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Author Topic:   Perceptions of Reality
RAZD
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Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 1 of 305 (308081)
04-30-2006 8:58 PM


- v1, take 2
Newcomers can start here Message 52 for discussion as this topic has been dormant for a while


Take 2 -- the short version (see www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=25&t=1478&m=1>{here} for the long version :D).

To begin with, I don't think it is possible in the slightest for two people to have exactly the same set of beliefs and knowledge, we are all a little different from anyone else and sometimes a lot different from some others. We are limited in our ability to understand by our ability to understand.

Some here have contended that there are two opposing camps, each with set presuppositions that exclude elements of the other camp, making a picture something like this:

The area of overlap is the area of agreement, and the areas outside the overlap are the areas of contention.

To my view everyone has their own belief circle, based on their particular experiences and what they have learned, and what they believe is true. The only difference is the location of their personal circle relative to other circles. Some circles can completely overlap the science circle and others can completely miss it.

The real question is how does one's personal view relate to {reality}, and how can we determine that (IF we can determine that)?

Let me open up the discussion a bit by first proposing the whole playing field of human knowledge and perceptions of reality, in very general terms, using these definitions from Dictionary.com:

sci·ence (click)


1.a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
.. b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.
.. c. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.

phi·los·o·phy (click)

1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.
4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

faith (click)

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.

If I were to draw a picture of this it would be something like this:

One could say that {all} science includes knowledge we that we are pretty sure we know, that {all} philosophy includes knowledge that we think we can know, and that {all} faith includes knowledge we cannot know that we know (hence we take it on faith).

There is nothing within science that is not also {included\accepted} in {some} philosophy or other, and there is nothing within philosophy that is not also {included\accepted} in {some} faith or other.

However, not all of this knowledge is true to reality.

There are many religions that are exclusive of other religions, so logically they cannot all be true as conceived (although it is possible they could all be close to the reality, just in different ways).

Philosophy based on logic is true if the precepts are true, but how do we know if the precepts are true? There are some philosophies that contradict or oppose other philosophies.

We also know that science has a tendency of finding new evidence that invalidates previous theories and shows new theories and understandings to be more valid, but because we cannot prove a theory in science we cannot know that we know.

So how can we judge the validity of perceptions of reality?

Let the discussion begin.

Enjoy.


(I'll stop here to keep it from getting tooo long again).
(Is it science? or Coffeehouse?)

{edited email notifications, no change to post}

This message has been edited by RAZD, 05*05*2006 07:10 PM

Edited by RAZD, : new link at the start to Message 52 for restatement (take 3)

Edited by RAZD, : sp, subtitle


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we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
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... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

Replies to this message:
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Message 2 of 305 (308418)
05-02-2006 7:35 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Phat
Member
Posts: 12179
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 3 of 305 (308447)
05-02-2006 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-30-2006 8:58 PM


Reality: What a concept!
RAZD, you have the most colorful and well laid out posts! Im glad that this one finally got promoted!

RAZD writes:

The real question is how does one's personal view relate to {reality}, and how can we determine that (IF we can determine that)?

Im not sure. My view includes belief in the supernatural, which is itself unprovable. Lets add a definition to your list:
re•al•i•tyn, pl -ties 1 : the quality or state of being real 2 : something real 3 : The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence. .

Things that possess actuality, existence, or essence....do these things include individual imaginations? Christians quite rightly claim God as a reality apart from our imaginations---as if He imparted His reality into us. We can never prove this fact, however, except through exemplorary behavior (which we seldom model) and even then, others without our belief can also behave quite well.

This message has been edited by Phat, 05-02-2006 08:18 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RAZD, posted 04-30-2006 8:58 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
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ramoss
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Posts: 3100
Joined: 08-11-2004
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 4 of 305 (308467)
05-02-2006 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Phat
05-02-2006 10:18 AM


Re: Reality: What a concept!

Things that possess actuality, existence, or essence....do these things include individual imaginations? Christians quite rightly claim God as a reality apart from our imaginations---as if He imparted His reality into us. We can never prove this fact, however, except through exemplorary behavior (which we seldom model) and even then, others without our belief can also behave quite well.

You say that Christians 'quite rightly' claim God is a reality seperate from our imaginations..

How do you test for this? Can you show this is "God" exists outside of our own brains?

Until you can show an objective way to measure 'god', outside of personal sensations, and observable via instruments rather than subjective experiances, you can not legitimently say 'quite rightly'.


This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12179
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 5 of 305 (308525)
05-02-2006 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ramoss
05-02-2006 11:15 AM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
ramoss writes:

Until you can show an objective way to measure 'god', outside of personal sensations, and observable via instruments rather than subjective experiances, you can not legitimently say 'quite rightly'.

Nobody wrote the rule that says that empiricism has to be the standard.

Science and proof are useful tools, but there is no universal consensus that these standards are the arbitration for reality. (Especially in matters of faith/belief.)


This message is a reply to:
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lfen
Member (Idle past 2757 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


(1)
Message 6 of 305 (308533)
05-02-2006 2:32 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Phat
05-02-2006 10:18 AM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
Phat,

And this is the best subtitle I can recall. I want the t-shirt!

For us at least reality is a concept, especially when we use language to talk about things.

Dang, I'm running out of time this morning. I hope this thread does well.

So some notes on lines of thought I want to develop. Can we know reality? If we can't what is it we know? The idea I'm working towards is the concept of reality as functionality.

Organisms function. Knowing for lower organisms is doing like drinking, eating, chewing, smelling.

At this human level we have language which requires an abstraction of our doing to model our doing so we can communicate about it. Words are used to manipulate abstractions but can also be used to point to and/or be confused with non verbal actual experience. Those experiences are a doing of our nervous system.

Can we ever really know what we do? Or do we just do it and talk about it?

Do we have a sense of being that is fundamental or is it conditional?

I think it would be accurate to say that I have faith in being. But I'm not sure if that is good model of what I mean.

lfen

ps After proof reading this I find myself wondering if I've read one too many Brad posts. I am really trying to make sense here. I do intend for my notes to parse.

ABE: off topic flash insight: Brad is doing to science what James Joyce did to literature!? Could be? yes, no, maybe?

This message has been edited by lfen, 05-02-2006 11:36 AM

This message has been edited by lfen, 05-02-2006 11:39 AM


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ramoss
Member
Posts: 3100
Joined: 08-11-2004
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 7 of 305 (308545)
05-02-2006 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
05-02-2006 2:09 PM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
Well, this IS the science section. How about showing some evidence that god is put into the equation 'quite rightly'.
This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12179
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 8 of 305 (308561)
05-02-2006 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ramoss
05-02-2006 3:04 PM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
You are right...it IS the science section! (oops) My Bad.

RAZDs model has faith as part of the equation, and faith cannot be proven, however.

This message has been edited by Phat, 05-02-2006 02:36 PM


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 9 of 305 (308569)
05-02-2006 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Phat
05-02-2006 10:18 AM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
Reality cuts across the circles - we know that an invalidated belief or theory is not reality, so there is no guarantee that anything we think we "know" falls into the realm of reality.

To me the measure of relative reality of a concept is {1/denial} -- in other words those concepts that need to deny specific evidence are less valid indicators of reality.


www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1157&m=1>Join the effort to unravel {AIDS\HIV} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Phat, posted 05-02-2006 10:18 AM Phat has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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lfen
Member (Idle past 2757 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 10 of 305 (308661)
05-02-2006 11:41 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
05-02-2006 4:33 PM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
RAZDs model has faith as part of the equation, and faith cannot be proven, however.

I think faith is an important consideration in human psychology. We tend to focus on the content of a "faith" but I think it's more important to look at the function of faith itself and it is a significant aspect of human experience.

Most human functions look externally for support for "faith". I'm suggesting that an interior or contemplative or phenomenological approach yields a faith that is at once subjective and irreducible and also much more resistant to being exploited by authority. This is my personal bias.

lfen


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U can call me Cookie
Member (Idle past 3033 days)
Posts: 228
From: jo'burg, RSA
Joined: 11-15-2005


Message 11 of 305 (308723)
05-03-2006 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
05-02-2006 4:33 PM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
I think that ramoss is taking exception with your use of the phrase : "quite rightly".
ok...maybe i don't need to think it...its pretty clear what he's taking exception with:D

The thing is, the implication of its use is that God quite clearly is external to our imaginations; and true, many believe this. However there are some that do not believe this.

Should you say without a shadow of a doubt that the latter group is wrong? I don't think so, simply because all you have to support this view is your faith in it.

I'm not saying you're wrong...i'm just saying, how do you know they are wrong?


"The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell." - St. Augustine
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ikabod
Member (Idle past 2573 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 12 of 305 (308726)
05-03-2006 9:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-30-2006 8:58 PM


reality is where each of us live , and that is inside our own mind .

every thing else is ultimatly a matter of faith

... we have to have faith that our personal sensors ie eye skin etc are feeding us true data .. go read the latest ideas on how we form images from the info the eye send to the brain to see how much faith you need

.. we have to have faith in the facts we are told by knowledge sources ie books teachers scientist etc .. i mean i have never been to new zealand , in fact not to any part of the southern hemisphere , i have to rely on others to tell me of new zealand ..

... we have to have faith in the exsistance of things that have no physical presence in our universe ie love , beauty , equality ,etc


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 305 (308732)
05-03-2006 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ikabod
05-03-2006 9:53 AM


reality is where each of us live , and that is inside our own mind .

every thing else is ultimatly a matter of faith

Do you mean philosophically or really?

Cause, my response to that would be....not really.

But if that it some kinda philosophical statement then...whatever.

we have to have faith that our personal sensors ie eye skin etc are feeding us true data

We can verify that data and then you don't need faith.

Person A: "Hey, is that an apple hanging from that tree"
Person B: "Uhh, that red one?, yeah it sure is."

Person A no longer needs faith that the apple is there, and in reality the apple is there and it is not in his mind. Plus he can go pick it and verify his sense of sight with his sense of touch, or taste.

i mean i have never been to new zealand , in fact not to any part of the southern hemisphere , i have to rely on others to tell me of new zealand

Again, you could verify what they are saying by going to New Zealand. As opposed to something that you really have to take on faith.

we have to have faith in the exsistance of things that have no physical presence in our universe ie love , beauty , equality ,etc

Yes, because we cannot verify those things. They are subjective, unlike New Zealand, which is a real place that exists in reality outside of our minds.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 305 (308733)
05-03-2006 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
05-02-2006 5:35 PM


Re: Reality: What a concept!
Reality cuts across the circles -

Whadaya mean? Will you draw another image?

so there is no guarantee that anything we think we "know" falls into the realm of reality.

Seems like a CYA statement to me. If I "know" something then I consider it reality, even if in the philosophical sense I cannot really know anything.

I think reality includes some things that are outside the circle of science. And not just in our abilities, but in the limit of science's abilities. Of course, I have to take this on faith, or keep it in the philosophy circle.

To me the measure of relative reality of a concept is {1/denial} -- in other words those concepts that need to deny specific evidence are less valid indicators of reality.

hmmmm. As denial approches zero you don't have to deny anything for the concept to be real, so an infinite amount of relative reality is real? I don't think that is true all the time that a concept that requires no denial is neccessarily real.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 12179
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 15 of 305 (308737)
05-03-2006 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by U can call me Cookie
05-03-2006 9:31 AM


Reality of faith: Non-measurable or verifiable
OK. I initially said that Christians quite rightly claim God as a reality apart from our imaginations---as if He imparted His reality into us.
ramoss responded by saying
ramoss writes:

Until you can show an objective way to measure 'god', outside of personal sensations, and observable via instruments rather than subjective experiances, you can not legitimently say 'quite rightly'.

By "rightly" I did not mean correctly.

Websters writes:

right•ly adv 1 : fairly, justly 2 : properly 3 : correctly, exactly

I meant properly. For a Christian, you see, it is quite proper to believe in a God apart from our imagination. This may be a science topic, but as it includes faith as one of the parameters being studied, I am asserting that faith needs no empirical yardstick to be genuine. Science holds no monopoly over the methods used in determining all of reality. As to your question of how I know if I am right or not, I DO not. I merely stated that for Christians, it is proper to believe in a God that made us and not one that we made up.
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