I am a panentheist. like George Berkeley, Through meditation and mystic visions, I have come to think that existence is composed only of God and humans. The universe is God's manifestation, namely, it is nothing but God.

According to Descartes' Meditations, some philosophers think the universe is real, some think it is unreal. I think, however, that parts of the universe are real, others unreal. The real parts have real humans, unreal parts have unreal humans, namely, philosophical zombies. (Philosophical zombies means that they are part of the manifested God.) So some countries are real, some countries are unreal; for example, Egypt may be real, America may be unreal. At a smaller level, even some provinces in Egypt, for example, are unreal, some others are real, and some are inhabited by a mixture of real humans and philosophical zombies.

Does this point of view match that of any major philosopher? Is there a name for this philosophy?

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    Such a philosophy seems to have no reason for existence. What is your reason to suppose such a cosmology? I can see reason to suppose that the self is real, but all other humans are philosophical zombies. Why do you suppose it is more granular, as in your example? Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 19:28
  • I don't think the idea that the universe is real or unreal comes from or follows from Descartes's Cogito? Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 23:54
  • This seems to have superficial similarities with Buddhism (in the real / unreal distinction) but then to veer off into something very much outside of philosophy.
    – virmaior
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 0:57
  • I've read that it's an Alawite doctrine that women don't have souls. So are women philosophical zombies for Alawites?
    – viuser
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 13:30
  • Descartes said :I think , there for I am ,this means that he is sure of his own existence,but he is not sure if the world really exist ,or to be accurate :he is not sure that the world is real . It already exist , but may be real or unreal .
    – salah
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 19:38

4 Answers 4


Any time you look at philosophical views on what is real, you'll find Plato somewhere in the mix. Arguably, in his cosmology, there are both Real and unreal things in the world, but his classification of which is which is less arbitrary than yours at least seems to be. For Plato, things like Truth, Beauty and Goodness are Real; lies, ugliness and evil are illusions. Or, to put it another way, all and only Good things are Real.

Your own perspective seems closer to one hinted at by contemporary philosopher Nick Bostrom in his "simulation" theory, that postulates we all exist inside a computer simulated world. In a deliberately simulated world, some parts, which will be interacted with, might be "real" (at least by the standards of the simulation) meaning they are actually simulated. Others may just appear to exist, to make the simulation appear larger than it is. Similarly some people in such a world might be fully simulated, others might be "avatars", directly controlled by the simulators, and others might be "zombies" --background figures with no actual consciousness or agency.

In the simulated world, the reason for this ontological parsimony is clear: It is a savings on resources to fake up the parts of the simulation that receive the most scrutiny more convincingly than others. If it would take, as seems reasonable, a universe's worth of resources to actually simulate an entire universe, then it might be a necessity for a simulation to appear more complex than it actually is, at least if it is being simulated in a universe like the one being simulated. If, on the other hand, the world is in the mind of God, who presumably has infinite resources, then why would God cheat? As Descartes concluded in his Meditations, we must assume a good and honest God who is not deceiving us, because without such an assumption, we can never actually know anything.

  • Thanks , Chris Sunami , for your answer .Your answer nearly meets my demands . Cheating of God is part of God's plan,and he does this for our favor.We do not see the whole picture , read philosophy of involution and evolution of sri Aurobindo ,an Indian philosopher.
    – salah
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:39
  • That's interesting about Bostrum. I would think in such a world, it would be possible to accidentally encounter the less real parts and get an indication that one is in a simulation, like happened in the first Matrix movie. Does Bostrum say anything about such things happening? Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:34

I think one name you can give to this view of the world is the Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of the "world" (wave equation in physics).

I answered because I share this view. I have come to understand that there are more than just the positive dimensions as most normally call "reality" (notably mentioned in String Theory). There are negative dimensions (holding things like ghosts, angels perhaps) and imaginary dimensions (holding television "realities", and such. The "moon" landing seems to here.). Further, to hold these as semi-living realities requries the addition of multiple dimensions of Time.

Modern Christian philosophers captured this with the concept of "World Views", but I think this puts it in greater detail and rigor.


I would say that the vast majority of philosophers opt for some sort of naive realism such that everything is real if it can be observed empirically, or some sort of nondualism or idealism such that only one phenomenon is real, which may or may not be called God.

I suspect that no systematic philosophy could rely on picking and choosing what is real and what is not among empirical phenomena. Either they are all unreal, (or metaphysically reducible), or they are all real.

For your view as you describe it God would be real and all else unreal. This is standard stuff for nondualism or absolute idealism. It is just that for many practitioners and thinkers the final phenomenon would not be God but something better described as 'Godhead'.


Although I am the first to admit that I am not a major philosopher, I am a philosopher and I do think that some parts, not just of the world but of the Universe, are "real," and that "others" are not. I do realize that to be understood, I have to let you know what is my definition of "real."
To me, real is anything that I can perceive/observe directly or indirectly by any of my senses. Another way of saying this, is that there are parts of the Universe that are observable and there are parts that are not. God is one of those that are not observable. However, just because they are not observable, does not mean they don't exist!

  • ,How can you ( observe / perceive) that the (observed/perceived) parts of the of the universe have no consciousness ?.
    – salah
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:02

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