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Definition of Reality

 
 
housby
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 07:27 am
Invitation to Jackofalltardes, Prothero, Jeeprs et al (plus anyone who wants to join in) on the slightly off thread (previously) discussion on the nature of reality and how we can define it without reference to direct experince. Originally (for the uninitiated) posted on the "What is matter in the quantum age" thread. Posted in this section but it could fit in on many different sections. My original question was, "How do we know the reality of anything without reference to the senses which are themselves workings of the mind, especially in light of quantum physics seemingly saying that subatomic particles seem to pass no test of existence themselves?" Anyone not previously involved in the discussion should perhaps look at the above thread.
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 09:59 am
@housby,
housby;121176 wrote:
Invitation to Jackofalltardes, Prothero, Jeeprs et al (plus anyone who wants to join in) on the slightly off thread (previously) discussion on the nature of reality and how we can define it without reference to direct experince. Originally (for the uninitiated) posted on the "What is matter in the quantum age" thread. Posted in this section but it could fit in on many different sections. My original question was, "How do we know the reality of anything without reference to the senses which are themselves workings of the mind, especially in light of quantum physics seemingly saying that subatomic particles seem to pass no test of existence themselves?" Anyone not previously involved in the discussion should perhaps look at the above thread.



"Reality is what remains when you have stopped believing in it" (Several attributions).
0 Replies
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 12:17 pm
@housby,
Housby,

Thanks for the invite, but i may again disappoint you. The question you have posed has got nothing to do with language per se. The prompting or suggestion was to bring the issue of semantics in respect to the difference of opinion on Instincts and Intuition, into this particular section where all can opine their own meanings and understandings of those concepts.

on Reality, it can be posed in sections exclusively for metaphysics, epistemiology, mind etc.

Sorry for the confusion.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 03:19 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;121252 wrote:
Housby,

Thanks for the invite, but i may again disappoint you. The question you have posed has got nothing to do with language per se. The prompting or suggestion was to bring the issue of semantics in respect to the difference of opinion on Instincts and Intuition, into this particular section where all can opine their own meanings and understandings of those concepts.

on Reality, it can be posed in sections exclusively for metaphysics, epistemiology, mind etc.

Sorry for the confusion.


If Housby, or someone, understands what you have just written, I wish he would explain it to me. I have no idea what you mean.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:30 am
@kennethamy,
jackofalltrades,
I am also not quite on your wavelength with this. I acknowledged that this could be in almost any section. The semantics tag is really just part of a greater whole. The whole discussion will inevitably involve terminology, which can be and often is one of the major problems in discussing this. Ask the question, "What is real" and you will get different answers depending on who you are talking to or where in the world you are.
Kenneth,
Your quote about reality looks very Cartesian. Not a critiscism, just an observation. Could you expand?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:37 am
@housby,
housby;121486 wrote:
jackofalltrades,
I am also not quite on your wavelength with this. I acknowledged that this could be in almost any section. The semantics tag is really just part of a greater whole. The whole discussion will inevitably involve terminology, which can be and often is one of the major problems in discussing this. Ask the question, "What is real" and you will get different answers depending on who you are talking to or where in the world you are.
Kenneth,
Your quote about reality looks very Cartesian. Not a critiscism, just an observation. Could you expand?


Ask the question, "What is the shape of the Earth?" and you will get different answers depending on who you are talking to, or where in the world you are.
So what?

To say that something is real is to say of it that it is not an hallucination, or a fantasy. In other words, that it is not mind-dependent, so that whether or not it exists, does not depend on whether anyone believes that it exists. For instance, we all know that there was a Moon, and stars way before there were people who believed that those objects existed. Therefore, they were real. They would remain even if people stopped believing they existed, since they existed before anyone believed they existed.

This isn't especially Cartesian. It is how the term "real" is used in English.
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:16 pm
@housby,
housby;121486 wrote:
jackofalltrades,
I am also not quite on your wavelength with this. I acknowledged that this could be in almost any section. The semantics tag is really just part of a greater whole. The whole discussion will inevitably involve terminology, which can be and often is one of the major problems in discussing this. Ask the question, "What is real" and you will get different answers depending on who you are talking to or where in the world you are.


Okay......... what is real involves terminology. In that case, you are right it can be placed in any section. It is just that i find it a bit odd, since you are not asking 'What is the meaning of Real'?

But anyway, On reality, yes you are logically correct to place it anywhere you want. It was not my intention to perturb your decision. Thanks.
0 Replies
 
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:39 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121487 wrote:
For instance, we all know that there was a Moon, and stars way before there were people who believed that those objects existed. Therefore, they were real. They would remain even if people stopped believing they existed, since they existed before anyone believed they existed.

This isn't especially Cartesian. It is how the term "real" is used in English.

Kenneth,
Exactly how do we all know that the moon and stars existed before people believed in them? Who was there to witness their existence? How do we know exactly that the universe carries on after we die? My statement that your quote sounded Cartesian was based on the familiar sounding "coggito, ergo, sum" which I certainly agree with, but without the "coggito" how do we know anything? Assuming for a moment that there is no existence after death (no offence to anyone of a religious inclination) that means that for the individual the material world is gone, forever. This means that for the individual there is no past, present or future. No universe, family or friends. We would have no knowledge of being "dead" because we would have no knowledge of ever having been alive, just as we have no knowledge of non-existence prior to being alive. Our entire knowledge of existence comes from the action and reacton of our senses to whatever is "out there". Given that the senses are workings of the mind this gives rise to doubt. I agree with Descarte that there must be a "doubter" even if all else is doubted, but what happens when even the doubter doesn't exist?
Just a thought!!!
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:52 pm
@housby,
housby;121176 wrote:
Invitation to Jackofalltardes, Prothero, Jeeprs et al (plus anyone who wants to join in) on the slightly off thread (previously) discussion on the nature of reality and how we can define it without reference to direct experince. Originally (for the uninitiated) posted on the "What is matter in the quantum age" thread. Posted in this section but it could fit in on many different sections. My original question was, "How do we know the reality of anything without reference to the senses which are themselves workings of the mind, especially in light of quantum physics seemingly saying that subatomic particles seem to pass no test of existence themselves?" Anyone not previously involved in the discussion should perhaps look at the above thread.


All definitions are in reference to direct experience, even of infinites like Love, and God...Some body always got there first...And all we can do is confirm or deny the definition..
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:03 pm
@Fido,
Fido;121700 wrote:
All definitions are in reference to direct experience, even of infinites like Love, and God...Some body always got there first...And all we can do is confirm or deny the definition..

I think I agree with this but it's late and I'll have to think on it.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2010 10:52 am
@housby,
If I can perhaps chime in here:

housby;121176 wrote:
... My original question was, "How do we know the reality of anything without reference to the senses which are themselves workings of the mind...


In an absolute sense, you don't. The question asks a question of a mind and qualifies it by stipulating, ".... without... workings of the mind". It's akin to what's commonly called a Trick Question.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2010 10:58 am
@housby,
housby;121696 wrote:
Kenneth,
Exactly how do we all know that the moon and stars existed before people believed in them? Who was there to witness their existence?


Science has reams of evidence for that, as we all know. You have heard of carbon dating, and other ways of telling the ages of things. Haven't you? Besides, didn't there have to be an Earth in the first place for people to evolve on? Otherwise, where did they come from in the first place? How do you explain there being people on Earth if the Earth did not exist before people?
housby
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 12:18 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121997 wrote:
Science has reams of evidence for that, as we all know. You have heard of carbon dating, and other ways of telling the ages of things. Haven't you? Besides, didn't there have to be an Earth in the first place for people to evolve on? Otherwise, where did they come from in the first place? How do you explain there being people on Earth if the Earth did not exist before people?

Science relies on evidence. Evidence is data. Data relies on senses. Senses are workings of the mind. The earth that "people" rely on is a collection of data, which is in the mind. Carbon dating (yes, I know what it is) is a collection of data and therefore is a working of the mind, so even that must be questioned. You see where I am coming from? Any proof of reality relies on evidence from the very thing we are trying to prove the existence of. My problem is trying to think outside the box to prove that the box exists in the first place.
Khethil,
In this rarified air there are no absolutes and this is not in any sense a trick question. Is it not right that we should question even that that we question with?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 01:29 am
@housby,
Reality is that which actually exists (independent), excluding that which is merely possible or that which is entirely imaginary. There is no consensus in philosophy about what the meaning of "reality" is. It is a metaphysical concept related to ontology, being, existence.

The view that reality is independent of our beliefs, perceptions, experience, etc is called realism or naturalism.
The view that reality is dependent or defined by our beliefs, perceptions and experience is a form of idealism or phenomenology.
It is proper to put the subject in the language section because it is largely a matter of defintion and usage.

I think in a way that is uncharacteristic of my usual approach that the term "reality" should be confined to what actually exists independent of our beliefs or perceptions. Of course then "total reality" lies mostly beyond our grasp. Our view of "reality" is like those facing the wall gazing at shadows in Plato's cave. Our perceptual phenomenological mental reality is not actual independent "realism" reality. (Kant anyone?) Our position is not so hopeless though as modern science and applied technology indicate there is good correspondence "truth" between realism and scientific phenomenalism.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 08:53 am
@housby,
housby;122110 wrote:
Science relies on evidence. Evidence is data. Data relies on senses. Senses are workings of the mind. The earth that "people" rely on is a collection of data, which is in the mind. Carbon dating (yes, I know what it is) is a collection of data and therefore is a working of the mind, so even that must be questioned. You see where I am coming from? Any proof of reality relies on evidence from the very thing we are trying to prove the existence of. My problem is trying to think outside the box to prove that the box exists in the first place.
Khethil,
In this rarified air there are no absolutes and this is not in any sense a trick question. Is it not right that we should question even that that we question with?


Of course. Science relies on evidence. What else should it rely on? How can we prove anything without logic and evidence? Your thinking "outside of the box" is just thinking we can prove something without having to prove it. That kind of thinking "outside of the box" is thinking outside of logic (whatever that would be) since to suppose you can prove something without having to prove it is self-contradictory. It is like supposing that you can eat without eating, or walk without walking. You cannot do something without doing it .
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 10:00 am
@housby,
I am going to go with the analytic philosophers, and linguistic analysis on this. "reality" is not a property of the world or our experience. It is a "term,word,concept" that we employ in speaking about various aspects of our experience and the world. "reality" has no meaning other than the definition we give to it. Our conception of what is "real" is bound up with our notions of many other metaphysical problems.
Rationalism/empiricism/phenomenology
truth/knowledge/experience
realism/idealism
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 10:32 am
@prothero,
prothero;122148 wrote:
I am going to go with the analytic philosophers, and linguistic analysis on this. "reality" is not a property of the world or our experience. It is a "term,word,concept" that we employ in speaking about various aspects of our experience and the world. "reality" has no meaning other than the definition we give to it. Our conception of what is "real" is bound up with our notions of many other metaphysical problems.
Rationalism/empiricism/phenomenology
truth/knowledge/experience
realism/idealism


What is real is what is not imaginary (like a mirage): Or not fake, like an artificial diamond. I don't know whether this shows that it is a term, word, or concept. I would have thought that "real" is a term and word, and the concept of reality was a concept.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 11:57 am
@housby,
All words are abstractions...All words are concepts...If a concept/form is considered as a mental reflection of reality, it is not the thing reflected; but it is common to consider the thing and its reflection as one... No one stands before a mirror and asks: who is that...Then what do we say if we have the reflection without the object, as in moral forms, and how do we begin to agree that our words point to the same moral object???.It is very easy to come to some agreement as to the nature of reality, as res, thing...All moral reality, which is our social and cultural environment, is also reflected subjectively, and as made up of infinites, cannot be defined except subjectively...Moral reality has meaning without being, except that these meanings rest on the bed rock of our reality, which is our lives,and this is the reality that gives all reality meaning.
0 Replies
 
comdragon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 12:55 pm
@housby,
A being experiences reality through the stream of time. Reality is the illusion of existence that occurs as a result of experiencing time.
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 01:14 pm
@comdragon,
prothero;122148 wrote:
I am going to go with the analytic philosophers, and linguistic analysis on this. "reality" is not a property of the world or our experience. It is a "term,word,concept" that we employ in speaking about various aspects of our experience and the world. "reality" has no meaning other than the definition we give to it. Our conception of what is "real" is bound up with our notions of many other metaphysical problems.
Rationalism/empiricism/phenomenology
truth/knowledge/experience
realism/idealism


kennethamy;122154 wrote:
What is real is what is not imaginary (like a mirage): Or not fake, like an artificial diamond. I don't know whether this shows that it is a term, word, or concept. I would have thought that "real" is a term and word, and the concept of reality was a concept.


Fido;122162 wrote:
All words are abstractions...All words are concepts...If a concept/form is considered as a mental reflection of reality, it is not the thing reflected; but it is common to consider the thing and its reflection as one... No one stands before a mirror and asks: who is that...Then what do we say if we have the reflection without the object, as in moral forms, and how do we begin to agree that our words point to the same moral object???.It is very easy to come to some agreement as to the nature of reality, as res, thing...All moral reality, which is our social and cultural environment, is also reflected subjectively, and as made up of infinites, cannot be defined except subjectively...Moral reality has meaning without being, except that these meanings rest on the bed rock of our reality, which is our lives,and this is the reality that gives all reality meaning.


comdragon;122167 wrote:
A being experiences reality through the stream of time. Reality is the illusion of existence that occurs as a result of experiencing time.



I think all have said the same thing in different words, result of slightly different perspectives. For simplicity, let me phrase Reality as that which exists or appears to exists without any perception, reasoning or prediction attributed to its past, present and future existence.
 

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