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

Post by Eduk » July 3rd, 2018, 5:34 pm

Does a voice in your head make a sound if no one is there to hear it? Personally I see no more reason to doubt the existence of others that to doubt my own existence. Both seem fundamentally pointless endeavours.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Felix » July 3rd, 2018, 5:39 pm

RJG, Experience = All that we think, sense and imagine, as Descartes stated.

If your claim is that there is experience without an experiencer, that is illogical.
RJG: We don't actually "think", we merely only "experience thoughts".
I can direct my thought processes and choose to think some thoughts and not others. Sorry to hear that you do not possess that ability.
We don't actually "doubt", we merely only "experience doubts".
I can choose to accept or doubt, apparently you are an automaton without that ability.
We don't actually "understand", we merely only "experience understanding".

We don't actually "affirm/deny/will/refuse/imagine/sense/etc, we merely only "experience affirming/denying/willing/refusing/imagination/sensations/etc"
You are speaking strictly for yourself, replace every "we" with "I" in your sentences above and they will be correct
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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mr533473
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by mr533473 » July 3rd, 2018, 10:29 pm

RGJ wrote: Every post? Really?? So then, is it MY words, or is it YOUR interpretation (of my words) that causes your confusion?
Yes, every post you have made to me on the matter, check it. So then, yes it is your words that cause the confusion, the ones I carefully laid out that you didn't respond to. I'll do it again for you (perhaps this time you could either recognise the inconsistency or explain how this is reasonable)

First
RJG wrote:
imagine that this porthole is your own private, personal view of reality

Then
RJG wrote:
Our 'view'-of-reality (aka "perceptions")

Then
RJG wrote:
This "porthole" is called "consciousness".

You switch between these, sometimes within the same post. Unless you're saying they are all equivalent to each other, how is it anything other than confusing?

RGJ wrote:This analogy is very simple, and no where near as complicated as you seem to make it out to be.
Swiss cheese is simple, doesn't mean it's not full of holes.
RGJ wrote:1. A "porthole" is something that you look through, and is a 'means' of seeing something out-there (on the other side of the porthole), ...right? So in this analogy, "porthole" is analogous to "consciousness". For it is consciousness (i.e. this porthole) that allows us to see (perceive) what is "out-there", ...true?
Yes (in regard to "right?"), but either there is an "I" that is separate from this porthole but looks through it, as it is my limited scope of the world (which would mean there is some identifiable me separate from consciousness that looks through consciousness) OR I am the porthole (my consciousness is the porthole) in which case I don't necessarily look through it "on to the other side of the porthole". The former is what your initial analogy reads as, the latter is what you seem to switch to but if you mean the latter, it would be more apt to say "Image you are a plane window" at which point it would be worth dropping the analogy.
RGJ wrote: Without consciousness, we wouldn't know what our eyeballs were looking at, nor could we know what our bodily senses were sensing, ...true?
Yes, true, but redundant, without our eyeballs we wouldn't be looking at anything in the first place. You don't seem to recognise that your analogy now says there's a porthole (consciousness) and that's all you have to perceive reality with. So no eyes? ears? nose? If this is the case, questioning reality doesn't come up as you don't sense or perceive anything that can be questioned. Imagining consciousness on its own and how it would function independently is absurd.
RGJ wrote:2. "Perceptions" are that what we perceive, ...right? So, in the analogy, that what you see (perceive) through this porthole is your view of reality (i.e. your "perceptions"). We don't actually perceive/sense/experience actual 'real things' themselves, ...right? It is through the window of consciousness that we perceive perceptions, sense sensations, and experience experiences, ...right?
This is not useful until the other stuff is resolved ^
RGJ wrote: Without this porthole of consciousness, there would be no perceiving/sensing/experiencing of ANYTHING!
Is this now your point? You appear to be drilling something home that was never really in question. I wish you would apply the same level of scrutiny to your own words as you do to Descartes.

Remember in my first post..

mr533473 wrote:
If the definition is "exists with certainty independent of our perceptions" then it's easy. No, at least on their own, perceptions can surely not be used to verify that which is independent of them.

Agreed. < you

While it did rely on your own definition, that was pretty much the end of it. Look at where it's at now, you have switched out perception for consciousness and are on a complete tangent all because of your inability to accept the analogy is not very good and recognise that you have been inconsistent in your defense of it.

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

Post by LuckyR » July 4th, 2018, 2:20 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 3rd, 2018, 12:21 pm
Mark1955 wrote:
June 19th, 2018, 9:44 am

Of course as several good murder mystery programs have used in the plot, one day it might be real and your experience will be wrong. As a more likely example, I pull the brake lever on my bike, my bike slows down and stops. Except one day the cable snaps and the bike doesn't stop. Accidents are nature's way of reminding us that cause and effect is not always as consistent as we'd like it to be.
You are missing the point.
There is no experience without perception, so the phrase "experience trumps perception" is utterly meaningless. it's like saying the omelette trumps eggs.
No, not meaningless. Experience is multiple perceptions accompanied by intellectual assessment of the perceptions. Thus it always trumps a single new perception, since it is the superset including perception.
"As usual... it depends."

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Mark1955
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Mark1955 » July 4th, 2018, 5:40 am

Eduk wrote:
July 3rd, 2018, 7:27 am
My entirely unhidden agenda is that if nothing you think you know is certain, then don't be so certain you have the 'right' answer, be prepared to adapt your answer to new information and even if you don't get new information realise you're probably at least partly wrong so don't be so damned cocky, or dictatorial.
Yes a leading principle behind the scientific method. The interesting thing is the conclusions that can be drawn from the above. These range from anything goes to, well, the scientific method.
David Hume addressed this, we cannot live life as though anything goes we have to make rules, all I'm asking is that you realise your rules are always going to be wrong in some circumstances.
Eduk wrote:
July 3rd, 2018, 7:27 am
Out of interest can you name specific instances where you feel that lack of certainty is improperly applied and the opposite where lack of certainty if properly applied. Ideally the best examples of the largest import would be most interesting.
Not a lot of point, they'd be my biases. I'm more interested in you looking at your own certainties and questioning them [Exception; if you're a sports official the rules are the rules, apply them, it's how we play the game].
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

Steve3007
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Steve3007 » July 4th, 2018, 6:20 am

From Eduk to Mark1955:
Out of interest can you name specific instances where you feel that lack of certainty is improperly applied and the opposite where lack of certainty if properly applied. Ideally the best examples of the largest import would be most interesting.
At the risk of misinterpreting what is being asked here by jumping into the conversation:

A specific instance of large import where lack of certainty is properly applied might be in modern particle physics. In at least one possible interpretation of the observed results of particle physics investigations it serves no purpose, in itself, to ask whether our observations are giving us certain knowledge of a "reality" that is the cause of those observations. Rather, it is more productive simply to regard any such "reality" as a useful model for finding connections between those observations and thereby predicting future observations. Remembering that it is a model and, as such, can be modified or replaced if it is not adequate for its purposes of describing and predicting observations is useful.

So, for example, "electron" is the collective term for a set of observations. The question of whether the electron "really exists" or is part of something that we might call "reality" is only useful insofar as it helps to successfully predict future possible observations. If we forget this and get too hung up on the idea of the reality that we think we're observing then we sometimes get in a mess and have trouble coming to terms with the seemingly odd things that we've observed.

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

Post by ThomasHobbes » July 4th, 2018, 9:24 am

LuckyR wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 2:20 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 3rd, 2018, 12:21 pm


You are missing the point.
There is no experience without perception, so the phrase "experience trumps perception" is utterly meaningless. it's like saying the omelette trumps eggs.
No, not meaningless. Experience is multiple perceptions accompanied by intellectual assessment of the perceptions. Thus it always trumps a single new perception, since it is the superset including perception.
Thanks for trying to change the goal posts, my post stands.

There is NO experience without perception. There is no TRUMP (wishing that were true in a political context)
No eggs no omellete

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

Post by RJG » July 4th, 2018, 10:07 am

mr533473 wrote:Yes, every post you have made to me on the matter, check it. So then, yes it is your words that cause the confusion, the ones I carefully laid out that you didn't respond to. I'll do it again for you (perhaps this time you could either recognise the inconsistency or explain how this is reasonable)

First
RJG wrote:
imagine that this porthole is your own private, personal view of reality

Then
RJG wrote:
Our 'view'-of-reality (aka "perceptions")

Then
RJG wrote:
This "porthole" is called "consciousness".

You switch between these, sometimes within the same post. Unless you're saying they are all equivalent to each other, how is it anything other than confusing?
Sorry, but I see no contradiction here in these 3 statements. When one looks through a porthole they see a "view" on the other side. If we call this view the "view of reality", it is still a view, it is NOT the porthole! Seems obvious to me.

mr533473 wrote: RGJ wrote:
This analogy is very simple, and no where near as complicated as you seem to make it out to be.
Swiss cheese is simple, doesn't mean it's not full of holes.
RGJ wrote:
1. A "porthole" is something that you look through, and is a 'means' of seeing something out-there (on the other side of the porthole), ...right? So in this analogy, "porthole" is analogous to "consciousness". For it is consciousness (i.e. this porthole) that allows us to see (perceive) what is "out-there", ...true?
Yes (in regard to "right?"), but either there is an "I" that is separate from this porthole but looks through it, as it is my limited scope of the world (which would mean there is some identifiable me separate from consciousness that looks through consciousness) OR I am the porthole (my consciousness is the porthole) in which case I don't necessarily look through it "on to the other side of the porthole". The former is what your initial analogy reads as, the latter is what you seem to switch to but if you mean the latter, it would be more apt to say "Image you are a plane window" at which point it would be worth dropping the analogy.
Mr533473, you are jumping way ahead of this very simple analogy. This analogy doesn't identify the "I" or make the connection of "I" to consciousness.

The purpose of this simple analogy is to give a sense of disconnect, or difference, between perceptions and reality, (...which is the focus of this topic). That's all.

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mr533473
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by mr533473 » July 4th, 2018, 11:11 am

RJG wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 10:07 am
mr533473 wrote:Yes, every post you have made to me on the matter, check it. So then, yes it is your words that cause the confusion, the ones I carefully laid out that you didn't respond to. I'll do it again for you (perhaps this time you could either recognise the inconsistency or explain how this is reasonable)

First
RJG wrote:
imagine that this porthole is your own private, personal view of reality

Then
RJG wrote:
Our 'view'-of-reality (aka "perceptions")

Then
RJG wrote:
This "porthole" is called "consciousness".

You switch between these, sometimes within the same post. Unless you're saying they are all equivalent to each other, how is it anything other than confusing?
Sorry, but I see no contradiction here in these 3 statements. When one looks through a porthole they see a "view" on the other side. If we call this view the "view of reality", it is still a view, it is NOT the porthole! Seems obvious to me.

mr533473 wrote: RGJ wrote:
This analogy is very simple, and no where near as complicated as you seem to make it out to be.
Swiss cheese is simple, doesn't mean it's not full of holes.
RGJ wrote:
1. A "porthole" is something that you look through, and is a 'means' of seeing something out-there (on the other side of the porthole), ...right? So in this analogy, "porthole" is analogous to "consciousness". For it is consciousness (i.e. this porthole) that allows us to see (perceive) what is "out-there", ...true?
Yes (in regard to "right?"), but either there is an "I" that is separate from this porthole but looks through it, as it is my limited scope of the world (which would mean there is some identifiable me separate from consciousness that looks through consciousness) OR I am the porthole (my consciousness is the porthole) in which case I don't necessarily look through it "on to the other side of the porthole". The former is what your initial analogy reads as, the latter is what you seem to switch to but if you mean the latter, it would be more apt to say "Image you are a plane window" at which point it would be worth dropping the analogy.
Mr533473, you are jumping way ahead of this very simple analogy. This analogy doesn't identify the "I" or make the connection of "I" to consciousness.

The purpose of this simple analogy is to give a sense of disconnect, or difference, between perceptions and reality, (...which is the focus of this topic). That's all.
I understand the purpose, remember, I got it in my first post.

I'm half way through Hume's 'An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding' so your point about perceptions and reality is not what I find interesting or what I feel that I'm engaged in here (no offense). I'm interested in the way you try to arrive at it through your talk of a porthole and baggage people. This I am questioning, not the end goal, which we established early on.

That said, no further questions. Thanks for entertaining the ones you did with answers.

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

Post by LuckyR » July 5th, 2018, 2:05 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 9:24 am
LuckyR wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 2:20 am


No, not meaningless. Experience is multiple perceptions accompanied by intellectual assessment of the perceptions. Thus it always trumps a single new perception, since it is the superset including perception.
Thanks for trying to change the goal posts, my post stands.

There is NO experience without perception. There is no TRUMP (wishing that were true in a political context)
No eggs no omellete
You are, of course correct that there is no experience without perception. However, if the option is a new single perception versus accumulated past experience including past perceptions, experience will be correct more frequently.

If I was proposing that experience without perception was better than perception, I would agree with you. But I am not saying that.
"As usual... it depends."

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Mark1955
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Mark1955 » July 5th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 6:20 am
From Eduk to Mark1955:
Out of interest can you name specific instances where you feel that lack of certainty is improperly applied and the opposite where lack of certainty if properly applied. Ideally the best examples of the largest import would be most interesting.
At the risk of misinterpreting what is being asked here by jumping into the conversation:

A specific instance of large import where lack of certainty is properly applied might be in modern particle physics. In at least one possible interpretation of the observed results of particle physics investigations it serves no purpose, in itself, to ask whether our observations are giving us certain knowledge of a "reality" that is the cause of those observations. Rather, it is more productive simply to regard any such "reality" as a useful model for finding connections between those observations and thereby predicting future observations. Remembering that it is a model and, as such, can be modified or replaced if it is not adequate for its purposes of describing and predicting observations is useful.

So, for example, "electron" is the collective term for a set of observations. The question of whether the electron "really exists" or is part of something that we might call "reality" is only useful insofar as it helps to successfully predict future possible observations. If we forget this and get too hung up on the idea of the reality that we think we're observing then we sometimes get in a mess and have trouble coming to terms with the seemingly odd things that we've observed.
That's what I mean about people having their own priorities. There I am thinking about the bone headed politicians, religious leaders, teachers ... who all 'know the right answer' and F*** the world up as a result and someone wanders off into esoteric physics.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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

Post by Eduk » July 5th, 2018, 6:40 pm

Hmm well I feel a lot of those people don't know the right answer but just say that they do. Anyway that was why I asked you the question, so I, and others, didn't have to guess.
Unknown means unknown.

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Mark1955
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Mark1955 » July 6th, 2018, 4:57 am

Eduk wrote:
July 5th, 2018, 6:40 pm
Hmm well I feel a lot of those people don't know the right answer but just say that they do. Anyway that was why I asked you the question, so I, and others, didn't have to guess.
But the principle remains, if sub atomic physics is the most important thing in the world to you it's the right answer. Guessing my prejudices is unimportant.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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

Post by Eduk » July 6th, 2018, 5:33 am

Please correct me if I am wrong. You seem to be saying that everything anyone says/thinks not only can't be proved absolutely but is also partly wrong. Not just potentially partly wrong but absolutely partly wrong. I don't know how you can be so sure of yourself.
Unknown means unknown.

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Mark1955
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Re: Can we trust our perceptions to tell us what's real?

Post by Mark1955 » July 9th, 2018, 2:42 am

Eduk wrote:
July 6th, 2018, 5:33 am
Please correct me if I am wrong. You seem to be saying that everything anyone says/thinks not only can't be proved absolutely but is also partly wrong. Not just potentially partly wrong but absolutely partly wrong. I don't know how you can be so sure of yourself.
As far as I'm aware nothing can be ascertained with absolute certainty so while it is theoretically possible that you are absolutely right in a specific situation, probabilistically it's highly unlikely. Therefore the best psychological approach to all your decisions and actions is "I'm doing this because it seems the best option now, but I'll probably learn something down the road that means I could have done something better". This hopefully leads to a) a lack of arrogance about your decision making b) a willingness to accept some extra or different information when it comes to light and modify your actions accordingly.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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