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Objective reality

  1. Dec 8, 2005 #1
    your views on it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2005 #2
    Real happiness has real value.
  4. Dec 9, 2005 #3


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    I moved this thread here, where I think it belongs more than in quantum physics (where you might get troubles :-)

    My view on objective reality is that this is a very useful working hypothesis to make sense of our subjective experiences.

    However, (as some here know), I claim that the relationship between the postulated objective reality and our subjective experiences is a bit more involved than a simple 1-1 relation. This is at least how I can (try to) make sense out of modern physics.
  5. Dec 10, 2005 #4
    I'd argue that currently the view that there is an external reality which we can perceive / understand at least partially (a 'contextual' vision) has a fallible epistemological privilege over all types of idealisms, thus deserving to be the first choice research program for science now (our observations do influence / 'modulate' the external reality to some extent but there is an external reality independent of Mind).

    I've answered this question in a broader context on another site, here are my answers there:

    I define myself a 'weak' realist, more or less what Putnam call an 'internal realist', and yet I am not strongly commited to the answers to your questions...see some clarifications here and below.

    I don't think we are entitled to talk in terms of certitudes in this case, there is no way currently to soundly discard all forms of idealisms. However we can make a 'weak' demarcation in the form of a clear 'ladder of preferences' based on arguments going well beyond the number of facts accomodated.

    This 'ladder' has at the first place, at least currently, a form of realism (at least of observables). Indeed the theory of perception 'laden' with realism has a greater coherence with commonsense, the base of empiricism, than those laden with ontological idealisms. Secondly, though we cannot strongly justify our basic scientific enunciations based on direct observations (including the assumption of realism; indeed as Popper observed once realism is as non falsifiable and non verifiable as the different forms of idealisms), realism is the easiest to test (Popper's solution to the problem of empirical basis).

    Even if the existing arguments 'pro' realism are not enough to count as a sufficient reason which to solve the problem realism vs idealism once and forever they are enough for justifying the preference, provisionally, for a form of realism as the first choice program for science. This in no way imply that the 'followers' of ontological idealisms (especially the berkeleyan type) do not have the right to pursue further their 'reasearch programmes' in private, no (basically idealisms are huge alternative programmes, very different in the ontologies proposed, in fact incompatible with the ontology of realism, though they cannot be differentiated at the purely pragmatic level, still valid from all we know now).

    But in any case have they the right, currently at least, to claim equal epistemological privileges with the research program involving realism (that is equal resources allocated, being presented in science books as being on equal foot with the realist program and thus fully deserving to be taught in schools on par with the realist program etc). Even less that all rational people should believe with necessity in their form of idealism.

    Being a fallibilist I argue that no scientific enunciation or theoretical construct (not even the observables) has its place granted forever inside the body of accepted scientfic enunciations, basically nothing is immune to being discarded. Not even the basic assumptions of science. At most we have the right to believe and accept within the body of accepted scientific enunciations, again provisionally, that some of our scientific theories (including the theoretical constructs used) are approximately True (in absolute).

    There is no sufficient reason currently to think that the actual minimal methodology cannot bring us to the Truth. Maybe Einstein (and many other scientists) is right and new data can always make the difference, there being a single best possible description of the observed facts and a single 'right path'. But even if we will ever find a TOE (theory of everything), an evolution of the actual Standard Model, having no serious contenders and no puzzles we should be open to the possibility to realize later that very different descriptions, at least equal empirically, exist. While, in my view, in that case we would be justified to hold, inside the provisionally accepted enunciations of science, that that TOE is approximately True we wouldn't be entitled to be certain of that...for we should prove first that there exist only a finite number of alternative theories and that all of them (less that TOE) has been proved as being falsified (or inferior to that TOE). Unfortunately this rarely happen in practice, especially in physics...

    But overall I'd argue that, currently at least, we just have more 'pro' reasons (however not amounting to a 'proof' or a sufficient reason solving the problem once and forever) to believe that science does approach Truth till some point at least (no real contenders currently to the actual body of still accepted scientific knowledge, sufficiently different, till GR). At least that some theoretical constructs (unobservables) are real and that their description is approximately True, namely those which appear in a series of successive paradigms ever more 'successful' in the absence of serious, sufficiently different, alternatives (unfortunately we cannot extend this to the theories using them, these theories might still be far even from being approximately true). As I've already stressed this, of course, does not imply that things will ever remain the same, 'scientism' is never the best option (thus I argue that it is better to encourage alternative thinking at all times...it's better to have them for reference only than to have nothing and be forced to 'reinvent the wheel' when the main view run into problems, besides some ideas could be lost forever if we do not encourage alternative thinking at all times).
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2005
  6. Dec 10, 2005 #5
    The opposite then would be "Subjective Reality" ? I can see this taking two forms (a) Solipsism Subjective Reality = no thing (anywhere) is real but the self of the solipsist, (b) Non-Solipsism Subjective Realtiy = no thing (anywhere) is real, all is "ideal" (= existing only in the mind as an image). I find both of these alternatives to Objective Reality to be logically lacking. If nothing is real but the self of the objective solipsist, then when the solipsist no longer exists (=death) all reality no longer exists--but I see solipsist die around me each day, yet here I am. Or, even if solipsist reality is defined as the sum of all solipsist that have or will ever exist (including me), then, prior to their collective existence, reality did not exist, or if they were to all die tomorrow at 6:43 am, then at 6:44 am the universe would not longer exist--but such thought is falsified by the 1/2 life of uranium, much older than the 1/2 life of all solipsists. And, if all is "ideal" and exists only in the mind as an image, the "mind" as an objective existent must take primacy over the image, for the simple reason that it is a logical contradiction for "images" to exist within "an image = mind" (that is, images are not attributes of images because images cannot have attributes, images are attributes of "the mind" which is an object existent).
  7. Dec 10, 2005 #6
    We must (should) never forget the fundamental reason and purpose for all our thoughts and actions, this being the existence of a creature capable, and by virtue of choice willing, not just simply to exist but to become something greater than what we were, this creature being ourselves. Awareness and understanding of this capacity is the justification for and therefore should be at the root of all our efforts to discover and practice truth.
  8. Dec 10, 2005 #7
    In things like this, I usually find it rather convenient to redefine "objective" being that reality that we all agree upon. I know this doesn't work out in the end (before columbus everyone thought the earth to be flat, but that did not make it true), but it is rather easy to work with.
  9. Dec 11, 2005 #8
    Unfortunately, reality does not conform to our agreement, even if unanimous. We can improve the quality of our knowledge by relating what we are told to our own experience. Our certainty of what we know is directly proportional to how well it corresponds to knowledge obtained through, or logically derived from, our direct perception of reality.
  10. Dec 11, 2005 #9
    and now, our own "knowledge" has shown us that there is fundamental uncertainty, in it. funny kind of knowledge.
  11. Dec 11, 2005 #10
    Read my post. I know that, and I only said it's quite useful (and easy, and lazy) to work with.

  12. Dec 11, 2005 #11


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    I think you misunderstood solipsism. You cannot see "another solipsist dying" :smile: You see other bodies die, but the one and only existing subjective reality is your own, and as far as you know, YOU are not dead.
    By definition, in a solipsist view, others don't exist, but as imaginations in your own subjective experience.
  13. Dec 11, 2005 #12

    The question begs that I simply state how my views are purely subjective.

    Having made this statement, I must clarify that objectivity and any conclusions derived from objectivity are governed by subjectivity and subjective opinion.

    This is true only because all evidence of objects and objectivity can only be verified subjectively, regardless of how many similar results are available in the population.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  14. Dec 11, 2005 #13
    Objectivity is a choice. We rely on the perceptually given for all the information we obtain about reality; from that point on the quality of our objectivity is a matter of how well we use reason to make deductions and integrate our knowledge.

    (nazgjunk, if you feel like someone is twisting your arm, it is not me. My attempts to clarify are only intended for the benefit of those who may be helped by it, myself included.)
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  15. Dec 11, 2005 #14
    Well, if she tells me that she is in fact a solipsist and she holds that she exists, and I see her die, then I see a dead solipsist. :cry: And my observation of her death then falsifies her solipsism philosophy, since as you state, to the solipsist, at the moment of her death, nothing is IN FACT real outside her dead mind. Yet here I am, the non-solipsist alive. Her death falsifies her philosophy for her, since she incorrectly reasoned that others (me) do not exist outside her imagination. And, as I stated above, even if we hold that all humans (100%) are solipsist, their philosophy is still falsified by the existence of the uranium isotope, which has a 1/2 life much longer than the time all humans have existed--thus, the uranium isotope cannot be a pure imagination--before there were solipsists--there were uranium isotopes.
  16. Dec 11, 2005 #15
    You seem to be saying that humans are are not "objects" that can observe other "objects", including themself--but I do not agree. The fact that humans subjectively (e.g., within the mind) perceive and then differentiate and integrate objects into concepts, does not falsify that this subjective mental process exists within an objective identity, called the individual human being. I have no "opinion" on that which exists, no belief, I have "knowledge" of that which exists, uncertain knowledge, which is one definition of science = knowledge with uncertainty.
  17. Dec 11, 2005 #16
    [subjectivity ----> (objectivity)]
    (objectivity issues forth from subjectivity, by choice)

    seems so, indeed.


    {??? ----> [subjectivity ----> (objectivity)]}
    (obvious next question: whence does subjectivity issue from?)

    this is becoming very interesting... for sure.
  18. Dec 12, 2005 #17


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    No, you don't understand: all those pretended solipsists are only a product of your imagination, as well as the uranium isotope. You are the only solipsist who ignores himself. When YOU die - which you might never do - then the entire world (which is just a product of your imagination) disappears. "Other solipsists" are only suggestive ideas of your own mind to make you see you should be (the only) solipsist. You are in fact nothing else but the memory content of a 7th generation X-box, and someone is playing a reality game on the machine :tongue2:
    And of course all this is bull! The real, unique, solipsist is ME ! And you (and your posts here) are nothing else but a product of MY imagination :rofl: It is a totally futile exercise to try to explain solipsism to one of its own products of imagination (in casu, you).
  19. Dec 12, 2005 #18
    From this
    [ subjectivity <-----> objectivity ], a monism, a union. Thus, subjectivity issues forth from objectivity, not by choice.
  20. Dec 12, 2005 #19
    if a monism, then objectivity also must issue forth from subjectivity, as well. (strictly logically speaking)

    but let's not try and go too far, without examining one very essential aspect of this.

    subjectivity and objectivity are the two "sides" of the monism.
    Which came first, "the chicken or the egg?"

    many would like to believe that subjectivity strictly arises from objectivity, but then the idea of a monism/union is utterly incompatible.

    we cannot stop here. we must examine this issue further. in doing so, we notice that, both, subjectivity and objectivity are dependent upon an even deeper, absolutely single Reality.

    "from One, came Two"

    the One is equally present in and transcendent of either and both of the Two (subjective and objective) realities.

    Whence to they obtain their existence?

    so it must be seen that, logically:
    {One-->[Two: subject. and object.-->(Many: the multitudinous manifestations of both)]}

    Because: if a union... then what is the One, in which they are united? see?
  21. Dec 13, 2005 #20
    Please see my latest post #34 in "Shouldn't we define 'Existence/Being'?"
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
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