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Questions tagged [reality]

The tag has no usage guidance, but it has a tag wiki.

34
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12answers
8k views

Why is the complex number an integral part of physical reality?

In modern physics, the quantum wave distribution function necessarily uses complex numbers to represent itself. If physics defines the physical reality, then what we are saying by the statement above ...
23
votes
19answers
12k views

Can we prove reality?

I heard someone make an assertion that 'We cannot really prove that there is reality.'. 'Reality' here would mean the universe and everything in it. You could look at an apple and think its an apple ...
16
votes
9answers
10k views

Does True Randomness actually exist? [duplicate]

I tend to think of randomness as a lack of complete information when it comes to knowing something. If we look at the history of probability theory it centers on a lack of knowing the exact outcome of ...
15
votes
11answers
8k views

What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

I read this article about how this guy in Switzerland did an experiment that he thought proved the Simulation Hypothesis of reality (link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847). I have also been reading ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

If we live in a simulated world, doesn't there have to be a first world that's real?

There are people who believe we live in a world, simulated on a computer. That computer must have been built in either another computer-generated world or a real world (by which I mean a non-simulated ...
14
votes
9answers
9k views

Is time a physical factor or just a concept?

When thinking of cycles and myths, one cannot pass the idea of Kronos or Kali. That brought me to form some questions about the nature of time. Three definitions for time: Time is a measure of the ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

What makes Humans different from a chemical computer?

Are we all robots? Is our DNA the 0's and 1's of computer code? Are we an advanced computer system, with instead of keyboard and mouse input... input from our senses. Our database being our brain ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Existence of an Intelligible Physical World beyond the Mind [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any philosophical arguments to disprove or weaken solipsism? What justification(s) exist for the generally-agreed-upon axiom that a physical world beyond our mind ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How do the meanings of *to exist*, *to be*, and *real* differ?

What definition of to exist, of to be, and of real preponderates contemporary philosophy? How do the terms differ from one another?
10
votes
3answers
530 views

What would a quantum interpretation without ontology be like?

Luboš Motl keeps insisting quantum mechanics invalidates ontology, and has made ontology obsolete, just like phlogiston. What would metaphysics without ontology look like, where words like "existence" ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Can we be Boltzmann brains? Or, how can we be sure there is no conspiracy about the past?

The way things are traditionally presented about time, there is the present, the past is fixed, and the future is open. The second law of thermodynamics is invoked. But how can we be so sure the past ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

What are the most basic assumptions one has to make in order to conduct science?

I often wondered: What are the most basic assumptions I have to make before I can even start thinking about life, universe and the rest? So far I have boiled them down to three: There is a world, a ...
7
votes
10answers
23k views

Why distrust our senses?

It seems self-evident that the phenomena we sense are accurate and correlate to the real world. What sorts of philosophical arguments might cast doubt on this conviction in the veridicality of ...
7
votes
4answers
325 views

Is there a philosophical principle stating that everything that can be imagined can possibly / must necessarily exist?

Is there a philosophical notion that stipulates or proposes one of the following statements? Everything that can be imagined could also possibly exist. Everything that can be imagined must necessarily ...
7
votes
3answers
660 views

Does Einstein's local realism in quantum mechanics imply superdeterminism?

Einstein insisted that nature is locally real, which is also know as counterfactual defeniteness and means that results of experiments are predetermined. But, if everything is predetermined in every ...
7
votes
2answers
334 views

What is the difference between everyday realism and metaphysical realism?

At an everyday level, we seem to subscribe to a from of strong realism which doesn't leave any room for skepticism. We are certain that individuals who hear voices in their heads or who have ...
6
votes
4answers
939 views

Why can the human mind perceive things that are not reality, despite being born from it?

If man is born from the universe, we are a product of the universe. This much is certain. However we as people have the ability to fabricate thoughts and ideas that are completely fictional and ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between existing in the mind and non-physical existence?

How could one detect the subtle difference, if any, between imagining a being and using the imagination to interact with a non-physical being? To provide some context for this question, I will give a ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

How does Descartes determine that the idea of God has more objective reality than finite substance?

Descartes's third meditation, which sets out to prove the existence of God from previous considerations, confuses me greatly. Descartes appears to be trying to make an argument that the source must ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

Who does Nietzsche denounce for believing that the external world is the product of our organs?

I've just started Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil." I am confused about this section. When Nietzsche refers to people who "say that the external world is the product of our organs," does he mean ...
6
votes
2answers
640 views

Kant vs Brain in the vat

If my interpretation is correct, Kant argued in the Critique of pure reason and Prolegomena that: The existence of an external world guarantees that we can intuit, conceive, etc internally. This ...
6
votes
6answers
454 views

Why does all of existence take place through my subjective point of view?

Asking such a question almost seems a bit insane. While I agree that there certainly seems to exist an objective external reality of which I seem to be a part of, I can never experience existence in a ...
5
votes
3answers
326 views

Succinct argument for the fundamental role of binary digits as information units

I will clear up the context of this question so that the potential answers can be effectively targeted towards what I'm looking for. Information (at least in the non-semantic, canonical sense of the ...
5
votes
3answers
222 views

Is symmetry real?

Ask almost anyone, and they'll hold up their hands, put them together and say "there you go!" Except, your hands aren't really symmetrical. In fact every "symmetry" I can think of suffers from this '...
5
votes
2answers
232 views

What are facts as considered independently of any thinking being?

What confuses me about the notion of a fact, is that it seems like it's something that's discovered. So, a fact could be said to be this 'thing' that has a perfect correspondence with reality, and ...
5
votes
2answers
866 views

Convincing a brain in a vat of reality

Pondering at the arguments at wiki: In other words, if a brain in a vat stated "I am a brain in a vat", it would always be stating a falsehood. If the brain making this statement lives in the "...
5
votes
3answers
170 views

Any philosophical theories that would allow thoughts to influence the probability of future events AND be consistent with the laws of physics?

I have some family members who believe a version of "don't think about [something undesirable] because it makes it more likely to happen". Similar belief, though in the opposite direction, seems to be ...
5
votes
3answers
107 views

How do our minds divide spaces and create “entities?”

I've been thinking about how any object can be split into infinitely smaller pieces and how we may say that there is a particular object or entity, but it has an upper portion and lower portion. In ...
4
votes
5answers
285 views

Is a pattern a real “thing?”

Humans are known for outstanding "pattern recognition." However, other organisms discern patterns we don't (e.g., snakes discern infrared and ground vibration patterns). There are more unobserved data ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the philosophical difference between “Reality” and “Truth”? [closed]

While talking philosophically, I want to know the difference between Reality and Truth. Especially while Asking this question, I've used Reality/Truth because I don't know How they are different in ...
4
votes
4answers
140 views

Does Reality change when theory change?

I was going to include a caveat to prove a premise: to show that truth has become more subjective and then proceeding from older to newer theories of truth, I would cite a survey showing how ...
4
votes
2answers
497 views

If consciousness was an illusion, would it be less real?

Even though qualia are generally considered to be unexplainable, there are philosophers like Daniel Dennett attempting to get to the core of consciousness with scientific methods. In his view, ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Why must physics (empirical measurement) be consistent?

In this TEDx talk, Physicist and Nobel Laureate George Smoot claims (around 19:00) that inconsistency in measurements of the universe imply either that our universe is not real, that is, that we live ...
4
votes
3answers
206 views

Is it possible to be 100% certain of the existence of reality?

I don't really understand why some philosophers claim that it's impossible to be absolutely certain of anything except my own consciousness. Isn't that absurd? Personally I believe that this kind of ...
4
votes
1answer
572 views

The reality of self [closed]

A person is perceived and judged by their actions. Frequently the intention or motive of a person's actions can be misunderstood or misinterpreted for a variety of factors. A few possible factors ...
4
votes
2answers
367 views

How do correspondence theories handle statements like these?

I have a number of true statements. Each of these statements is a case where I have difficulty seeing how (assuming physicalism) the statement could correspond to a state of affairs. My question is: ...
4
votes
1answer
42k views

What does Einstein's quote “If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts” mean? [closed]

What did Einstein really mean by saying: If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
4
votes
2answers
953 views

On insanity and the nature of reality

If a person realizes that what they're experiencing is not real, and is fully cognizant of the fact that they can't distinguish between the two - the unreality they are experiencing and the reality ...
4
votes
1answer
330 views

Are Graham Harman's concealed real objects “inaccessible” or merely “not fully accessible in a given moment”?

I am reading Graham Harman's "Quadruple Object", but having difficulties in following the connection he makes between the Real Object and the Sensual Qualities. He starts forming his quadruple ...
4
votes
4answers
244 views

Have any thinkers applied empiricism to the dreaming and deep sleep states?

The Mandukya Upanishad is a philosophical text found in the Vedas, which are among the most important scriptures of Hinduism. Here is what V. Subrahmanya Iyer says in a foreword to a translation of ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Does one's perception of reality affect reality?

When taking in a situation, how much does the perception and predisposition to certain feelings (anger, anxeity, etc) as well as all the various enviroment inputs, like how one was raised, the things ...
3
votes
3answers
216 views

How do laws of nature enforce themselves?

The Humean view prevailing today is that laws of nature are mere regularities of the empirical events. However, there seems to be a difference between post factum regularities, like the Titius-Bode ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

Is reality founded on nonsense?

While thinking about how the universe works and questioning it I have come to the conclusion that it might not actually sense and cannot ever make sense. It all starts with the question "Why?", you ...
3
votes
3answers
451 views

A second indubitable axiom

The axiom "I think therefore I am" is the axiom of reality that René Descartes is famous for inventing. Does anybody know of any other such axioms that cannot be disputed (at least on an individual ...
3
votes
8answers
644 views

What proof do we have that time is moving forward?

We mark the progress of time by a thin line between past memories and no memories (the future). If time is actually flowing backwards or even standing still we would not know it. If memories are ...
3
votes
5answers
438 views

Is it necessary/possible to prove that facts exist?

I am having a debate with someone on the internets. He claims that there are no such things as facts absent interpretation. For example, if I see a ball dropping, it's not a fact that a ball is ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Does a rejection of the principle of sufficient reason result in blurring the distinction between being and non-being?

Celestine Bittle in 'Reality and the Mind' holds that if we do not grant that there is a reason for being rather than non-being, then there is no actual distinction between being and non-being since ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Does the history of our concept of reality, tell us something about Reality?

Whether looking at a human maturing or the progress of civilization, the idea about what Reality is, keeps on changing. And mostly it changes toward the more complex, more elusive, more difficult to ...
2
votes
5answers
197 views

How can we be certain that we cannot be certain?

I read a lot about people saying that it is impossible to be certain about anything with 100% certainty, but that means that this rule in and of itself must be true 100%. I mean the rule that "we ...
2
votes
3answers
201 views

A final end to the depth we can investigate reality?

The higher energies we use the deeper we look into the mysteries of the universe. We started to find molecules, atoms, protons, quarks, ... All at different energy scales. Each new stage forced and ...