Is it reality that we perceive

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Is it reality that we perceive

Postby edy420 on July 15th, 2017, 10:04 am 

Actual reality" if it exists, can never be perceived, understood or experienced in its entirety. (At least not by any one individual)

We have X-rays, but what other rays have we not yet discovered, Y-rays, Z-rays that we can't perceive with our sense of reality.
Only recently have we discovered the Higgs Boson exists, a second moon, a new prime number, how to turn pesky co2 emissions into a solid, and much more.
What else do we not know about reality.

Trying to understand actual reality, is like trying to understand God, it's not possible.
We only know a fraction of reality, but how large is that fraction?
Some atheists will say we know it all, scientists like to argue we know a lot about reality, but I think we know next to nothing about actual reality.

We perceive reality with our senses, but what is it that we perceive?
If we all have different degrees of sense, then is our perception really of reality.

The concept in the movie, The Matrix, has us believe that no, our perception is not reality.

I've worked with intellectually disabled, and it seems obvious to me that they are in alternate realities, and interact with me in mine.
One has no concept of pain, yet in my world pain is very real.
For him, no one and no animal feels pain either, they simply make alarming sounds when feeling discomfort.

My personal belief is that yes, our perception is realiity, but there are multiple realities.
Each individual, has their own reality, because we interact with "actual reality" in different ways.

This would mean people are just a collection of multiverse/multi-reality travellers, all colliding and interacting in one place at a cross roads of infinite realities.
A good example is the way we witness the same event differently, but swear that our perspective is the right one.
A miracle of God for example, will be sworn as the will of God by Theists, and completely explainable by science according to atheists.
Trying to convince either that the opposite is true, is rather difficult, if not impossible.

We could all explain what our perception of reality is, but who's perception is right.
If none are right, then is it reality that we are perceiving?
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby BadgerJelly on July 15th, 2017, 10:36 am 

You are asking about relativism.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby wolfhnd on July 15th, 2017, 10:14 pm 

I think this is just another way of asking if reality is real. Hit you thumb with a hammer then let us know if your pain is real.

The short answer is no.

Experience is limited by the senses and can only be extended so far. One thing eastern mystics got right is that the ultimate reality we can experience is conscious nothingness.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby mitchellmckain on July 16th, 2017, 5:05 pm 

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:Actual reality" if it exists, can never be perceived, understood or experienced in its entirety. (At least not by any one individual)

If reality as you have defined it does not exist then the problem is with the definition. Being what exists should be part of any reasonable definition of the word. Psychologist have demonstrated that belief plays a fundamental role in perception so it is doubtful that perception and reality is the same. However, once again, if reality cannot be perceived at all then something is wrong with your definition of perception, for that too is part of the meaning of the word. We accept the fact that perception is flawed, but there is no doubt that an apprehension of reality is what the word is referring to -- so it is a good thing you don't go to that extreme.

Although there is excellent evidence that reality is at least partially objective (i.e. the same for everyone), there is no reason to presume this is fully so. Indeed, I see good pragmatic reason to believe that there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality as well.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:We have X-rays, but what other rays have we not yet discovered, Y-rays, Z-rays that we can't perceive with our sense of reality.
Only recently have we discovered the Higgs Boson exists, a second moon, a new prime number, how to turn pesky co2 emissions into a solid, and much more.
What else do we not know about reality.

Trying to understand actual reality, is like trying to understand God, it's not possible.

If God exists then God is part of reality, so if you think God is never perceived in full then it is tautological that reality is never perceived in full. But while many believe that God is infinite and thus not fully knowable in theory, we have little reason to believe that the physical universe is the same. It is immense to be sure, and some it is very likely to be forever beyond our reach even to perceive.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:We only know a fraction of reality, but how large is that fraction?

It is generally a function of education to expand our horizons. But what that means is that as we increase what we know, the boundary to what we do not know also grows. In other words, education typically asks more questions than it answers, and the more we know, the more we understand how much we do not know.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:Some atheists will say we know it all, scientists like to argue we know a lot about reality, but I think we know next to nothing about actual reality.

How odd! I have met far more theists who act in such a manner. They tend to act like only their religion is worth knowing. God is their answer to everything and so what need to they have of knowing anything else. Atheists on the other hand, take no such shortcuts and accept the fact that very little is known feeling no need to use something like God as a pretend answer to everything.

And I say that as a theist myself. So of course, a belief in God doesn't mean you HAVE to use God in such a manner, only that so very many of them do just that.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:We perceive reality with our senses, but what is it that we perceive?

Reality. That was easy!

Yes, we know. To perceive reality does not mean knowing reality accurately or completely. At least I know that, but your words are giving me mixed signals regarding whether you know this.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:I've worked with intellectually disabled, and it seems obvious to me that they are in alternate realities, and interact with me in mine.

Mmmm... yes... another good reason to believe in an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality itself.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:My personal belief is that yes, our perception is realiity, but there are multiple realities.
Each individual, has their own reality, because we interact with "actual reality" in different ways.

No, perception is not reality. That is made clear by our observation that perception does not mean that we know reality accurately or completely. Since there is a subjective aspect to reality not all of it is the same for everyone, but there is excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality also. In fact, logic dictates this for it is by this objective aspect to reality that we have contact with each other and affect each other. With no objective aspect of reality, i.e. nothing in common at all, we would would have no knowledge of each other.

You might try to claim that perception is the only reality which matters. But the logical implications of such a claim which dismisses all the imperfections and limitations of perception are ultimately debilitating. Say rather that we should not be too quick to dismiss the perceptions of others when they do not fit into the reality of our own comprehension. Indeed, I have found the arrogance of such behavior to be quite astounding. It is only reasonable to accept that the limits of your own experience do not define the limits of reality itself for everyone.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:This would mean people are just a collection of multiverse/multi-reality travellers, all colliding and interacting in one place at a cross roads of infinite realities.

Uh... no it would not mean any such thing. This may be a useful image to you but the evidence does not support an falsifiable version of this conclusion. It is perhaps within the realm of possibility that there are such travelers on occasion but the majority of evidence tells us that if such exist then they are rare. Of course as an un-falsifiable assertion where "people" are not confined to what is observed about them over time, then this and many other fantasies could very well be true.

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 9:04 am wrote:A good example is the way we witness the same event differently, but swear that our perspective is the right one.
A miracle of God for example, will be sworn as the will of God by Theists, and completely explainable by science according to atheists.

Or.... the atheists and scientists of both persuasions are willing to look for an explanation according to natural law while many theists prefer to jump to supernatural answers with their Sears-Roebucks one size fits all explanation of "Goddidit."
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Sivad on July 17th, 2017, 4:31 am 

edy420 » July 15th, 2017, 7:04 am wrote:Trying to understand actual reality, is like trying to understand God, it's not possible.


I don't know, reality seems much less esoteric to me. I take reality as that which appears to be the case and nothing more. Metaphysics is unfounded .... pure speculation. I don't think the appearances really justify any sort of grand metaphysics, it's all beyond us. Our ignorance doesn't entitle us to believe whatever suits our fancy, it chastens us to doxic moderation. In my estimate belief isn't rationally prohibited but it isn't rationally warranted either, our most profound beliefs are basically a-rational attitudes of faith.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Graeme M on July 19th, 2017, 4:57 pm 

I think that we cannot "know" reality being that all we can ever do is represent reality through perception. Each of us may perceive aspects of the external world slightly differently, but as mitchellmckain says above there must be a certain amount of objectivity to our perception in that evolution has equipped us to all represent the world in much the same way (for example by perceiving some frequencies of radiation as light). Of course, this is still just a common biologically derived representation, so I would say it's no more an accurate representation than is that of any other creature. Still, ours is more detailed than most I suspect.

I do not believe that the fact that we may share different inner perceptually based models of the world means anything at all about external reality, so I would completely disagree that we are "just a collection of multiverse/multi-reality travellers, all colliding and interacting in one place at a cross roads of infinite realities." That's such an egocentric and I suggest arrogant way of thinking about our experiences.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby BadgerJelly on July 26th, 2017, 9:52 am 

If I am not perceiving reality I insist on some kind of refund! How dare I duped by some "sham", some "make believe", this mere facade of so called reality!

* currently looking for me receipt and "reality" entry card *
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Graeme M on July 27th, 2017, 7:17 am 

I never had one to begin with...
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby doogles on July 28th, 2017, 7:17 am 

I would like to contribute a couple of cents worth to this chat. As I’ve said before, I’m an imagist and an introspectionist and I like to use concrete examples in discussions, rather than vague generalities. The following points agree with those made by several other earlier posters.

Place a bar of chocolate, a bowl of disinfectant and a hand towel on a table and sit facing it. You can see the bar of chocolate, feel it, smell it, hear it snap as you break off a piece and you can taste a piece if you place it in your mouth. There is no doubt that to you the chocolate bar is real. Five of your senses in contact with the outside world have registered positive and thus perceived it as such. This is hard reality. No argument!

Now, rinse your fingers in the disinfectant and dry them to remove the smell of the chocolate on your fingers.

Turn your chair around so that you face the other way, and then hold your nose. You cannot see, touch, taste or smell the chocolate, but you know it’s there. There is no doubt that the bar of chocolate is real, whether you are actually looking at it or not. Your senses have left impressions of it in your brain.

Similarly, you also know that there is a bed in your bedroom, and a refrigerator in your own kitchen. This is reality; you do not have to have these things within the immediate range of your senses to know that they are real. You know there are other houses in your street; you’ve seen them many times. But what about all the other things you know are real but have never seen?

You may have never travelled abroad, but you know there are many other countries apart from your own. You accept this. You know there was a First World War yet you most probably were not around at the time. All you really know is what other people have told you. You believe it occurred because you’ve seen a variety of evidence suggesting that it happened. There are references to the First World War; there are annual remembrance ceremonies, books and memorials.

The lesson from this is that we do not have to perceive phenomena directly with our senses to believe that they are real. We can perceive the reality of phenomena simply on the basis of second hand evidence if enough of that evidence is provided.

In essence, reality is what we believe to be real. It is difficult to divorce the notion of reality from the notion of a belief system. The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person. And these notions in our minds can change with time and changing perceptions, if they are not too strongly embedded.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on July 28th, 2017, 5:03 pm 

edy420 wrote:We perceive reality with our senses…

Not so. We cannot perceive that which our senses perceive. We can only perceive, and be privy to, our ‘perceptions’ (the mental impressions/representations).

We have no way of knowing if our perceptions are the result of our senses, or of some other source/cause (i.e. illusions, delusions, hallucinations, dreams, etc. etc.)

We can only assume, speculate, and hope, that our ‘perceptions’ represent or reflect, true objects existing in reality.

edy420 wrote:…but what is it that we perceive?

We can only perceive ‘perceptions’, …not ‘things’ (real objects) themselves.

The realness of a perceived object can only be speculated, and never known with certainty, ...as we have no means of perceiving beyond our perceptions!


Graeme M wrote:I think that we cannot "know" reality being that all we can ever do is represent reality through perception.

I agree that we can’t trust the content of our subjective perceptions, but this does not mean we can’t “know” something about objective reality.

Graeme M wrote:Each of us may perceive aspects of the external world slightly differently, but as mitchellmckain says above there must be a certain amount of objectivity to our perception…

Not so. Our perceptions are wholly subjective. We can’t get objectivity from subjective content. We have no way of knowing the source/cause of our perceptions. We are only privy to the ‘perception’, not to the ‘perceiving’. Our perceptions may in fact be the result of illusions, delusions, hallucinations, dreams, etc.. We have no way of knowing.

Graeme M wrote:...in that evolution has equipped us to all represent the world in much the same way (for example by perceiving some frequencies of radiation as light).

...this is only according to the content of our subjective perceptions.

Graeme M wrote:I do not believe that the fact that we may share different inner perceptually based models of the world means anything at all about external reality…

Agreed. Our perception of others perceiving the same perception, is still just a perception. Me dreaming of others dreaming is still just a dream.


doogles wrote:You can see the bar of chocolate, feel it, smell it, hear it snap as you break off a piece and you can taste a piece if you place it in your mouth. There is no doubt that to you the chocolate bar is real.

Is it possible to hallucinate these experiences? And if so, then is the chocolate bar still considered “undoubtedly real”?

doogles wrote:Five of your senses in contact with the outside world have registered positive and thus perceived it as such. This is hard reality. No argument!

1. Is the confirmation/knowing of reality based on the ‘popularity’ of perceptions?
2. Would our perception of 5 different people telling us they perceived “flying pigs”, then make “flying pigs” a “hard reality”?

doogles wrote:In essence, reality is what we believe to be real.

Not so. It is called our “beliefs” that are what we believe to be real, ...not "reality"! I don’t think “reality” cares about what we believe or don’t believe. It is what it is.

Here is my take:

Reality is the collection of all that which exists with certainty. Certainties are that which exist INDEPENDENT of one’s perceptions (and beliefs!)

doogles wrote:It is difficult to divorce the notion of reality from the notion of a belief system. The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person. And these notions in our minds can change with time and changing perceptions, if they are not too strongly embedded.

I agree that “notions” can exist in the mind of a person. Although an interesting point, I think you are confusing the “notion” of X with X itself.

One’s experience of a “notion” does not diminish the “reality” (certainty) of that notion.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby doogles on July 29th, 2017, 6:48 am 

RJG - "Is it possible to hallucinate these experiences? And if so, then is the chocolate bar still considered “undoubtedly real”?"

I think RJG, that for the purposes of this chat we have to assume we are talking about the perceptions of people in a 'normal' state of mind.

Even if we perceive a mirage in the distance, the mirage itself is real to our perceptions. It is a real mirage. The fact that it is not water reflecting light at a low angle off land in the distance does not make it less real as a mirage.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on July 30th, 2017, 10:44 pm 

doogles wrote:
RJG wrote:Is it possible to hallucinate these experiences? And if so, then is the chocolate bar still considered “undoubtedly real”?"

I think RJG, that for the purposes of this chat we have to assume we are talking about the perceptions of people in a 'normal' state of mind.

Isn’t this one of the problems?

When perceiving something, how can you be certain that you are in a “normal state of mind”?

    1. If you're NOT certain -- then how can you claim there is “no doubt” that the perceived object is real?

    2. And if you ARE certain -- then what is it that you are perceiving? Isn't it still just the ‘perception’ (a mental impression) of a supposed/suspected real object?

Does being of sound mind give us a better view of reality? Aren’t perceptions still just perceptions in both the sound and unsound minds?

The problem is that none of us are able to see beyond our own perceptions. The best we can do is just assume and hope that our perceptions reflect and represent ‘real’ things of reality.


doogles wrote:Even if we perceive a mirage in the distance, the mirage itself is real to our perceptions.

Is it the ‘mirage’ that is real, or is it the ‘perception’ (of the mirage)?

Note: The ‘experience’ (perception) of some-thing is much more certain than the some-thing itself.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby doogles on July 31st, 2017, 5:57 am 

RGB"When perceiving something, how can you be certain that you are in a “normal state of mind”?
1. If you're NOT certain -- then how can you claim there is “no doubt” that the perceived object is real?

2. And if you ARE certain -- then what is it that you are perceiving? Isn't it still just the ‘perception’ (a mental impression) of a supposed/suspected real object?

Does being of sound mind give us a better view of reality? Aren’t perceptions still just perceptions in both the sound and unsound minds?"



Yes RGB, I agree that perceptions are just perceptions. But isn’t that the best we can get from our five senses in constant contact with the ‘real’ world outside of our bodies?.

And wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect that the perceptions from any of our senses of any given phenomenon could vary from person to person. Isn’t it well-established now that measurements of any biological function always result in a frequency distribution curve? Biological variation is a reality.

I'm having a problem with your issue that people of 'non-normal' mind may not have the same perceptions as those of 'normal' mind. It seems like an argument suggesting that the exception negates the general rule.

Can I ask you whether you personally would regard a block of chocolate on a table in front of you as real, if you perceived that it looked to you like chocolate, it smelt like chocolate, it felt like chocolate, it snapped with the sound of a chocolate bar, and when you nibbled off a bit, it tasted like chocolate? And then if you turned the other way after washing the smell off your fingers, and possibly rinsing out your mouth, could you picture in your mind that block of chocolate and believe that it was still on the table behind you?

Unless you argue that someone could have sneaked in and taken away the bar while your back was turned, I believe you would have to agree that in this extreme case wherein ALL your external senses perceived the chocolate bar, that it was your perceptions via those senses that established the reality of the chocolate bar on the table.

I still say that this scenario in itself is unarguable.

If I can get consensus on that as a starter, I’d like to move onto further discussion of the mirage and other aspects of our perceptions of reality..
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Braininvat on July 31st, 2017, 9:31 am 

The problem is that none of us are able to see beyond our own perceptions. The best we can do is just assume and hope that our perceptions reflect and represent ‘real’ things of reality.



I would add "test our observations" to "assume and hope." We can interact with objects of perception, query others as to what they perceive at the location of that object, even (in some cases) break the object down into components. We can enhance our own perceptual organs with artificial instruments like microscopes, X-ray machines, telescopes, spectrometers, etc. We have many proven strategies for getting a more objective reading on the situation presented to us. Every time we consult with another sentient being, we are "able to see beyond our own perceptions." That is why language is so powerful, as one of the instruments to enhance our perceptions.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on July 31st, 2017, 11:02 am 

RJG wrote:When perceiving something, how can you be certain that you are in a “normal state of mind”?

doogles wrote:Can I ask you whether you personally would regard a block of chocolate on a table in front of you as real, if you perceived that it looked to you like chocolate, it smelt like chocolate, it felt like chocolate, it snapped with the sound of a chocolate bar, and when you nibbled off a bit, it tasted like chocolate?

It’s ‘realness’ cannot be known with certainty.

1. Is it possible to dream of something and not know you are dreaming?
2. Have you ever dreamed of a block of chocolate?

We have no way of knowing if our perceptions (mental impressions) of reality are accurate. Our perceptions may in fact be the result of illusions, delusions, hallucinations, dreams, etc.. We have NO WAY of knowing!

Claiming that our perceptions represent something ‘real’ is pure speculation that requires blind faith.


RJG wrote:The problem is that none of us are able to see beyond our own perceptions. The best we can do is just assume and hope that our perceptions reflect and represent ‘real’ things of reality.

Braininvat wrote:Every time we consult with another sentient being, we are "able to see beyond our own perceptions."

Not so. Our perception of consulting with other sentient beings is still just a perception. Dreaming of having conversations with others is still just a dream.

We are trapped behind the “looking glass” (aka “our perceptions”). We have no other view. We can only assume, speculate, and HOPE that what we see (through our looking glass) is somehow ‘real’.

It is not logically possible to perceive beyond our own perceptions, ...even if our perceptions tell us otherwise!



****** NOTE TO LOMAX (or BIV) --- please correct my user status, you recently allowed me back on this forum, but yet my user status still says "banned user". --- THANK YOU!
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby BadgerJelly on July 31st, 2017, 11:37 am 

Please change my user status to "penis user". It would be both accurate and ambiguous.

Welcome back Red Jelly Goat :D
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on July 31st, 2017, 11:51 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:Please change my user status to "penis user". It would be both accurate and ambiguous.

Welcome back Red Jelly Goat :D


Thanks BJ (...I think? :-) )
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby mitchellmckain on July 31st, 2017, 11:55 am 

doogles » July 28th, 2017, 6:17 am wrote:I would like to contribute a couple of cents worth to this chat. As I’ve said before, I’m an imagist and an introspectionist and I like to use concrete examples in discussions, rather than vague generalities. The following points agree with those made by several other earlier posters.

Place a bar of chocolate, a bowl of disinfectant and a hand towel on a table and sit facing it. You can see the bar of chocolate, feel it, smell it, hear it snap as you break off a piece and you can taste a piece if you place it in your mouth. There is no doubt that to you the chocolate bar is real. Five of your senses in contact with the outside world have registered positive and thus perceived it as such. This is hard reality. No argument!

Now, rinse your fingers in the disinfectant and dry them to remove the smell of the chocolate on your fingers.

Turn your chair around so that you face the other way, and then hold your nose. You cannot see, touch, taste or smell the chocolate, but you know it’s there. There is no doubt that the bar of chocolate is real, whether you are actually looking at it or not. Your senses have left impressions of it in your brain.

But a fair discussion of reality should put a much greater variety of things on the table. Not everything engages all of the senses or even any of the senses directly. So, you are going to have things which people only smell and others which are only visible (holographic projection). More importantly you will have things which scientists say is there on the basis of reasoning and the readings of instruments, and you will have things the religious say is there on the basis of their interpretation of personal experiences, but which other people see little reason to believe exists. I would distinguish the epistemological status of science and religion, arguing that science is based on objective evidence while religion based on subjective evidence. And while not everyone accepts this distinction the logic is sufficient for the public judgement in a free society to rule that science provides a reasonable basis for expecting agreement while religion does not.

I would include with equanimity in the category of religion a large number of beliefs such as ghosts, UFOs, divination methods such as astrology, fairies, healing powers of crystals, psychics, and alternative medicines for which there is no generally accepted objective evidence. Some of these you personally may be inclined to dismiss as nonsense but I try to avoid presuming that my own personal experiences define reality.


doogles » July 28th, 2017, 6:17 am wrote:The lesson from this is that we do not have to perceive phenomena directly with our senses to believe that they are real. We can perceive the reality of phenomena simply on the basis of second hand evidence if enough of that evidence is provided.

Correct.

doogles » July 28th, 2017, 6:17 am wrote:In essence, reality is what we believe to be real.

No, you must be a little more careful than this. People make mistakes and believe things which are incorrect. Just because you believe there is a conspiracy against you doesn't mean there really is any such thing.

doogles » July 28th, 2017, 6:17 am wrote:It is difficult to divorce the notion of reality from the notion of a belief system.

Science is founded on a methodology which certainly does separate reality from belief. Presuming that reality as a whole must be confined to this is perhaps unfounded, but I think we have excellent reason to conclude there is an objective aspect to reality which has no regard whatsoever for what we may believe.

However, scientists have established that belief plays a fundamental role in perception. But the correct conclusion to draw from this is that perception does not define reality.

doogles » July 28th, 2017, 6:17 am wrote:The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person.

This is demonstrably incorrect and an example is right here in your own words. Your communication to us is presuming that the notion of reality can exist in the sharing of minds that occurs in the process of human discussion. But not only does a notion of reality exist outside the mind of a person, but there is excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality quite apart from our visualizations and notions of it. Scientists have been forced by the objective evidence to accept conclusions which completely contradict their own expectations and notions of what is sensible. That does not sound like a notion of reality which only exists in their own mind.

Say rather that the presumption that reality is entirely objective is unwarranted by the objective evidence. Indeed, I have good pragmatic reasons for believing there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality as well.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Braininvat on July 31st, 2017, 12:46 pm 

RJG - not sure how you logged on. You were re-banned when you directed ad hominems at users, and compared their attitudes to the Ku Klux Klan in another thread. Really sorry, but that violates a very fundamental SPCF rule and generally results in a permanent ban. I haven't got time to unravel this mess or figure out how you hacked your way in. Or if you intentionally did so. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, assume the temp ban was sufficient warning, and move on.

Your adoption of what is called, by philosophers like David Chalmers and others, the Skeptical Position, is duly noted. Please respect that many members do not embrace this position and give some weight to inter-subjective agreements, and not from just "blind faith." When multiple observers can share their perceptions and make extremely accurate predictions of future events based on these consistent measurements, then we are in the realm of scientific realism, a view that has more epistemological grounds than just blind faith.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on July 31st, 2017, 1:14 pm 

Braininvat wrote:RJG - not sure how you logged on. You were re-banned when you directed ad hominems at users, and compared their attitudes to the Ku Klux Klan in another thread.

1) There was no hacking involved. I just logged on my normal way. 2) To clarify/defend my position, there was never an intentional attempt to cast an ad hominem. Though I realize my words may have been poorly written and thereby misinterpreted. And for this I apologize.

Braininvat wrote:I will give you the benefit of the doubt, assume the temp ban was sufficient warning, and move on.

Thank you.

Braininvat wrote:Your adoption of what is called, by philosophers like David Chalmers and others, the Skeptical Position, is duly noted. Please respect that many members do not embrace this position and give some weight to inter-subjective agreements, and not from just "blind faith." When multiple observers can share their perceptions and make extremely accurate predictions of future events based on these consistent measurements, then we are in the realm of scientific realism, a view that has more epistemological grounds than just blind faith.

Noted.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby doogles on August 1st, 2017, 6:34 am 

RGB, evidently you don’t agree that if your perceptions from all five senses in contact with the outside world register positive to a block of chocolate, that the block of chocolate is real. I have to conclude that you and I just have no commonality in the understanding of ‘reality’ and ‘perception’. This means unfortunately, that we appear to have no agreed premise on which to base any further dialogue.

In using the example of a chocolate bar, I’ve only copied and expanded the principle of the adage that “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.” This duck adage requires the perceptions of only two of our senses in contact with the outside world. My bar of chocolate tested the perceptions of all five senses.

And this raises the question of how many of our senses need to test positive for confirmation of reality. Obviously, confirmation of the reality of a bar of chocolate does not need perceptions from all five of our senses. A glance, plus a sniff, would be enough.

I imagine that, by far, the most common of the five senses we use to perceive the reality of the world around us.is a single glance. Familiarity from every-day usage may have made us oblivious to the fact that we all perceive reality every day of our waking lives. From the moment we wake up in the morning, we perceive reality. We perceive our bedroom and everything in it. We perceive that every object in the house is real and still present. When driving to work, we perceive that other cars are in motion and because they are real, we avoid colliding with them. We perceive at a glance that all of the other people at our workplace are real. We avoid bumping into them because they are real and bumping into real things can cause problems. We communicate with them because they are real and sentient.

We perceive that the whole environment that we work and reside in is real. And with the knowledge that real physical objects occupy space, we go around them. Does anyone believe we would bother if we perceived that they were not real? A single glance is usually enough to identify individual objects.

But from experience, we know that all of the objects and persons we encounter every day are solid or liquid, some have characteristic smells, some make characteristic noises and many of the edible objects have characteristic tastes. This is reality to us because our senses have perceived all of these properties in the objects around us from an early age.

But there are some things surrounding us under ‘normal’ circumstances that we know are real but which we cannot perceive and which we believe to be real because of other evidence. Consider the air around us. It’s invisible, silent, odourless (unless contaminated), tasteless and non-palpable. It’s the indirect evidence (that air is a substance) that is real, and it’s our perception of that evidence that makes air a reality to us.

This is a good time to add Braininvat’s plausible comments on the need in some cases for confirmation of our own perceptions - “I would add "test our observations" to "assume and hope." We can interact with objects of perception, query others as to what they perceive at the location of that object, even (in some cases) break the object down into components. We can enhance our own perceptual organs with artificial instruments like microscopes, X-ray machines, telescopes, spectrometers, etc. We have many proven strategies for getting a more objective reading on the situation presented to us. Every time we consult with another sentient being, we are "able to see beyond our own perceptions." That is why language is so powerful, as one of the instruments to enhance our perceptions.”

There are more angles to this, but I’ve already exceeded acceptable limits for a post

mitchellmckain
, I think the above may answer some of your early comments.

I would like to chat with you further about the rest of your post after I have more time to ponder the issues you raised. You made some good points. For now, I’d just like to comment on my claim that “The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person.”

We may be interpreting “notion of reality” at cross-purposes. I used the term in the sense of a ‘notion’ being a mental construct – in the real sense that a ‘notion’ itself can only occur in a brain. I think you may have interpreted ‘notion of reality’ as something like the ‘intrinsic quality of something being real’. I would agree whole-heartedly that there is an infinite number of real phenomena out there outside the range of our perceptions.

But if we perceive them, then they become somewhat ‘real’ to us at the time we perceive them. (I used the word ‘somewhat’ to allow for doubtful positive perceptions).
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on August 1st, 2017, 8:13 am 

doogles wrote:And this raises the question of how many of our senses need to test positive for confirmation of reality. Obviously, confirmation of the reality of a bar of chocolate does not need perceptions from all five of our senses. A glance, plus a sniff, would be enough.

Could there ever be a possibility where all 5 senses detect the object, but the object NOT be real?
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Braininvat on August 1st, 2017, 10:02 am 

I've never smelled a hologram. Or a mirage.

But the Skeptical Position can always reference the (cough) Brain in a Vat thought experiment. It is possible that you could be a brain, floating in a vat or jar or whatever, and all your neural inputs are feeding you fake sensory data. Or there's Nick Bostrom's conjecture, that it is likely we are living in a computer simulation (see the Scaramucci thread, and Dave Oblad's "Dilbert" cartoon) created by an advanced civilization. In that case, objects that we perceive are just part of the simulation and would vanish if the software stopped running.

In figuring the probability that such a scenario accurately describes our world, one often runs up against the Drake Equation, i.e. one wants some sense of how long high-tech civilizations last and what are the chances that historical simulations would be of any value to them. For me, it is simply not possible to do anything but speculate, given that we do not know what our own society will be like in a couple hundred years, let alone several milllenia. And, in a very good simulation, how would we ever be able to detect that it was a simulation?
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby mitchellmckain on August 1st, 2017, 3:01 pm 

doogles » August 1st, 2017, 5:34 am wrote:mitchellmckain[/b], I think the above may answer some of your early comments.

I would like to chat with you further about the rest of your post after I have more time to ponder the issues you raised. You made some good points. For now, I’d just like to comment on my claim that “The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person.”

We may be interpreting “notion of reality” at cross-purposes. I used the term in the sense of a ‘notion’ being a mental construct – in the real sense that a ‘notion’ itself can only occur in a brain. I think you may have interpreted ‘notion of reality’ as something like the ‘intrinsic quality of something being real’. I would agree whole-heartedly that there is an infinite number of real phenomena out there outside the range of our perceptions.

But if we perceive them, then they become somewhat ‘real’ to us at the time we perceive them. (I used the word ‘somewhat’ to allow for doubtful positive perceptions).

Well, I am no idealist to believe that universals, ideas and concepts somehow exist out there as things outside of the mind. I am more of a nominalist, insisting that only particulars exist - that includes not only particular ideas in particular minds, but also in the symbolic representations of communication media. And I would not buy into the argument that these are less real instances of the ideas because even the minds themselves can be considered to exist in some media which is just as representational.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby BadgerJelly on August 2nd, 2017, 1:30 am 

Biv -

But the Skeptical Position can always reference the (cough) Brain in a Vat thought experiment. It is possible that you could be a brain, floating in a vat or jar or whatever, and all your neural inputs are feeding you fake sensory data.


I hallucination can serve this purpose. There doesn't need to be "inputs".

Either way I don't see the importance of saying my experience is real or not. I experience stuff and the experience is real. I tend to add weight to stuff that happens to guide me through my experience and make greater sense of said stuff.

At the heart of it the OP seems more concerned with a simpler question. Do I see or do my eyes see? Do I smell or does my nose smell. There is at least a very hard case for saying emotion is essential to perception. We have to "feel" something about stuff to bring it to a state of "real". That which holds no emotional value is a no-thing, up to the point where it wanders into emotional importance.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby doogles on August 2nd, 2017, 6:02 am 

mitchellmckain "But not only does a notion of reality exist outside the mind of a person, but there is excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality quite apart from our visualizations and notions of it. Scientists have been forced by the objective evidence to accept conclusions which completely contradict their own expectations and notions of what is sensible. That does not sound like a notion of reality which only exists in their own mind.

Say rather that the presumption that reality is entirely objective is unwarranted by the objective evidence. Indeed, I have good pragmatic reasons for believing there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality as well."


This part of your post raised another interesting point. So far the examples I’ve used have related to perceptions of phenomena encountered daily by the average suburbanite and these perceptions are quite subjective as a ‘given’. It’s possible that ALL people perceive phenomena exactly the same, but because of biological variation, it’s most unlikely. Therefore I tend to believe that each individual’s perception of phenomena is idiosyncratic to that individual. And I think that this is more so when the phenomenon being perceived involves activity or motion.

One of the many points of Braininvat’s that I agreed with was that if others report similar perceptions to your own, then you can be more confident of the reliability of your own perceptions of reality.

It’s a realisation of this potential for misinterpretations of subjective perceptions, in a way to my mind that has led to the establishment of the ‘Scientific Method’.

The Scientific Method insists on measurable data rather than subjective estimates (although there are still problems in totally eliminating subjectivity in scoring methods across many disciplines) and on pre-agreed objectivity in interpretation of ‘objectively-measured’ data by predefined (in principle) statistical methods. The Scientific Method aims at taking subjective perceptions out of observations as to what is ‘real’ or ‘not-real’ (reality).

So do you think that this suggests we should distinguish between subjectively-determined reality based on individual perceptions (which I maintain happens daily in every waking hour in every individual on the planet and which is so common and familiar that each of us relegates it to non-awareness) and objectively-determined scientific reality which aims to be objective, but when analysed in detail, produces many useful outcomes.as well as questionable ones.

Is there a need to re-label ‘realities’ as subjective or objective or can we just appreciate the difference on the basis of the context in which they are presented?

One personal anecdote I can present involves my own research during my 25 years as a country veterinarian. We had a disease entity called ‘milk fever’ in dairy cows. It was caused by a sudden drop in serum calcium. Cows became paralytic, recumbent and comatose before dying. An injection of calcium into the jugular vein in the early stages resulted in the cow miraculously jumping up to her feet and acting normally. But worldwide reports indicated that many cows were not responding to these calcium injections. Researchers were finding that serum phosphorus and plasma potassium concentrations were often low in such cases.

I decided that I would treat every second case attended with calcium plus potassium solution. My perception during this exercise was that the ones treated with potassium were responding far better than the controls. Then I would visit the occasional case that was in extremis – and I would have a mental debate with myself as to whether I should administer the solution with potassium in it or stick to my alternate case discipline. I resisted this choice, fortunately. I had worked out 4 classifications of responses to treatment and did chi-square tests for statistical analysis after I had attended 136 consecutive cases (68 with and 68 without potassium). The statistical analysis showed no significant difference in responses. This was a personal lesson to me in the fallibility of perceptions.

But having said that, I still contend that 99% or more of perceptions of reality are performed daily by non-scientific individuals in suburbia, and that less than 1% are performed by scientific scholars. On balance in everyday suburban life, it is reality that we perceive continuously, even admitting that perceptions are fallible and subject to error.

I'll just leave things hanging a bit by claiming that the suburbanite perceptions I've mentioned above have a complicating factor in that the realities encountered have mostly been perceived and rationalised multitudes of times. But being repetitious, it is reality that we suburbanites perceive repetitively, otherwise our lives would have no basic order.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on August 2nd, 2017, 8:31 am 

doogles wrote:One of the many points of Braininvat’s that I agreed with was that if others report similar perceptions to your own, then you can be more confident of the reliability of your own perceptions of reality.

1. Our perceptions of reality are true, because our perceptions say so!

This is flawed reasoning, because that which is being questioned, is providing the answer. The 'suspect' exonerates himself.

2. The Bible is the true word of God, because the Bible says so!

3. Everything said on the internet is true, because the internet says so!

4. And if you don't believe me, just ask me!
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby Braininvat on August 2nd, 2017, 10:25 am 

Our perceptions of reality are true, because our perceptions say so


This was not a proposition made by either Doogles or myself. Aspects of scientific realism have been brought up by MM, Doogles, and others. Your response is to reduce their statements to a caricature of naive realism.
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby RJG on August 2nd, 2017, 1:04 pm 

doogles wrote:… that if others report similar perceptions to your own, then you can be more confident of the reliability of your own perceptions of reality.

RJG wrote:Our perceptions of reality are true, because our perceptions say so! --- This is flawed reasoning, because that which is being questioned, is providing the answer.

Braininvat wrote:This was not a proposition made by either Doogles or myself.

?? Aren't these “others” (and their "reports") also perceptions? …or are they somehow distinct from all our other perceptions?

Braininvat wrote:Your response is to reduce their statements to a caricature of naive realism.

Not so. I am simply pointing out a LOGICAL FALLACY within Doogles statement. --- PLEASE DO NOT INFER ANYTHING MORE!!

To help recognize this “circular argument”, the logical form is:

    X is true because of Y
    Y is true because of X
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Re: Is it reality that we perceive

Postby BadgerJelly on August 2nd, 2017, 10:30 pm 

RJG -

Is the sky blue?
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