On Perception and Reality.

The other day on the bus into work I was thinking to myself ‘How do I know what the world really looks like?’

Since I have had to wear corrective lenses since I was nine I have no memory of what the world looked like without needing my glasses. Without them the world appears as an amorphous gathering of globules of varying colours all merging together seamlessly. A world without form. But how do I know this is not what the reality is actually like? Without memory of perfect vision I can only rely on, as I am not able to perceive the world through another’s eyes, I have only the word of the optician to believe. And of course the optician would not necessarily tell me the truth if it meant he’d be able to charge me for another pair of expensive lenses and a frame to house them.

I can of course ask you about how you see things, assuming you all have twenty-twenty vision. Then again can I trust you to answer me honestly? And even if you do answer me honestly how then can you prove what your telling me is true? As I already said I have no means of seeing through your eyes to back up your words.

So is it actually possible to purpose any certain truths about the nature of the external world given this predicament? Maybe there is no such objective external world, merely a collective approximate of gathered subjective overlaps? Your views on this topic would be much appreciated so please feel free to comment 🙂

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Posted on February 1, 2014, in epistomology, metaphysical, philosophical and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Very interesting indeed moleboi . You are opening a deep subject clearly and simply. My congratulations to you.

    ‘How do I know what the world really looks like?’

    My answer is:- The world does not look like anything by itself. There needs to be a viewer to whom it will look like some thing. To different viewers it will look differently, and under different conditions it will look differently.

    Another similar question could be:- “How do I know what the world really is like?”
    (or is it a different question completely?)

    There are so many profound ideas in your short, simple and excellent post.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      “The world does not look like anything by itself” I totally agree with you on this point and it does sound quite Kantian i.e ‘the world is merely an extension of out mental faculties…time and space only exist so long as we think them’

  2. “the world is merely an extension of out mental faculties”.

    Now, at this moment, why do you see some thing different on your left to what you see on your right?

  3. “the world is merely an extension of our mental faculties”.

    Is the world merely an extension of your mental faculties or my mental faculties?

  4. ‘Your world’ that is the world you perceive would be an extension of your mental faculties, likewise ‘my world’ would be an extension of my mental facilties

  5. Are you saying that there is your world and then there is my world? In total how many worlds are existing?

    Or are you saying that there is only one world and different conscious beings perceive it differently depending on their cognitive faculties?

  6. I am saying that there is only one world but as we are different conscious beings we perceive it from different angles so ‘my world’ would never quite match up with ‘your world’

  7. So are you saying that there is a world which is not merely an extension of your mental faculties or my mental faculties and then there are worlds which result from the mental faculties of different perceivers? Am I understanding you correctly?

  8. Sorry I didn’t make myself clear at all there. What I meant to say was there is only world and that is (from my persepctive) ‘my world’ which is an extension of my mental faculties within ‘my world’ however I conjure up other entities to share my expeirence with allowing ‘your world’ to collude with ‘my world’. From your perespective you have conjured me up to share ‘your world’.

    Hope that made a bit more sense this time

  9. Do you accept the law of non contradiction?

  10. I am well aware of Aristotle’s law of non-contradictionand most of th etime I do accept it however there are certani occasions where his law fall short i.e the quantum nature of electrons in which it is a particle and not a particle simultaneously until observed

  11. Hello moleboi, How are you now after a year? I hope you are happy and healthy.

    ontologicalrealist

  12. Hello there, I’m doing fine thanks. Hope you are well.

    Moleboi

  13. Best wishes to you for 2017.

    ontologicalrealist

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