Norman,
my response to the subject is:  NO. I learned a good _expression_ here (on this list) I think from Tom(?): "perception of reality".
 
" I can only assume that reality is how things appear to me - and I might be wrong."  (Wise way to save one's sanity.)
 
Upon (cultural?) historical examples I have to conclude that our knowledge
(unspecified, - all of it) is limited and increasing over time, so the 'reality' we think of is changing to include more and more details.
We experience within our ever existing knowledge-base (ncluding now) by interpretation of the impacts we get into the now-content controlled variants.
Provided that we believe that there IS a reality - the source of those impacts unknown - I would not call my present-level partial interpretation as the (unknown) total.
 
John M
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 12:53 PM
Subject: Can we ever know truth?

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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