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The Concept of Independent Reality in Discussions of Philosophy

 
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 06:26 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

It seems that some schools of philosophy dismiss independent reality. My view is that without independent reality, we would have nothing to refer to, nothing to talk about, and no way to increase our knowledge.
wandeljw wrote:
...I contend that there is a reality that is independent of any observer.


I believe there's an absolute reality; some of which may be observable, some not. But no one can know for sure if what they observe is in fact reality. Maybe that's absurdism in a nutshell.

Now having the ability to talk about or refer to things, or the ability to increase knowledge... wouldn't any of that rely heavily upon empiricism?
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 06:37 pm
@Shapeless,
A child might view a certain wall as an ideal wall for bouncing a ball back and forth, while I, who have never actually seen the Berlin Wall with my own eyes, have possibly a better appreciation of what it really is, and only a very small subset of understanding of the reality of that wall (if any) would exist between me and the child. If you tried to define the Berlin Wall based on that small commonality, you'd be even further away from the "reality".

(Nobody has shown me there is no objective reality, although it took years to let it seep in. I have Nobody to thank for that.)
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 06:53 pm
@Eorl,
That has more to do with one's interpretation of a wall than with the existence of the wall. I don't think anyone doubts that different people will have different mental, emotional, and/or cultural assocations with a wall. That much is undeniably and uncontroversially true. There will be as many "understandings" of a wall as there are people to observe it. What seems equally undeniable and uncontroversial is that if every single one of those people walks into the wall, especially at a brisk pace, they will all experience much the same thing--namely, being obstructed by a big pile of bricks. I can't think of anyone, even people who deny the existence of independent reality, who wouldn't alter the course of their trajectory if they saw it was leading toward a brick wall. Whatever we might say about independent reality on paper, we all act as if it were there in practice.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 06:54 pm
@wandeljw,
It would depend on what reality was observed. Human subjectivity creates all sorts of dilemma to observed "reality."
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 07:07 pm
@Shapeless,
Well, some did not alter their trajectory, and took to it with sledgehammers to and defied it's ability to be a wall. There are people now who own a "piece of The Wall". But can there be such a thing? Bricks are not, individually, capable of being "pieces of wall".

Yes, we all act as thought the wall is objectively "there", but only by consensus. In the case of the Berlin Wall, consensus came to be that it should not exist at all, and so it doesn't.
Shapeless
 
  3  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 07:34 pm
@Eorl,
Quote:
Well, some did not alter their trajectory, and took to it with sledgehammers to and defied it's ability to be a wall.


Exactly right: everyone, even the sledgehammerers, agreed there was an "it" that needed to be defied. If, prior to 1989, an East German were confronted with the oppression of the Berlin Wall and someone said to him or her, "Don't worry. The Wall doesn't even really exist outside of our experience of it," I'm guessing they would not be mollified. I'm guessing they would find it convenient to assume, even if temporarily, that there really was an obstacle of bricks and mortar to be the target of their sledgehammers, and that the wall should come down not only for the sake of their own personal experience but for the sake of anyone else who might not necessarily have been experiencing it at that moment. You know, just in case.


Quote:
Yes, we all act as thought the wall is objectively "there", but only by consensus.


A very strong consensus, yes. Again, find me someone who doubts the existence of a brick wall right at the moment they are about to crash into it, and I'll take seriously the notion that reality is not objective.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 08:38 pm
Wandeljw, I'm touched by your comment "...it would break my heart to find out that all of us are not part of the same reality".
Now, you know how much pleasure it gives me to see that you and I are one, even that Joe and I are one.
0 Replies
 
Hjarloprillar
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 02:04 am
It seems that what is being asked.
Is that my or your perception of existence is all there is.

Pragmatism and common sense. There was a universe 15 billion years before any of us here came to be.
Postulating that reality has ANYTHING to do with your perspective is the highest form of arrogance.
It is not even philosophy.
It is psychosis.
So many 'philosophy' forums waffle on with this sort of excreata.
Where the posters can say anything and justify it with idiotic sophistry.

I'll move on now.. have fun

Wink
Vaya con Dios
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 09:34 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
I mean by "independent reality" something that is fundamentally (even metaphysically) separate from a "me". I see everything as ulitmately united, at EVERY level not just at that of noumena (that would not be unity).

Yes, I know what you feel. I still can't figure out what you know.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 03:28 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

If you have a definition, you should give it.

The only experience we have is of phenomena. We therefore cannot find any independent reality only phenomena. The external world is said to be noumena; we cannot know that it exists. We believe it does and infer it does but we cannot know that it does. Science just ignores that it cannot be shown to exist and does the science. We just ignore it as well and just continue with our lives. But nevertheless it is impossible to know if noumena exist independently of our first person experience of phenomena.
joefromchicago wrote:

So are you suggesting that the brick wall as noumenon cannot be known?

Yes, (please see above in my definition).

The concept that independent reality exists as 'a thing in itself' is impossible to prove.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 03:38 pm
@joefromchicago,
Most of what people claim to know is really what they feel, what "evidence" convinces them, what evidence they are content with. See C.S. Pierce on the settling of opinion.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 03:48 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

It seems that some schools of philosophy dismiss independent reality. My view is that without independent reality, we would have nothing to refer to, nothing to talk about, and no way to increase our knowledge.
There is a difference between being and meaning, and without our being there is no meaning, and meaning is what life is, and what truth is about...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:35 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:
The concept that independent reality exists as 'a thing in itself' is impossible to prove.

That's true, so long as your definition of "independent reality" excludes the possibility of it being proven. But then you can't prove the existence of a noumenal reality either.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:36 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Most of what people claim to know is really what they feel, what "evidence" convinces them, what evidence they are content with. See C.S. Pierce on the settling of opinion.

It's time I read some Peirce again, so thanks for the reminder. But if you think Peirce was in favor of "feeling" the truth over "knowing" it, you may have gotten your hands on a different edition than the ones I've been reading.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:46 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

igm wrote:
The concept that independent reality exists as 'a thing in itself' is impossible to prove.

That's true, so long as your definition of "independent reality" excludes the possibility of it being proven. But then you can't prove the existence of a noumenal reality either.

I'm not trying to prove anything... I'm saying that someone else needs to prove it for me to believe it can be proved. The same is true of the argument about the proof of God or the Spaghetti Monster... those who say they exist have the burden of proof. Personally I don't need proof (of reality)... if left unanalysed it's not a problem.
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 06:44 pm
@Shapeless,
You don't seem to be responding to my point that's it's only a wall by consensus, not an objective thing that can be proven to exist in it's own right. Ask a physicist just how sold the wall is, and he'll tell you it's mostly empty space. If you could be shrunken down to electron size, the wall would effectively cease to exist. If you were to grow to the size of a planet, the wall would equally not be perceived by you as a wall. If you existed in a time scale of millions of years, the wall would have burst in and out of existence without your notice.

You speak as thought I don't get the pragmatic assumed reality of the wall. That's obvious. What you can't demonstrate if a definitive objective existence of a "wall". The best you can do is have most people agree on a consensus definition and way of dealing with it.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 09:06 pm
@joefromchicago,
He was not advocating a kind of emotivism or intuitionism as a methodology for truth seeking--he was, after all, a pragmatist. He argued, as I recall, that people do settle on conclusions that please them not that they should do so.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 09:19 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:
I'm not trying to prove anything... I'm saying that someone else needs to prove it for me to believe it can be proved.

Then you're holding others to a higher standard than you hold yourself.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 09:19 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

He was not advocating a kind of emotivism or intuitionism as a methodology for truth seeking--he was, after all, a pragmatist. He argued, as I recall, that people do settle on conclusions that please them not that they should do so.

Pragmatists don't believe in such things as noumena.
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 12:47 am
Can anyone honestly tell me what independent reality is?
 

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