Hi Norman,

It has been said that dreams provide the royal (and oldest) path to metaphysics and doubt. What you are saying here is behind the key of the 6th steps of the UDA argument. Although nowadays "video games + some amount of imagination" can be a good substitute for dream.
Now I am not sure why you say that you can only assume that reality is how things appear to you. I think that this is an Aristotelian prejudice. It is OK if you are thinking about some first person (incorrigible) reality, but you can infer (interrogatively at least) that such a personal reality is a symptom of a more independent reality lying beyond, like the platonist one. And then with the comp hyp you can even assume that that reality is Pythagorean, where there are only numbers and number theoretical relations.


Le 09-août-06, à 18:53, Norman Samish a écrit :

In a discussion about philosophy, Nick Prince said, "If we are living in a simulation. . ."
To which John Mikes replied, "I think this is the usual pretension. . .   I think 'we simulate what we are living in' according to the little we know.  Such 'simulation' - 'simplification' - 'modeling' - 'metaphorizing' - or even 'Harry Potterizing' things we think does not change the 'unknown/unknowable' we live in.  We just think and therefore we think we are."
This interchange reminded me of thoughts I had as a child - I used to wonder if if everything I experienced was real or a dream.  How could I know which it was?  I asked my parents and was discouraged, in no uncertain terms, from asking them nonsensical questions.  I asked my playmates and friends, but they didn't know the answer any more than I did.  I had no other resources so I concluded that the question was unanswerable and that the best I could do was proceed as if what I experienced was reality. 
Now, many years later, I have this list - and Wikipedia - as resources.  But, as John Mikes (and others) say, I still cannot know that what I experience is reality.  I can only assume that reality is how things appear to me - and I might be wrong.
Norman Samish


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