Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 33

Thread: Reality

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    923

    Reality

    I was at work today and thought of this. I don't have a lot to say but thought i would post this and see what people say

    Is there reality and then our brains and then what we perceive to be our reality ?

    Our brains interpret the signals that come into them but that dos'nt mean what we see as reality is the truth as it is
    only an interpretation.
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    9,672
    There's any number of illusions that show that what we think is real isn't always so.

    That's without even bringing relativity into it (where it's space and tiume that bend to keep the speed of light constant, and not the other way around).
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    Well yes, the reality debate has been going on for a very long time (plato's shadows in a cave) and sure will continue for even longer.
    Science works by making assumptions that the universe exists and that we can learn something about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,102
    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post

    Is there reality and then our brains and then what we perceive to be our reality ?

    Our brains interpret the signals that come into them but that dos'nt mean what we see as reality is the truth as it is
    only an interpretation.
    Why is it that people tend to "forget" that the brain is also one of those things that we can only perceive?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    39,704
    At this point, I feel a compelling need to post two quotes:

    "Reality, what a concept."

    "Reality is for people who can't handle the science fiction" (or substitute your own idea for the last)

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    Is there reality and then our brains and then what we perceive to be our reality ?
    To give a more serious answer... as others have said, this is a debate that has gone on forever. I went through a period in my teens when I got pulled into such debates, usually very late at night. Personally, I no longer find it an interesting debate, though don't let me stop you or anyone else. I believe there is a physical reality, and my brain and senses read and interpret that, even if not perfectly. The fact that it can not be proven doesn't trouble me at all.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,102
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post

    To give a more serious answer... as others have said, this is a debate that has gone on forever. I went through a period in my teens when I got pulled into such debates, usually very late at night. Personally, I no longer find it an interesting debate, though don't let me stop you or anyone else. I believe there is a physical reality, and my brain and senses read and interpret that, even if not perfectly. The fact that it can not be proven doesn't trouble me at all.
    But your brain and your senses are part of that physical reality that your brain and your senses supposedly read and interpret. Doesn't that trouble you, even a little bit?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Falls Church, VA (near Washington, DC)
    Posts
    4,974
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    But your brain and your senses are part of that physical reality that your brain and your senses supposedly read and interpret. Doesn't that trouble you, even a little bit?
    No.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    17,365
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    But your brain and your senses are part of that physical reality that your brain and your senses supposedly read and interpret. Doesn't that trouble you, even a little bit?
    I'm puzzled - why should it trouble me?

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    11,557
    This seems to have slipped into a solipsism discussion, but I don't think the OP meant that. I read it as more of a through the glass darkly kinda thing instead of in a glass jar kinda thing.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    20,104
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    But your brain and your senses are part of that physical reality that your brain and your senses supposedly read and interpret. Doesn't that trouble you, even a little bit?
    I vote no too.
    As long as my brain is interpreting some kind of physical reality that matches everyone elses, then any interactions with society will be on the same footing and move forward. Just like "our" universe (if we are in a multiverse), it is "our" reality.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    well its very well understood that our senses are limited, and the brain fills in the gaps to give us a picture that makes sense to us. The brain often does get it wrong, as can be seen from any optical illusion, never mind that we can only see a small spectrum of light.
    But im not sure if this is what the opening post was getting at either.
    Our reality is based on our cognitive senses along with our understanding of their limitations, and the instruments we have built to overcome our shortcomings.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    39,704
    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    This seems to have slipped into a solipsism discussion, but I don't think the OP meant that. I read it as more of a through the glass darkly kinda thing instead of in a glass jar kinda thing.
    I'm not sure what you mean by that Ara Pacis, though I have a guess. The solipsism discussion is whether or not there is a physical reality. What kevin1981 was asking about was how different is the physical reality from what we sense or perceive the physical reality to be.

    I do agree those are different questions, but I kind of think neither is answerable. Sure, we can agree, for example, that human eyes can not see x-rays, for example, and so we can only perceive them through the use of tools. But at some fundamental level you eventually get to the point of an assumption that what I perceive is reality.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,102
    I see almost everybody here has made up their minds already or feel compelled to make up their minds. Me, I like to keep a question open. I think it's much more interesting that way. Even if I can't answer it, just thinking about it could lead to interesting new ideas and perspectives.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    I see almost everybody here has made up their minds already or feel compelled to make up their minds. Me, I like to keep a question open. I think it's much more interesting that way. Even if I can't answer it, just thinking about it could lead to interesting new ideas and perspectives.
    I dont see where making up ones mind comes into it.
    We all accept that our interpretation of reality may be incomplete or skewed in some way. What we have made up our minds about is that even if that is the case, it is still our reality. People still manage to consider additional dimensions or multiverses, so it dosnt really limit the imagination of what might be beyond us.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    20,104
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    I see almost everybody here has made up their minds already or feel compelled to make up their minds. Me, I like to keep a question open. I think it's much more interesting that way. Even if I can't answer it, just thinking about it could lead to interesting new ideas and perspectives.
    Nope; my mind is not made up. I responded to "does it trouble you?".
    I may live in the Matrix, I just don't care.
    Even if I know I live in the Matrix, I can't do much about it and neither can the ones around me, but it would be nice to know.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    923
    I guess in all honesty there is no way to answer my question as we would need to step out of our reality to look at it
    objectively. Reality could look very different and we only see it as our reality because of our brains interpretation of it, or,
    this is what true reality looks like. Either way, we can not have a definitive answer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The solipsism discussion is whether or not there is a physical reality
    I am interested to learn more about this quote though

    Are you suggesting there are arguments for there not being a physical reality.. ?
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    39,704
    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    Originally Posted by Swift
    The solipsism discussion is whether or not there is a physical reality
    I am interested to learn more about this quote though

    Are you suggesting there are arguments for there not being a physical reality.. ?
    There exist such arguments, but I don't think they are very good arguments. There were some very late nights in high school where a bunch of us would sit around and have such debates; this personal experience taught me the debate is pointless.

    I commmonly think of such arguments by the "brain in a box" term. They go: how do we know that we aren't all just a bunch of brains connected up to some master computer, and what we perceive as reality is some fantastic simulation that fools us into thinking that is reality. And the simulation is so perfect, that we can't tell we are in a simulation. There is no test that we can do, that one can't argue "oh, that's just the fake data the computer is feeding to your brain".

    I guess the modern version of this is "The Matrix".

    But personally, I ultimately find such discussions pointless. If this simulation is perfect, then there is no test we can do to disprove we are living in a simulation. One ultimately has to assume that there exists a physical reality and we are living in it. Or don't assume it, assume you are living in a simulation... then what?
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    11,557
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    There exist such arguments, but I don't think they are very good arguments. There were some very late nights in high school where a bunch of us would sit around and have such debates; this personal experience taught me the debate is pointless.

    I commmonly think of such arguments by the "brain in a box" term. They go: how do we know that we aren't all just a bunch of brains connected up to some master computer, and what we perceive as reality is some fantastic simulation that fools us into thinking that is reality. And the simulation is so perfect, that we can't tell we are in a simulation. There is no test that we can do, that one can't argue "oh, that's just the fake data the computer is feeding to your brain".

    I guess the modern version of this is "The Matrix".

    But personally, I ultimately find such discussions pointless. If this simulation is perfect, then there is no test we can do to disprove we are living in a simulation. One ultimately has to assume that there exists a physical reality and we are living in it. Or don't assume it, assume you are living in a simulation... then what?
    And then there's the related argument that instead of us living inside a simulation, we are a simulation. there's no want to prove or disprove either idea. While this sounds like it refers to technology, it is essentially equivalent, if not identical, to religious claims.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Peters Creek, Alaska
    Posts
    8,351
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I commmonly think of such arguments by the "brain in a box" term. They go: how do we know that we aren't all just a bunch of brains connected up to some master computer, and what we perceive as reality is some fantastic simulation that fools us into thinking that is reality.
    The one that always springs to my mind is the even less useful "How do you know you're a man (or a woman) and not a butterfly dreaming that you're a man (o.a.w.)?" If you hear that one brought up at the coffee clatch, run my friend, run.

    And then there's that old chestnut from (or attributed to...I forget) Niels Bohr, "Nothing is real unless it is observed."

    I've never taken a course in or read a book on philosophy but my take on it is that a physical Universe exists irrespective of our perception of it. Otherwise, there would be nothing to perceive...unless the matrix/dream scenario is true, of course. Should humans suddenly cease to exist, I'm pretty sure the Universe will march on without us. There just won't be a human "reality" based upon it.

    That's my reality and I'm stickin' to it.
    Brett's the name. Peters Creek is the place.
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────
    My moderation comments will appear in this color.
    To report a post (even this one) to the moderation team, click the reporting icon in the lower-left corner of the post:
    .
    Rules For Posting To This Board ► ◄ Forum FAQs ► ◄ Conspiracy Theory Advice ► ◄ Alternate Theory Advice

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    39,704
    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I've never taken a course in or read a book on philosophy
    I had a housemate for one year in grad school who was a philosophy major, and that was more than enough for me.

    I recall him trying to start a debate with me one time as to whether the electron actually existed, since no one had ever seen one.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    i think it worth mentioning that solipsism is not just restricted to late night student discussions. There are a good number of folk that are Solipsists, where this philosophy under pins their entire view of the world.
    Its not quite like the Matrix in that it asserts that the only thing you can Know is that your mind exists. If one takes this as being the only truth, then obviously it will colour their perspective on many issues, such as morality.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    11,557
    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    i think it worth mentioning that solipsism is not just restricted to late night student discussions. There are a good number of folk that are Solipsists, where this philosophy under pins their entire view of the world.
    Its not quite like the Matrix in that it asserts that the only thing you can Know is that your mind exists. If one takes this as being the only truth, then obviously it will colour their perspective on many issues, such as morality.
    It's a slippery slope for some. If I'm only aware that my mind exists, then I can't be sure that anyone else exists, and if I'm the only one in this reality that exists, then I must be the god.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,102
    Look, Kevin said:
    Our brains interpret the signals that come into them but that doesn't mean what we see as reality is the truth as it is
    only an interpretation.
    So what I'm getting at is that "our brains interpreting signals coming into them" is something studied by neuroscientists, but if "that doesn't mean what we see as reality is the truth" then that must also imply that "it doesn't mean that what neuroscientists see as reality, i.e. brains interpreting signals, is the truth". So Kevin's conclusion puts the very premise, on which the conclusion is based, in doubt. There's some kind of circularity here, and that's the "troubling" bit.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    13,886
    Now that I think about it, how do I know my brain exists? I've never seen it. Maybe there is just a serving of CocoPuffs between my ears.


    Which would explain a lot.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wally View Post
    Look, Kevin said:


    So what I'm getting at is that "our brains interpreting signals coming into them" is something studied by neuroscientists, but if "that doesn't mean what we see as reality is the truth" then that must also imply that "it doesn't mean that what neuroscientists see as reality, i.e. brains interpreting signals, is the truth". So Kevin's conclusion puts the very premise, on which the conclusion is based, in doubt. There's some kind of circularity here, and that's the "troubling" bit.
    I dont think its troubling at all. Reality is based on assumptions, theres no getting around that.
    The fact that i am typing this on a computer, that a dragon has just been sent to space and back all leads me to think those assumptions are reasonable to hold.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,102
    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    I dont think its troubling at all. Reality is based on assumptions, theres no getting around that.
    The fact that i am typing this on a computer, that a dragon has just been sent to space and back all leads me to think those assumptions are reasonable to hold.
    That's not what realism is. Realism means that there exists a reality independent of human perceptions (and assumptions).

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    405
    Ok, i meant our reality.
    We make the assumption that we can learn about absolute reality, and that the knowledge has utility value. If its beyond our cognitive powers then for now theres not much we can do about that.
    Maybe thats another thing singularity will help us find out...not that we will understand it of course.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    4,716
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I recall him trying to start a debate with me one time as to whether the electron actually existed, since no one had ever seen one.
    When I get into discussions like that, I like to say that electrons are as real as chairs are, since almost any argument that you can use to suggest that electrons aren't "real" can be used equally well on the everyday objects around us, whose existence we usually take for granted.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,950
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    What kevin1981 was asking about was how different is the physical reality from what we sense or perceive the physical reality to be.
    Quite a while ago i was interested in psychological studies relating to that. Whilst i have forgotten most of it, one that i do remember came to the conclusion that objects that we value are perceived as bigger. So not just that it draws our attention and stuff, but that a valued object actually is physically bigger in your internal representation of the world.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,950
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    There exist such arguments, but I don't think they are very good arguments.
    There is one argument that i do think is quite good. If we accept for the sake of argument that at some point in the future we will run such computer simulations that are indistinguishable from the real thing to someone inside, then inside that computer simulation people will be running those sorts of computer simulations, and so on. So for any individual chosen at random, he will almost surely be simulated, rather than "real" (ie at the top of the chain). So the probability that we are actually in a computer simulation is the same as the probability that we will at some point run those simulations, something that i personally consider quite likely given all the advances in computing.

    This assumes the possibility of an infinite tree of such simulations, which may not be that accurate, but even a finite number of child-simulations won't change the argument that much. The probability of us being in a computer simulation would then just be where p is the probability that we would run such simulations and n the number of such simulations (including child-simulations) we would run.

Similar Threads

  1. Everything in reality is very simple.
    By forrest noble in forum Against the Mainstream
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 2010-Oct-11, 04:40 AM
  2. What keeps us in reality
    By Sententia in forum Space/Astronomy Questions and Answers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 2010-May-24, 07:25 PM
  3. Reality in education
    By HenrikOlsen in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2006-Dec-15, 02:32 AM
  4. Reality TV
    By Glom in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 2005-Dec-05, 05:58 PM
  5. What is reality?
    By Moe_Darklight in forum Against the Mainstream
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 2005-Feb-19, 03:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
here
The forum is sponsored in-part by: