How do I know if I (or anyone else) exists outside my mind?

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The_Walrus
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07 Aug 2012, 4:36 pm

Lord_Gareth wrote:
Wasn't it decided, like, ages ago that Plato's Cave was an inherently unprovable concept?

The Cave analogy holds true to an extent, we genuinely can't empirically experience "true reality". Our eyes can't see all electromagnetic wave lengths, or anything too small. Our ears can't hear all sounds. We can only feel to a certain precision. We can use logic (theoretical physics) to deduce things about the world that we can't perceive, and we can attempt to verify them using carefully design experiments, but we can never directly perceive what is truly there, only an imitation of it.

The Theory of Forms is unprovable, yes.



naturalplastic
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07 Aug 2012, 5:12 pm

schizoid26 wrote:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism#section_1

[i]

Interesting [email protected] arguments

How does one know if anyone else exists?

What if I, in fact, am just a brain in a jar that thinks I'm posting on a bulletin board about autism.

It's nice that pure thought alone can bring me pleasure, even if this is so.


You can't fool me!
Im the real person.
I hallucinated you.
NOT the other way around.



Radian
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07 Aug 2012, 5:43 pm

Am I missing something here...?

There is a consistency to the world I perceive such that it appears to operate reliably and consistently even though I have limited knowledge of how it does that. This would seem to rule out me being the original author of my perceptions, even though I edit them quite extensively on account of the infidelities of my sensory organs and processes.

Instead, what drives my perceptions appears to be an interface with an elaborate model, constructed by rules both hidden and revealed. It matters not one jot that I call it a model, only that it delivers a consistent and reliable stimulus to me for a given set of conditions. All dimensions are ultimately relative to each other hence, for example, distance has no absolute component - just a set of given relations with other dimensions such as time, mass/energy etc. All this could be accomplished in purely numerical ways, so for all we know, we may all be agents in a simulated world - but why be nostalgic for real worlds anyway? Real worlds may only ever be realized in this fashion.

Whatever, I seem to be pretty much like every other Joe (agent) so even if Im actually part of some kind of God that implemented all the rules that I dont understand, it seems probable that the other agents are as well. This prevents me thinkingthat I might be alone.



scorpileo
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07 Aug 2012, 5:51 pm

CSBurks wrote:
I thought the same way when I was a young child.


as did I...

anyway you can't know for sure but 'i think therefore I am' comes to mind


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07 Aug 2012, 6:10 pm

I think a fundamental question is, "does the answer to this question matter?"

You perceive external stimuli. Those tell you something about the universe in which you are located. So long as these stimuli are demonstrating a consistent, and understandable framework, it doesn't matter whether what you perceive is absolute truth, or merely your own, subjective truth. It is what you perceive, it is consistent and creates predictability, and you can govern yourself accordingly.


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07 Aug 2012, 6:34 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Lord_Gareth wrote:
Wasn't it decided, like, ages ago that Plato's Cave was an inherently unprovable concept?

The Cave analogy holds true to an extent, we genuinely can't empirically experience "true reality". Our eyes can't see all electromagnetic wave lengths, or anything too small. Our ears can't hear all sounds. We can only feel to a certain precision. We can use logic (theoretical physics) to deduce things about the world that we can't perceive, and we can attempt to verify them using carefully design experiments, but we can never directly perceive what is truly there, only an imitation of it.

The Theory of Forms is unprovable, yes.
Exactly. There's this strange assumption that we see reality as it is. No, we interpret reality and make sense out of it. It's better to think of reality as a language than as a big elephant in the room.



one-A-N
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07 Aug 2012, 11:12 pm

visagrunt wrote:
I think a fundamental question is, "does the answer to this question matter?"


Of course it matters! If the world doesn't exist, what could he possibly order for lunch today?



edgewaters
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07 Aug 2012, 11:22 pm

one-A-N wrote:
visagrunt wrote:
I think a fundamental question is, "does the answer to this question matter?"


Of course it matters! If the world doesn't exist, what could he possibly order for lunch today?


It doesn't matter - it would matter if there was some way to know whether the reality we perceive actually exists, but since there isn't, the question is not relevant to anything. You'll never know one way or the other, so what difference does it make?

Let's say you are a brain in a jar - so what? All your experiences would still be here, not in the world where the jar is. You'll never experience that world, so it's not relevant.



ruveyn
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08 Aug 2012, 5:48 am

AceOfSpades wrote:

The Theory of Forms is unprovable, yes.
Exactly. There's this strange assumption that we see reality as it is. No, we interpret reality and make sense out of it. It's better to think of reality as a language than as a big elephant in the room.[/quote]

Perhaps we do not see Reality as it is, down to the last and final detail, but there is a Reality that we see, however imperfectly.

ruveyn



edgewaters
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08 Aug 2012, 6:58 am

ruveyn wrote:
Perhaps we do not see Reality as it is, down to the last and final detail, but there is a Reality that we see, however imperfectly.

ruveyn


Perhaps ... or perhaps:

http://scienceblogs.com/purepedantry/20 ... graphic-p/



AceOfSpades
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08 Aug 2012, 10:31 am

ruveyn wrote:
AceOfSpades wrote:

The Theory of Forms is unprovable, yes.
Exactly. There's this strange assumption that we see reality as it is. No, we interpret reality and make sense out of it. It's better to think of reality as a language than as a big elephant in the room.


Perhaps we do not see Reality as it is, down to the last and final detail, but there is a Reality that we see, however imperfectly.

ruveyn[/quote]True, our brains cut corners when it comes to details. But it's a matter of how those details are interpreted. We don't see reality without some sort of a narrative.



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08 Aug 2012, 11:33 am

one-A-N wrote:
Of course it matters! If the world doesn't exist, what could he possibly order for lunch today?


Well, if he's as Aspie, chances are good that it will be the same thing he ordered for lunch yesterday. Or the same thing he ordered last Wednesday.

Remember, if the world doesn't exist, then nothing is different today than it was yesterday. And vice versa.


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schizoid26
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08 Aug 2012, 2:09 pm

And if I was said brain in a jar, why run a simulation? So I don't get bored? Or to steal my thoughts for fuel?



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08 Aug 2012, 2:23 pm

Something in the vein of edgewater's link, I remember reading about a compelling argument of a simulated world, where to save computing power, only those parts being observed would be simulated (going in hand with the quantum observer effect) and there would be a smallest possible unit (the plank length).

Now I want to read that one again :P


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09 Aug 2012, 4:25 pm

TallyMan wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
TallyMan wrote:
We don't exist outside of your mind. You were born into a virtual reality matrix and everyone you know are merely simulations. :P

(Thread moved from Random to PPR for a fuller philosophical treatment)


Simulations of WHAT?

If there is no reality then what are they simulating?


How can you know for sure that this is not the 25th century and you are just a brain in a jar with various inputs connected to your brain simulating your existence here in the 21st century? While such a scenario seems highly unlikely how would you know the difference anyway?


It's a fascinating idea and I agree that it is not falsifiable.

If I could only determine all of the inputs....Oh yeah, Baby!! !! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:



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09 Aug 2012, 5:04 pm

AceOfSpades wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Lord_Gareth wrote:
Wasn't it decided, like, ages ago that Plato's Cave was an inherently unprovable concept?

The Cave analogy holds true to an extent, we genuinely can't empirically experience "true reality". Our eyes can't see all electromagnetic wave lengths, or anything too small. Our ears can't hear all sounds. We can only feel to a certain precision. We can use logic (theoretical physics) to deduce things about the world that we can't perceive, and we can attempt to verify them using carefully design experiments, but we can never directly perceive what is truly there, only an imitation of it.

The Theory of Forms is unprovable, yes.
Exactly. There's this strange assumption that we see reality as it is. No, we interpret reality and make sense out of it. It's better to think of reality as a language than as a big elephant in the room.


Agreed.
Science has proven that we SENSE very little compared to the data that exists and then our brain perceives the Universe based on that sensory info. with many complex filters and frames of reference applied.