Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
User avatar
RJG
Posts: 860
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by RJG » June 12th, 2018, 5:21 pm

RJG wrote:Perceptions cannot logically vouch for themselves, and therefore cannot be trusted to tell us what's real.
JamesOfSeattle wrote:But perceptions can vouch for prior perceptions, and they can vouch for prior predictions. If I perceive a table in front of me, I can predict a number of perceptions to come when I kick said table. Those predictions may or may not come true in the event, but to the extent they do come true, I have reason to say those predictions were based on reality.
What specifically gives you "reason to say" that they were based on something real? Can't one dream/hallucinate sequential experiences, including the experience of predicting? What makes one more real than the other?

RJG wrote:But aren't these "knowings" (i.e. the perceivings of our perceptions) still again just perceptions themselves?
LuckyR wrote:No. Perceptions are data coming into the computational center. The use of this data, or perhaps the decision to not believe a particular perception is an intellectual process, not more perception (raw data from sense organs).
Good point. I can't necessarily disagree with you right now :wink: (...let me think more on this!)

ThomasHobbes wrote:Knowing that there is a discrepancies between what we perceive and what is out there makes it more possible to understand what is out there. Those that take the simple 'if i can kick it - it is real' approach are missing the subtlety.
Nicely said. Agreed.

RJG wrote:So then, do you deny a 'real' reality exists out there? I think we can prove at least 'something' out there exists with certainty, ...right? I don't think we can deny that the perceiving (experiencing) itself exists (with absolute certainty!)? If so, then we'd have to also deny our experience of denying.

It is the 'content' of one's experience/perception that is suspect and in question, ...not the experiencing/perceiving itself.
chewybrian wrote:You answered your own question, a la Descartes. Step one is that you can not deny yourself. Step two and on are up to the individual. You must assent to something, in effect, to move along, even if you are pretending to assent, or pretending not to assent.
Not quite, but close.

Step 1 = "absolute certainty". ["Experiencing exists" with absolute certainty].
Step 2 = "logical/mathematical certainty" ["Experiencer exists" is logically derived] ...which is NOT reliant on the individual.
Step 3 = "subjective certainty" ...which IS reliant on the individual.

chewybrian wrote:My own step two is that I am conscious, self-aware and rational, and believe and experience that I have free will, and this is enough to prove to my satisfaction that I have it.
Unfortunately, "free-will" is NOT logically possible on many fronts. But this is a topic for another discussion (does not necessary fit into this discussion).

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 59
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by chewybrian » June 13th, 2018, 7:52 am

RJG wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 5:21 pm
Not quite, but close.

Step 1 = "absolute certainty". ["Experiencing exists" with absolute certainty].
Step 2 = "logical/mathematical certainty" ["Experiencer exists is logically derived] ...which is NOT reliant on the individual.
Step 3 = "subjective certainty" ...which IS reliant on the individual.

Unfortunately, "free-will" is NOT logically possible on many fronts. But this is a topic for another discussion (does not necessary fit into this discussion).
Image

So what you're saying is...
"I think, therefore I am" is actually two propositions, both undeniably true.
OK, I buy that.
Everything else is subjective and never 100% certain.
I concur again.
Your subjective truth is 100% wrong, and my contrary position is 100% right. I could prove that your life has no meaning, but I won't bother, and we shouldn't talk about it any more.
Well... If you do want to 'shush' something, you can't fairly give an opinion and then close the topic to further discussion. Even if you were right at the end there, the method of delivery ruined it. You can't send a serve without expecting a return, and if you won't defend a position, we are free to dismiss it. I'd rather see you explain it than dismiss it, though.

I'm sure you have some good thoughts on the matter. But, maybe you will agree that you shouldn't go down that road while telling us not to go down that road.

User avatar
RJG
Posts: 860
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by RJG » June 13th, 2018, 8:04 am

RJG wrote:But aren't these "knowings" (i.e. the perceivings of our perceptions) still again just perceptions themselves?
LuckyR wrote:No. Perceptions are data coming into the computational center. The use of this data, or perhaps the decision to not believe a particular perception is an intellectual process, not more perception (raw data from sense organs).
After more thought, I agree there is a difference between "knowing" and "perception". "Knowing" is synonymous with "recognizing" (an action word), whereas "perception" (a noun) is the 'content' of this "knowing".

User avatar
RJG
Posts: 860
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by RJG » June 13th, 2018, 8:33 am

Brian's Strawman wrote:Your subjective truth is 100% wrong, and my contrary position is 100% right. I could prove that your life has no meaning, but I won't bother, and we shouldn't talk about it any more.
Brian, these are not my words. My apologies if this is how my words were interpreted.

chewybrian wrote:Well... If you do want to 'shush' something, you can't fairly give an opinion and then close the topic to further discussion. Even if you were right at the end there, the method of delivery ruined it. You can't send a serve without expecting a return, and if you won't defend a position, we are free to dismiss it. I'd rather see you explain it than dismiss it, though.

I'm sure you have some good thoughts on the matter. But, maybe you will agree that you shouldn't go down that road while telling us not to go down that road.
Brian, if you are referring to discussions on "free-will", then yes, we should continue that discussion on a new separate discussion/topic. I'll gladly participate if you initiate the OP.

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 59
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by chewybrian » June 13th, 2018, 8:50 am

RJG wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 8:33 am
Brian, these are not my words.
That's why the "So what you're saying is..." lady is inserted. It is supposed to indicate that I am about to twist your words to for fun, or to make them say something I can more easily attack. If your position is that logic says free will can not exist, then what I 'paraphrased' is an extreme, possibly unfair restatement of that position. (I chose this tactic for effect, because I did not think you were fighting fair)
RJG wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 8:33 am
Brian, if you are referring to discussions on "free-will", then yes, we should continue that discussion on a new separate discussion/topic. I'll gladly participate if you initiate the OP.
I may do that one of these days, but I need to line up my ducks a bit better first.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 843
Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 11:05 am

chewybrian wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 7:39 am
Eduk wrote:
June 11th, 2018, 11:18 am
Chewy 'Science' doesn't say we don't have free will. Plus most people don't believe we don't have free will?
I didn't say science says it, I said people who worship science say it. They work out a trinity of Hobbes, Newton and Darwin to 'prove' that we don't have free will. They put their allegiance to science and logic over any need they could or should have to find meaning in their existence. They deny their own experience in favor of a theory that says their existence means nothing.
People who don't worship gods and believe the scientific knowledge of the world is superior to any religious weltanschauung do NOT worship science.

You can't even get out of your mindset of god worship, how can you hope ever to understand an agnostic/atheist life view?

You are bound tightly by your adherence to faith and you are not imaginative enough to see it is possible even to live without a god-faith.

So what are you trying to achieve here? Garnering knowledge, or thrashing humanists/ agnostics / atheists? And if the latter, do you think it will stick with us?

You are preaching to the choir, without affecting the heathen any.
This search engine is powered by Hunger, Thirst, and a desperate need to Mate.

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 59
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by chewybrian » June 13th, 2018, 11:28 am

-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 11:05 am
chewybrian wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 7:39 am


I didn't say science says it, I said people who worship science say it. They work out a trinity of Hobbes, Newton and Darwin to 'prove' that we don't have free will. They put their allegiance to science and logic over any need they could or should have to find meaning in their existence. They deny their own experience in favor of a theory that says their existence means nothing.
People who don't worship gods and believe the scientific knowledge of the world is superior to any religious weltanschauung do NOT worship science.

You can't even get out of your mindset of god worship, how can you hope ever to understand an agnostic/atheist life view?

You are bound tightly by your adherence to faith and you are not imaginative enough to see it is possible even to live without a god-faith.

So what are you trying to achieve here? Garnering knowledge, or thrashing humanists/ agnostics / atheists? And if the latter, do you think it will stick with us?

You are preaching to the choir, without affecting the heathen any.
You are making my point better than I could if you have such an emotional attachment to science. I am agnostic, if it matters, and if you keep science in its proper place, you could be expected to have an 'undetermined' opinion on many such subjects, like free will. I could accept that stance in the name of science. If you have determined that science 'tells' you that free will is impossible, then you have 'jumped the shark', in my view. That's just my opinion, and in any area without broad agreement, I'm entitled to it.

I use 'worship' in terms of science as an obvious simile, for the reasons you seem to be showing us. I only mean that people (sometimes) take science beyond its logical bounds. They attach certainty to theory when doing so goes against the very foundations of science; everything is subject to disproof, right?

Eduk
Posts: 1504
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Eduk » June 13th, 2018, 11:58 am

You are making my point better than I could if you have such an emotional attachment to science.
I think -1- is maybe being a little emotional. But why is it an emotional attachment to science? It seems, to me, to be an emotional attachment to not-religion?

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 843
Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 3:19 pm

chewybrian wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 11:28 am
You are making my point better than I could if you have such an emotional attachment to science.
I use 'worship' in terms of science as an obvious simile, for the reasons you seem to be showing us. I only mean that people (sometimes) take science beyond its logical bounds. They attach certainty to theory when doing so goes against the very foundations of science; everything is subject to disproof, right?
I use determinism as a philosophy. You're right, it is not science; but science uses the same philosophy.

And yes, I used the word "science" in one point, once, and you very, very, very correctly deduced that I have an emotional commitment to science.

I have a very very very emotional commitment to anything logical, reasonable, and well-reasoned. Since science is one of those things, I do have an emotional attachment to science, yes, and an emotional opposition to religionism. You are right about that.

My emotional commitment to science is dwarved only by my emotional commitment to debunk religiosity.

There you have it. I make no bones about it.

However, emotional commitment is neither here, nor there. Mine or yours. I argue from points of logic, and of reason. Whether I'm emotionally committed to an issue, only comes out in the emotional content of my posts, not in my arguments.

Why should anyone deny that?
chewybrian wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 11:28 am
I only mean that people (sometimes) take science beyond its logical bounds. They attach certainty to theory when doing so goes against the very foundations of science; everything is subject to disproof, right?
I am very glad you put the above in general terms, and did not attach the attribute to me, personally.
This search engine is powered by Hunger, Thirst, and a desperate need to Mate.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 843
Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 11:58 am
But why is it an emotional attachment to science? It seems, to me, to be an emotional attachment to not-religion?
This is easy to explain, Eduk. Science is based on observation and reasonably built theories, that give precise predictability to future events. Religion, on the other hand, bases its doctrines on 2000-year-old or more (more-or-less) texts that have huge gaps in logic, are self-contradictory, and are replete with false prophecies. And yet people believe them, despite all evidence and despite the lack of prophecies coming true.

This is not a hard choice to make to want to proselytise knowledge, reason, and logic.

This is not a hard choice to decry the unspeakably irrelevant dogma of religions.

Some people still make the hard choice, and I chalk it up to the fact that in the USA people en mass are dumbed down in the educational system before post-secondary education, and for fanatically drilling people to believe things that never happened, never will, and even can't.

This is why I have an emotional commitment to everything reasonable, logical and knowledgeable. This is why I am pronouncedly anti-religion.
This search engine is powered by Hunger, Thirst, and a desperate need to Mate.

User avatar
Stooks3
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: June 15th, 2018, 2:13 pm

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Stooks3 » June 15th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 3:46 am
Under such circumstances then I'm sure you would question their reality. Being trapped and ignored on a plane would likely be very damaging, not to mention lack of teaching and subsequent lack of brain development.
However if it is a question of trust in our perceptions then I think I can answer to some extent.
When I was learning to walk the concept of trust in my perception never occurred to me. I simply did the best I could. Over time I learned to balance and not fall and hurt myself. I learned to move and reach a target, etc etc. If my perception of reality in no way matched reality then the reality of never reaching my goal and always being bruised may never occur to me but I would not flourish.
As I grow more sophisticated I can measure reality using various tools. These then demonstrate where my perception fails me and I can adjust, this is a process.
I wanted to make you aware of the fact that I used the quote above in my philosophy course. I hope I do not appear as noobish as I feel, although I suppose that is irrelevant to my point. I would like to get your insight and response to what I wrote. My professor challenged us to research an argument and then state its premises and conclusion. The final challenge was to counter argue the original argument. Please feel free to (gently :D) let me know if I completely misinterpreted your premises and conclusion. Additionally, feel free to challenge my counterargument and clear up any confusion I may have. Just a side note, at the time I wrote the following I was not sure what your gender was so you will see "he/she" when referring to you.

Premise 1: If one’s own perception of reality fails, in every way, to match “real” reality then it may never occur to oneself that he (or she) is experiencing a false reality.

Premise 2: Absent of perceptions tied to “real” reality, even if only a little, one would not flourish.

Premise 3: Reality is measurable using various tools.

Premise 4: The measurements of “real” reality made by using “tools” demonstrate where perception fails.

Premise 5: Measuring “real” reality then analyzing and adjusting one’s own faulty perceptions is a process.

Conclusion: Only after calibrating one’s perceptions against measured “real” reality can perceptions be trusted (to a certain extent as it is a process).

I would first like to state that the conclusion I drew from “Eduk’s” dialogue was deduced from his/her statements and was not the author’s original words. His/her conclusion was never explicitly stated but, from my perspective, it was undoubtedly implied. Now to begin my counterargument. My maneuver would be to charge premise three of ambiguity. What such “tools” does the author use to “measure” reality? Assuming such “tools” are intellectually based, how does the author know whether his/her “measurements” accurately assess “real” reality? Furthermore, is it not the case that intellect arises from perception (i.e. experiencing existence)? Therefore, the “tools” used to “measure” reality are in and of themselves fundamentally perceptions. Thus the “measurements” of “real” reality acquired, through the use of such perceptual “tools”, are merely one’s own judgments impressed upon one’s own perceptions. In conclusion, it is my view that there is only one concept of which I can ever be certain, and I cannot say it better than Descartes himself: “I think, therefore I exist”. I cannot confirm without a shadow of a doubt that the objects and people in my life exist. Every perception I form as a result of experiencing existence could be founded in a hallucination. For that reason I cannot prove my perceptual reality to be false and I cannot logically assume the opposite to be true—regardless of how comforting it would be to believe that I experience “real” reality.

Eduk
Posts: 1504
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Eduk » June 16th, 2018, 8:36 am

The key to my argument is that it deals with probabilities not absolutes.
What is more likely. That you and I are both thinking agents or that only I am a thinking agent and you are a hallucination?
What is more likely. That I am 39 and able to cross the road without being run over or that my perception of reality is so off that I can't safely cross the road and that I am now dying while believing I am sat safely at home.
What is more likely. That generations of my ancestors can judge reality well enough to cross roads, or that they can't?
What is more likely. That I am able to judge reality well enough to realise my own imperfections and thus build tools and processes to improve this state of affairs and thus am now typing this message on a smart phone sending it across continents in seconds. Or that I am just tapping on a rock.
Now I understand that such an approach may not be fully satisfy. We would all rather deal with absolutes. But I argue that the best one can do is the best one can do.

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 59
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by chewybrian » June 16th, 2018, 10:59 am

-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm
This is not a hard choice to make to want to proselytise knowledge, reason, and logic.
Science is a tool, not a religion; I've never tried to convert anyone to my lawn mower. But, if you wish to 'proselytize' people away from religion, you'll need a softer method, and some sound arguments showing their life will be better, not just an equation on paper. If they seek happiness first, and truth second, your arguments may not sway them.
-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm
This is not a hard choice to decry the unspeakably irrelevant dogma of religions.
You wish to throw out: the bath water, the baby, the tub, and then to burn down the house just to be sure. If you could find something useful in religion, why shouldn't you adopt it, not because the religion says so, but because it could make your life better?
-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm
This is why I have an emotional commitment to everything reasonable, logical and knowledgeable. This is why I am pronouncedly anti-religion.
I can give you an example from my own life where this mentality can backfire. Would you agree that finance is a science? It is based on the assumption that, in the abstract, money can make your life better, to which most people would assent. So, if your inputs and assumptions in your formula are correct, then finance always gives the answer most likely to maximize your equity, and, in theory, make you happier.

I studied finance in college and swallowed this hook, line and sinker and ran off to make my life better with the power of finance. It worked in many small ways, and I was encouraged, so I kept at it. But, while a little more money made some things easier, it did not really make me happy. I continually worked for a future 'happiness', when I would reach a certain plateau which would free me to live in contentment. In between, things were getting worse, with only a promise of future happiness to keep me going.

Eventually, my idea of what might make me happy drifted further from my reality, causing me to take ever wider and wilder swipes at the growth in equity I thought I needed. I practically went mad, and ultimately sought escape from the awful reality I had created in pursuit of money to trade for happiness. All I wanted was to get away, and everything fell apart because I had ignored the very happiness I ostensibly set out to find.

I finally saw too late the great wisdom in a footnote of an idea that was covered for two minutes in Finance 201: "Externality".

An externality, in finance, is any element external to the equation which works to increase your equity. The professor effectively said:

"If child labor, pollution, slavery, friendship, family, religion or anything else not in the equation disturbs you in any way, these are things on which finance is silent. Talk to your shrink or your priest if you need to work this stuff out. Now, back to the equation."

Presented in that way, externalities did not seem to matter much, but I had to find out the hard way that life does not happen on a spreadsheet. Happiness is more complex than money, possessions, power, or any other small aspect of it which fits nicely into a formula. Your happiness is not defined by your bank account, any more than any other science alone can guide you all the way to a rich, fulfilling life that doesn't make you want to walk in front of a bus.

So, it begs the question: what is your goal in your worship of science? Isn't science the means, rather than the end? Do you want knowledge at the expense of anything else, including your own happiness? If science is only a tool, then aren't you free to seek happiness in other ways in those areas where science is undecided or silent, at minimum? Why would you have an emotional commitment to a tool?

Eduk
Posts: 1504
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Eduk » June 16th, 2018, 12:10 pm

Science does not lead to reason but reason does lead to science.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 843
Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by -1- » June 17th, 2018, 12:31 am

chewybrian wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 10:59 am
-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm
This is not a hard choice to make to want to proselytise knowledge, reason, and logic.
Science is a tool, not a religion; I've never tried to convert anyone to my lawn mower.
I never said I proselytize science. For reference, please see above.

You, chewybrain, use the Strawman argument as if it was manna.

Please do read what's written and use logic, reason and knowledge before you paraphrase previously written material.
This search engine is powered by Hunger, Thirst, and a desperate need to Mate.

Post Reply