This is a form of solipsism - it is
difficult to attack it and defending it can be similarly time consuming. I
think we have to move on and believe there is a better approach – if only to
get somewhere other than back to the beginning every time.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August
09, 2006 12:53 PM
Subject: Can we ever know
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
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.
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- RE: Can we ever know truth? - simulation Nick Prince