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The Case Against Reality A professor of cognitive science argues against it

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posted on Apr, 28 2016 @ 11:28 PM
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a reply to: WhateverYouSay

Thats not really it.

What he is saying is that what you perceive may not be what is actually present. You may be seeing an avatar of an item that, physically, has no resemblance to what that item really is.

Have you ever noticed that colors seem to have an unspoken meaning? If you tell someone "Red is a warm color and blue is a cool color" they'll know what you mean. Those colors are avatars for hot and cold, and (as far as I know) universally accepted. What if you didn't see color as a piece of information, but as an actual thing.

The OP uses the concept of "do I experience the same thing as others" to position this article. That, too, is a gross oversimplification of what is being said here. I mean, in the heart of it all you would still have to resolve that question, as we seem to all have a common agreement on what these things are.

But from the scope of an individual...how do you know that the world you see before you has the richness of color and depth you see? How do you know that you aren't staring into a black void? Because you see colors, and movement? How do you know you see anything?

Now, back to the point about how the OP would know if him and his brother perceived his mother the same way....


what if this is the reality:



You in essence have the OP, his brother, and his mom all standing and observing themselves. Each one as a facet of the same stone. In this way, it would be no wonder that we can all have a common consensus on what reality looks, smells, feels, and sounds like. We all exist, looking out onto the world, never realizing that our neighbor is actually us, and we are them. All connected way deep down there, where we cannot even see or perceive.




posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 12:02 AM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

I don't think you quite got what I wrote.

The OP professor is saying that because reality is multi tiered, an organism that discards much of the nuance into a binary of survival vs not survival will be more efficient and effective. It doesn't need to know there's a distinction between too little potassium and too much potassium, it just needs to know those aren't good to eat, so you've taken 2 categories and broken it into one, saving processing time.

What does not follow from that is exactly what you wrote. Why should we assume that whatever approximations we have built, even though they are imperfect (such as my torrent video analogy), should differ extremely wildly from reality, because even if it's imperfect, it would actually take extra encoding to try and add new content. Your example is perfect, why would an organism take that dodecahedron or whatever it is and transfer it into mother when it would take extra processing? His example is all about increasing fitness by compression of data. So instead of a dodecahedron we would either see an octagon or something like that, we wouldn't see a mother.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 12:29 AM
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a reply to: WhateverYouSay

I do not think it was necessarily said that it 'should differ extremely wildly from reality';

From what I gathered the crux was, that some intuitively or otherwise might presume that evolution would continuously move toward the polar opposite of 'differ extremely wildly from reality' to the point of potentially 'capturing reality extremely wildly well, continually approaching perfection';

What I gathered, was the speakers thoughts that what is approaching perfection for the entities survival potential, may not equal, approaching perfect representation of objective reality.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 12:55 AM
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originally posted by: neoholographic
The Case Against Reality A professor of cognitive science argues against it

How nice, 'science' is finally catching up with what Lao Tsu knew, what Buddha knew, what all mystics and true philosophers have known/experienced for millennia!!
Heck, 'science' (quantum mechanics) has just recently discovered Consciousness!

Good for the prof, though.
Perhaps he was reading the Sutras, like where Heisenberg discovered the 'uncertainty principle'!



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 01:10 AM
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originally posted by: ImaFungi
a reply to: WhateverYouSay

I do not think it was necessarily said that it 'should differ extremely wildly from reality';




You're right, I think I mistakenly added the OPs thoughts with the article he cited.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 03:27 AM
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This professor is basically saying what Plato has said long ago in the Allegory of the Cave.

en.wikipedia.org...

The shadows on the wall are the closest anyone gets to viewing reality. Most don't know anything other than the shadows on the wall, so the shadows are their reality.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 10:16 AM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness




the historical buddha said there is but one taste of all of experience and it is like salt... meaning there is really no difference in the object in reality other than the conditioning of subjectivity in which we create a differentation giving it a personal quality through ego, instead of what it actually is... and in doing so that is just a delusional self supporting construct of bias or duality. objectively, you and your brother have a mother and thats the reality beyond that is just subjective distinctions to be made, like what encompasses being a mother... etc etc and how each is going to have a distinct reality yet a common percetion as to what is accepted in a shared experience or disagreement as to what that subject is or isnt.


Wow. You got all that out of salt?

Well done.

CF


edit on 29-4-2016 by ClownFish because: typo



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 10:27 AM
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a reply to: neoholographic
You are misinterpreting the view presented by Hoffman.

Nowhere does he claim that there is no objective reality. His point is that your view of reality will depend on your sensors and what input they are optimized for. Your view/perception is subjective, not the reality.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 10:32 AM
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originally posted by: moebius
a reply to: neoholographic
You are misinterpreting the view presented by Hoffman.

Nowhere does he claim that there is no objective reality. His point is that your view of reality will depend on your sensors and what input they are optimized for. Your view/perception is subjective, not the reality.


But if you continue that thought....how can you define what objective reality is?

I mean, just because we don't observe it doesn't mean it doesn't exist (or does it?). But the fact that we cannot observe it would seem to intimate that we cannot even know if there is an objective reality.

I think that is exactly what Hoffman is saying here. Maybe more as a thought experiment...but he mentions a few times that his peers don't take the philosophical quandries far enough when postulating. I think that may show that "objective reality may not really even exist" is exactly what he was trying to get at.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 10:37 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
But if you continue that thought....how can you define what objective reality is?


Things is, we can dig as deep as we want with the philosophical "what is really real" line of questioning it doesn't stop me being hit by an objectively existing bus on any practical level.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 10:45 AM
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a reply to: neoholographic

So this is all assuming that fitness function is usually linear and the true reality structure is usually a bell curve. Fitness function isn't usually linear. An algorithm can say whatever you want it to say as long as you can fix the givens, which they've done. An algorithm must, to a point, reduce primary factors to a simplistic form. The truth about reality and behavior is far more complex than what can be distilled in that manner. While I think he may have the glimmerings of a point, the exact manifestation is skewed because the plugged in givens are flawed.

Having said all of that, I love systems but I suck at math; so take it for what it is worth.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 03:26 PM
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a reply to: ClownFish

Actually non stop practice of meditation for a few decades, while walking sitting crapping eating and finally even while sleeping and all that jazz... of course, there was a very small thing in the salt unseen but plain as day... salt and sugar look exactly the same yet on contact world of difference... so individually to the percieving eye one cannot know so all of the eye consciousness can be completely wrong no matter who is viewing it... now since it can wholly decieve us we can touch it... same thing texture wise, we can listen to it hey pile of whitish cubes are you sugar or salt? It only speaks its property on contact of the tongue... yet to an open wound it speaks to touch, under the aid of magnification or label it speaks to sight.

So the more senses we involve in that contact the more solid of a difference it is going to seem... yet it is all variable or subject of the object in question... salt may not burn an open wound in everyone so variable same way cutting onions to not make me cry and unfortunately I can tickle myself and not just when telling a funny story.

Speaking of what Imafungi mentioned, over a very very very long time a life form will become a master of its domain like the shark or the alligator we call them apex preditors or top of the food chain for where they are found... millions of years without much change in appearance... but sharks have been recently found to be getting cancer, when they were immune to just about every single ting we could throw at them including cancer... and now obviously they have mutated or evolved from where they were due to some adversity... likely all the crap weve been flushing out into the oceans, from bio engineered pesticides etc. so hey eithher we clean up out thumbs out of bioengineering that will cause species to have to redapt or they will just have to bite the big one...

Of course the panda kinda deserves what it has been getting as a very picky eater... i only eat bamboo harumph, ok 100s of years this kind of bamboo sucks I want some other bamboo harumph... well damnit eat something else besides bamboo adapt and evolve and you wouldnt be an f-ing evolutionary dead end you cute bastards.

But its not perception obviously as that varies, its contact... that causes the differentations of individual mind vs the basic not even needed to think about it just interact with it as whatever function it may have to produce a somewhat repeatable result, from hacking a cellphone becomes a pretty expensive paper weight or brick as commonly termed... but form can become a function in itself by that line of thinking... coffee cans becoming drums etc if stuck no it can only be a cellphone or coffee can then youre missing out on a lot of invention...

same way with all of these elements... a blueray disk as mentioned ok forget the ripped bit, say you a box of them not one single one of them will be exactly the same they make look the same function the same, but every single atom is not the same atom or arranged the same between two things that look exactly alike.

Of course thats ocaam swinging razors down to the minutist detail but built on concepts it becomes panda thinking yay done lets call it a law well law as in very very highly statistically repeatable but only within the exact constraints for that effect upon contact. But good enough for as ive heard for government work... like youre not gonna get fired for it, and no one really seems to care... cause everyone that paid for it isnt going to come by to inspect it.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 03:29 PM
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originally posted by: Baddogma
First off, love your threads, NeoHolo... meaning I love the subject, too!

Well, we most definitely all are experiencing a "simulation" of our environment filtered through imperfect biological/cognitive filters... there is a truth there...

for example, our feet, due to gravity, experience a different time than our heads do, being usually further away from the gravity well... and all our senses are approximations of a small portion of the information flying out around us and we're waves moving through a stormy sea of bigger waves... but the "waves" might not truly exist, either!

There is another lecture on Youtube given at Google headquarters where the mathematician proves that either there is NO actual universe we are in, or there are many of them.. .so multiverse or no-verse, no in-between.

If no-verse, then that would fit the simulation option as it's all consciousness .. .doesn't make it less "real" for anyone freaking out there... just means that what we agree to as reality is different than we commonly think.

A rock can still smack you ... but, rather than meaning it was/is a hard rocky rock, it just means that you convinced you (or your consciousness) well enough to crush your imaginary skull... heh.

Maybe, anyway.. but veeeery likely.

SO row, row, row that boat....


Very good points!

It's an argument that definitely is interesting and if you take it to it's logical end it poses some simple yet obvious questions. For instance:

How do I know New York exists if I'm not watching New York on TV or a friend isn't calling me from New York? There's no way to prove that New York exists outside of my perception that New York exists. Like the article talked about, we all have this 1st person view of what's reality and outside of that view we have to depend on a consensus of what reality is.

Now we all say, of course New York has an objective existence but there's no way to prove this is true. If you take 10 people and 9 of them say I'm looking at a TV and 1 of them say I see a fish tank, there's no way to prove he's not seeing a fish tank. We have to depend on the consensus of the 9 people who say they're experiencing seeing a TV.

This is because, the only local reality that's perceived as "real" is the 1st person reality. If I'm standing next to a person going into Rite Aid and I ask them, are you going into Rite Aid, if they say yes I can only trust that they're telling me the truth that they see a Rite Aid store.

This is like an extreme version of where some of this leads but it's interesting to think about. Here's more from the article:

Gefter: The world is just other conscious agents?


Hoffman: I call it conscious realism: Objective reality is just conscious agents, just points of view. Interestingly, I can take two conscious agents and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the definition of a conscious agent. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two minds, and they can generate a new, unified single mind. Here’s a concrete example. We have two hemispheres in our brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed there was a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious agent. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious agents there, and you can see that when they’re split. I didn’t expect that, the mathematics forced me to recognize this. It suggests that I can take separate observers, put them together and create new observers, and keep doing this ad infinitum. It’s conscious agents all the way down.


www.theatlantic.com...

Conscious agents all the way down is a very interesting notion. This is because it's our consciousness that makes reality real if there's such a thing.

My Sister bought a new drink and when she tasted it, she said it was nasty. Now my Brother tried the drink and he said it was great. What's the truth? Well, for my Brother, the truth is the drink is great and for my Sister the truth is the drink is nasty. That 1st person view of what's "real" is the only thing that defines a subjective truth.

We can't even know the drink is objectively real. By the act of my Sister buying the drink, she could of made it "real" and everyone who makes the drink. Outside of a 1st person point of view I have to trust that these are the ingredients of the drink and that this drink was made in a factory.

Like I said, of course there's a factory and they're using the ingredients to make the drink but there's no way to prove this because my 1st person perception of reality is what's "real" everything else is a consensus of what's "real" with other conscious agents.

Gefter: If it’s conscious agents all the way down, all first-person points of view, what happens to science? Science has always been a third-person description of the world.


Hoffman: The idea that what we’re doing is measuring publicly accessible objects, the idea that objectivity results from the fact that you and I can measure the same object in the exact same situation and get the same results — it’s very clear from quantum mechanics that that idea has to go. Physics tells us that there are no public physical objects. So what’s going on? Here’s how I think about it. I can talk to you about my headache and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve had your own headaches. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own headache, you have your own moon. But I assume it’s relevantly similar to mine. That’s an assumption that could be false, but that’s the source of my communication, and that’s the best we can do in terms of public physical objects and objective science.


Gefter: It doesn’t seem like many people in neuroscience or philosophy of mind are thinking about fundamental physics. Do you think that’s been a stumbling block for those trying to understand consciousness?


Hoffman: I think it has been. Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observers—spiking rates, connection strengths at synapses, perhaps dynamical properties as well. These are all very classical notions under Newtonian physics, where time is absolute and objects exist absolutely. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”


These are some very serious issues and he's going for the endzone and not looking back.


edit on 29-4-2016 by neoholographic because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 03:37 PM
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cont'd

He makes a very good point about quantum mechanics. So far, local realism is becoming more of an illusion as test after test violates local realism and as they show that macroscopic objects don't take a definite path from point A to point B. Some Scientist believe everything is quantum which will give more credence to Hoffman's point.

If you measure a particles spin, you can get spin up or spin down. If you get spin up, that's not an objective reality. It's you experiencing the probable state of spin up at that moment. This could be the same if everything is quantum. The universe could be the probable state of a universal wave function.

So for observers in the spin up universe they experience one thing and observers in the spin down universe experience something else.

Here's some quotes from Werner Heisenberg:

“I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.”
― Werner Heisenberg

“The reality we can put into words is never reality itself.”
― Werner Heisenberg

edit on 29-4-2016 by neoholographic because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 04:38 PM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

Whoa...you got all that out of a question about salt?

Next time I'll ask you something important!

I have no clue what you just said, but I am definitely going to print it out and frame it!

Actually, I did understand some of it. I really did. But of course in the time it took to type this, I'm someone else and the understanding has changed. Still, that was way cool...especially to a SaltWater fish! You had me at glub.

CF



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 04:49 PM
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a reply to: GetHyped

Practicality certainly matters. The article uses the term "fitness" to address this.



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 05:27 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan
*sorry big furry and Texan accidentally quoted you as a reply... meant to be clownfish, that ATS ghost in the machine that comes up from time to time

Thats why the awakened in the past have said words cant touch truth... and enlightement cannot be given to another as beyond object and subject is where it rests... it gets called emptiness, void, anatman, but that is just a flash of lightening in the dark... until there is no subject or object on which to rest on as it then is all things, yet not attached to all things... it is what it is.

The thing about god quoted as saying I am what i am left everyone else to interpret that by their own attachments and understandings, but no closer to any truth in that grasping. So really if one believes in a god, that god is created in their image not its... kinda a $h!tty thing or trick to be playing in my opinion as that declaration I am... was like descartes making the same statement from an ego centric point of view of my thinking itself must mean I exist, when mental quiesence or a mind without any thought arising is entirely the state beyond attachment or a separate experiencing self called ego, it may sound like it invalidates ones experience... but seeing how experience can be invalidated pretty well on its own? Why run around asserting ima tumor ima tumor eh eh ima tumor? On some level yeah we are all tumors but the label people or humanity is much more accurate.

I know people speak of math, and well before anything is written on a page or black/white board... thats the truth of reality, place the writing utencil down and quickly lift it and you have a dot an object... but since atoms it is really 3 dimensions... even though its called 2 dimensional. Perhaps since it took subject and object to make tat dot with intentional contact thats the truth of the equation, the intention is the cause the effect just due to intention of contact...

In very early systems, this has been mathmatically expressed as a dot... the first thing, and well for that dot there had to be a cause forming it... assuming that first thing was there by intention and not just there is creationism, saying hey this crap is was just here when I became cognizant of it, and im going to make the best of it within the constraints placed by those already here first or work to change those constraints for more equality or just oneself from ego... is just life and the politics of it.

So then we got this nice thing of a dot, and a circle around it to represent the sun... asking back to everyone that had ever existed... was that big thing always there? Yep as far as we know... whats it do? as far as we can tell supports our life... hmmm easy to see why people have worshiped that thing. Of course deep in space things are frozen pull them out and lay em on the counter in the sun and life starts growing on it as it thaws... all complexes like simple sugars and precursors to dna can be found floating in space... tons of contact collisons aeons of time cosmic blender of ocean and well we know the rest. We animate form and life is varible and obviously not confined to one form... pretty magical and natural in my opinion... limiting it with belief is one of the worst ideas I can imagine, but having experiences the effects of belief on humanity first hand... no longer really imagination needed seeing its effects


edit on 29-4-2016 by BigBrotherDarkness because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: neoholographic



“The reality we can put into words is never reality itself.”
― Werner Heisenberg


My teacher would say "The finger pointing to the Moon is not the Moon."

Thank you for allowing me to bump this thread. I like your quote even better. It explains why so often I take a breath to speak but then pause into a frightening silence. And yet, contemplating this, I wonder...is it true? Did his saying it make it true? Didn't we just change reality by putting something into words? Perhaps it's a matter of scale? A matter of language? Gurdjieff's seven men and seven languages resulting in seven meanings with the same words?

Today I read a lot of posts on different threads. A man ranting...some people laughing...a young girl lost in her own self pity...this...all happening at once. All those words changed me. Haunted me. And when I turn off this computer (I'm so glad I lived long enough to witness this miracle of confusion) I will fix dinner, watch TV, go to bed, sleep for 20 minutes and wake up haunted still, and find myself coming back to this...having not noticed the miracle of fixing dinner, watching TV, going to bed, sleeping for 20 minutes and waking up haunted...by this.



posted on May, 1 2016 @ 04:20 AM
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a reply to: neoholographic


He says everyone is having the 1st person experience and there's no reality outside of experience itself.

No, he does not say that. He says that adequate perceptions of reality drive out faithful perceptions in evolutionary competition. But under it all, there is a fundamental reality, which he does not deny. It is merely impossible for evolved organisms to perceive it accurately.



posted on May, 1 2016 @ 04:29 AM
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a reply to: WhateverYouSay


But why does that mean that reality is vastly different than our perception? Why not like a torrented compressed movie versus the Bluray quality version. You could never totally recreate the Bluray from the ripped version, but that doesn't mean it doesn't closely approximate the movie. There's no reason why an internal reality would vastly depart from external reality, sure there could be compression quirks that pop up, there's a lot of loss on wavelengths, etc, but I just don't see why that means nothing exists the way we think it does.

You have perfectly grasped the concept, provided you see that the ‘Bluray version’ is also an appearance, not reality.

It is the appearance of a story, but the story — the plot of the movie — is also only a simulation of reality.

Reality is some actors walking around a set or a green-screen space talking at a camera.

I reckon our perceptual worlds are that far away from ‘real’ reality, confabulated stories and all.




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