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Limits to pure reason and nature of reality

  1. Apr 27, 2012 #1


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    Hi all,
    I have a little out of track
    question and I was forced to
    consider this after reading FQXI
    Essay competition title Is
    Reality Digital or Analogue and
    Kant's Critique of Pure reason
    If I am not wrong, according to
    Kant, there are limits of pure
    reason. Is not the ultimate
    nature of reality always
    elusive? Something like a
    mirage of pond for a deer. The
    deer always chases the pond
    but never reaches one. Is not
    that what we can discover is
    merely sense data? Can we say
    definitely, now or at any point
    in future, whether nature is
    analogous or digital? Does not
    emperical finding (sense data)
    always have possibility of going
    further? Like first they came up
    with the idea of atoms, then
    nuclear particles, then quarks
    then what not?
    Thank You
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2012 #2
    I didn't read Kant but 'realists' can tell me what they want: it is quite clear to me that whatever we perceive and describe with our so called 'exact' sciences is ultimately a human mind-sense data construct. The idea of a 'pure' science which abstracts from sensory experience, human mind and consciousness is an illusion. We might say that the sensory world we live in is not much different than the digital world of the film Matrix. This doesn't mean there is no reality 'out there', but that the 'reality' we perceive has nothing to do with the 'real reality'. Science is not an ultimate and absolutely objective view of the world but a representation, a fiction, at bottom it is based on subjective mental entities of the homo sapiens mind. And reason and rationality itself are only a way of cognition, not the ultimate tools to know the truth. The idea that reason is the only way to 'know' is an anthropocentric conception that science itself dismisses.
  4. Apr 30, 2012 #3
    The reality we perceive may not be the real reality, but saying that they are completely unconnected is a much stronger claim.

    Given your arguments to the contrary, why do you believe that there is a real world 'out there'?
  5. Apr 30, 2012 #4
    What do you mean by "completely unconnected"? I don't know if there is a 'real world out there', because also the meaning of 'real' is a matter of convention. What I mean is that science is much less 'objective' than it wants us to believe. The only thing I can say is 'real' is that at least one subject in the universe exists that has perceptual experiences, i.e. me. The conscious experience is the only thing that I can be sure of. As Goethe told us....:wink:
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