• No two people can experience the same event.

Proof for statement

If two people interact ("share an event") then really, there were two interactions:

Person A -----------> Perceived interaction


Person B -----------> Perceived interaction

Say two people kiss. The illusion would be that it was a shared event. The reality would be that there were two separate kisses; the one perceived by person A, and the one perceived by person B.

Here are variables that can be different in each perceived interaction (the kiss):

  • Thoughts going on in one's head
  • Feeling on the lips/teeth
  • Unrelated physical feelings (feeling of clothes on one's body, shoes on one's feet, etc.)
  • Stress on the body (being held up, holding someone up)
  • Images that are seen (partner's eye color, hair color, etc.)

All of these variables could be very different for each person, and since I would think that you could list out an almost infinite amount of these variables, how could two people ever be truly matched on all of them?

Is it possible for two people to truly share the same event?

Is it possible for two people to truly interact?

Is interacting with someone the same as sharing an event with someone?

  • I made an edit which you may roll back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking on the "edited" link. Welcome! – Frank Hubeny Oct 15 '18 at 18:05
  • Maybe you should read about qualia. Then about neurology. And understand that the question at best is not answered yet and at worst is meaningless. Also assume two actual clones watch the same film. Would they actually have the same perception? – rus9384 Oct 15 '18 at 18:55
  • Why can't two people "experience the same event" each in their own way? When two people kiss the illusion is that there were two separate kisses, one perceived by each (actually as many as there were bystanders watching), but the reality is that there was a single kiss they all perceived. And this illusion only comes from a rather pointless way of using the word "share", which is not at all how it is used in ordinary contexts. In other words, it is just a verbal confusion. In the ordinary sense of the word, people experience the same events all the time. – Conifold Oct 15 '18 at 21:09
  • Conifold - I can understand a view where it was the same event, but each person just had a different perspective on what happened. I mean, say one of the bystanders was colorblind, wouldn’t he have a different view of what happened than someone who wasn’t colorblind? Now I know that in and of itself doesn’t prove that it was multiple events. Although I think, that if In order to view an event we need to choose a perception first, then isn’t it fair to acknowledge the possibility of there being no constant underlying event? – Tobias Ethercroft Oct 15 '18 at 22:42
  • 1
    This idea was common historically after Descartes, and is known as reification of the mental, or the phenomenological fallacy:"the mistake of supposing that when the subject describes... how things look, sound, smell, taste, or feel to him, he is describing the literal properties of objects and events on a peculiar sort of internal cinema... and only secondarily, indirectly and inferentially objects and events in our environments". The Cartesian theater view is largely rejected today, see Gusman – Conifold Oct 16 '18 at 20:42

Below is a response which I thought may be shared for learning about individual perceptions of the same objects/events

Although we may think of papers and books as objective forms of stimulation, we respond to stimulation differently based on our different histories.

Even within the same person, any stimulus presented twice will yield different responses from the first presentation to the second.

For example, some neurons in the perirhinal cortex will respond differentially to subsequent presentation allowing recognition performance.

Anecdotally, when we read a book the second time we respond to it differently compared to the first time we read it.

The first encounter with the book has changed us in numerous ways, and we are not the same person the second or the third time around.

So while in a paradigm grounded on the laws of physics the book is an objective entity that exists independently, within a psychological and neural perspective there is no such thing as a stimulus existing independently from a response, and multiple stimulus presentations lead to differential responding.

This leads to the common problem that arises when discussing the value of art. We assign a value to the stimulus (book, song...) while we are really talking about the way respond to those forms of stimulation, and the way we respond differs because we have different histories.

So we are describing different things under the illusion that we are talking about the same thing, leading to endless discussions.


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