Can humans acquire knowledge of ultimate reality, even significant or comprehensive knowledge? I argue that for all we know we can, and that is so whether ultimate reality is divine or non-divine. My strategy involves arguing that we are ignorant, in the sense of lacking public or shared knowledge, about which possibilities, if any, obtain for humans to acquire knowledge of ultimate reality. This follows from a deep feature of our epistemic situation—that our current psychology strongly constrains (...) what we can conceive about the extent to which human intellectual and other psychological capacities might develop in the future. This mean that many possibilities for such development remain open to us epistemically, including the possibility that we might come to understand vastly more about ultimate reality than we currently do, even if ultimate reality is divine. I also argue that there is room to rationally hope that that is so. (shrink)
Metaphysics has done everything to involve God in the world of being. However, in case of considering Reality as being and nothingness, naturally, the metaphysical approach toward the idea of God is losing its grounds. If Reality is being and nothingness, so the idea of God, too, should concern nothingness as well as being.
What is truth? -- Varieties of deflationism -- A defense of minimalism -- The value of truth -- A minimalist critique of Tarski -- Kripke's paradox of meaning -- Regularities, rules, meanings, truth conditions, and epistemic norms -- Semantics : what's truth got to do with it? -- The motive power of evaluative concepts -- Ungrounded reason -- The nature of paradox -- A world without 'isms' -- The quest for reality -- Being and truth -- Provenance of chapters.
The article below is the summary of two earlier works of mine, An Endeavor of New Concept of Being and Non-Being and Non-Being and Nothingness. Only being and nothingness in their unity characterize the environment in which the human being is finding itself, and any non-metaphysical philosophy must consider such an understanding of Reality as the utmost category which is above being, Universe, etc.
The work below is the resume of my forthcoming book which I hope to complete in a year or two. As a matter of fact, this is the synthesis of five previous papers of mine, An Endeavor of New Concept of Being and Non-Being, Non-Being and Nothingness, Reality as Being and Nothingness, Presence in Reality, and God and Reality, or to be more correct, the integrity of them, as only in this connection do they acquire their genuine (...) meaning and significance. I would ask the reader to try to catch what I would call the core of the views stated below, regardless of how controversial or unconventional they may seem at the first sight. (shrink)
The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within (...) our understanding of moral responsibility and free choice, Double seeks to prove that when we ascribe responsibility, blame, or freedom, we merely express attitudes, rather than state anything capable of truth or falsity. Free will, he concludes, is essentially an incoherent notion. (shrink)
In The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour [Stroud, 2000], Barry Stroud carries out an ambitious attack on various forms of irrealism and subjectivism about color. The views he targets - those that would deny a place in objective reality to the colors - have a venerable history in philosophy. Versions of them have been defended by Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, Locke, and Hume; more recently, forms of these positions have been articulated by Williams, Smart, Mackie, (...) Ryle, and Hardin, among others. Stroud's aim is to argue not only that these writers fail to make their cases, but that no conceivable argument could ever convince us that colors are not a part of objective reality. (shrink)
Social reality is a key problem in the philosophy of social science. Outlining the major historical and contemporary issues raised by the social reality and social facts, this book has something to offer both philosophers and social scientists. To the former is shows how the well-worn topic of realism versus anti-realism assumes new and interestingly varied forms when social reality is substituted for physical reality. For the social scientist, the book offers conceptual clarification of key issues (...) in recent social science which are really philosophical issues. (shrink)
Some monothematic types of delusions may arise because subjects have unusual experiences. The role of this experiential component in the pathogenesis of delusion is still not understood. Focussing on delusions of alien control, we outline a model for reality testing competence on unusual experiences. We propose that nascent delusions arise when there are local failures of reality testing performance, and that monothematic delusions arise as normal responses to these. In the course of this we address questions concerning the (...) tenacity with which delusions are maintained, their often bizarre content, the patients' inability to dismiss them, and their often circumscribed character. (shrink)
We approach the virtual reality phenomenon by studying its relationship to set theory. This approach offers a characterization of virtual reality in set theoretic terms, and we investigate the case where this is done using the wellfoundedness property. Our hypothesis is that non-wellfounded sets (so-called hypersets) give rise to a different quality of virtual reality than do familiar wellfounded sets. To elaborate this hypothesis, we describe virtual reality through Sommerhoff’s categories of first- and second-order self-awareness; introduced (...) as necessary conditions for consciousness in terms of higher cognitive functions. We then propose a representation of first- and second-order self-awareness through sets, and assume that these sets, which we call events, originally form a collection of wellfounded sets. Strong virtual reality characterizes virtual reality environments which have the limited capacity to create only events associated with wellfounded sets. In contrast, the logically weaker and more general concept of weak virtual reality characterizes collections of virtual reality mediated events altogether forming an entirety larger than any collection of wellfounded sets. By giving reference to Aczel’s hyperset theory we indicate that this definition is not empty because hypersets encompass wellfounded sets already. Moreover, we argue that weak virtual reality could be realized in human history through continued progress in computer technology. Finally, within a more general framework, we use Baltag’s structural theory of sets (STS) to show that within this hyperset theory Sommerhoff’s first- and second-order self-awareness as well as both concepts of virtual reality admit a consistent mathematical representation. To illustrate our ideas, several examples and heuristic arguments are discussed. (shrink)
We say "the grass is green" or "lemons are yellow" to state what everyone knows. But are the things we see around us really colored, or do they only look that way because of the effects of light rays on our eyes and brains? Is color somehow "unreal" or "subjective" and dependent on our human perceptions and the conditions under which we see things? Distinguished scholar Barry Stroud investigates these and related questions in The Quest for Reality. In this (...) long-awaited book, he examines what a person would have to do and believe in order to reach the conclusion that everyone's perceptions and beliefs about the color of things are "illusions" and do not accurately represent the way things are in the world as it is independently of us. Arguing that no such conclusion could be consistently reached, Stroud finds that the conditions of a successful unmasking of color cannot all be fulfilled. The discussion extends beyond color to present a serious challenge to many other philosophical attempts to discover the way things really are. A model of subtle, elegant, and rigorous philosophical writing, this study will attract a wide audience from all areas of philosophy. (shrink)
The discussion of the relation of levels of reality to categories is important because categories have often been interpreted as constituting levels of reality. This article explores whether this view is correct, and argues it is not. Categories as such should not be understood to constitute levels of reality, although particular categories may. The article begins with a discussion of levels of reality and then turns to specific questions about categories and how they are related to (...) these levels. (shrink)
Most of us would agree that the world of our experience is different than the extramental reality of which we are a part. Indeed, the evidence pertaining to cultural cosmologies around the globe suggests that virtually all peoples recognize this distinction—hence the focus upon the "hidden" forces behind everyday events. That said, the struggle to comprehend the relationship between our consciousness and reality, even the reality of ourselves, has led to controversy and debate for centuries in Western (...) philosophy. In this article, we address this problem from an anthropological perspective and argue that the generative route to a solution of the experience–reality "gap" is by way of an anthropologically informed cultural neurophenomenology . By this we mean a perspective and methodology that applies a phenomenology that controls for cultural variation in perception and interpretation, coupled with the latest information from the neurosciences about how the organ of experience—the brain—is structured. (shrink)
It is often held that it is conceptually impossible to distinguish between a pain and a pain experience. In this article I present an argument which concludes that people make this distinction. I have done a web-based statistical analysis which is at the core of this argument. It shows that the intensity of pain has a decisive effect on whether people say that they 'feel a pain'(lower intensities) or 'have a pain' (greater intensities). This 'intensity effect'can be best explained by (...) people's varying confidence about their pain, and indicates that 'feeling pain' can be identified as introspective report and 'having pain' as an objective statement — analogous to the traditional sense modalities. However, if people have the ability to make both introspective and objective statements about pain, then it seems indeed the case that they distinguish the appearance from the reality of pain. (shrink)
Barry Stroud begins his investigation into the metaphysics of colour with a discussion of the elusiveness of the genuinely philosophical quest for reality. He insists upon a distinction between two ways in which the idea of a correspondence between perceptions or beliefs and the facts may be understood: first, as equivalent to the plain truth of the perceptions/beliefs in question; second, as conveying the metaphysical reality of the corresponding features of the world. I begin by voicing some suspicion (...) about this distinction. Then I go on to consider various aspects of his central argument against the likelihood of any successful unmasking explanation in connection with colour. The final moves of this argument seem to me to be unstable. Either his conclusion that the unmasker’s overall strategy is self-defeating is stronger than is warranted, or his insistence that no conclusive result is established in connection with the fundamental quest for reality is unduly cautious, depending on how precisely the dependence, which he rightly insists upon, of the identification of perceptions of colour upon some identification of colour properties themselves, is to be taken. (shrink)
The authors undertake a thought experiment the purpose of which is to explore possibilities for understanding moral principles in analogy with cosmic order. The experiment is based on three proposals, which are described in detail: an ontological, a neurological, and a moral proposal. The ontological proposal accepts from the phenomena of quantum physics that there is a nonempirical domain of physical reality that consists not of material things but of what is philosophically conceptualized as a realm of nonmaterial forms. (...) This realm of forms is the realm of potentiality in physical reality that quantum physics posits as an indivisible Wholeness—the One. It is the ultimate reality because everything empirical is the actualization of its forms. The neurological proposal is the hypothesis that the brain is sensitive to the potentiality waves in the cosmic field, as ordinary measuring instruments in physics are sensitive to potentiality waves at the quantum level, so that the cosmic field can communicate with the human brain. The third proposal assumes that the communication with the cosmic field can translate into moral ideas and actions. Even though the three proposals underlying the thought experiment are highly speculative, they lead to definite implications that make sense in their own right and can be applied in a useful way. From the order of reality some simple rules of conduct follow that are identical with traditional moral rules but have the character of rules of well-ness, leading to new aspects of Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia and Kant's concept of the highest good. In analogy with the structure of physical reality, where all empirical phenomena are actualizations of nonempirical forms, it is suggested that the structure of morality, too, is that of a tacit, nonempirical form that actualizes in explicit principles and moral acts through our consciousness. The tacit form is thought to exist in the realm of cosmic potentiality, together with all the other forms that the empirical world actualizes. It can appear spontaneously in our consciousness when needed, offering its guidance to our judgment and free will. Because it does not appear in the form of commandments accompanied by threats, the actions of the tacit moral form define a higher level of morality, similar to that offered by some aspects of the Christian teaching, where one acts not out of fear but on the desire to do things right. (shrink)
This is a follow-up article toPhilip Brey's ``The ethics of representation andaction in Virtual Reality'' (published in thisjournal in January 1999). Brey's call for moreanalysis of ethical issues of virtual reality(VR) is continued by further analyzing issuesin a specialized domain of VR – namelymulti-user environments. Several elements ofBrey's article are critiqued in order to givemore context and a framework for discussion.Issues surrounding representations ofcharacters in multi-user virtual realities aresurveyed in order to focus attention on theimportance of additional discussion (...) andanalysis of specialized aspects of VR. (shrink)
In this paper I try to establish a relation between some fundamental concepts of Gadamerian philosophy—namely, the concepts of play, of transmutation into form, and of increase in being—and the concept of truth. The concept of play allows one to conceive the extra-methodical character of truth as an objectivity radically different from that of science: the objectivity of what happens and is thus unrepeatable, absolutely independent of any methodical mastery; the concept of transmutation into form is a theorization of the (...) effectual character of truth; the concept of increase in being shows its nonredundant character, i.e., the idea that truth is more than reality. Truth is eventually conceived as a “transformational concept,” in which ontology, knowledge, and ethics are indissolubly interconnected. (shrink)
(First paragraph.) Different views on the relation between phenomenal reality, the world as we consciously experience it, and noumenal reality, the world as it is independent from an experiencing subject, have different implications for a collection of interrelated issues of meaning and reality including aspects of metaphysics, the philosophy of language, and philosophical methodology. Exploring some of these implications, this paper compares and brings together analytic, continental, and Buddhist approaches, focusing on relevant aspects of the philosophy of (...) Donald Davidson, Jacques Derrida, Dharmakīrti, and Dōgen. Prima facie, these philosophers have little in common, and indeed the differences are vast. Even in case of the two Western thinkers there is a fundamental difference between Davidson’s anti-dualist identification of phenomenal, experienced reality with the noumenal, real, external world on the one hand, and the bracketing or elimination of noumenal reality at the base of Derrida’s thought on the other, which lead to radically different ideas with regards to (the possibility and nature of) objectivity and our linguistic access to the real/external/noumenal world. Nevertheless, there are important similarities between Dharmakīrti’s theory of apoha and Davidson’s and Derrida’s theories of triangulation and différance respectively, and these similarities can be exploited to bridge some of the differences and attempt a constructive engagement. (shrink)
Value, Reality, and Desire is an extended argument for a robust realism about value. The robust realist affirms the following distinctive theses. There are genuine claims about value which are true or false--there are facts about value. These value-facts are mind-independent - they are not reducible to desires or other mental states, or indeed to any non-mental facts of a non-evaluative kind. And these genuine, mind-independent, irreducible value-facts are causally efficacious. Values, quite literally, affect us. These are not particularly (...) fashionable theses, and taken as a whole they go somewhat against the grain of quite a lot of recent work in the metaphysics of value. Further, against the received view, Oddie argues that we can have knowledge of values by experiential acquaintance, that there are experiences of value which can be both veridical and appropriately responsive to the values themselves. Finally, these value-experiences are not the products of some exotic and implausible faculty of "intuition." Rather, they are perfectly mundane and familiar mental states - namely, desires. This view explains how values can be "intrinsically motivating," without falling foul of the widely accepted "queerness" objection. There are, of course, other objections to each of the realist's claims. In showing how and why these objections fail, Oddie introduces a wealth of interesting and original insights about issues of wider interest--including the nature of properties, reduction, supervenience, and causation. The result is a novel and interesting account which illuminates what would otherwise be deeply puzzling features of value and desire and the connections between them. (shrink)
We summarize a recent search for quantum reality. The full anhomomorphic logic of coevents for an event set is introduced. The quantum integral over an event with respect to a coevent is defined. Reality filters such as preclusivity and regularity of coevents are considered. A quantum measure that can be represented as a quantum integral with respect to a coevent is said to 1-generate that coevent. This gives a stronger filter that may produce a unique coevent called the (...) “actual reality” for a physical system. What we believe to be a more general filter is defined in terms of a double quantum integral and is called 2-generation. It is noted that ordinary measures do not 1 or 2-generate coevents except in a few simple cases. Various general results are stated. (shrink)
Taken at face value, the picture of reality suggested by modern science seems radically opposed to the world as we perceive it through our senses. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear scientists and others claim that much of our perceptual experience is a kind of pervasive illusion rather than a faithful presentation of various aspects of reality. On this view, familiar properties such as colours and solidity, to take just two examples, do not belong to external objects, (...) but are fictions generated by the brain that we mistakenly ascribe to the world around us. Contrary to this view, I argue that properties like colour and solidity are as much a part of the fabric of reality as gravity and electrons, and that our scientific and common-sense world views are not as opposed to one another as it might first appear. (shrink)
In my book, Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise , I use the novel idea of modal tense to respond to a number of arguments against modal realism. Peter van Inwagen’s million-carat-diamond objection is one of them. It targets the version of modal realism by David Lewis and exploits the fact that Lewis accepts absolutely unrestricted quantification. The crux of my response is to use modal tense to neutralize absolutely unrestricted quantification. Seahwa Kim says that even when equipped with modal (...) tense, I am unsuccessful, given my view of reality and the proper use of modal tense in speaking of reality. I counter her attempt at resurrecting van Inwagen’s objection and clarify how we should use modal tense and how we should talk about reality. (shrink)
Typical discussions of virtual reality (VR) fixate on technology for providing sensory stimulation of a certain kind. They thus fail to understand reality as the place wherein we live and work, misunderstanding it instead as merely a sort of presentation. The first half of the paper examines popular conceptions of VR. The most common conception is a shallow one according to which VR is a matter of simulating appearances. Yet there is, even in popular depictions, a second, more (...) subtle conception according to which VR is a matter of facilitating new kinds of interaction. The latter half of the paper turns to questions about the contemporary technology of Internet chatrooms. The fact that chatrooms can be used in certain ways suggests something about the prospects for VR. The penultimate section asks whether chatrooms may legitimately be thought of as places. (In a sense, they may.) The final section asks whether cybersex may legitimately be thought of as sex. (Again, yes.) Chatroom technology thus provides an argument for the second conception of VR over its much ballyhooed rival. (shrink)
A reality may be defined incompletely as a perpetuating pattern of relations. This definition denies the name of reality to an utter and totalistic patternlessness, like a primal patternless stuff, because a patternless all-ness would be indistinguishable from a patternless nothingness. If reality began from a chaos or patternless stuff, it became a reality only when it became patterned. If there are orders of reality with perpetuating relations between them, as in Cartesian interactive substance dualism, (...) the definition allows us to say that these orders belong to a common reality by virtue of those relations. However, the definition is silent on the question of whether reality is ultimately pluralistic. Some suggestions are made about the possibility of stuffless patterns, including those of the physical world, but the definition is not dependent on the possibility of stufflessness. (shrink)
The bookModeling Reality covers a wide range of fascinating subjects, accessible to anyone who wants to learn about the use of computer modeling to solve a diverse range of problems, but who does not possess a specialized training in mathematics or computer science. The material presented is pitched at the level of high-school graduates, even though it covers some advanced topics (cellular automata, Shannon's measure of information, deterministic chaos, fractals, game theory, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and Turing machines). These (...) advanced topics are explained in terms of well known simple concepts: Cellular automata - Game of Life, Shannon's formula - Game of twenty questions, Game theory - Television quiz, etc. The book is unique in explaining in a straightforward, yet complete, fashion many important ideas, related to various models of reality and their applications. Twenty-five programs, written especially for this book, are provided on an accompanying CD. They greatly enhance its pedagogical value and make learning of even the more complex topics an enjoyable pleasure. (shrink)
The thesis is defended that the theories of causation, time and space, and levels of reality are mutually interrelated in such a way that the difficulties internal to theories of causation and to theories of space and time can be understood better, and perhaps dealt with, in the categorial context furnished by the theory of the levels of reality. The structural condition for this development to be possible is that the first two theories be opportunely generalized.
This book describes how understanding the structure of reality leads to the Theory of Everything Equation. The equation unifies the forces of nature and enables the merging of relativity with quantum theory. The book explains the big bang theory and everything else.
The positive operator (valued) measures (POMs) allow one to generalize the notion of observable beyond the traditional one based on projection valued measures (PVMs). Here, we argue that this generalized conception of observable enables a consistent notion of unsharp reality and with it an adequate concept of joint properties. A sharp or unsharp property manifests itself as an element of sharp or unsharp reality by its tendency to become actual or to actualize a specific measurement outcome. This actualization (...) tendency—or potentiality—of a property is quantified by the associated quantum probability. The resulting single-case interpretation of probability as a degree of reality will be explained in detail and its role in addressing the tensions between quantum and classical accounts of the physical world will be elucidated. It will be shown that potentiality can be viewed as a causal agency that evolves in a well-defined way. (shrink)
The scientific understanding of cognition and consciousness is currently hampered by the lack of rigorous and universally accepted definitions that permit comparative studies. This paper proposes new functional and un- ambiguous definitions for cognition and consciousness in order to provide clearly defined boundaries within which general theories of cognition and consciousness may be developed. The proposed definitions are built upon the construction and manipulation of reality representation, decision making and learning and are scoped in terms of an underlying logical (...) structure. It is argued that the presentation of reality also necessitates the concept of ab- sence and the capacity to perform transitive inference. Explicit predictions relating to these new definitions, along with possible ways to test them, are also described and discussed. (shrink)
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is (...) another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science. Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well. Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come. (shrink)
This book advocates a radical shift of concern in philosophical, historical, and sociological studies of the sciences, and explores the consequences of such a shift. The historically-oriented first part of the work deals with the ways in which ranges of questions become real and cease to be real for communities of inquirers. The more philosophically-oriented second part of the work introduces the notion of absolute reality of questions, and addresses doubt about the claims of the sciences to have accumulated (...) absolutely real questions. It is argued that recent studies in the sociology and social history of the science pose strong challenges to the sciences by revealing how appeals to authority, vested interests, and rhetorical and aesthetic sensibilities play substantial roles in the practices of the sciences. The final chapter defends the pragmatic stance of the work, and of its companion, The Fortunes of Inquiry, and draws morals about the roles of criticism and reflection in the philosophy of science and in the sciences themselves. (shrink)
By what empirical means can a person determine whether he or she is presently awake or dreaming? Subjecting the experienced reality to a statistical test for bizarreness requires a set of baseline measurements. In a dream or in a simulation, those would be vulnerable to tampering by the same processes that give rise to the experienced reality, making the outcome of a reality test impossible to trust. Moreover, cryptographic defenses against tampering cannot be relied upon, because of (...) the potentially unlimited reach of reality modification, which may range from the integrity of the verification keys to the declared outcome of the entire process. Although the rational course of action in the face of this double predicament is to take reality at face value, even the most revealing insight that a person may gain into the ultimate nature of reality (for instance, by attaining enlightenment) is ultimately unreliable, for the reasons just mentioned. However, to adhere to this principle, one has to be aware of it, which may not be possible in various states of altered cognitive function (e.g., dreaming). Thus, a subjectively enlightened person may still lack the one truly important piece of the puzzle concerning his or her existence. (shrink)
Strikingly, theorizing about digital technologies has led us to recognize many habitual subjects of research as figures against fields that are also worthy of study. Communication, for example, becomes visible only against the field of silence. Silence is critically important for the construction of reality – and the social construction of reality has a complement, the also necessary contemplative construction of reality. Silence is so sensitive and fragile that an inability to achieve it, or to get rid (...) of it, or to correct the wrong kind of silence often provides early indicators of individual, group, communal, and society-wide stresses from information technologies. Indeed, we might treat difficulties with silence as miners treated canaries in coal mines, as early warning signals. The story has already been told that nightingales in London now have to sing so loudly in order to be heard above the ambient noise that the birds are in danger of breaking the noise ordinance law. Surely something has gone awry if nightingales break the law when they sing. Finding ways to protect silence as an arena of personal and social choice is a particularly poignant, evocative, and instructive ethical and policy horizon at this frontier moment for the human species. This article introduces the theory of the contemplative construction of reality, explores what the study of silence tells us about reality construction processes, and outlines a research agenda. (shrink)
In an earlier paper written in loving memory of Asher Peres, we gave a critical analysis of the celebrated 1935 paper in which Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) challenged the completeness of quantum mechanics. There, we had pointed out logical shortcomings in the EPR paper. Now, we raise additional questions concerning their suggested program to find a theory that would “provide a complete description of the physical reality”. In particular, we investigate the extent to which the EPR argumentation could (...) have lead to the more dramatic conclusion that quantum mechanics is in fact incorrect. With this in mind, we propose a speculation, made necessary by a logical shortcoming in the EPR paper caused by the lack of a necessary condition for “elements of reality”, and surmise that an eventually complete theory would either be inconsistent with quantum mechanics, or would at least violate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. (shrink)
This is a response to Wesley J. Wildman’s “Behind, Between, and Beyond Anthropomorphic Models of Ultimate Reality.” While I agree with much of what Wildman writes, I raise questions concerning standards for evaluating models of ultimate reality and the plausibility of ranking such models. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.
In Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Ethics the notion of reality plays a central role. The present article focuses on the ethical implications of the Chalcedonian Christology underlying this concept. This approach is tied to the debate on the relationship between the universal and specific identity of Christian social ethics in public discourse. In the opening section the article outlines the pertinence of this debate with regard to Bonhoeffer's Christological ethic. In the following section the article analyzes Bonhoeffer's concept of reality (...) and the implied Chalcedonian traits. With this foundation established the article raises the question about its social ethical implications. The final part of the article argues that Bonhoeffer's ethics and ecclesiology cannot be separated from each other, explaining why Bonhoeffer's notion of reality leads to an assertion of the church's role in letting reality become real. In the light of Bonhoeffer's notion of reality the last section argues for the reconciliation of Christian witness and participation in public discourse. (shrink)
The author examines Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion to discover a variant of the usual teleological argument that abandons reliance on analogical reasoning. This second version, never refuted in the Dialogues, is termed "pragmaticist" in Peirce's sense. It relies on an abductive hypothesis that claims not logical proof but the power of instinctual conviction. The Dialogues' espousal of sound common sense may then be viewed as an imperfectly articulated precursor of Peirce's pragmaticist argument for the reality rather than the (...) existence of God. (shrink)
We propose an ideal experiment enabling the simultaneous assignment of the objective values, 0 or 1, of two incompatible properties of a system made up of two separated, non-interacting spin particles when a strict interpretation of the criterion of reality of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen is adopted. We compare this experiment with the physical situation involving two-value observables of a system of two correlated spin-1/2 particles envisaged by Bohm; in particular, we show its inadequacy in the dual assignment at (...) issue. Finally, we discuss a number of questions of interpretation of the consistent quantum theory highlighted by our experiment. (shrink)
The term “virtual reality” was first coined by Antonin Artaud to describe a value-adding characteristic of certain types of theatrical performances. The expression has more recently come to refer to a broad range of incipient digital technologies that many current philosophers regard as a serious threat to human autonomy and well-being. Their concerns, which are formulated most succinctly in “brain in a vat”-type thought experiments and in Robert Nozick's famous “experience machine” argument, reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the way (...) that such technologies would probably have to work. They also considerably underestimate the positive contributions that virtual reality (VR) technologies could make to the growth of human knowledge. Here, we examine and critique Nozick's claim that no reasonable person would want to plug into his hypothetical experience machine in light of a broadly enactivist understanding of how future VR technologies might be expected to function. We then sketch out a tentative theory of the phenomenon of truth in fiction, in order to characterize some of the distinct epistemic opportunities that VR technologies promise to provide. (shrink)
Molecular models are typical topics of chemical research depending on the technical standards of observation, computation, and representation. Mathematically, molecular structures have been represented by means of graph theory, topology, differential equations, and numerical procedures. With the increasing capabilities of computer networks, computational models and computer-assisted visualization become an essential part of chemical research. Object-oriented programming languages create a virtual reality of chemical structures opening new avenues of exploration and collaboration in chemistry. From an epistemic point of view, virtual (...)reality is a new computer-assisted tool of human imagination and recognition. (shrink)
'This is a smart and compelling book. Difficult ideas are presented in an accessible manner, with plenty of supporting illustrations…Students will enjoy the research material and other supporting material. A definite winner!'- Professor Jay Gubrium, University of Missouri This book gets to the heart of what the social sciences really know about the elusive and contradictory object of research: human reality. Drawing on a wide range of international examples and scenarios, Social Theory and Human Reality examines key sociological (...) concepts that we use to understand human behaviour such as: norms, rules and meanings; language and discourse; ritual; and personality and identity construction. Alasuutari clearly and convincingly demonstrates: - The constant interplay between routines and reflexivity that grounds social order - how the body and our bodily experiences mediate our social reality - that language plays a multi-faceted role as it describes, reflects and constructs human reality Building on the work started by Berger and Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality, this book is a lucid and contemporary analysis of the premises shared across the social sciences, and of the kaleidoscope of 'human reality'. This important book will be welcomed by students and scholars alike in the fields of Cultural Studies, Sociology and Anthropology. (shrink)
This essay discusses the trade-off between the opportunities and the dangers involved in technological change. It is argued that Artificial Intelligence technology, if properly used, could contribute substantially to coping with some of the major problems the world faces because of the highly complex interconnectivity of modern human society.In order to lay the foundation for the discussion, the symptoms of general unease which are associated with current technological progress, the concept of reality, and the field of Artificial Intelligence are (...) very briefly discussed. In the main body of the essay, the dangers are contrasted with the potential benefits of such high technology. Besides discussing more well-known negative and positive aspects we elaborate on the disadvantages of executive systems and the advantages of legislative systems. It is argued that only the latter might enable the re-establishment of the feedback-mechanism which proved so successful in earlier phases of evolution. (shrink)
The conjunction of process and reality is familiar from the original theory of A. N. Whitehead and the subsequent development of process philosophy and metaphysics by Nicholas Rescher. Classical logic, however, is either ignored or stated to be inappropriate to a discussion of process. In this paper, I will show that the value of a process view of reality can be enhanced by reference to a new, transconsistent logic of reality that is grounded in the physical properties (...) of energy in its various forms. These properties justify a principle of dynamic antagonism or opposition that explicates the phenomena of change at all levels of reality. It can be, accordingly, a preferred logic for understanding the dynamics of real processes. (shrink)
Questions about truth and questions about reality are intimately connected. One can ask whether reality includes numbers by asking ‘Are there numbers?’ But one can also ask what (arguably) amounts to the very same question by asking ‘Is the sentence “There are numbers” true?’ Such ‘semantic ascent’ makes it seem that the nature of reality can be investigated by investigating our true sentences. This line of thought was very much taken for granted in twentieth century philosophy, but (...) it is now beginning to be called into question. Just how much can we learn about the nature of reality by investigating our true sentences? Does, for example, the truth of ‘There is a prime number between ten and twenty’ mean that prime numbers exist? Does the truth of ‘Eating people is wrong’ mean that moral properties exist? Does the truth of 'Spiders give me the creeps' mean that the creeps exists? In From Truth to Reality, Heather Dyke brings together some of the foremost metaphysicians to examine approaches to truth, reality, and the connections between the two. This collection features new and previously unpublished material by JC Beall, Mark Colyvan, Michael Devitt, John Heil, Frank Jackson, Fred Kroon, D. H. Mellor, Luca Moretti, Alan Musgrave, Robert Nola, J. J. C. Smart, Paul Snowdon, and Daniel Stoljar. (shrink)