A question about philosophy

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Thinker
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A question about philosophy

Postby Thinker » 07 Feb 2014 16:22

In my studies in epistemology, metaphysics, etc., wondering about skeptic scenarios like the brain in a vat and others, I always ask myself: ‘’What can we say it's true?’’.

And my answer at the moment is:

We have knowledge off:
A) That we exist somehow
B) Perception knowledge (things like: ‘’ I’m perceiving the colour red’’ and this can also be related to things like ideas, pain, etc)
C) Analytic truths (there are different definitions of analyticity but analytic truths are things like ''no single is maried'', etc)
D) Mathematical knowledge

This was just an intro to what I will say next, but if you have arguments against what’s been said, please let me know.

When people talk about scenarios like the brain in the vat or Decartes’s evil god, it seems that they always assume that even if we were in a skeptic scenario like these, there always would be a physical reality that caused that illusion, a ‘’real reality’’, there always would be some kind of laws of physics behind it. If I said that we can’t be sure about that too, what arguments could you use to refute my statement?

When I state this, I’m entering in anti-realistic or solipsist scenario, where we can’t be sure about a external, physical, out-of-perception reality (mind independent reality)
This links may help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_solipsism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

I had a good idea to argue against my own statement and I called it ‘’the information conservation argument’’. I don’t know if someone already thought about this argument, but the idea is: If there is no possible world where a physical three exists, where do we get the idea that a physical three can exist? That information has to come from somewhere, i.e, a world where would be possible to have a physical three, therefore, there is an external physical world even if we are in an illusion. You can think of a three or something else, it’s an example.

But then, I think this argument is weak because we can think that reality is just a cluster of ideas or information that always existed and I’m the universe that perceives them and the only this there is, so we can imagine a hypothetical reality where information just stands but has no causality from a physical world. And this is when I think that necessity of some laws of physics like the one we know is as dubious as situations like the brain in the vat .

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby MAKER » 09 Feb 2014 07:48

Who is to say that there is an objective reality "out there" vs a subjective reality "in here" (the mind)? The solipsist argument seems to be worth its salt, at least in reference to its irrefutably. The only argument I've heard in refutation to it is that I can intuit, and you can intuit as well. I can think, and you too have thoughts. I cannot think your thoughts, nor can I intuit your intuitions, but we can share them through conscious interaction. It is highly improbable that I could create your thoughts, at least the unique ones (I.E. I didn't create Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet). But I've had LD's where my DC's would argue the same. DC's can share thoughts, emotions, and experiences just as "real" as in the "real reality," but for whatever reason, most people tend to favor waking reality as the real one and dream reality as an entirely personal, inside reality. Furthermore, I've had DC's tell me things that would not have normally been created by my conscious, nor my subconscious mind (although I'm in favor of the dream world being totally my own).

I believe it's the Hindu philosophy (I could be wrong, I did a minimal Google search) that contains the premise that we are all "God's" dream. And here's an example that I've heard before: take the Sims game. For the sake of a thought experiment, it is true that the people of the Sims are conscious beings. When the game is turned off, so too is the consciousness of the people. When the game is then turned back on, consciousness resumes without any conscious notice of a lapse in time. So, could it be possible that each one of us is just a DC within another being's subconscious, or all of you are my DC's, or all of us are your DC's? But then again, how could we ever know if that being is outside/within our subjective conscious creation if all we have in relation is our internal experience?

I guess what it boils down to is that one can only ever have one's subjective, personal experience (most of which is not sharable). I don't think solipsism can be accurately confirmed or denied.

I'm honestly a fan of life being some weird dream that we are caught up in, or rather I am caught up in, but the "we" makes it seem so much less sad and lonely. Perhaps the lonely bit is why this "reality" exists in the first place.

Hope I somewhat answered your question... It's IRREFUTABLE! :D


Here's a set of questions for you:
Assuming a conscious state, does matter give rise to consciousness, or does consciousness give rise to matter?

Based on your answer to the previous question should determine the answer to this:

If there were no conscious observer(s), would the universe still exist?

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Summerlander
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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Summerlander » 10 Feb 2014 00:05

Your arguments is like saying, there are dragons and flying pigs because we are able to imagine such things. This is weaker than the weakest of arguments. We can imagine impossible or apparently non-existent concepts just like we can conceive the opposite of what is true. Just because we can imagine far-fetched things doesn't mean such things exist at all. What happens in the brain is the following: signals from the external world are neurally encoded and qualia help to form the subjective interpretation of what objectively existent. So far so good, right? Then, with the integration of information already available, unconventional combinations naturally form and we get distortions and a mishmash in thinking (there is no natural law forbidding this type of entropy) - not to mention the abstractionism of dreams. That's all there is to strange concepts and imaginary alien worlds. That's where they come from.

If there are other universes where anything goes, including objective versions of the stuff of dreams, then I can disprove that, but, the onus is on the Joe who makes the temerarious claim that such things exist.

And solipsism is absurd against our well-developed theory of mind. It just is. :-D

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Summerlander
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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Summerlander » 10 Feb 2014 00:10

Correction: "I can't disprove that..."

Sorry. Stupid phone. To reiterate, the person making the claim needs to demonstrate the validity of the concept first. Also, I invite you, Thinker, to read Anatole France's "The Garden of Epicurus." You will find a might refutation there.

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Thinker » 10 Feb 2014 16:42

MAKER wrote:The only argument I've heard in refutation to it is that I can intuit, and you can intuit as well. I can think, and you too have thoughts. I cannot think your thoughts, nor can I intuit your intuitions, but we can share them through conscious interaction. It is highly improbable that I could create your thoughts, at least the unique ones (I.E. I didn't create Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet).


All the arguments I heard off are weak and that one you showed it is too. You are taking as a premise that I exist to show me that is improbable that you would create my thoughts. It’s circular reasoning, a fallacy. You already use the fact that I exist to conclude that I don't (edited:I meant ''I do'')

MAKER wrote:I've had DC's tell me things that would not have normally been created by my conscious, nor my subconscious mind (although I'm in favor of the dream world being totally my own).


You end up agreeing that you refutation was weak with your DC’s example :)

MAKER wrote:Hope I somewhat answered your question... It's IRREFUTABLE! :D


I would word that in better way: ''we have no way of refuting at the moment’’ We can’t prove that’s irrefutable either. But it seems that is irrefutable. It seems that there always will be uncertainty due to our epistemic restrictions. It seems that are things that we will never know for sure.

MAKER wrote:Assuming a conscious state, does matter give rise to consciousness, or does consciousness give rise to matter?


I really don’t know and probably no one in earth knows it. It’s beyond our scope of perception and empiric observation.

MAKER wrote:If there were no conscious observer(s), would the universe still exist?


Same thing for this question. The interesting part is that we can´t discard a scenario like that. We can’t be sure that reality is intuitively like most of people think. What was trying to find was an argument that could undermined the proposition ‘’I don’t know if I am in solipsistic scenario’’. If the doubt itself could be refuted, like if solipsism was a self-refuting idea.
Last edited by Thinker on 11 Feb 2014 00:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Thinker » 10 Feb 2014 16:55

Summerlander wrote:Your arguments is like saying, there are dragons and flying pigs because we are able to imagine such things. This is weaker than the weakest of arguments. We can imagine impossible or apparently non-existent concepts just like we can conceive the opposite of what is true. Just because we can imagine far-fetched things doesn't mean such things exist at all. What happens in the brain is the following: signals from the external world are neurally encoded and qualia help to form the subjective interpretation of what objectively existent. So far so good, right? Then, with the integration of information already available, unconventional combinations naturally form and we get distortions and a mishmash in thinking (there is no natural law forbidding this type of entropy) - not to mention the abstractionism of dreams. That's all there is to strange concepts and imaginary alien worlds. That's where they come from.

If there are other universes where anything goes, including objective versions of the stuff of dreams, then I can disprove that, but, the onus is on the Joe who makes the temerarious claim that such things exist.

And solipsism is absurd against our well-developed theory of mind. It just is. :-D

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You miss interpreted me. I should have stressed that point. We are addressing different definitions of solipsism. The kind of solipsism I'm defending is one that just argues that we can't be sure that we are not in a solipsistic scenario (Epistemological solipsism maybe?).

Maybe this?? > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_solipsism

Let's ignore the names of philosophic movements, just analise what I'm saying.

I just want to know if there is a argument that refutes this kind of solipsism. That refutes the hypothetic scenario, like if it was a self-refuting idea. The brain in the vatseems that is not self-refuting, but a solipistic scenario, seemingly, has more changes to be self-refuting
One of the ideas I have to refute this position, is that you cannot justify that scenario with the ideas brought to you by the illusion, I'm still working on this

PS - was edited :)

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby MAKER » 10 Feb 2014 20:50

Yes, I definitely think it is a weak argument in refutation of solipsism. And the questions I posed were entirely to see your opinion for the sake of perspective, as beliefs (until scientific understanding has developed further) will dictate the answer. At this point, I don't believe there is any way to discover the truth about "I don't know if I am in a solipsistic scenario."


Your question on solipsism had me thinking pretty much all day yesterday, and I have this to say/ask:

*Again, all of this will fall in the land of the hypothetical, but if you are willing to entertain the ideas, I would love to hear both your (Thinker) and Summerlander's opinions...even if it is just for intellectual pleasure :) .*

What circumstances would be needed in order to end the solipsistic scenario debate? Perhaps once the internet (for one example), technology, and biology converge (the proposed singularity) we will have an answer to that question through ample information? (I know it isn't answerable now, again, I ask for the sake of this conversation and my own personal curiosity and interest in the subject)

But aside from those questions, how would the proposed collective unconsciousness (C.G. Jung) or the Intra-consciousness (R. Waggoner) factor in? And if there is a collective consciousness/unconsciousness, wouldn't that be in favor of solipsism, although grander than our individual experiential awareness? Could it be possible that although we do all have individual experiences (similar to our DC's in our subconscious), yet we are a part of a greater consciousness (solipsistic in nature)? -For clarity- IF consciousness gave rise to matter, and all there was in the universe was consciousness, then wouldn't that be the ultimate solipsism? Similar to our experience with dreams, we would be the characters of said consciousness.

I've really been chewing this around in my brain, and all I end up with is more questions and possibilities.

Have you ever read "The Egg" ? It's a very short read, but is thought provoking and helps give a perspective of solipsism within our "known" world.
*LINK* http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg.html

PS Are you, Thinker, and you, Summerlander, academic philosophers?

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Summerlander » 11 Feb 2014 00:04

Academic? LOL! No. Just a philosopher at heart. *Karl Marx shouts from the afterlife: "The proletarian can have sound opinions, too, y'know!"* Just kidding. :D

To me, solipsism is just a strawman argument. Sure, we can't disprove the brain in the vat scenario, can't disprove The Matrix and Vanilla Sky scenarios, but the same goes for the God debate. I'm tired! :mrgreen:

We see that eagles fly. We see that lions have sharp teeth. We see that pigs are plump and roll around in mud. Then, in imagination, we are free to jumble these orderly conceptual ingredients for the sake of being creative as we admire the unusual and sublime. So, in imagination, which can also source dreams, we start to conceive the following picture from the "what-ifs" of curiosity: Pigs have wings and fly; lions roll around in mud and have no teeth; eagles have sharp teeth and walk around like penguins...

Note how the perception of the set objective world freely begets the amusing subjective creation of what-if scenarios... 8-)

And, likewise, since we cannot describe what death is like for it is the opposite of life and therefore it is not like anything, we imagine it to be some extension of conscious experience, some other life... And we aptly name it, "the afterlife." And it stops being death by definition... :lol:
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Thinker » 12 Feb 2014 18:41

MAKER wrote:Yes, I definitely think it is a weak argument in refutation of solipsism. And the questions I posed were entirely to see your opinion for the sake of perspective, as beliefs (until scientific understanding has developed further) will dictate the answer. At this point, I don't believe there is any way to discover the truth about "I don't know if I am in a solipsistic scenario."


Your question on solipsism had me thinking pretty much all day yesterday, and I have this to say/ask:

*Again, all of this will fall in the land of the hypothetical, but if you are willing to entertain the ideas, I would love to hear both your (Thinker) and Summerlander's opinions...even if it is just for intellectual pleasure :) .*

What circumstances would be needed in order to end the solipsistic scenario debate? Perhaps once the internet (for one example), technology, and biology converge (the proposed singularity) we will have an answer to that question through ample information? (I know it isn't answerable now, again, I ask for the sake of this conversation and my own personal curiosity and interest in the subject)

But aside from those questions, how would the proposed collective unconsciousness (C.G. Jung) or the Intra-consciousness (R. Waggoner) factor in? And if there is a collective consciousness/unconsciousness, wouldn't that be in favor of solipsism, although grander than our individual experiential awareness? Could it be possible that although we do all have individual experiences (similar to our DC's in our subconscious), yet we are a part of a greater consciousness (solipsistic in nature)? -For clarity- IF consciousness gave rise to matter, and all there was in the universe was consciousness, then wouldn't that be the ultimate solipsism? Similar to our experience with dreams, we would be the characters of said consciousness.

I've really been chewing this around in my brain, and all I end up with is more questions and possibilities.

Have you ever read "The Egg" ? It's a very short read, but is thought provoking and helps give a perspective of solipsism within our "known" world.
*LINK* http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg.html

PS Are you, Thinker, and you, Summerlander, academic philosophers?


I study philosophy but I’m not an academic philosopher :) :)
Yes, those are questions we can’t answer right now and perhaps never will for the reason I already stated. Although we can’t answer them, we can imagine. I have no problems with imagining.
How could we end the solipsistic debate? Proving that is true or proving that is not true; and it seems impossible to prove either option. You are suggesting that with our advance scientific knowledge we would explain all the phenomena of the universe and could discard the solipsistic and other skeptic scenarios? Perhaps, solving a problem always leads to another and we can never say that we have all the knowledge.
I’m not aware of the theories about quantum mechanics and the mind (penrose), other dimensions and many universes. That kind of work that tries to solve profound issues, maybe Summerlander can give you some thoughts.
I really don’t know nothing about Jung collective unconsciousness and Waggoner’s theory, sorry.
Imagine solipsism or the brain in the vat situation being corroborated by evidence - that would be bizarre. I’m imagining: ‘’ breaking news: scientists discover that human are brain in vats in a video game simulation of future humans and US government already stated that will launch war against the future with computer brain virus’’ ahah

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Re: A question about philosophy

Postby Summerlander » 18 Feb 2014 02:02

You'll find my take on quantum mechanics and dreaming in Dream Science and also do read, "Phase State (LD/OOBE/AP): A Question of Fidelity and Rules."

As forRobert Waggoner: he raises a few good points but he is mostly a New Ager and a bit of a pantheist. The universe as a whole is not a conscious intelligent being that communicates and his "inner self" is nothing but another version of the "higherself" concept. Apparent we orbit this weirdo self that represents our core according to him. I'm tired...

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


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