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Thread: how many of you really think this is real?

  1. #1 how many of you really think this is real? 
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    this world ?


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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Philosopher's response: "Define real."


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    Do you really believe this world to not be a part of our imagination?
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    Its actually more probable statistically that this world is like the matrix than the 'real world'. People who think it is are often people who aren't the matrix and are input into it.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twoamspell
    Do you really believe this world to not be a part of our imagination?
    Lewis Carroll's response: "He was part of my dream... but then - I was part of his dream too."

    The way you are using 'part' is almost like a synecdoche - as far as your experience is concerned, solipsistically, there may be nothing but your imagination - in which case the 'world' would be 'part' of it.

    Equally, there's no disproving the point of view that suggests your imagination is 'part' of the 'world'.

    There are no absolute criteria by which one can be demonstrated 'true' over the other.

    Or am I still sounding too paradoxical?
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    Umm, laymans terms or for dumber people?
    l'm really smart, though very unfamiliar with what your talking about.
    thanks
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    Do you honestly think we are "dreaming here"?
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    Why not, we rarely know we're dreaming so how about the same in the 'real' world.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    ldk, that sounds odd. hmm..
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    Quote Originally Posted by twoamspell
    Umm, laymans terms or for dumber people?
    l'm really smart, though very unfamiliar with what your talking about.
    thanks
    Some tough philosophical questions to deal with, or at least some fundamental ones, about which a lot has been said.

    Let me try out two technical terms from philosophy on you first.

    1. Ontology: The study of 'what is' (of 'reality' if you will)

    2. Epistemology: The study of how we know things (how reliable are our methods of knowledge, for instance).

    Many philosophers in the standard western tradition today do not talk about ontology at all, deeming it to be a fruitless exercise, because any claims you make about the 'reality' of reality, someone else will pop up and ask: "But how do you know that, and how reliable is your way of knowing?"

    Thus, many of the arguments these days are more regarding epistemology than ontology itself.

    Now, to address some of these issues using these tools.

    Quote Originally Posted by twoamspell
    Do you really believe this world to not be a part of our imagination?
    You and I both believe we have perceptions, thoughts etc. We can group all of these under the one head: experiences, or, to use a more philosophically accurate term: phenomena. Phenomena are the substances of our world of perception, thinking, conception etc. Phenomena are expected, for any individual, to be personal and subjective, and therefore, to an extent, to be 'true' - by true we simply mean that if an individual sincerely says "I am feeling sad", or "light of that colour hurts my eyes" then that is all the evidence we need to take these claims as true. But all the individual can comment upon, in this true way, is her own feelings/impressions.

    The problem, therefore, that philosophers labour under, is figuring out a way to go fom these perceptions, these phenomena, to any reliable description of the 'real' world.

    Here are some of the approaches taken (not an exhaustive list):

    Descartes: Used his famous cogito ergo sum (roughly translates as "I think, therefore I am"), to satisfy himself that he at least 'really' exists. Uses this, and a 'clear conception' of God, as truths upon which he can rely (bolstering the god argument with a little apriori theorising), and uses these to convince himself of the fact that, in despite of occasional mistakes in perception (illusions, mrages etc), in general he can rely upon his senses to give him a true pitcure of the real world.

    The Buddha: Phenomena are, strictly speaking, illusions tied up with the notion of a self, and upon the true rejection of this idea of a self (an ego, if you will) perception can open up (without any longer being linked to an 'individual') so the reality of the world can be perceived.

    Kant: Call the 'real' world, whatever it may consist of, the noumenal. Call what we experience, whatever it may consist of, the phenomenal. Discover that there is no way to go from the phenomenal (epistemologically speaking) to the noumenal. Therefore, even if there is a 'reality' out there, there is no way to say anything true about it.

    Solipsism: Since everything I experience is all I can experience, the entire universe is simply my experiences. I am god.

    And so on...

    Now, from your statement above, it seems as though you are likely to take the solipsistic point of view quite seriously. Philosophers tend not to pursue it too far, not because it is illogical in any way, or impossible, but simply because it is not fruitful - once upon the rock of solipsism, there is no way off it. Consider for instance:

    1. What is the role of other people in my life (given that they are part of the universe and hence part of my imagination)? Do I have any moral responsibility at all, and if so, what would it be?

    2. When I fall asleep does the universe go out?

    3. In any case, how does this help me predict or make sense of the plethora of phenomena in my world?

    Also, just because one takes the solipsistic approach does not mean it is true - there could well be a 'real' world out there (the noumenal) and, because we have nothing but phenomena to deal with, we could just ignore it and treat our phenomena as though they are all products of our minds/imaginations etc. But treating phenomena one way or the other cannot make the least blind bit of difference to whether or not there is the noumenal.

    Finally therefore, I do not have too many 'beliefs' about the 'world', neither thinking it to be a part of my imagination, nor, strictly speaking, thinking it even exists one way or the other. I tend to take a coherentist position on these matters - as long as my phenomena hang together, consistently or coherently, that's all I need for the conduct of my life. All else, as Hume points out, is just metaphysics!

    Hope this helps explain my point of view.

    cheer

    shanks
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    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=17792

    In this thread I give a good explanation of what I think.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  13. #12 Are you living in a Simulation? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Philosopher's response: "Define real."
    Define the act of defining.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Philosopher's response: "Define real."
    Define the act of defining.
    You tell me...

    But one way might simply be: use terms on which we are sure we agree (of the meaning of) to help construct an agreed (if I agree with your definition) meaning of the term in question. Of course this could lead to an infinite regress, but that's philo for you...
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  16. #15  
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    this sounds familiar.... define the act of defining... I make the claim the KALSTER is Socrates reborn!!
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Philosopher's response: "Define real."
    Define the act of defining.
    Correlate 'the act' with defining to define defining to be able to define the act of defining...
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  18. #17  
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    Okay... I rescind that... Bad Wolf is most definitely Socrates!! I mean, come on, do we really, REALLY, need to go that far?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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