? Rational or logic-based philosophy seems well suited to the reality we perceive to be external to us in terms of a working and proper relationship of mind to that reality. Belief is not grounded on such rational or logic-based philosophy so isn’t real. But love is "real", that’s not grounded on logic and reasoned philosophy, it has its own (unknown) "rules" and the emotion has no logical link to rules of our external reality (i.e mind dependent reality).

    We have this notion that intelligence (in the general, human sense) is the only means in which to establish reality – could that just be a convenience to suit the notion that intelligence = rational or logic-based philosophy = external reality (i.e mind dependent reality). Does it follow from this that reality can only be equated with intelligence?

    What might the mind have access to that is “real” but doesn’t require intelligence to define it as being "real"? (Perhaps a mind independent “Real” could be one candidate). Is rational or logic-based philosophy necessarily the ultimate arbiter of what reality is? Reality is what is "real", walking along a high mountain ridge alone and feeling part of something much deeper is a "real" feeling. Being moved by a piece of music is a "real" feeling. Why such emphasis on rational or logic-based philosophy to determine a "real"?

    I know emotions are tied to external events, events that are well and truly part of mind dependent reality, but I'm not talking about the physical aspects, I'm talking about an indescribable "something" that we can all relate to but none of us can define in the manner we define (for example) a ball hitting the ground (other than any physical manifestations of the emotion). Are these emotions part of mind dependent reality, (i.e. are they part of our external reality, or are they part of some other "reality")? I don't think there is any logic that can be used to allocate them to either category, but "real" they most certainly are.

    Ken mentioned earlier the possibility (through study of the mind and reality as a whole) of perhaps moving beyond what seems to be a very narrow concept of mind and reality (at least it seems narrow to me), to a position that perhaps can start to distinguish between various modes of thought and thus notions of "reality". We don't generally seem to be able to do this (or don't want to) at present within a formal philosophical sense (those who perhaps can (poets for example) would probably be thought of as outside of a discipline of formal enquiry into nature, but, who knows, perhaps it is they who hold the key), so perhaps better to be safe for now I suppose and stick to Ken's strict adherence of a rational or logic-based philosophy that delivers just a single "real" - our default mind dependent reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes, I think it's fair to say that any workable "reality" concept must be able to navigate different levels of certainty or reliability. We are pretty sure that "atoms" are useful concepts in regard to reality, but we are less sure about "strings". So does that make atoms more real than strings? Probably, yes, at least at this point. But the same could be said for different individuals-- a non-physicist might be happy with atoms, but not quarks, etc., so a quark is "less real" to them than an atom is.
    One can make other distinctions which, (I think), help to achieve clearer understandings in a conversation.

    One can constitute oneself as: (i) an individual, (ii) a group (or family) member, or (iii) a community member.

    When one speaks from any one of these perspectives, 'reality' tends to mean something subtely different.

    That is, if a someone speaks from:

    - type (i) - ie: from 'type' individual = (say), 'Richard Feynman', then I think 'reality' should be assumed to be taken purely from opinion.
    Or, that same individual can also speak from:
    - type (ii) - ie: from type 'group' = (say), 'Physicist', then I think 'reality' should be assumed to be being taken purely from the discipline of Physics/Science.
    Or, that same individual can also speak from:
    - type (iii) - ie: from 'type' community = (say), 'Funding Lobbyist', then I think 'reality' should be assumed to be taken purely from social or political ideologies.

    Each of these distinctions also fits nicely with "Individual Reality" and "Reality by Consensus" distinctions, too. Ie: they're all 'real', we all experience the sensations coming from each of these, and these sensations/experiences can all end up resulting in things we relate to as being 'physical', (like a dime is) .. all whilst still being part of our inescapable Mind Dependent Reality, that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    So what do we count as "reality"? Rational or logic-based philosophy seems well suited to the reality we perceive to be external to us in terms of a working and proper relationship of mind to that reality. Belief is not grounded on such rational or logic-based philosophy so isn’t real. But love is "real", that’s not grounded on logic and reasoned philosophy, it has its own (unknown) "rules" and the emotion has no logical link to rules of our external reality (i.e mind dependent reality).

    We have this notion that intelligence (in the general, human sense) is the only means in which to establish reality – could that just be a convenience to suit the notion that intelligence = rational or logic-based philosophy = external reality (i.e mind dependent reality). Does it follow from this that reality can only be equated with intelligence?

    What might the mind have access to that is “real” but doesn’t require intelligence to define it as being "real"? (Perhaps a mind independent “Real” could be one candidate). Is rational or logic-based philosophy necessarily the ultimate arbiter of what reality is? Reality is what is "real", walking along a high mountain ridge alone and feeling part of something much deeper is a "real" feeling. Being moved by a piece of music is a "real" feeling. Why such emphasis on rational or logic-based philosophy to determine a "real"?

    I know emotions are tied to external events, events that are well and truly part of mind dependent reality, but I'm not talking about the physical aspects, I'm talking about an indescribable "something" that we can all relate to but none of us can define in the manner we define (for example) a ball hitting the ground (other than any physical manifestations of the emotion). Are these emotions part of mind dependent reality, (i.e. are they part of our external reality, or are they part of some other "reality")? I don't think there is any logic that can be used to allocate them to either category, but "real" they most certainly are.

    Ken mentioned earlier the possibility (through study of the mind and reality as a whole) of perhaps moving beyond what seems to be a very narrow concept of mind and reality (at least it seems narrow to me), to a position that perhaps can start to distinguish between various modes of thought and thus notions of "reality". We don't generally seem to be able to do this (or don't want to) at present within a formal philosophical sense (those who perhaps can (poets for example) would probably be thought of as outside of a discipline of formal enquiry into nature, but, who knows, perhaps it is they who hold the key), so perhaps better to be safe for now I suppose and stick to Ken's strict adherence of a rational or logic-based philosophy that delivers just a single "real" - our default mind dependent reality.
    For me, emotions are definitely part of "Individual Reality" ... they're real because we all experience them, (note I'm using Consensus Reality to justify Individual Reality here) .. but in the instance of when an emotion is experienced by an individual, it can only ever be distinguished as Individual Reality because other present individuals aren't necessarily experiencing exactly the same emotion at the same instant as the individual.

    I think Logic is mostly by consensus. It can only be made real in a conversation amongst individuals .. ie: 'Reality by Consensus'. It takes a collective conversation amongst individual minds, to agree on its defining rules, (whereas individually experienced emotions (for eg) don't, necessarily).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    So what do we count as "reality"? Rational or logic-based philosophy seems well suited to the reality we perceive to be external to us in terms of a working and proper relationship of mind to that reality.
    Yes, as long as we recognize that "external" is already a mind-dependent construct. A mind can conceive of something "external" to the mind, but that doesn't make it mind independent, since the mind is the source of the me/not me dichotomy. We have plenty of evidence that this dichotomy is at least partially, if not totally, artificial, yet it is a very useful construct all the same. So most people include in their model/picture of reality the idea that there is an "internal" reality and an "external" reality, even though the laws of physics make no such distinction, since in a "real" sense, all electrons, for example, are indistinguishable and do not have separate identities such that one can be said to be "inside" you and another "outside" you. All the same, we conceive of them that way-- so will the "real" electrons please stand up?
    But love is "real", that’s not grounded on logic and reasoned philosophy, it has its own (unknown) "rules" and the emotion has no logical link to rules of our external reality (i.e mind dependent reality).
    Yes, what is "real" is what we say is real, that's really the bottom line. Reality is not handed to us-- we mold the concept as we see fit.
    We have this notion that intelligence (in the general, human sense) is the only means in which to establish reality – could that just be a convenience to suit the notion that intelligence = rational or logic-based philosophy = external reality (i.e mind dependent reality). Does it follow from this that reality can only be equated with intelligence?
    Not in the limited sense that "intelligence" means ability to do mathematics or see patterns and so on, but there is also "emotional intelligence", and so on, so in the more general view of intelligence, just as in the more general view of "mind", everything that we do that organizes our perceptions (including the perception of emotion) is part of "intelligence" writ large. So you are asking, can we philosophize by feeling instead of by intellect? We can certainly imagine generalizing the term in that way, but I think in the past, even when philosophers have addressed issues of emotion, they have tried to do so using logic.
    What might the mind have access to that is “real” but doesn’t require intelligence to define it as being "real"?
    I would say that any perception is a real perception, but requires some organization to be counted as real. For example, I could feel dizzy if I spin, but we wouldn't say that dizziness is the reality there, we would say that spinning is, and it is causing the perception of dizziness. All stages of this require a mind, just different levels of sophistication. If a dog feels dizzy, it might just experience a mental sense of "huh?", rather than "I must be spinning around in reality."
    Is rational or logic-based philosophy necessarily the ultimate arbiter of what reality is?
    It is the arbiter of the kind of reality that emerges from thought. If I touch an oven, the burning pain I feel is real enough for me in that instance, it may be all I care about at that moment (and reflexes take care of the rest). But if I don't want to go through that again, I have to build a mental picture of hot things, and how to avoid them. It's just different levels of reality, based on different goals. You are certainly right that "reality" is a lot of different things in a lot of different situations, but they all require minds. A rock by itself has no reality, it is part of our reality-- even if we conceive of it as existing long before, or long after, we are alive. A rock by itself isn't even a rock-- we say it's a rock, that's what makes it one.
    Reality is what is "real", walking along a high mountain ridge alone and feeling part of something much deeper is a "real" feeling. Being moved by a piece of music is a "real" feeling. Why such emphasis on rational or logic-based philosophy to determine a "real"?
    I could ask you the same question. Is that not what you are doing right now?
    I know emotions are tied to external events, events that are well and truly part of mind dependent reality, but I'm not talking about the physical aspects, I'm talking about an indescribable "something" that we can all relate to but none of us can define in the manner we define (for example) a ball hitting the ground (other than any physical manifestations of the emotion). Are these emotions part of mind dependent reality, (i.e. are they part of our external reality, or are they part of some other "reality")?
    They are certainly part of mind dependent reality, because we always hold that one must have a mind in order to experience emotion (does a rock?). But I agree that we may wish to recognize different mental functions, some more analytical and some more feeling-based, and connect them with different types of reality, especially as we learn more about the mind. I feel this kind of inquiry into the nature of reality must come hand-in-hand with inquiry into the nature of the mind, for at the end of the day, it's all still the mind trying to understand itself. Note we don't have to understand, we can just move from one experience to the next, in a state of pure experience. I believe zen buddhism attempts such a state of being. I'm just saying that right now we are trying to understand what reality is, moreso than just experience it. Maybe that's a mistake!
    We don't generally seem to be able to do this (or don't want to) at present within a formal philosophical sense (those who perhaps can (poets for example) would probably be thought of as outside of a discipline of formal enquiry into nature, but, who knows, perhaps it is they who hold the key), so perhaps better to be safe for now I suppose and stick to Ken's strict adherence of a rational or logic-based philosophy that delivers just a single "real" - our default mind dependent reality.
    Yes, I think artists and poets are very definitely taking a different route to "get to the heart" of reality, they try to illicit a world that is somehow deeper than the one we can create through organizing and understanding perceptions. The scientist or philosopher who ignores that approach is probably shortchanging their appreciation of reality, but science and philosophy are a different means to a different end.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2013-Dec-26 at 02:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    One can constitute oneself as: (i) an individual, (ii) a group (or family) member, or (iii) a community member.

    When one speaks from any one of these perspectives, 'reality' tends to mean something subtely different.
    Exactly. What are "you" really, one of those things, or all at once? When you are being a "parent", are you also a "friend", or are you just a parent at that moment, and a friend at some other moment? What about if you were a parent in the past, but you've outlived your offspring, do you cease being a parent in the instant they die? Or in the last instant you communicated with them? Or the last time you did something "parental"? I think the clear message is that "what we are" is not a crisp notion at all, it is kind of an amalgamation of effective concepts and models. We generate the reality of "ourself" on the fly, and it has consistencies from moment to moment, just like our concept of "external reality" does, but it's a moving target-- and not nearly as concrete as we might have ourselves believe! Reality can be a very flexible concept if it needs to be, like you say-- dependent on the needs of the moment. In physics, we have a fairly consistent view of reality at a given point in time, but that's just because the needs of physics are what are consistent. And even a physicist can have his/her view of reality change from first-year to fourth-year of college, and many times again later in their lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    ... I think the clear message is that "what we are" is not a crisp notion at all, it is kind of an amalgamation of effective concepts and models. We generate the reality of "ourself" on the fly, and it has consistencies from moment to moment, just like our concept of "external reality" does, but it's a moving target-- and not nearly as concrete as we might have ourselves believe! Reality can be a very flexible concept if it needs to be, like you say-- dependent on the needs of the moment.
    You mean like: we're 'Humans being' something, (whatever that may be), in the moment(?)
    I guess that's how we got the tag: 'Human Being', eh?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    In physics, we have a fairly consistent view of reality at a given point in time, but that's just because the needs of physics are what are consistent. And even a physicist can have his/her view of reality change from first-year to fourth-year of college, and many times again later in their lives.
    Perhaps 'reality' might be able to be said to only 'truly exist' at one specific point in time (a moment .. 'the present') ... maybe that's where we come closest to mind independent reality .. when there is no opportunity for our minds to be able to generate a context added from past memories(?)

    Pure instinct is, (I think), might be as close to mind-independence as it gets(?)
    Last edited by Selfsim; 2013-Dec-26 at 04:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes, we communicate with words, so we have to be careful we know what our words mean. Is it so easy? Or can we imagine we know what they mean, only to find the meaning we imagined falls apart on closer scrutiny? I think we throw words around all the time that we have only a dim sense of meaning about, but we have kind of trained ourselves to not notice that, as a kind of social convenience. But anyway, we're busy, we can put this on hold for now.
    I look out the window and there is the world/universe. That is reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes, I think it's fair to say that any workable "reality" concept must be able to navigate different levels of certainty or reliability. We are pretty sure that "atoms" are useful concepts in regard to reality, but we are less sure about "strings". So does that make atoms more real than strings? Probably, yes, at least at this point. But the same could be said for different individuals-- a non-physicist might be happy with atoms, but not quarks, etc., so a quark is "less real" to them than an atom is.
    I don't see either "atoms" in the Greek sense, or strings as anything other as abstract models. Why should atoms be "more real" than strings? "Reality" is that which is detected by our senses (this includes apparatus to enhance them), not that which is speculated by our brains. This, unfortunately, is what restricts us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    I look out the window and there is the world/universe. That is reality.
    Ok .. what is it that you see when you watch this?

    Is that reality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Ok .. what is it that you see when you watch this?

    Is that reality?
    Sorry, that is not relevant to what I see when looking out my window... it is not an illusion...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Sorry, that is not relevant to what I see when looking out my window... it is not an illusion...
    How can you tell the difference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    How can you tell the difference?
    Because I can verify it. For example, the first illlusion, just put a measuring stick up to the picture and you see that they are the same length, etc....

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Because I can verify it ...
    Verify what?

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    That the two sticks are the same length...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    I look out the window and there is the world/universe. That is reality.
    That seems to have taken you back to the beginning! Do you not accept that your brain makes sense of the signals from your eyes but you cannot judge what you see as external reality to be, you make assumptions. That's what this thread has been about.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    You mean like: we're 'Humans being' something, (whatever that may be), in the moment(?)
    It's like if I ask you, "what are you?", you would answer the question as though there were 20 things in the room with you and you were helping me pick out which one is you, based on the information you give me. But I say, "I know which one is you, what I want to know is, what are you?" Suddenly the question is much more difficult, and answers are more vague, less crisply satisfying.
    Perhaps 'reality' might be able to be said to only 'truly exist' at one specific point in time (a moment .. 'the present') ... maybe that's where we come closest to mind independent reality .. when there is no opportunity for our minds to be able to generate a context added from past memories(?)
    I believe some call that being "in the zone." Experiencing reality as the highest form of knowing it.
    Pure instinct is, (I think), might be as close to mind-independence as it gets(?)
    Having enough of a mind to be self-aware, but not so much as to start getting in the way of experience? Some take that view, yes. But it won't cure cancer. So I think there's value in both-- in being able to have pure experience, but also being able to conceptualize what that is well enough to gain predictive power over it. That's also why I think scientific inquiry must be balanced with other forms of human interest, like art and the experience of emotion, in order to know reality. It is why I chuckle quietly when I hear people express the idea that the scientific view is what is "really happening", and everything else is some kind of illusion cooked up in the subjective mind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    I look out the window and there is the world/universe. That is reality.
    You do realize that to the physicist, all you are describing is light coming into your eyes, right? So you are saying, "reality is the light that comes into my eyes." That's not even mind-dependent reality, that's just optic-nerve dependent reality!

  28. #358
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    "Reality" is that which is detected by our senses (this includes apparatus to enhance them), not that which is speculated by our brains. This, unfortunately, is what restricts us.
    That perspective is what might be termed extreme empiricism. But the problem with it is that our senses don't "detect" anything at all until our brains make sense of it. So if you put your hand on a hot stove, all your senses detect is burning pain-- if you want to say there's a hot stove there, that's "speculated by your brain." The reality you get from pure sense perception is pretty much the reality of a baby before figuring out how to speculate more effectively.

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    Since it's your thread in the first place, gzhpcu, let's take a step back and see what I'm saying here. I am hearing some frustration in your remarks, that what I'm saying seems to be taking you farther from an understand of what reality is, instead of closer like you were hoping when you started the thread. But I'm saying the only reason for that is that you are trying to hold on to an untenable picture of what reality is-- when you let go of that, and accept the process you use to arrive at a working concept of reality, you actually come full circle and get right to the place you seem to want to be: the place where reality is what you experience it to be.

    All you have to do is look at your goals for cooking up the "reality" concept in the first place-- you wanted to hang a name on the consistencies of your experiences, what "makes sense" to you about what is going on around you. That's excellent, that's exactly what the "reality" notion was always supposed to do. So by all means, look out the window, see what you interpret as various real things, and conclude "that's reality." All I'm saying is, you can do all that while still noticing that these are all steps taken by your mind. Your mind set out to do something, and it did it quite well, congratulate yourself: you have successfully generated the notion of a mind-dependent reality, and noticed its power and consistency. The only mistake you made, and I believe this is what leads to the issues that got you to start the thread, is that you didn't notice the role your mind was playing all along.

    As soon as you notice that, it makes a lot of those issues go away. You expressed frustration that all we could ever get are better and better models, that we were "doomed" to never know what reality actually is. But when you realize that what reality "actually is" is precisely this process of making models, and it was never supposed to be anything other than that, when you realize that this is just what the word "reality" actually means whenever we use it, you see that we are only "doomed" to understand reality just exactly as it is supposed to be understood. That's what understanding is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    That seems to have taken you back to the beginning! Do you not accept that your brain makes sense of the signals from your eyes but you cannot judge what you see as external reality to be, you make assumptions. That's what this thread has been about.
    No, I can't because it does not convince me. This is my personal opinion.

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