(07-02-2013 09:32 AM)Ghost Wrote: Hey, Chas.
That we cannot know it.
Plato figured this out thousands of years ago.
Everything we know and understand is achieved through a process of mediation. We cannot understand things except through a form of mediation. The only way to understand that form of mediation is through another form of mediation.
There is always a separation between that which is as it is (what I like to refer to as actuality) and that which we understand.
Actuality + interpretation = reality
Reality is a construction. Reality is not fixed, not absolute and changes over time.
So I'm also saying that not only is there no objective reality, but that reality is not what it is colloquially thought to be. Reality is not the real. Reality is the shadow on the cave wall.
Then throw into the mix that we don't actually have any proof that actuality exists, that there is something objective out there. It's an entirely counter-intuitive notion, but one with many backers (cogito ergo sum being one of the more famous ones). So I cannot be certain that there is an objective universe (although my intuition makes me lean pretty heavily to the side of yes) but I do feel comfortable with the notion that we use a construction of reality. The constructivist view corresponds to what we know about sensing, cognition, language, semiotics, memetics, information, communication and a host of other areas of study.
Think about it this way. The human organism has sensory organs. We get input from everything around us. We then process that information in the computer that is our brain. There is so much raw data in the universe that if we did not pick and choose what data was important and eliminate that which isn't important to us, our brains would simply be overloaded by the data stream. What we understand is not actuality, but an abstracted version of it. For sure, there is a relationship between that abstraction and actuality (see the equation above) but that relationship is essentially arbitrary, unfixed and changes from one culture to the next.
Peace and Love and Empathy,
I think I mostly agree with you, except that I am quite convinced that there is an objective reality.
Otherwise, what would the shadows on the cave wall be shadows of?
I am positive
that we construct
our knowledge from mediated reality, and that science is the method that gets us the best constructed model. I have somewhere between little and no reason to believe that any other method even comes close.
Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method