• Lower Case NUMBERS
    124
    If you have never seen the movie this is a spoiler alert.
    This was a movie about a middle-aged psychiatrist (Bruce Willis) who was trying to find better ways to communicate with his wife.
    He takes a young boy as a client who was previously diagnosed with hallucinogenic paranoia. The boy believed he could see and talk to dead people. The psychiatrist finally realizes while trying to help the boy that he himself was dead.
    It's a great movie and highly entertaining. I recommend it.
    I'm interested in analyzing the viewer's point of view. The first time you watched the movie you didn't perceive anything to be out of the ordinary; but that quickly changed once more information was given.
    And when you learned that the man was dead you immediately queried yourself on how he could have been dead when everybody could see him and how all the interactions you thought he had with people could have happened and how all the conversations he had with his wife could be explained. I believe you did what I did and watched it again and when you did you could understand how it is that what you thought was true was actually false and what you perceived had no connection whatsoever to what was actually taking place.
    THAT is absolute reality.
    I hate analogies otherwise but "real life" examples of perception ought be relevant and maybe even needed.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k
    I'd say that's an interpretation issue, not a perception issue.

    Re perception arguments in that vein, they undermind themselves because of the following:

    (1) At time T1, one has perception x.
    (2) At time T2, one has perception y, where y does not equal x, but where y is taken to be what one would ideally have perceived at time T1.
    (3) One concludes that one's perception at time T1 was faulty.
    (4) One concludes from (2) and (3) that perception can't be trusted in general.

    What's the the problem? Well, the argument above trusts perception y at T2. If (4) is a rational conclusion, then one has no more warrant to trust (2) than one had to trust (1). And if one has no warrant to trust perception at time T2, then (3) can't be known, and (4) doesn't follow.

    Or, another way to look at it is this: If one asserts (2) and (3), one isn't actually concluding (4). One is rather trusting one's perception at time T2, and the gist of the argument simply turns out to be that while we can't always trust our perceptions, sometimes we can.

    And in fact, that's all that anyone is saying, including direct realists on perception. They're not saying that perception is infallible.
  • Lower Case NUMBERS
    124
    But you deleted completely the variable of absolute reality. Your analysis was perception driven and not equated with that constant varible.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k


    I parsed the phrase "absolute reality" as mostly "decorative."
  • Lower Case NUMBERS
    124
    Arent adjectives mostly "decorative"? Semantics is low-hanging fruit. But this not just a word jacked with an adjective for mere form; it's a term in science used often.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    267
    It isn't clear to me how the fact that a viewer may be "taken in" by a movie tells us anything at all beyond the fact that the result sought by the film-maker was successful in that case. People are fooled all the time. In this case, they would be fooled by an artifice created to fool them. This seems unsurprising.
  • Lower Case NUMBERS
    124
    Its not about the ability of the filmmaker. Whether the filmmaker succeeded or did not succeed and whatever cinematic endeavors he was trying to achieve is totally disconnected from the fact that the viewer is having an experience; an experience that was real. He was experiencing being told the story and the viewer systemically processes information during the watching iif a movie just as he does anything else in his daily life. This experience of watching the movie is valid as an experience to be analyzed.
    The receiver of information assumed certain things about the story, during the story and subsequently.
    It seems as though a strongly manifested pattern is present on this forum and rebuttals elude all fundamentals of science and philosophy and physics.
    Why is that? ADD of the pen?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    267
    I'm uncertain what you mean by "absolute reality." For me, we're a part of the world; we're not mere observers of the world. We interact with other parts of the world. We watch movies, and sometimes are surprised to learn that what we thought was the case is not the case regarding a character the movie. That's all part of reality as far as I'm concerned.
  • Lower Case NUMBERS
    124
    Definition of absolute reality as defined by Merriam-webster.

    Definition of absolute reality
    1:   ultimate reality as it is in itself unaffected by the perception or knowledge of any finite being
     
  • Ciceronianus the White
    267
    Definition of absolute reality
    1: ultimate reality as it is in itself unaffected by the perception or knowledge of any finite being
    Lower Case NUMBERS
    Two things about that.

    "Absolute reality" would, in that case, not be real. It would be something different from reality, because we're a part of reality.

    Regardless of the veracity of that statement, if there is an absolute reality, or things in themselves, different in some unknowable way from what we regularly interact with, that's a difference which makes no difference.
  • Wayfarer
    1.7k
    Definition of absolute reality as defined by Merriam-webster.

    Definition of absolute reality
    1:   ultimate reality as it is in itself unaffected by the perception or knowledge of any finite being
    Lower Case NUMBERS

    I don't concur with that definition. If that was the meaning of 'absolute reality' then it would refer to something absolutely unknowable.

    In any case, I do see the point you're making in respect of the film, Sixth Sense. I was profoundly moved by that film, I couldn't say anything for about half an hour after seeing it. (Pity that all that director's subsequent films have been so ordinary.)

    There was a slightly similar idea in a film called 'The Others' with Nicole Kidman where (spoiler alert) it turns out at the end that the whole story was being told from the point of view of a family of ghosts, who had died in the house in which the story had been set. This film likewise really turned your perception of reality upside down.

    I am not averse to the possibility of ghosts. I am not fascinated by them, I don't entertain thoughts about them, but I also don't dismiss the possibility.

    Besides, if you're not a materialist, then you're open to the possibility that the material world is only one aspect or layer or domain within a larger whole. That is how it was understood universally until recently, but we don't think like that any more, and in fact such thinking is taboo in the 'secular west'.

    In any case, whatever has been discovered by science is not incompatible with the possibility that life-as-we-know-it is a grand illusion. It only has to be a perfectly consistent illusion for science to function as it does. There are speculative ideas in science, such as the 'holographic universe' or the notion of the Universe as a computer emulation, which scientifically-inclined people are quite happy to contemplate. But heaven forbid if it is suggested that the universe is an illusion in the sense of it being māyā, a cosmic drama in which we are unwitting players. That doesn't 'sound scientific' at all, where other kinds of speculative metaphysics might.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    267
    In any case, whatever has been discovered by science is not incompatible with the possibility that life-as-we-know-it is a grand illusion. It only has to be a perfectly consistent illusion for science to function as it does. There are speculative ideas in science, such as the 'holographic universe' or the notion of the Universe as a computer emulation, which scientifically-inclined people are quite happy to contemplate. But heaven forbid if it is suggested that the universe is an illusion in the sense of it being māyā, a cosmic drama in which we are unwitting players. That doesn't 'sound scientific' at all, where other kinds of speculative metaphysics might.

    Wayfarer
    Wayfarer
    I prefer to have a good reason to doubt the existence of the universe, myself, and the mere possibility it's an illusion doesn't strike me as a good reason. I think it's reasonable to assume we have much yet to learn about the universe, however. Absolute knowledge may not be possible, but I think we can function perfectly well accepting the more probable explanation.
  • Wayfarer
    1.7k
    Nevertheless it's worth remembering the original meaning of scepticism.
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