On Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 05:17:37PM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:
> Aditya writes
> > Although it is of course debatable, I hold that what we call reality is
> > our minds' "understanding" of our sensory perceptions.
> It's just amazing on this list.  Does no one speak up for
> realism?  The *default* belief among *all* people up until
> they take their first fatal dive into a philosophy book
> is that there is an ordinary three-dimensional world that
> we are all running around in.
> (Yes---one *may* look at it as a model, but is this *really*
> necessary?  It prevents accurate understanding as well as
> fosters terrible misunderstandings.)
> When 99% of the human race use the word "reality", they mean
> the world outside their skins. 
> If you sacrifice our common understanding of "reality", then
> you'll find yourself in a hole out of which you'll never climb.

Sadly, your wish for the common sense understanding of "reality" to hold
will be thwarted - the more one thinks about such things, the less
coherent a concept it becomes.

For most of us in this list, the 3+1 dimensional spacetime we inhabit,
with its stars an galaxies etc is an appearance, phenomena emerging
out of constraints imposed by the process of observation.

For Kant, the noumenon, or Ding an Sich is "reality", and it could be
completely unlike what we observe, or phenomenon. For most on this
list, "reality" might refer to the laws of quantum mechanics, or the
Multiverse, or even the various "Plenitudes" proposed. My particular
Plenitude is the simplest possible object, it should really be called
Nothing. If I were to use "reality", I'm more likely to be referring to the
Multiverse, or an individual (observer relative) universe of
phenomena. Consequently, I will mostly dispense with the term reality
altogether, its too confusing.

I may sometimes use the term "realism" to refer to the proposition
that there exists an unexplainable noumenon to which phenomena can be
causally related. "Idealism" contrasts this by asserting no such thing
exists. This is largely how these terms are used in philosophy. I
would usually say my "ontology of bitstrings" is idealistic, but
then again, one could argue that the Plenitude _is_ the noumenon. This
often manifests itself with Platonism being described as realist. So
you could say these terms are incoherent too - perhaps I shall have to
stop using them, oh bother!


*PS: A number of people ask me about the attachment to my email, which
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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                                    0425 253119 (")
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
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