# What is the procentual probability that we live in the objective reality independent of our consciousness rather than in some virtual reality?

I am aware than it is impossible to prove anything in real life. Therefore we can't prove that the picture of the reality we are percieving through our senses is a subjective picture of an objective reality rather than just a dream, virtual reality etc. I wonder if it is possible to calculate, at least approximately, the probability that the objective reality is real? Or is it at least possible to tell what is more probable: objective reality vs. virtual reality vs. brain in a vat (metrix style)? If you could recommend any book or an article on this topic, I would really appreciate it. I would also appreciate some key words/theories that are used in philosophy for this topic.

*(I don't have philosophy background and yet I want to write about this topic, therefore any sources which I could use to support my thesis would be really appreciated)

*(Is there any proof to support my words, that is we cannot prove anything in real life with the absolute certainty - any key word for that would be appreciated)

• Your use of terminology is problematic. How wod one prove that it is impossible to prove anything in real life? If if you could would you prove that something is provable in real life? Do you see the position makes no sense? You can't use subjective & objective in the same sentence the way you do. Subjective explicitly means the answer will or can vary depending on circumstances: even when the circumstances are identical the suction can be different. This is a no--no in the context of morality.Objective explicitly means the answer has a truth value that can NEVER change -impossible to change. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 13:44
• If you haven't yet you may look into Nick Bostrom's Simulation hypothesis. (he calculated that we are very probably in a simulation) But ask yourself this: If you cannot distinguish "real" or "not real", what is the purpose of the question? Since the answer is so obviously that you should accept it as real to be on the safe side. (within reason of course) Look under the "simulated-universe" tag for some more caveats on the topic... Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 4:54
• As stated proving that nothing can be proven has problems. But truthfully, nothing can be proven. So really there is no question Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 11:50
• You cannot possibly prove that the brain in a vat (matrix trilogy) or solipsism is false. This (like square circles) is an analytical impossibility. On other other hand if either one of these is true evidence can be found. Hypotheses can be formed and tested. When the empirical test results are inconsistent with the conventional model or reality then one might gain some new insight. Commented May 22, 2020 at 1:07

Is there any proof to support my words, that is we can not prove anything in real life with the absolute certainty?

There is no such proof. What we can prove is that all sensory and inferred knowledge is subject to doubt. This narrows down what can be known with certainty to 'knowledge-by-identity'. Hence Descartes choice of 'I Am' as an axiom.

... we can't prove that the picture of the reality we are perceiving through our senses is a subjective picture of an objective reality rather than just a dream, virtual reality etc.

This is correct.

I wonder if it is possible to calculate, at least approximately, the probability that the objective reality is real?

It is possible to prove the objective world is not real in the way we usually think it is, and even that it is not really objective, but it is not a matter of probability. Clearly the objective and subjective worlds are real in some sense, the question is only in what sense.

Key-words for the topic would include Realism, anti-Realism, Subjective Idealism, Absolute Idealism, Non-duality, Mysticism, Perennial Philosophy, Materialism, Externalism.

• "It is possible to prove the objective world is not real in the way we usually think it is" I don't see how you could do that! I think that all you can do, as Descartes proposed and you yourself suggest, is to doubt the reality of the objective world. I certainly don't believe myself that the objective world is much like what we perceive and like what we think of it. I would be very surprised if it turned out to be exactly like that. But it also seems to me very implausible that it is not at all like what we think of it. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 15:34
• @Speakpigeon - To explain my answer I'd need to show how it can be proven in metaphysics that Realism is false and then have a discussion of what we mean by 'existence'. I stand by my comment but cannot fully justify it here. All I can do is point out the impossibility of proving Realism is true, and maybe mention Kant's insight into this issue. You're welcome to try to find a factual fault in my comment. . . .
– user20253
Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 15:47
• Well, that's definitely not an acceptable justification. You could at the very least provide a link where the issue is investigated comprehensively. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 16:22
• @Speakpigeon - I mentioned Kant and this would be an excellent place to start. If you need more then I'd recommend a study of Nagarjuna. The topic is discussed all over philosophy. .
– user20253
Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 12:23

As already pointed out in the comments above, Nick Bostrom's work on his simulation hypothesis is relevant here and has a probabilistic flavor. But if you read his work you will find he is quite careful; the work doesn't just say that it's likely we live in a simulation. He also accounts for the possibility that it is too hard to reach a stage where one can run such simulations and the possibility that advanced civilizations just won't be interested in running such simulations. There are also questions about whether a simulation could ever be conscious at all. To come up with a probability on us being in a simulation, it seems one would have to come up with probabilities on these other events as well, which seems very difficult to do. Since you are considering other possibilities such as brains in vats as well, that will only make it more difficult to determine probabilities...