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Are we incapable of seeing things as they really are?

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posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 11:42 AM
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Since we've now got on to Dr Hoffman's paper, I should mention that his ideas are based on evolutionary theory. His premises are scientific, not philosophical, and anyone else who cares to go where Les Misanthrope has boldly gone will find a very convincing (I thought so, anyway) argument for his position based on observations of, mostly, certain aspects of animal behaviour such as preferential responses to supernormal stimuli, as well as on game theory.

What he says, essentially, is that natural selection favours useful perceptions over accurate ones. Or, as he rather forcefully puts it,


I propose... that if true perceptions crop up, then natural selection mows them down; natural selection fosters perceptions that act as simplified user interfaces, expediting adaptive behavior while shrouding the causal and structural complexity of the objective world.

But perhaps the scientific stuff is best left for a thread in another ATS forum.




posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

I was responding to another poster, not the OP, not the article, nor the Interface theory. I saw your little diagram, and after a laugh, provided another equally ridiculous notion. How is it any different than your diagram?

I take no issue with your OP (which I starred and flagged), the article, or the paper.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax


Spiramirabilis, the paper is a pleasure to read. Among other things, it's funny, at times devastatingly so. The guy is not just lucid and intelligent, he's a smart alec and a great writer.


Thanks for that - I'll check it out. And thanks for not giving up on an interesting thread



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax




Since we've now got on to Dr Hoffman's paper, I should mention that his ideas are based on evolutionary theory. His premises are scientific, not philosophical, and anyone else who cares to go where Les Misanthrope has boldly gone will find a very convincing (I thought so, anyway) argument for his position based on observations of, mostly, certain aspects of animal behaviour such as preferential responses to supernormal stimuli, as well as on game theory.


Who would've thought that a simple look could provide more information. Seven pages in and this finally comes to light. I suppose better late than never.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


How is it any different than your diagram?

It's in colour, and rather fancy, whereas my poor effort was monochrome and did not contain eggs.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

who is this banana called Seth anyway; you may choose to live a limited life: I choose endless possibilities



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: Itisnowagain

who is you that is always bothered by others actions or thoughts; "everything just happens" and yet you spend a great deal of time trying to convince others...



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:14 PM
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I don't want to interrupt, I have nothing to add, but I have been looking through Donald Hoffman's web page and there are some really good resources, videos and papers for those who are less aware of the physiological (and evolutionary) aspects of perception being discussed in the article.



www.cogsci.uci.edu...



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:18 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


Seven pages in and this finally comes to light. I suppose better late than never.

Shermer's article already states everything I stated in that paragraph. Hoffman's argument is much too technical to reprise here. If there had been an on-topic discussion, it might have been possible to go into a little more detail about it. But there wasn't one. Unless you would perhaps care to start the ball rolling?

A good place to start may be to explain how it's possible to have no issue with 'the article, or the paper', as you said, when they dissent from each other. Perhaps you can offer a synthesis between their antitheses?

Of course, you mustn't feel obliged.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:21 PM
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a reply to: Anaana

Welcome, Vampyr-speaker, and thank you for an apposite and on-topic contribution.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:30 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax



Both confused and amused. Perhaps even a little offended, I can't decide.

Welcome taken.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: Anaana

No offense intended. I was referring to your participation in the Language of Vampyr thread.



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 06:24 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax


Shermer's article already states everything I stated in that paragraph. Hoffman's argument is much too technical to reprise here. If there had been an on-topic discussion, it might have been possible to go into a little more detail about it. But there wasn't one. Unless you would perhaps care to start the ball rolling?

A good place to start may be to explain how it's possible to have no issue with 'the article, or the paper', as you said, when they dissent from each other. Perhaps you can offer a synthesis between their antitheses?

Of course, you mustn't feel obliged.


I’ll try my best. Sorry for straying off topic.

What I and perhaps other posters misunderstood to be the topic of the thread was the question posed in its title. A question usually entails an answer. As you eloquently explained, Hoffman’s argument that “the way the world looks to us has very little to do with how it really 'looks’…but is merely a perceptual illusion that enables us to interact with it, and thus to survive and reproduce” is apparently something like what you’ve believed for some time, “a persistent illusion”, and which suggests to you that "on a fundamental level, we can never know reality”. This to me is the philosophical meat of your post. It sounds like transcendental idealism or phenomenalism, and all the criticisms brought up against these trains of thought long ago would apply here.

The statement of yours that compelled me to post that diagram in lieu of what I picked up from a small piece of the discussion near the end was “The appearance of reality derived from our brains and senses can safely be taken as veridical; evolution has seen to that. ” We are in agreement that percepts can be safely taken as veridical, and that perception has evolved, but I disagree that there is an “appearance of reality”, an Umwelt, derived from our brains and senses. Who or what is deriving this appearance of reality? This notion is actually a very pervasive assumption in the cognitive sciences ever since the cognitive revolution, and it has only been challenged only fairly recently in the philosophy of mind and AI research. The notion that an observer is viewing an “appearance of reality” as opposed to a reality, that a locus of some sort is deriving percepts regarding reality indirectly from our brains and senses (or some other medium through which reality is filtered) as opposed to deriving them directly from the world, is problematic if not untenable.

I find that the homunculus fallacy is what your beliefs and Hoffman’s arguments share in common. The analogy that there is a little observer or user in our heads viewing an interface of some sort explains very little in terms of a model of perception. The claim that “perceptual properties and categories no more resemble the objective world than Windows icons resemble the diodes and resistors of a computer” is no less a statement about reality than any other, and I’m not sure exactly what that means when applied to flesh and blood human beings. If our perceptions “are to the world as a user interface is to a computer”, then there must be something analogous to a user interface, to what appears on that user interface, and to what is using that user interface, within the human organism for such a model to have any use, especially if we are to talk in terms of biology. If not, all we have is an argument from analogy. Further, if a rock is “just a simplifying icon…” that “…usefully hides a world that is more complex”, then when we examine that rock closer and discover its higher complexity through, say, a microscope, then surely the complexity we’ve discovered is another simplifying icon under which is disguised even more complexity, and so on to infinity.

I do agree with Hoffman that evolution does not reward truth. His premises are philosophical, as he himself points out. Apparently they are compatible with idealism.

If I can offer an antithesis to his thesis—indeed an antithesis to the whole computational theory of mind that it rests on—I suggest the Embodied Cognition approach. Here’s a decent primer. www.iep.utm.edu...

edit on 3-11-2015 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 3 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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I like this summation from Newton:


To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


What I and perhaps other posters misunderstood to be the topic of the thread was the question posed in its title.

It is indeed the thread topic.


It sounds like transcendental idealism or phenomenalism, and all the criticisms brought up against these trains of thought long ago would apply here.

It is somewhat close to phenomenalism. Do you want to rehearse the usual philosophical objections and show how they apply to — and disprove — the theory? That would be one way of answering the OP question.


I find that the homunculus fallacy is what your beliefs and Hoffman’s arguments share in common.

The interface theory treats the perceiving entity as a black box.

I have already spoken of Hoffman's spider example. I'm sure you remember that he also used a robot in another of his examples. A very simple robot.


If our perceptions “are to the world as a user interface is to a computer”, then there must be something analogous to a user interface, to what appears on that user interface, and to what is using that user interface, within the human organism for such a model to have any use, especially if we are to talk in terms of biology.

And where does it say that the user of the interface must be conscious?


If I can offer an antithesis to his thesis—indeed an antithesis to the whole computational theory of mind that it rests on—I suggest the Embodied Cognition approach.

The 'embodied cognition approach' is, as its name applies, about cognition, not perception. Rather than being an antithesis to the interface theory of perception, it seems rather to complement it. From your link:


Embodied theorists do not mean to imply that there is no objective, external reality and that everything is subjective. Instead, the point is that a type of mutual specification occurs between the organism and its environment, so that the way the world looks and the way in which the organism can interact in the world is primarily determined by the way the organism is embodied. So, an observer-independent world can be granted, but embodied cognition theorists claim that an organism will understand this world in terms of the unique sensorimotor relations it experiences. These fundamental sensorimotor experiences achieved through acting in the world are actively constructed to facilitate concept formation.


*


Despite all of the above, you fail to explain in your post as to how you could possibly have no issues with either the article or the paper (which contradict each other). You just rehearsed the theatre-of-the-mind question once more. It is, I'm afraid, still irrelevant.

Care to try again?


edit on 4/11/15 by Astyanax because: of... oh, lots of things.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:16 AM
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a reply to: Cauliflower

Out of curiosity, I put part of that quote into the search box at the Newton Manuscripts Collection several times, using different protocols, and it came up dry every time.

The original source often cited for the quote is a biography of Newton written in 1831 by Sir David Brewster. Its full text is online. I searched it for the word 'ocean' and found this:


A short time before his death he uttered this memorable sentiment: ‘I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’ Source

Since it is something Newton is merely reported as having said, not something he wrote down, it must be treated as apocryphal at best; and the context makes it plain that the reference is to what can be known but was not known in his time, rather than that which can never be known, which is what we are concerned with here.


edit on 4/11/15 by Astyanax because: Google is my friend.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:23 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax
What if reality is 'That' which is seeing and knowing in this very moment?
That which is seen is transitory but 'that' which is seeing is constant.

If 'that' which is seeing is reality then it will never be seen!


edit on 4-11-2015 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:32 AM
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a reply to: Itisnowagain


What if reality is 'That' which is seeing and knowing in this very moment?

What indeed.


That which is seen is transitory but 'that' which is seeing is constant.

Very likely.


If 'that' which is seeing is reality then it will never be seen!

Cheer up, it's not as bad as all that.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 02:20 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax




Ahhh...of course!

(My lights are on but there's seldom anyone home)

Apologies.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 02:42 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Look, I'm a total sucker for using models from computer science to solve seemingly unsolvable issues in other sciences but Hoffman's ideas are reminding me in a painful way of the old saying that "One does not dig 1000 1 foot deep holes in order to dig one 1000 foot deep well.

We are not beetles. Also, although icons are pictures of something, they represent processes, or bodies of information as text.

"The map is not the territory", right?

Love you, man.


edit on 4-11-2015 by Bybyots because: . : .




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