Objective reality: How do we know it exists ?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Enmos, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. swarm Registered Senior Member

    But illusion is based on reality.
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  3. swarm Registered Senior Member

    I wouldn't call it a malady. It usually doesn't cause people problems and often it influences their art or other creative processes in productive manners.

    Also simply because their experience of something is different, that doesn't mean it isn't of something.

    Again, the understanding or misunderstanding of an experience is a seperate issue from the experience itself.

    Unfortunately if the brain is too damaged it can become unable to function. That a broken brain malfunctions is not an indictment against the functioning of a healthy brain.

    Except it actually does have a very distinctive taste.

    Experience can be of external objects or internal, but it is still of something. For example ringing in the ears is not the experience of an external sound, it is the experience of stimulation of the nerves in the ear itself. a dream experience may be of self created imagery or it may be a mix of external and internal sources. But either way it is experienced as an experience of that imagery.

    So a person may be mistaken about the actual nature of the object, but they are still having an experience of some object, be it internal or external.

    An interesting study was done on people who "hear voices." They found that the weren't just imagining that they heard voices. The part of the brain which hears was in fact the part that was mis firing and they actually were hearing a voice, albeit a spurious one, in the same way one would hear an actual voice instead of how one might imagin hearing a voice. Experiences and musings are handled differently by the brain.

    Yes, yes you are an arrogant twat who can't take being wrong.

    Beat that strawman.
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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    To Swarm & Quantum Quack:

    This discussion started with Swam making two identity relationships: “sound” = “sound waves” = traveling air pressure variations

    The second of which is correct, but the first is an error, IMHO. “Sound” is an experience, usually result of a mechanical/neurologic process, which we call “hearing” AND NOT THE SAME as pressure waves in air. (Sound also can be purely neurological in origin as in tinnitus.) This error is all I have been trying to correct with all my posts. I have NOT been discussing the accuracy with which one can infer the cause of an experience as both seem to think.

    For example Swarm, in post 502 states: “Experience can be of external objects or internal, but it is still of something. For example, ringing in the ears is not the experience of an external sound, it is the experience of stimulation of the nerves in the ear itself. …” and I agree these are possible causes, but tinnitus has at least half a dozen known causes, including brain injury and infections. That is why it is an error to make an identity between “buzzing in the ears” and any ONE of these causes. In general, it is an error to make an identity relationship between any experience and even the most common cause of it. E.g. “Sound” (an experience) is not identical with “sound waves” as the existence of tinnitus “buzzing sound” clearly demonstrates.

    Swarm offered a dictionary definition that supported his POV that sound and sound waves were identical, but I noted that dictionaries reflect popular usages of words, even when they are illogical and countered with Scientific American’s statement to effect that without someone to hear the tree falling in the forest that fall made no sound, only sound waves. Clearly that journal and most scientists do not consider “sound” and “sound waves” to be the same thing.

    Quantum Quack seems mainly to want to discuss our ignorance or accuracy about the cause of an experience and asserts in post 495 that if experiences appear to be without a cause, it only implies that the cause is unknown. QQ was critical of my saying that tinnitus and dreams are examples of experiences without any causing “agent;” however, by “agent” I meant an external active cause, such as sound waves entering the ear are the external agent causing one with normal hearing to hear sound. As a physicist, I certainly agree that QQ is correct in the POV that all experiences are caused. I did not intend to assert that they were without cause. I mentioned dreams and tinnitus mainly because they have many different causes. Thus, it is an obvious error to identify these experiences with any ONE cause.

    Again in Summary: An experience is not the same thing as its cause. It is an error to make an identity relationship between them.

    This is all I am and have been saying. Specifically: there is a difference between sound waves and a heard experience of sound. I.e. they are not the same thing. Equating them is wrong.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2009
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  7. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Not so quick...

    Non sequitor

    None of what you mention serves as a counter to what I said.
    Simply because we can 'experience' (though this qualification is doubtable..) a concept it doesn't follow that this purported non-experiential correlate notion actually obtains.
    Again, we have no basis for these extrapolated 'objective' notions of entities but our experiences of the sense-content.
  8. Gustav Banned Banned


    "....nothing but itself as a reference point.....accept it as provisionally true"

    since validity is not necessarily implicit in an argumentum ad populum, we can characterize the inferences as being tentative, provisional and amenable to revision.

    our estimate of the truth is good enough to satisfy my criteria for objectivity. needier fucks can perhaps turn to religion and god for more grandiose and overarching explanations of the world out there
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I completely agree with this so may have miss read you.

    My point, now and in all my posts related to this is only that as in some cases the SAME experience* in some people can be caused by more than one stimulus. Thus equating of the experience to any external cause or stimulus is an error. I.e. there is NOT an idenity relationship between "sound" and "sound waves." They differ, even in kind. One is an experience and the other is an energy form which can exist, for example when the tree falls in the forest with no ears near to hear it.

    Likewise in many cases the cause of an experience, such as headache, is unknown but the headache is very well known. If the cause and the experience were identical then either both are known or neither is known.

    *For example tinnitus can has at least a half dozen causes all of which can make the same "buzzing in the ear" sound. Likewise, victim of synaesthesia can see a printed word as blue, because it has mainly light of about 5000 Angstroms falling on it or because for him that word trigger blue experience of it. Or others see blue when hearing certain sounds as well as with the 5000Angstrom light. Perhaps it is not correct to say they are victims or have a malady as in some cases these extra normal experiences aid them, especially in memory and creative tasks

    Wiki's has a good illustration of this:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    It is a very slow and laborious task, requiring searching with directed attention to each object for a normal person to find the 2s, but as the 2s are red and the S are green for the "victim" of synaesthesia, all of the 2s are instantly located by him.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2009
  10. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    I don't think you've misread me, given that I completely agree with this:

  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    clarification noted and accepted withthanks, Billy T.
  12. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    The thread question states:
    Objective reality: How do we know it exists?
    The actual wording and it's implications is interesting. Most persons would read the question and ask themselves their own version of the question: How can we determine objective reality?

    Does objective reality exist?

    this I would assume would be the usual interpretation of the question..correct me if I am wrong please...
    However when I read the question....after a while it dawned on me that it could be interpreted very differently. In that it presumes the knowledge of objective reality exists but we do not know why or how that knowledge exists.

    This is very interesting to me because I agree entirely. We know it exists but we simply don't know why or how it exists.

    Taking a quick tour of the history of this debate through the millenia one can see that philosophers have been struggling with the why and how it exists ever since it occurred to them that it did.

    In some respects religious thought is used [ aka the need for GOD] to facilitate this rather remarkable ability we all seem to have...and that notion leads to other more interesting conniptions.
    There must be an underpinning objective reality simply because this reality is in fact mostly orderly, and seen in similar terms, admittedly our interpretations of what we experience differ sometimes quite remarkably but on most occasions, by far the majority of experiences are so similar that they are almost exact.
    i.e. how many people can walk though closed doors and windows without breaking themselves or the doors or windows... exactly zero.

    So the question when re -uhm...implied can generate an entirely different approach that what is normally undertaken.

    How does objective reality exist?
    What makes it possible?
    Can we accept for a moment that it indeed does exist but in variety of limited ways?
    Can we determine the minimum objective state and allow subjective assessments to co-exist?
    For surely this is what Science attempts to do is it not?

    One could draw the folowing assessment:

    • Objective reality - knowledge - perfection - God
    • Subjective reality - belief - imperfection - man
    and both co-exist until man becomes perfect as God through the use of ridding himself of imperfection [ science - knowledge rather than belief.]
    After all we all suffer from the desire to strive for perfection [ God complex] do we not...

    so if you wanted to create an objective reality for all within it how would you do it? Would be a worthwhile question I think.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  13. thinking Banned Banned

    for example
  14. thinking Banned Banned

  15. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Here we have 83 examples. Each an illusion. Each illusion an actual image.
  16. swarm Registered Senior Member

    You have god and man in the wrong spots.
  17. swarm Registered Senior Member

    FYI, an audible sound wave is actually called a tone.

    Sound, in the common parlance, is what you have the experience of hearing when you actually hear something. All of the other things you mention, aren't actually experiences of hearing a sound, the experiences of hearing in which not sound is actually involved. Now perhaps is a physics lab it is necessary to be more specific and say "sound wave" when you mean sound, but last I checked we are considering a philosophical question and aren't in a lab environment.

    Ordinary people will have no trouble with the following:
    I heard a sound. It made a sound, but I couldn't hear it even though she could. the sound of the oboe is reedy. Obviously "sound" is an independent object here.

    But it is not an error to make an identity between the phenomena of hearing something and a cause.

    I've yet to see anyone bring that up except you.

    It is most definitely not an error to have an identity relationship between a cause and its effect. Its absurd that you would say otherwise.
  18. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    please re -read the question
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    ha...nope he quoted my post quite accurately...[chuckles to himself]
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No, considering cause and effect identical is absurd. Cause is not equal to the effect it produces.

    For example: Rain falling is an effect of gravity. Or gravity is the cause of rain falling.

    If it were not absurd to equate cause and effect then, falling rain = gravity

    And one could assert:

    Falling rain causes the Earth to orbit the sun

    How absurd can you be?

    Geee, thanks, I didn't know that.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    However, more correctly, a tone is THE EXPERIENCE of hearing an audio frequency not a sequence of compression and rarefaction waves in air or "SOUND WAVE" This is tree falling in the forest confusion in disguise. I.e. if no ear is nearby, no tone, and no sound, exists in either case, only sound waves.

    Common speech often is technically incorrect. For example, in case you don't know, the sun does not actually rise. This appearance is an effect of the Earth's spin.
  21. Bishadi Banned Banned


    Objective reality - knowledge + experience = Understanding

    Subjective reality - belief + opinions of = opinions (still)

    knowledge and life; evolved from trial and error, naturally in time

    the 'good' survives the 'less than' fades; kind of the natural way of things

    most any should agree, as the definitions should be 'objective' even if based on opinions, capable of changing to reality over any of the opinions


    as each of conscious do experience even without the definitions

    the objective part only comes in when defining (articulating the experience hence the opinion is unbiased but and action must be involved to identify it either objective or subjective) Can't have an objective opinion without something to measure with; otherwise what someone is thinking is not an imposition to reality until imposed to exist from the exchange of the minds idea

    not sure the question but i will agree, that reality has nothing to do with opinion, unless and action is being called to exist.

    remember the rock experiences the same sun but is not taking about it nor acting by choice; yet reality is still acting upon that mass as it does the mass of our bodies; we just have the magical ability to roll when we act in choice.

    that is the chicken before the egg syndrom!

    life existed long before any were thinking about it

    none of the needs of objective observances even applies until a conscious mind began creating words
  22. Bishadi Banned Banned

    reality just IS

    objective subjective reflective

    all them adjectives require an opinion when reality (existence itself) needs little opinion; to continue; to exist
  23. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    The idea that we might, in fact, be some kind of Boltzman's brain seems to violate Occam's Razor. That we exist as the result of an orderly process of mutation in a universe created by the big bang is reasonable. That we exist exactly as we are, or think we do, as the result of a random creation that created not just atoms and energy that organized itself into stars, planets, etc; but rather that we were created exactly as we are with all our memories intact or that we are simply brains floating in a small universe halucinating everything around us seems utterly absurd and stretches credibility to its limit.

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