• Pattern-chaser
    375
    I think your question is worth answering directly. As a preliminary venture. Consider:

    BIV Hypothesis (BIV): I have lived a normal life on earth for many years. Last week I was, without realizing it, removed from my body. My brain was placed in a vat of chemicals and hooked up to various electrodes which produce in me sensory experiences just like those I would have if I were still in the ordinary world. For example, I have sensory experiences as if I am in my apartment; as if I am in my office; as if I am eating by the lake. But really, I am never in any of the places my sensory experiences show me to be in. I am a brain-in-a-vat, and I have been for a week, but I never noticed it.

    Real Life Hypothesis (RL): I am now in my apartment having sensory experiences of my apartment. In general, my sensory experiences as a fairly accurate guide to my present surroundings. I have never been en-vatted.
    PossibleAaran

    Thank you for this, @PossibleAaran! :smile: With two examples, we can make the whole thing a little more interesting. I start from the position that both BIV and RL are possible, and that they both come with the same amount of evidence: none at all. Here's an interesting question:

    Can we compare the two?

    Odd as it seems, no. :chin: Having no means to assign probabilities of correctness to either speculation, we have no means to compare them. We can say that they are not both correct, as they contradict one another. We can say that one or both of them could be incorrect. Logic allows no further justified conclusions, isn't that so? :chin:

    Also, a treat for those concerned that unlikely speculations are given equal weight with more likely scenarios: we cannot logically justify saying that BIV and RL are equally likely. This is because we can't establish a numerical probability for either one. :up:

    My (unjustified!) conclusion is that we should never dismiss these things, but instead we should use them as it suits our convenience. RL offers me utility, so I use it. BIV is a teaching-story that I find otherwise useless, so I don't use it. But it remains a possibility, and I continue to remember this as my reasoning progresses. I'm not leaving lies behind me, to confuse me later. Isn't this the only practical and honest way of proceeding?
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    What grounds do you offer that could be rationally engaged with?StreetlightX

    You offered several speculations. I have taken them in the way you intended, and not given them serious consideration. I'm sure you haven't either. But let's consider them logically.

    If any speculation can be disproven, logic seems to recommend dismissal. Fair enough. But what if you come across a speculation that is possible, but can't be disproven? What then? There does not seem to be a logically-justifiable reason to dismiss it. :chin: Do you know of one?

    Rationality is not your - or anyone's - play-thing.StreetlightX
    I beg to differ. Isn't this exactly why we're here, in this forum? :wink:
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    If any speculation can be disprovenPattern-chaser

    Speculations do not need to be disproven and logic recommends nothing of speculation because the latter offers nothing to it. This entire line of questioning is just charlatanism; and of course, some are indeed here just for that.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Speculations do not need to be disprovenStreetlightX

    Another unjustified assertion. Why do speculations not need to be disproven? What is the logical justification? You keep insisting that there is no question to answer, but all you offer to support your case is unjustified assertions. You seem to be presenting a position that you believe to be logical, and I'm asking you for the logical justification for your position. What is it?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Why do speculations not need to be disproven?Pattern-chaser

    Because rationality deals with arguments on the basis of the inferences that are soundly and validly developed in the course of those arguments. Speculations of the BIV kind offer nothing of the sort - just stories for children playing at philosophy.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    just stories for children playing at philosophyStreetlightX

    A lovely image. :up: Stories are how humans learn and remember best. You can deal with reality as you see fit. I will continue to think about things I consider interesting, and the stories presented here are interesting, to me at least. It seems one or two other people also agree. Perhaps you should just leave us kids to play here, in the philosophy playground? :razz:
  • BrianW
    153
    Yes, of course. A real illusion is, of course, real.Pattern-chaser

    I'm not saying illusions are real. Only that the components of illusion are borrowed from our perception of reality.

    The point of this discussion is to ask how we deal with speculations for which there is no evidence. It seems that logic takes us so far, but no farther. And when we reach that point, we must stop.Pattern-chaser

    I agree that beyond logic no argument is appropriate or necessary, and should proceed no further.

    As to BIV and RL, I would ask that you formulate a personal test for which to recognize the difference between reality and illusion. A kind of litmus test for the difference between the 'texture' of illusion vs that of reality. I believe you will find it impossible to mistake one for the other.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Yes, of course. A real illusion is, of course, real. — Pattern-chaser


    I'm not saying illusions are real. Only that the components of illusion are borrowed from our perception of reality.
    BrianW

    I am (saying illusions are real). They aren't what they pretend to be, of course, that's what illusions are all about. :wink: But an illusion has existence as such, so it's real. :up:

    As to BIV and RL, I would ask that you formulate a personal test for which to recognize the difference between reality and illusion. A kind of litmus test for the difference between the 'texture' of illusion vs that of reality. I believe you will find it impossible to mistake one for the other.BrianW

    Issues such as we are discussing here wouldn't even exist if we (humans) knew of a test by "which to recognize the difference between reality and illusion". It's the nub of the problem. In many circumstances, we can't distinguish reality and illusion (or even hallucination).

    I would love to create a test such as you describe, but I'm afraid I can't. :meh: I have no clue as to how to go about it. :fear: I actually believe it to be impossible, but I'm very much open to persuasion. So please, go ahead and explain how, for example, we can detect the "texture" of an illusion. It would be really useful. So can you help? Go on, try it. "I believe you will find it impossible to" distinguish one from "the other." Prove me wrong. Please. It would be enormously helpful and useful.

    [Some illusions are poor illusions, and seeing through them is easy for anyone. Can we please assume the illusions we're considering are convincing illusions, OK? It simplifies the discussion. Great. Thanks. :wink: ]
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    Why do speculations not need to be disproven? — Pattern-chaser


    Because rationality deals with arguments on the basis of the inferences that are soundly and validly developed in the course of those arguments.
    StreetlightX

    But when there is no evidence, there can be no inferences. This topic asks what we do in such circumstances, not what we (should) do in other situations. And besides, inference is unreliable. I prefer deductions, or a simple admission that 'I don't know'.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    A deduction is a species of inference and an inference is the most basic move of any rational procedure. This is primitive and the fact that you can make these kinds of rudimentary mistakes speaks volumes. Moreover, if you think inferences cannot be drawn on the basis of logic alone then you need to go back to school or consult a basic encyclopedia.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    A deduction is a species of inferenceStreetlightX

    A deduction follows directly and unavoidably from its source material. Inference generalises from the specific, and is unreliable for that reason. Deduction is not inference; it is as reliable as the source on which it is based.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k


    The issue is basically no situations qualify for the "no evidence" context.

    If we are having "theories" some sort of context of evidence is proposed. We are posing some sort of event or phenomena and then developing description which reflects it. These cannot be outside evidence because they are evidential claims. Each poses something happens and the which events would occur of an account to be accurate.

    "I don't know" is an ever present feature... but it has nothing to do with theorising. Properly stated, "I don't know" applies to every theory we might involve, since future events are yet to come and we might be mistaken. The only time "I don't know" doesn't rate a mention as a potential is in the very limited context of describing meanings of events that have already appeared.

    Theories work in spite of this spectre. The threat of "I don't know" doesn't ever suppose lack knowledge, it's just a reference to a possibility. When we deal with theories, we are taking the step of accepting we see how things work/they repeat, such that we can draw inferences of how things work and what's going to happen. They do nothing to eliminate the possibility of "I don't know." Theories don't need to though, for they are just meant to be an account the world we do know. Eliminating a possibility of being wrong is not required.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    I apologise for getting involved in this distraction. I should know better at my age. :blush:

    If you know how to deal logically with speculations that come without evidence, please say so.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k
    You could be a brain in a vat. There is no way you can tell. — Pattern-chaser

    We already know by our experiential lives we are not BIV. The events of my life, my experiences, my body, the interactions I have with other and everything around me, etc., these are not a Brain in a Vat-- I mean, my brain is in my skull.

    In this context, the "illusion" or "simulation" argument doesn't help because you are the content of the illusion or simulation. Our experiential lives might be caused by a BIV, but that doesn't make our lives any less ours. We are not BIV. The BIV is just some distance cause which is not us at all.

    Nor, might I add, is the BIV any sort of "theory" in regards to who we are, what we do or what will happen to us. At best, it could be a proposed account of a prior cause of our experiential lives and world, but even this wouldn't account for us as the illusion claim tries to. It would just be talk of some event which happened prior to our experiential world, a sort of Big Bang for the Big Bang. It no more accounts for us than saying the Big Bang happened, Earth formed, life evolved or you were conceived by your parents.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Yeah, if I have to explain something as simple as that to someone who gets confused by basic logical terms that happen to begin with the same letter, consider it a lost cause.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    If we are having "theories" some sort of context of evidence is proposed. We are posing some sort of event or phenomena and then developing description which reflects it. These cannot be outside evidence because they are evidential claims.TheWillowOfDarkness

    Then what is the BIV speculation? Because it concerns our relationship with Objective Reality, something to which we have no direct (Objective) access, we don't and can't know if it's correct (or incorrect). And there is no evidence. There are other such issues; BIV is only an example. The RL speculation posted earlier is another one. There is no evidence for its correctness either. So what do we do with such speculations? I cannot accept that we should dismiss them because they're difficult to deal with. If there are good reasons to dismiss these things, I would like to know what they are. One thing I think we can all agree is that our reasoning would be simpler and clearer if we had such reasons.

    Reality is (for us humans) filled with uncertainty. Everywhere we look, there are things we don't know, and some of them we can't know. At least knowing that we don't know is a step in the right direction, n'est ce pas? :smile:
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k


    BIV claims direct access to objective reality: our experiential world is caused by a brain in a vat and we can know about it. If it were true, there would be BIVs people could observe, including us, had we observation of the room. It's works the same way any other claim about empirical reality does-- if you want to confirm it, you observe. You might know it without observation (e.g. forming a correct theory before its tested).
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    We already know by our experiential lives we are not BIV. The events of my life, my experiences, my body, the interactions I have with other and everything around me, etc., these are not a Brain in a Vat-- I mean, my brain is in my skull.TheWillowOfDarkness

    You can't know that, which is rather the point. The BIV speculation is defined to be indistinguishable from the RL speculation, and from every other possible speculation concerning our relationship with Objective Reality. BIV and RL are indistinguishable to us. Either could be correct, or both could be wrong. But we do not and cannot know that we are, or are not, BIV.
  • BrianW
    153
    So please, go ahead and explain how, for example, we can detect the "texture" of an illusion.Pattern-chaser

    One example is that: All illusions, whether dreams, day-dreams, fantasies, hallucinations, delusions, etc., are narratives. Mental narratives. They are stories we tell ourselves. If you stop/pause the narrative, then the illusion stops. However, it is not possible for everyone, all the time, to consciously/deliberately halt the narrative. One sure method which interrupts the narrative is the insertion of choice or deliberateness. You will find that in dreams, the succeeding sequence of events seems to be governed by a pre-determined and undisputed necessity. Therefore, if you can, try challenging that necessity or choose not to adhere to it. By training your attention/focus, it is possible to shift from the un/sub-conscious to the conscious just like in meditation or trance the reverse can be achieved.

    Another difference between reality and illusion is the multifaceted/versatile nature of reality in contrast to the one-sided nature of illusions. To put it in layman's terms, illusions do not have a series of whys, whens, hows, etc., unlike reality where multiple sequences of causes and effects are open for consideration. This means that in an illusion the one event in focus is the only event in existence while in reality attention can be shifted between multiple concurrent events. An attempt to shift focus in an illusion will most likely disentangle it to some degree. I would express it thus: to the mind, illusion is all-consuming while reality is always open-ended and accepting of a variety of choices.

    Illusions seem to bypass the reflective and intellectual mechanism, or use them to establish a pre-set state of affairs before acting directly on the instinctive and emotional part. Therefore, a good deal of emotional control can help one in identifying between illusion and reality. Most illusions keep by their grip on our emotional reins. Thus, to be able to take a breath while in distress can, hypothetically, instantly dissipate an illusion. I dare even say that to mock an illusion is to overcome it.

    There are many other ways and factors in the distinction between illusions and reality. For most people the mechanism is un/sub-conscious even when trained. For example, a person may wake up at a particular time every morning, sometimes having to exit a dream sequence part way through, without realizing the significance of the choice/deliberateness applied.

    If what I say is not agreeable at face value, try any of the exercises and see if in time you do not develop some degree of ability to rouse yourself mid dreaming or at least develop the capacity to realize you're dreaming as it unfolds.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k


    If it's indistinguishable, then it is the same: the experiential world is present, the brain of my body is still there. Someone in my experience could take it right out of my head. In this respect, it doesn't matter whether my brain in my skull is present by a BIV or not. Either way, there is a brain in my skull.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    BIV claims direct access to objective realityTheWillowOfDarkness

    Not really. It offers a possible speculation, nothing more. RL is another such speculation. If we were concerned here with their correctness, we would truly be wasting our time, for such speculations cannot be verified or falsified. But we are, instead, wondering how these speculations, and others like them, should be dealt with logically. Thankfully, this does not require access to OR. :wink: :up:
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    If it's indistinguishable, then it is the sameTheWillowOfDarkness

    So, if you were colour-blind, red and green would become 'the same', because you can't distinguish between them? The two speculations are indistinguishable to us humans.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    ...Another difference between reality and illusion is the multifaceted/versatile nature of reality in contrast to the one-sided nature of illusions....BrianW

    You consider only illusions that are detectable because they feature imperfections? Of course such illusions can be detected, with application and practice. But can you not conceive of a convincing illusion? One good enough to convince you (and me), at least? That is what we are discussing here, surely?
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k


    Yes, really. BIV is a truth known by direct access to objective reality, like anything else.

    Of course, we could avoid having any concern for correctness, but if we do so, we render our statements meaningless. There is no point to a position which leaves us without nay sort of knowledge. It's just a waste of our time. Nothing is what it offers. We cannot even trust it as a path to avoid error, for the right answer doesn't disappear just because we haven't been told its true by something else.

    Such thought is neither reason nor philosophy because it offers exactly no insight. We don't learn anything from it. It doesn't clarify our reasoning. All it does is trick us into thinking "mystery" is profound and get us to ignore what we do know.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    There is no point to a position which leaves us without any sort of knowledge. It's just a waste of our time.TheWillowOfDarkness

    How about the knowledge that we have no knowledge pertinent to the matter in hand? To move something from 'don't know we don't know' to 'know that we don't know' is worthwhile, isn't it? :chin:
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.6k


    I would just see one colour. Red and green remained distinguished to the world, others and even, in various conceptual senses, to me. They are distinguished all they way up and down. That's why I'm colourblind-- there is a distinction, a colour, which I do not see.
  • BrianW
    153


    There is no illusion indistinguishable from reality. To succumb completely to an illusion implies a deficiency (disease or deliberately applied constraint e.g., influence of drugs) which impairs the cognitive apparatus.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    BIV is a truth...TheWillowOfDarkness

    No, it's not. It's a speculation. How could we recognise it as 'a truth', when there is no evidence concerning its correctness?
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    There is no illusion indistinguishable from reality.BrianW

    Then I defer to your omniscience. For myself, I cannot scale such heights. I seek logic that works for me, with all my faults and deficiencies.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment