On the existence of Objective reality

  • Thread starter hypnagogue
  • Start date

hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,221
2
Originally posted by Royce
You do not know RED. You and I and everyone else were taught or told that this color is red when we were toddlers. It is arguable that we saw red but did not know that it was called red. Red is an intersubjective experience. There is no way that I can know that the red that I perceive is the same red that you or anyone else perceives.
I agree with your assertion that my 'red' may not be the same as yours (for instance, the subjective color that I associate with a light wavelength of 500 nm, you may associate with a light wavelength of 700 nm). I don't see how this is really relevant to my argument, though. So long as what we both agree to call 'red' is a subjective phenomenon of consciousness, my argument holds.

There is no bridge between objectivity and subjectivity other than assumption and faith, not religous faith but faith as in an unproven and unprovable belief that intersubjectivity supports objectivity.
Again I agree, but subjectivity at least is made an intelligible phenomenon if we abstain from the assumption that objective reality is non-mental in nature.

This is not a valid necessary assumption. When a human being's heart stops pumping blood the being is no longer conscious. I, therefore, conclude that the heart is the seat of consciousness. When a human being loses too much blood even though the heart is still bumping s/he becomes unconscious; therefore, I conclude that my first concluision was in error and it is blood that is the seat of consciousness. It is the same with blood glucose levels and body temperature as well as numerous other things.

It seems to me that consciousness is more than a brain being present but and entire system. I am pointing out that it is very easy to make assumptions about things that we are so familiar with and so much a part of our consciousness. Red is not red but what we were told is called red.

That the brain is the seat of consciousness is only an unsupported assumption. If we can not even know what consciousnes is how can we assume we know where it originates? The brain may be a necessary part of consciousness but so is blood, heart, lungs, kidneys, heat etc.

Remove a brain from a body, the body is no longer conscious but even if we supply all of the environmental requirements for the brain, is it conscious, science fiction not withstanding? We do not know. We may be able to montor activity but is it conscious? It is the same with your computer.
I actually have addressed this point earlier in the thread:

Once we get to the question of a sufficiently detailed computer simulation of a brain, we are making a further assumption-- that it does not matter if we replace the physical organization of neurons in the context of the brain in the context of the body with the vastly different physical organization of processors and memory chips in the context of a computer.
It is indeed important to acknowledge the context of the entire living system when we talk about consciousness. But within the system, we can still talk about component parts performing individual functions while tacitly acknowledging their dependence on the functioning of the entire system. For instance, it is common knowledge that the heart is responsible for pumping blood. But without the proper signals from the brain, the heart would not pump blood. Should we therefore conclude that it is improper to say that the heart pumps blood? Similarly, we say the brain produces consciousness. Now, it would not be able to do so without the proper context of a healthily functioning body; but it is clear from mountains of evidence of brain lesion studies, brain stimulation studies, etc., that we can say that the brain produces consciousness in the same way we can say that the heart pumps blood.

If we accept that the brain produces consciousness, then we must attribute its production of consciousness to certain physical characteristics of the brain. However, as it is not yet clear which physical characteristics of the brain play a part in producing consciousness and which are irrelevant, it is correspondingly unclear which can be abstracted away (such as in the case of a computer).
 
351
0
Well at least you make more sense than lifegazer did, hypnagogue. :wink:

Actually this topic is quite intriguing. I found that none of what you said was making sense until you posted the picture, which helped a great deal. There are a few things, though.

While both the imaginary rock and the real rock are experienced mentally, they have different behaviours. The real rock obeys a set of rules that never change, while the imaginary rock can simply vanish.

This clearly, then, must be what separates that which is public and that which is private. The overlapped section between any number of given consciousnesses will always contain the set of rules we call the laws of physics.

I recall you saying earlier, "what's the difference?" Indeed. You call this overlap the public set of metal experience. I call it the objective world, since everybody agrees, it's objective! I therefore conclude that this overlap is the same thing as the objective world, since I don't see any reason to call the objective world an "alien" experience of which none of us can know.

The way I see it, almost everybody here really agrees, they're just using different vocabulary.
 
351
0
Another interesting point. The brain cannot function without the heart, both of which cannot function without blood, which can't really do it's job unless the lungs work, which pull in oxygen from the surrounding environment. In fact this process continues indefinitely. Conciousness cannot function without the existence of the entirety of the universe.
 

hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,221
2
Originally posted by CJames
While both the imaginary rock and the real rock are experienced mentally, they have different behaviours. The real rock obeys a set of rules that never change, while the imaginary rock can simply vanish.

This clearly, then, must be what separates that which is public and that which is private. The overlapped section between any number of given consciousnesses will always contain the set of rules we call the laws of physics.

I recall you saying earlier, "what's the difference?" Indeed. You call this overlap the public set of metal experience. I call it the objective world, since everybody agrees, it's objective! I therefore conclude that this overlap is the same thing as the objective world, since I don't see any reason to call the objective world an "alien" experience of which none of us can know.
Well, I have called it 'public' to get away from misunderstandings that might arise from common associations people make with the word 'objective.' In fact, 'public' and 'objective' mean essentially the same thing-- something external to the individual perceiver.

What this thread really gets down to is the nature of this external, public, objective world. Is it fundamentally similar to or distinct from the subjective world that we directly experience? Is it fundamentally mental or non-mental? I have used the term Objective reality to refer to the hypothesized public, objective reality which is non-mental in nature. This corresponds to situation #2 in the diagram I posted.

I have said that Objective reality is alien and unknowable because it assumes the existence of something which we can never experience or come into direct contact with.

Look at situation #2 in the picture-- all the stick figures can possibly know about is what is presented to them in their conscious awareness, or pictorially, what is contained within their thought bubbles. But the underlying material reality by definition cannot be perceived-- it cannot possibly be the content of a thought bubble. We cannot see Objective reality, because color does not exist materially (only light waves do); we cannot hear it, because sound does not exist materially (only pressure waves in the air do); etc. All we have is mental images which represent external reality (thus the arrows from the thought bubbles to the material tree in the diagram), but never a knowledge of it which is not mediated by this mental representation.

Now look at the room around you, and consider that everything you see is merely an image produced by your brain. You are not seeing the room-- you are seeing the picture your brain paints of the room. Thus, you are not looking outside into the external world-- you are looking inside, into your brain (more precisely, your consciousness). What would it mean to look outside, to see the room itself and not the picture your brain paints of it? It is impossible to fathom; this is the alien, unknowable Objective world.

Thus, in the Objective reality paradigm, all of our knowledge of external reality is by definition second hand, a kind of emissary sent forth on the part of some unseen, unknowable figure who sits eternally behind the curtain dividing the subjective from the Objective. If you are familiar with the allegory of Plato's cave, that is also a useful (if less exact) metaphor for thinking about the picture that the theory of Objective reality paints. We don't run into this unknowable, alien substance if we do not espouse the Objective reality paradigm and assume that the external world is mental in nature, since in this case our knowledge of the world is not second hand, it is direct-- what we perceive is not a representation of the world, it IS the world, insofar as that world is mental and thus can be a content of consciousness (can be contained in a thought bubble).
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by hypnagogue
I agree with you that there is what we may call an external world. I meant the 'overlapping consciousness' to denote those parts of our consciousnesses that are consistent across all people, such as the visual perception of a given tree. This does not mean that an individual has direct access to the contents of consciousness of another person. It also does not imply that those external elements are not mental in nature (ie, it does not imply that they are 'material' in the sense that you are using the word).

Of course the fact that our mental awarenesses are mental does not necessarily imply that 'things outside our mental awareness must also be in their nature mental.' I have not held anywhere that the paradigm I am discussing MUST be the case, anymore than I have held that Objective reality MUST NOT be the case. There is always room for doubt in such metaphysical discussions no matter what the assertion is.

However, saying that a stone has no mental awareness of its own does not imply that it is not mental in nature. For instance, try visualizing a stone in your mind; this stone is mental in nature, although I think we would both agree that this visualized stone has no mental awareness of its own.

The point I have been trying to make is this. Let us compare the mental, subjective stone to the external, objective stone. Both stones as we apprehend them are mental in nature, insofar as they are both figures existing in our conscious awareness. The only difference between the two is that one is accessible only to one person, while the other is accessible to arbitrarily many people. The fact that the objective stone exists as a publically accessible percept does not imply that it is not mental in nature, only that it is a mental percept that avails itself to everyone. If we proceed with our assumption that the stone is not mental in nature, we introduce the existence of something (Objective reality) which by definition can never be known and whose nature is totally alien to all we do know, and we also make the existence of consciousness unintelligible. Thus, we have good reason to doubt that objective reality is non-mental in nature.
If you mean that the "things-in-themselves" don't reveal their nature to us, but only in the way the interact and can cause sensations (directly or indirectly) I would agree, but the "thing-in-itself" is just that: an abstract reality. It is 'reality' outside of the awareness of it, and it does not make sense to ponder that.

Why we say that nature itself is not mental, not consciouss of itself, is because we typically reserve that property for finite beings that have sensations about outside objective reality.

A 'mental thing' that doesn't have it's nature, objective reality, outside of itself, of what can it be aware then?

It would be impossible. Even self-awareness does and can not apply, since for that you need to be able ti distinguish between yourself (your consciousness) and something that exists outside of it, of which you have sensory awareness.

You sort of alienate reality and consciousness, cause your mindly efforts tries to know how it can be aware of reality, OUTSIDE of or WITHOUT our consciousness.

This is like pondering what thinking would be like and what thoughts we would have without a brain.

I don't think that is a very good approach. Outside our brain, there is nothing WE can think of or be aware of.
 
Last edited:

hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,221
2
Originally posted by heusdens
If you mean that the "things-in-themselves" don't reveal their nature to us, but only in the way the interact and can cause sensations (directly or indirectly) I would agree, but the "thing-in-itself" is just that: an abstract reality. It is 'reality' outside of the awareness of it, and it does not make sense to ponder that.
Ah, so I see you appreciate the philosophical quandary that Objective reality puts us in.

Why we say that nature itself is not mental, not consciouss of itself, is because we typically reserve that property for finite beings that have sensations about outside objective reality.

A 'mental thing' that doesn't have it's nature, objective reality, outside of itself, of what can it be aware then?

It would be impossible. Even self-awareness does and can not apply, since for that you need to be able ti distinguish between yourself (your consciousness) and something that exists outside of it, of which you have sensory awareness.
I do not see your justification for this idea. You use it repeatedly, but how can you be so sure that you have figured out this key component of consciousness? But I won't bother trying to discredit this claim, since it doesn't apply to anything I have asserted. Again, for something to be mental in nature does not imply that it is self-conscious. To use the example I have already used to illustrate this point: picture a tree in your mind. This tree is mental in nature, although we can probably safely assert that it possesses no element of consciousness in its own right.

You sort of alienate reality and consciousness, cause your mindly efforts tries to know how it can be aware of reality, OUTSIDE of or WITHOUT our consciousness.

This is like pondering what thinking would be like and what thoughts we would have without a brain.

I don't think that is a very good approach. Outside our brain, there is nothing WE can think of or be aware of.
Right. Hence, we cannot make a definitive statement as to the nature of external reality, since by definition is eludes all of our attempts to grasp it. Hence, we cannot say definitively that external reality is not mental in nature.
 
351
0
I suppose the part of your arguement I'm not grasping is what you mean by "mental in nature." What is it that makes something mental? A tree that exists only in my imagination is clearly my creation, and I can change it at will. It doesn't need to have mass, it doesn't follow any rules I don't want it too.

A tree that exists from two perspectives does not behave in this manner. It obeys a rigid set of laws. What is mental about this tree? It is true that it is only experienced "mentally," but so what? Everything is experienced mentally, but mental is usually used to describe something occurring within one person's conciousness. I don't consider something mental unless it is created within my own conciousness. While the "image" of the tree is in fact mental (ie, I created it, albiet subconsciously), the image of the tree from my friend's perspective is not my creation. Also, my image and his/her image of the tree are different. The images are independently formed.

What about the tree can we agree upon? The part that we refer to as physical. Its weight, its mass, the wavelength it emmits, its volume etc. ad infinitum. This is the thing about the tree that neither of us created. It is not an image and therefore, at least by my definition, not mental. It is true from all perspectives, (except those we would call insane or illogical etc.)

These properties are knowable values, they are in no way "alien." True, we must form an image of the scale that gives us the tree's weight, but we both see the same value. Physical properties are in fact far from alien as they are the only things any two people can agree upon.

We cannot be aware of an existence outside awareness, obviously. What we can be aware of is physical attributes. I realize I'm being repetetive here, and that is primarily for the sake of giving you as many different ways of seeing my point as I can give.
 
1,476
0
Again the only way that we have of verifying that anything exists outside of our mind is by comparing our perceptions with that of another or others and assume that their perceptions are the same as ours. We then can conclude that it does in fact exist out side of ourselves. This is a definition of objective reality. To put it in other words, objective reality is an assumption that a consensus reached of properties by different observeres verifies thr existence of objects outside of ourselvs.
If we then say that that object is real and exists in reality, objective reality then becomes an assumed consensus of percieved properties. I say assumed concensus because we assume others are percieving the same that we are perceiving, e.g. their red is actually the same as my red etc.

In short objective reality is based on assumptions supported by public or intersocial perceptions. Public or as I put it intersocial perceptions are based on the supported assumptions that there are other consciousnesses that exist outside of myself and their perceptions are very similar to my perceptions.

That is a lot of assumptions to make for such a fundmental and staunchly held and defended paradigm as objective reality or objective materialism.

As I said in other threads. Reality is sujective, of the mind, mental, whether a public collective consensus or individual perception. Without a mind or minds to percieve the objective and/or material its existence or nonexistence is moot, unknown and unknowable and of no meaning or consequence.

To discuss the ojective without the sujective is meaningless.
To put it more simply, The material is nothing and is meaningless with out a mind to see it and know it.
 

hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,221
2
CJames,
The paradigm of Objective reality would have us suppose that the material exists primarily, and eventually organizes itself into the brain, which in turn "generates" mental events. As such, these generated mental events exist only in the brain/mind. When I say objective reality is perhaps mental in nature, basically what I am trying to say is that perhaps these mental precepts are not secondary events generated ex nihilo by the brain, but rather that objective reality itself is mental-- ie that mental things are not "generated" secondarily, but exist primarily as the fundamental 'stuff' or substance that reality is comprised of. This paradigm is entirely logically consistent, since everything that we suppose is objective is ultimately only known as subjective.

For instance, look at the virtual reality posited in 'The Matrix.' Events in the Matrix are completely indistinguishable from 'true' Objective reality, even though there is no underlying Objective reality to which the virtual matrix reality corresponds. You may object that the virtual reality does indeed correspond to an objective component, ie the internal states of the computer system itself which generates the Matrix. But note that in this situation, even the so-called primary qualities which are supposed to exist in objective reality itself, such as extension (as opposed to a secondary quality such as color) do not exist meaningfully in an objective sense; there is no spoon that objectively exists as an object that is 6 inches long, there are only a set of minds that concur that there is a spoon which is 6 inches long. In actuality, the property that there is a spoon which is 6 inches long is precisely the common property of a set of brains that perceive it as such.

The fact that objective reality is logically consistent across a range of observors does not disqualify it from being mental in nature. For instance, suppose via some futuristic device that you and your friends can directly inhabit a world that I picture in my mind. As long as my concentration is good enough, I can make this entirely mental world act as logically consistently as the objective reality we all know and love.
 
351
0
Originally posted by hypnagogue
CJames,
The paradigm of Objective reality would have us suppose that the material exists primarily, and eventually organizes itself into the brain, which in turn "generates" mental events. As such, these generated mental events exist only in the brain/mind.
Yes, basically. It's important to understand, however, the difference between the brain and the mind. There is more than two views, as well. The Objective paradigm, or materialist/physicalist view, is that only the brain exists. The subjective view is that only mind exists. But don't forget about duality. I don't really consider myself a dualist either, however I believe the mind and brain coexist. The mind is not a material object, but rather an emmergent behaviour. It is a whole greater than the sum of its parts. As FZ was talking about earlier, chaos/complexity theory is showing that systems of particles show behavior not found in the particles themselves. I am essentially a materialist, but a materialist would argue only the particles exist. I dissagree, as the behavior of the particles exists as well. This behavior is, in the case of the brain and all its requirements, what we call the mind.

When I say objective reality is perhaps mental in nature, basically what I am trying to say is that perhaps these mental precepts are not secondary events generated ex nihilo by the brain, but rather that objective reality itself is mental-- ie that mental things are not "generated" secondarily, but exist primarily as the fundamental 'stuff' or substance that reality is comprised of.
If mental things aren't generated then they cannot be created by choice. Deterministic subjectivity? I don't think so.

This paradigm is entirely logically consistent, since everything that we suppose is objective is ultimately only known as subjective.
Wrong, as long as we avoid solipsism. A factor that can be agreed upon is objective, and that's that. Is suppose it's not Objective (big O), whatever that means, but it's definitely objective. The color, texture, etc of the tree is subjective. But wavelength, mass, etc are completely and entirely objective.

For instance, look at the virtual reality posited in 'The Matrix.' Events in the Matrix are completely indistinguishable from 'true' Objective reality, even though there is no underlying Objective reality to which the virtual matrix reality corresponds.
First off, you're a little off considering that events such as a human hovering in the air are distinguishable from reality, but that's not really the point now is it? :wink: No, the matrix reality is not a so called Objective reality. Why? Because it's not big enough to hold your brain within it. The brain still exists externally to the system.

You may object that the virtual reality does indeed correspond to an objective component, ie the internal states of the computer system itself which generates the Matrix. But note that in this situation, even the so-called primary qualities which are supposed to exist in objective reality itself, such as extension (as opposed to a secondary quality such as color) do not exist meaningfully in an objective sense; there is no spoon that objectively exists as an object that is 6 inches long, there are only a set of minds that concur that there is a spoon which is 6 inches long. In actuality, the property that there is a spoon which is 6 inches long is precisely the common property of a set of brains that perceive it as such.
The reason this is different from your proposition is that this 6-inch spoon is not mental in nature, it is created by a system that obeys strict rules (though not entirely strict according to the plot).

The fact that objective reality is logically consistent across a range of observors does not disqualify it from being mental in nature.
Again, there is no definition here of what is mental.

For instance, suppose via some futuristic device that you and your friends can directly inhabit a world that I picture in my mind. As long as my concentration is good enough, I can make this entirely mental world act as logically consistently as the objective reality we all know and love.
That is probably your fundamental misunderstanding. It is impossible for you to concentrate hard enough to simultaneously run the equations for gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces across all the subotomic particles in the universe, keeping in mind all the equations of quantum mechanics, relativity, and theories as yet unfinished. You could show your friends a tree, but it wouldn't be the same as the objective tree (little o).

Re-read my post above, I think you may have missed some points. Although at the same time I must admit you have forced me to think a great deal about this.
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by hypnagogue
I do not see your justification for this idea. You use it repeatedly, but how can you be so sure that you have figured out this key component of consciousness? But I won't bother trying to discredit this claim, since it doesn't apply to anything I have asserted. Again, for something to be mental in nature does not imply that it is self-conscious. To use the example I have already used to illustrate this point: picture a tree in your mind. This tree is mental in nature, although we can probably safely assert that it possesses no element of consciousness in its own right.


It seems to be quite obvious that to be consciouss, this must mean that you have an outside reality outside of yourself, of which you can be consciouss.


Right. Hence, we cannot make a definitive statement as to the nature of external reality, since by definition is eludes all of our attempts to grasp it. Hence, we cannot say definitively that external reality is not mental in nature.
Wrong.

You have the point of view of solipsism, and then state that whatever you are aware of, you can not know if that is realy there, or just only in your mind.

This would collide with the fact that there are other minds.

Since they have the same kind of experience of the outer world, it would be necessary to conclude that these other minds are like my mind, and that - since I don't have any prior knowledge about their mindly state - they are entities that exist outside of me and independend of me.

ANd the next logical conclusion is then that I have to assume that outside reality exists independend of me.
 
1,476
0
Originally posted by heusdens


It seems to be quite obvious that to be consciouss, this must mean that you have an outside reality outside of yourself, of which you can be consciouss.[/B/
No, heusdens, it is not quite obvious nor is it true nor proven. It is simply a meaningless unsupported statement. There is no reason why a conscious being cannot be conscious of self and that all of reality exists within himself. That which appears to be external is only persceived through our senses to be external yet all perception is internal, mental or subjective.
Reality exists only in our minds. It is only subjective. We can know it no other way.
To say that anything exist outside of myself is only an unproven assumption. It is only supported by the assumption that other conscious beings exist outside of myself and report the same or nearly the same phenomena being perceived by them.

You have the point of view of solipsism, and then state that whatever you are aware of, you can not know if that is realy there, or just only in your mind.

This would collide with the fact that there are other minds.

Since they have the same kind of experience of the outer world, it would be necessary to conclude that these other minds are like my mind, and that - since I don't have any prior knowledge about their mindly state - they are entities that exist outside of me and independend of me.
Yes it is a valid conclusion; but, again it is only based on the assumption the other minds exist outside of my own. I can assume this but cannot prove it.


And the next logical conclusion is then that I have to assume that outside reality exists independend of me.
Yes, but, as you point out, it is a conclusion based on an assumption.
The point being is that while the material world may, and I would add probably, if not surely, exists external and independant of or mind, it cannot be proven in any way that is open to us other than through our perceptions of what our senses feed us. Thus all of reality is subjective, mental whether real of not. Reality is a concept of our minds.
 
Last edited:

hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,221
2
Originally posted by CJames
Yes, basically. It's important to understand, however, the difference between the brain and the mind. There is more than two views, as well. The Objective paradigm, or materialist/physicalist view, is that only the brain exists. The subjective view is that only mind exists. But don't forget about duality. I don't really consider myself a dualist either, however I believe the mind and brain coexist. The mind is not a material object, but rather an emmergent behaviour. It is a whole greater than the sum of its parts. As FZ was talking about earlier, chaos/complexity theory is showing that systems of particles show behavior not found in the particles themselves. I am essentially a materialist, but a materialist would argue only the particles exist. I dissagree, as the behavior of the particles exists as well. This behavior is, in the case of the brain and all its requirements, what we call the mind.
The important idea is that Objective reality has a primary existence and that the subjective mind is secondary-- how you arrive at that conclusion isn't as important.

And as an aside... pardon my French, but whoever disputes the existence of the mind is just ignorant. It's fine to say it's a phenomenon produced by the brain, or brain = mind, or to make any other sort of claims about the nature of mind, but to say it does not exist at all is just a monumental exercise in ignorance and denial. If mind/subjectivity/consciousness did not exist, how would we even know we're alive?

(edit for my French.. heh. :smile:)

If mental things aren't generated then they cannot be created by choice. Deterministic subjectivity? I don't think so.
Try thinking of it like matter or energy-- it can take different configurations but cannot be created or destroyed.

Wrong, as long as we avoid solipsism. A factor that can be agreed upon is objective, and that's that. Is suppose it's not Objective (big O), whatever that means, but it's definitely objective. The color, texture, etc of the tree is subjective. But wavelength, mass, etc are completely and entirely objective.
Look, we can agree upon whatever we want to, and we don't have to be solipsists. The fundamental fact remains that everything we know is known as subjective. We may come to a concensus that this object here has a mass of 10 kg, and this is an objective fact insofar as it is a public, intersubjective phenomenon, i.e. insofar as our respective subjectivities carry the same content of seeing the same scale reading 10 kg. But ultimately, the nature of this knowledge of this object is subjective. If it were not, then it would by definition be impossible for me to know it in the first place.

Again: all objective information must pass through the subjective filter of the perceiver. We can note commonalities across different subjectivities/minds, but the nature of all these things as contents of the mind are subjective. Public/intersubjective/objective phenomena, before we attach further assumptions to them, only indicate a common content of mind across multiple people.

As for "Objective"... again, the best I can do is direct you to the diagram I have posted. Situation 2 corresponds to Objective reality. In this situation, the subjective trees of A's and B's consciousnesses are supposed to be generated by physical properties of the Objective tree, and furthermore are supposed to represent and correspond to at least some actual properties of that tree (such as shape, motion, etc.) There is a fundamental ontological dichotomy, however, between the Objective tree and the subjective trees.

First off, you're a little off considering that events such as a human hovering in the air are distinguishable from reality, but that's not really the point now is it? :wink: No, the matrix reality is not a so called Objective reality. Why? Because it's not big enough to hold your brain within it. The brain still exists externally to the system.
What about the agents? The oracle? Can we presume that they are conscious? If we can, then we have an entirely self-contained reality, with respect to these computer generated beings.

But this is besides the point... the important observation is that there is a clear cut example here where the assumptions of Objective reality fail. Neo sees a spoon, but there really is no Objective spoon that corresponds to his conception of it. If Neo believes he is in Objective reality and measures the spoon to be 6 inches, then he believes there is an object independent of his mind that is 6 inches long. Of course, Neo is wrong. Analogously, our own conception and assumptions of Objective reality could be wrong.

The reason this is different from your proposition is that this 6-inch spoon is not mental in nature, it is created by a system that obeys strict rules (though not entirely strict according to the plot).
The analogy is not perfect, but I used it to illustrate this simple point:

The spoon that Neo sees is mental in nature. There is no corresponding Objective spoon.

Again, there is no definition here of what is mental.
I realize I am using the term a bit vaguely, but I did illustrate what I was trying to get at in my last post. Here's another stab at it: picture a full blown Cartesian world, dualities and all. The outside world is not mental in nature. The mind and its contents are mental in nature. Note that not all contents of the mind are contained in conscious awareness. Things that are mental in nature are not by necessity contained in what we discretely think of as a mind, but rather are capable of creating a construct which we may call a mind, and are also capable of availing themselves to the consciousness of such a mind.

That is probably your fundamental misunderstanding. It is impossible for you to concentrate hard enough to simultaneously run the equations for gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces across all the subotomic particles in the universe, keeping in mind all the equations of quantum mechanics, relativity, and theories as yet unfinished. You could show your friends a tree, but it wouldn't be the same as the objective tree (little o).
Your objection here is irrelevant. I wanted to show a situation where that which is known to be mental in nature could be a public, objective phenomenon. It doesn't matter if the objective phenomenon is a tree, or a toy block, or a red dot. What matters is that the object/world in question is axiomatically mental in nature since it occurs in a mind, and yet to the outside observers it is an objective phenomenon-- thus, if these observers are absolute believers in Objective reality, they will falsely conclude that their publically perceived object is not mental in nature.

If it makes you more amenable to the argument, we can posit a super-advanced intelligence in the far far distant future that can picture such a tree with enough consistency and fidelity to fool any observers who have gained access to its mind.

Re-read my post above, I think you may have missed some points. Although at the same time I must admit you have forced me to think a great deal about this.
There is much to be thought about. Question your assumptions...
 
Last edited:
351
0
Rather than respond to this point by point, which seems to distract me from what I'm trying to say, I'll just make this post.

My first arguement was that this was essentially an argument not over fundamental truth but of vocabulary and point of view. I hold to this.

Let me try to state your basic arguement. Let me know if I'm right.
1. The Objective model assumes the world is physical and that the mind is secondary to physical processes. This is an unfounded assumption as mind may in fact be primary and physical processes in fact mental.

Now allow me to show you why I don't believe there is a difference between these two paradigms.

Here is what I said about mind:
The mind is not a material object, but rather an emmergent behaviour. It is a whole greater than the sum of its parts. As FZ was talking about earlier, chaos/complexity theory is showing that systems of particles show behavior not found in the particles themselves. I am essentially a materialist, but a materialist would argue only the particles exist. I dissagree, as the behavior of the particles exists as well. This behavior is, in the case of the brain and all its requirements, what we call the mind.
Note that nowhere here have I stated or meant to imply that the behavior of the particles is secondary to the particles themselves. Again, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Now realize that the place where the behavior goes from atonomous to "random" can't really be defined. In fact, you can see that the atonomous behaviour doesn't really have a position etc. How can a behavior have a position? In this way, the mind is an entity individual from but linked to the physical particles.

From here it truly depends on where you start. If you start with the particles themselves and procede to explain their individual actions, and slowly work your way up to how all the particles work together to create what appears to be atonomous behaviour, than you have shown how the mind is physical in nature.

If you instead start with the mind, the atonomous behaviour, you will show level by level how atonomous behaviour controls a large group of what appear to be particles. You will show that nothing can be described without concepts and that therefore even particles are concepts and therefore mental in nature.

Rather than take one of these views, I'm willing to accept that both are equivalent and that it's best to use one or the other depending upon circumstances.
 
1,476
0
CJames, Here I have to agree with you. I think that this is the best approach to take so long as we remember that it is merely an approach and not fact or proven either way.

The bottom line is that all that we have is our mind. All our mind has is perceptions and concepts. All of our perceptioned are based on what our 'physical' senses give us, which we know are limited and falable. Thus I say I/we KNOW nothing. All that we think we know is based on assumptions not fact or truth or knowedge. Reality is only in our mind, not because reality does not exist in whatever form that it may be; but, because our mind is all that we have to perceive and know reality.
 
351
0
Originally posted by Royce
CJames, Here I have to agree with you. I think that this is the best approach to take so long as we remember that it is merely an approach and not fact or proven either way.
I agree too, thanks.
The bottom line is that all that we have is our mind. All our mind has is perceptions and concepts. All of our perceptioned are based on what our 'physical' senses give us, which we know are limited and falable. Thus I say I/we KNOW nothing. All that we think we know is based on assumptions not fact or truth or knowedge. Reality is only in our mind, not because reality does not exist in whatever form that it may be; but, because our mind is all that we have to perceive and know reality.
I agree to a point. But I would say this, we know at least to an extremely high degree of certainty that both the mind and the material exist. What we don't know and can never know is which is seconday. Since we never really can know, it's pointless to argue one or the other.

"That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way." -Doris Lessing
 
1,476
0
It may be pointless but obviously wee all have opnions and go to great length to express them. That seems to me to be what this forum is all about.
 

Related Threads for: On the existence of Objective reality

  • Last Post
3
Replies
72
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
7
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
5
Replies
104
Views
6K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
67
Views
5K

Hot Threads

Top