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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.
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.
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.
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.
To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.
What I and perhaps other posters misunderstood to be the topic of the thread was the question posed in its title.
It sounds like transcendental idealism or phenomenalism, and all the criticisms brought up against these trains of thought long ago would apply here.
I find that the homunculus fallacy is what your beliefs and Hoffman’s arguments share in common.
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 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.
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.
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
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!