Does anything exist outside your own expriences?

Also, is there much difference between a vicarious exprience and a real one?

Does not intense and vivid visualization and imagination make us feel as if we had all we imagined at the time of our imagining it? If so what then is the difference in being alone in a prison cell playing golf in your mind or being out on the “real” golf course.

One may even exprience the sense of smell in their imagination.

Lets use a wet dream as an example. To exprience something that seems and feels so real that your body can actualy orgasim durring the dream, how is this different then sex and an orgasim with someone presumably real.

I pressume that there is no difference between a vicarious exprience and a real one. The only difference there can be is the level of intensity of your imagination. Taken to the limit as many times dreams do, there ends up being no difference between an exprience in the mind and an exprience in the world.

Taking all that into consideration what can exist outside our own expriences?

I don’t see why it should.

Your argument is not supporting your question.

A vicarious experience is still an experience, and therefore that which caused the vicarious experience, such as the erotic dream you had, exists, at least in your mind.

Now your question is if you did not experience a thing does the thing exist?

I say certainly. For have you had any experience of this town somehwere in the Central Asia sitting at the head of a spring, called Rzyhzygoot? Surely that town exist even if you have no experience of it.

(But now that you have read of it, you have some experience of it.)

But before I read about it I had no exprience of such a town. So for me no such town existed.

Indeed. But it existed apart from your experience of it.

Even if you are to say it is meaningless apart from a thing being experienced, then I say there is at least one person who have experienced it and therefore it is real. Such a person is one inhabitant of the town.

But you further argue that what about the flower that bloomed for the briefest moment in a desolated desert, unseen, untravelled by any man at all, or of the surface of the newly discovered planet, Sedna, for which no man have experienced, are these still real and exist?

And this is the problem of Berkeley I think, and for that his solution was God, namely that that which exist is that experiencd by God or the idea existing in the mind of God.

But I do not think this is necessary. I am sure there are strangest creatures in the deepest of oceans yet undiscovered or perhaps of yet another planet beyond Sedna, and no man have experienced these, but these exist, nonetheless. Certainly those who died before the Wright brothers flew never knew that a flying heavier than air machine can exist.

You may say it is a moot point that something exist but is not experienced, ie irrelevant as far as human knowledge and existence go. But again it may not be so. Those undiscovered creatures of the deep may have a vital role in the ecology of the oceans or that the undiscovered planet beyond Sedna influenced the frequencies and sizes of asteriods and meteors passing and intersecting Earth’s orbit …

But this person does not exist for me either. Niether he nor the town have any meaning for me without my exprience of them. They only do so after you have written about them, but as for the countless other towns and people in them that I know not of, what meaning do they have for me? Yes they have a meaning for god who expriences everything by his nature but I am a finite being.

This isn’t really where I was going with my ideas though. My point was that my expriences of this supposed “real” waking state are no different then the infinite expriences I may have in my mind. And my hidden question was really why do I value these more. But I have since resovled that one :slight_smile:

I think you opened the age old question of a tree falling in a forest with no one to see it. Does that tree really fall then.

I think my point is that a tree only falls in ones mind. One that falls in the finite reality of this universe is simply one that falls in gods mind for this universe is all of his imagination. One that falls in my minds imagining of it is no more or less real for me.

I’m also assuming that since we are all interacting in one beings mind of one finite universe then different rules apply in ethics here then in ones mind. This I do because we are subject to the rules of the mind that we are a part, god.

If you do not know of a planet beyond Sedna, nonetheless you will still experience its “meaning” when it perturbed an asteroid to intersect Earth’s orbit in spacetime …

Care to share what is it and how you resolved it? :smiley:

Alright Chan here it is.

The awnser is that I value more then my own expriences. While as in my mind if I pretend to be magnanimous and do good deeds for society I may very well exprience the same feelings as I would in this world but these feelings are short lived while if I did good deeds in the real world these feelings are different by nature that I feel they are real, true and transcend myself for these deeds are bestowed upon actual entities like myself(other people) and not figmants of my imagination no matter how real I believe them to be.


I would say the awnser to why I care about other peoples expriences and all of humanities expriences is due to love.

My dream is limited only to the sensual and only to my exprience. While as sex with a real woman I shall gain much more then my own orgasim I shall gain the exprience of giving someone else an orgasim and hopefully more. Love allows me to value her exprience more then my own.

True. But it’s a different kind of experience. And even though I can imagine myself flying, I know that I am not actually flying, and therefore I do not (as you would seem to state) have the experience of flying, instead I have the experience of “imagining myself flying.”

I did not have sex. I had a dream about having sex. And the two are different experiences, and I know that they are.

Yes, it’s an experience. But to say it’s interchangeable with actual, physically consumated sex is a leap we cannot logically take. They are not the same thing.

No. Again, you’re making too great a leap. I do not have some experience “of it.” I have the experience of you talking about it. The two are different things.

This is like saying hearing about the Sistine Chapel is the same as seeing it. No. It’s not. And it will never be the same thing. Nor is looking at it in an art book the same thing as seeing it. Only actually physically seeing it in person, is actually physically seeing it in person. We can’t assume that these are interchangeable, because they’re not. They’re discinctly different experiences.

And why am I supposed to assume that the the town exist if I have no experience of it? You could be lying to me. Or you could be completely deluded and have only crafted such a town in your mind.

Additionally, even if I experience it, it does not follow that it’s real. It only follows that indeed I had an experience of it. To make the next leap and say that it is real does not follow. I can say that it’s far easier to assume that it is real, and that I have no reason to think otherwise. And indeed, it follows logically that it could be real. But it in no way follows that it is real.

To quote Russell, “I have reason to believe.” But reason to believe, and knowledge are two different things. I have every reason to assume prima facie that you are telling me the truth and such a town exist. And this is certainly a perfectly permissible assumption to make. But it in no way follows that it is indeed real, as fact.

You’re making huge leaps of faith, that cannot be supported. Experiences are different. Some experiences actually can be later called into question. For instance, when I wake up, though I may have thought I was having sex, I realize it was a dream and that I was not. Thus, the experience of “having sex” becomes the experience of “having a dream about having sex.” I was mistaken about the first. Why can I not be mistaken about everyday reality? I certainly could be. Maybe I’m not sitting here typing this. Maybe I’m just having the experience that I’ m sitting here typing this.

Just because I have every reason to believe (note the word usage) that I am sitting here at a computer typing this post, does not mean that I am. But it’s a simpler, and better (i.e., more consistent with experience and the way reality is perceived) explanation, than to say that some “evil genius” is toying with my mind and making me believe these things.

I’m referencing Descartes and Russell here. Feel free to read them to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

To shybard,

I am responding to the question whether a thing exist if you do not experience it, and not types of experiences and the types of things so experienced.

Yes I am assuming that what is experienced must correspond to some reality, with exceptions that are discernible to us as such (we shall examine this more later). But if we assume or, in your words, take a leap of faith, that this is true, then my argument is that a thing can exist even if you did not experienced it directly.

Others’ expereinces are valid proxies for your knowledge of the existence of a thing, ie from someone’s experience of a town, he conclude that the town exist, and i accept the testimony of his experience as valid and therefore the town exists. Again there being means to discern invalid testimonies of others’ experiences.

Now back to the issue of faith. Yes I am entirely in agreement with you that there is no compulsion, at least logically, to conclude that what is experienced is real.

Well, we assume it is so, and act on the basis that it is so, or in other words exercise faith that it is so; and we have reasons to do so.

For one given that all of our experiences are subjective, the fact that we can generally agree about the thing experienced makes it more likely than not the thing is an objective one, existing independent of our experience of it. This is true even if we take a solipsitic view of human experiences, for we can communicate at least some part of that experience.

When we have no agreement about the thing experienced or even of the experience itself, we can take a prudent decision to conclude the experience a delusion and the thing experienced non existent. The same holds for proxy experiences.

Secondly the faith is a useful one, and it leads to more experience of more things, which in turn are also useful and leads to more experiences, etc. For example my faith in my experience of a chair is in dicative, at the least, the existence of a chair, and that knowledge* allows me to sit on “it”, and then leading me to experience sitting and the comfort it gives, which in turn led me to learn how to make better chairs, etc etc.

[size=75]*In other words knowledge is the exercise of faith in our experiences.[/size]

And thirdly, we can assumed the converse, ie what is experienced is not real or does not exist. Then I do not know what is real at all to you, and how you can go about living live. For example my experience of a chair doesnt mean there is a chair, so I should not think about sitting, but as I am tired I need to sit, where then should I sit? There’s the floor, but wait, thats not real, there’s no floor … I think I would go mad.

Maybe you should tell us what you believe, namely if it is too much a leap of faith to go from experience to reality, then what do you make of your experiences and what is reality to you? ANd how do you know anything at all?

Shybard wrote:

What is the difference between the reality in your mind and objective reality. Is it really wrong to say I have had sex before even if it were only in a dream? What if 20 years go by and I cannot remember anymore if the woman I had sex with was in a dream or real. Yet the memory is still intense and vivid that I’m almost certain it really did happen.

Have you no personal memories of things that happened long ago that you can no longer remember if you were dreaming or if they really happened? I have several where I can honestly say I have no idea if it was a dream or real.

Yes. It would be wrong to say that you had sex if you cannot sincerely remember it. At this point you’re now making a vague memory/experience reality. And if you only have the vaguest recollection of such a thing, you cannot even convince yourself that it is true. This happens quite often with people.

That is, I may say “Remember when Joe did X?” And my friend who has a better recollection will say, “That wasn’t Joe, that was John and it didn’t happen like that.” Thus, I cannot make an honest claim that Y person did X thing. I can only say, “I think Y person did X thing, but I don’t rememer it that well.”

Note the difference of experiences. A dream is not the same as what we call the real world, and vague memories are not nearly as conclusive as vivid and recent experiences.

And sure, I’ve had memories like that and still do. What does that matter?

First point last: this is not what many people refer to when they say “knowledge.” They mean to know in the Socratic sense of knowing, which as he admitted, is impossible for us to do.

Also, yes, it’s perfectly fine to assume such things exist. And yes, it is far more consistent with our experiences to assume that the car does exist and it is blue, since anyone else able to see the car will describe it and experience it in much the same way. But please, note what we’re saying here: “Because my experiences are consistent, and your experiences are consistent, the experiences must be relating to things which are real.”

This is no way follows. It only follows that the experiences are shared, and consistent, not that the objects relating to them are real. This is an easier explanation, true. And the conclusion that they are real is in no way problematic, so long as we scrutinize our experiences as we must. But it doesn’t mean they “are” real, only that this is the easiest and best explanation we can come up with. And that’s a far weaker (though more honest) claim than, “The chair is real.”

Additionally, I would not call it faith. Faith is something which is unfounded. These objects are founded with experience and can be discussed and examined objectively (or as objectively as we are able to do so). Please, don’t mistake that for faith. I think we can readily say that we have reason to believe, and that’s somethig a good sight more than faith.

Of course it’s not too great a leap to go from experience to reality. That is, so long as we are willing to admit that we are making an assumption (though a somewhat validated one, still an assumption) and to not confuse experience of an object with knowledge of the object’s existence. We can “believe” said object is real, but we do not “know” it is.

Reality is experience. What else could it be?

I don’t know anything. Or at least, I will not assume that I know anything. I only have reason to believe. I have beliefs, but I do not know. And I’m willing to bet that you’re in the same boat (though I don’t know that: I’m making an assumption based on past experiences, but it’s a perfectly rational and consistent assumption).

Does that make sense?

Makes sense to me very well said :slight_smile:


And so I asked: why not what I wrote to be called knowledge, since the “Socratic sense of knowing” is “impossible” and thus moot and irrelevant to life and its experiences?

Of course. But neither does it preclude that indeed there are “real things”, even things as we experienced it.

That is NOT my definition of faith. Unfounded faith is as good as useless if not downright dangerous, not only for you, but also for others. I like to remind you of 9/11 again!

We have faith only when we have evidences that it can be true, like our experience of reality being a possible proxy for real things causing such experiences. But we cannot make the leap using logic or other tools of knowing, except to assume, but nonetheless a reasonable and not necessarily untrue assumption. Such an assumption is what I call faith*.

*[size=75]Of course if I were to speak using ordinary language then I will simply qualify faith as either true or false, and the faith I am talking about is the only kind of true faith.[/size]

Your “perfectly rational and consistent assumption” is identical to faith, to me, the basis of belief and actions in the “real” world. In fact I will even define reasoning to be the process of making perfectly rational and consistent assumptions and deducing its consequences using logic.

I will not call anything that is unfounded and blind, any unreasonable and unreasoned leap, any unjustifiable, unsubstantiated and unevidenced fantasy or imagination to be faith. You can, but can I or why should I, or anyone else, believe you if you come up to me and tell me a fantastic tale and say “Just Believe.” I think only one mad or deluded or dumb will do so.

But you can know. For by faith you believe that a chair exist, and thus move to sit on “it”. Do you not then KNOW comfort? which is part of the “meaning” of a chair. And would you also not then KNOW what makes a good chair or a bad chair? Do you not then KNOW that a chair need not have 4 legs, and that you can make a chair with just 1 leg, etc etc. Now if knowing such things about the chair is not knowledge of the chair, then tell me what is 'knowledge"??? :astonished:

Sorry. Apparently I didn’t see where you asked that. In response, I’d say yes, it does seem as if it’s impossible. Yet, if we’re looking for truth, that is, an objective and absolute truth, we have no choice but to look for something along the lines of Socratic knowledge.

Just because it’s impossible, doesn’t mean it lacks use. We can use it as a mark to strive for, though we may and in all liklihood will fall short. In so far as this discussion, I brought it up because the measure of “knowledge” often used in philosophy is just such a concept, and if you’re going to use something different, it should be stated, since this is the knowledge we’re going to assume we’re discussing.

Granted. That is a possibility.


In which case, I’d say that’s an odd definition of faith, and suggest that we use “reason to believe” instead. Since faith carries religious connotations, “I have faith there is a God. I have faith Jesus was His son, born to a virgin.” etc., we need something that doesn’t bring these ideas with it. Thus, we need a different terminology. Faith just doesn’t work.

A workable definition of “reasoning” yet again, your “faith” term is flawed.

Yet, “just believe” is precisely what the word faith implies in normal usage. So again, use something else.

No. I don’t “know” comfort. I experience comfort. I know that I experience comfort, but I don’t know that comfort is real, nor that the chair is real, nor that my action of sitting actually occured.

Knowledge requires proof. Proofs only exist in logic and math. We have no such creature here.

I might be willing to say that, we “know” that 2+2 = 4. We “know” that if A = B and B = C, then A = C.

Again, we have nothing like that here. You can tell me that such definitions of knowledge are too stringent, but even skeptics might scoff at the math and logic, and I would say they’re too stringent. But I think your definition is too lax. We have every reason to believe, and perhaps no reason otherwise, but that does not give us knowledge. And if you’re going to use a different definition of knowledge, I can only shrug and tell you that we can’t communicate any more.

So you dont agree that knowledge can be defined as “exercise of faith in our experiences” or to use your notion of what I call “faith”, the “exercise of reasonable belief in our experiences”?

Your definition of knowledge may well be true, but my point here is that it is useless. Whereas what I am attempting is a pragmatic definition, something useful, useable and actually get used.

And so if you are to assign a probability, or to bet, whether there are indeed real things as experienced against there being no such things, what will it be? Remember we have reasons to believe that what is experienced is what is: the consistency amongst subjective and solipsistic humans, the practical and useful consequences of such a belief, and the impossibility of living life without such beliefs. How would you bet?

Is it really odd?

Or that the world have corrupted the notion of faith itself, that today it has a different meaning from what it was: namely from a reasoned and reasonable belief to “just believe”; or alternatively if you are to study what Jesus and the prophets meant by faith as recorded in the bible, do you think the meaning is the same as what it is today?

And I agree a different terminology is required if indeed the meaning have changed.

In any case why should there be a double standard in the knowledge and truth of the “real” world and of “religious” matters? Truth is truth and it should, and must be able to, stand on its own wherever it is found.

Indeed. And your scope of knowledge will be very very small indeed too. Have a look at Goedel.

I’d prefer to call that a different sphere of subjectivity rather than objectivity. We can only agree over the “information” pertaining to something existing, not whether that something materially exists. God doesn’t exist because “we can generally agree” about it, nor would a Virtual Reality world. The VR world is simply a subjective representation of something else. The same applies to the real world. A tree only falls if there’s a subjective sphere for it to fall in.

Your VR world analogy actually better illustrates my point, namely why is it that all participants in the VR world sees the same thing or, more precisely, sees things that are consistent with one another? This is because there is one common engine that runs the entire VR world. If each participant has his own VR world, then nobody would agree on anything.

And that is my point, the fact we can agree to what we perceive subjectively makes it more likely than not that there is some common and objective thing behind it all.

Admittedly this common thing need not be what we perceived, as again in the VR world the surfaces and weapons and monsters dont exist but these are merely the manifestation of the interaction of the computer codes, the machine and our sensory organs.

Yes a chair indeed need not be a chair - it could just be sheer energy, or yet somethng else, but the common intelligible concept of a chair is what we have know it to be, and so shall it be, at least in the human world.

No. Not at all. It can’t be defined as that because that’s not the word we use. You have to come up with a different word. And while you’re at it, come up with a new word for the “faith” you’re using. I’ve already given you “reason to believe” but you don’t seem to like that. So use something else. It doesn’t matter what you use for you form of “knowledge” or for your form of “faith” so long as they aren’t words we already have, and thus can be mistaken for that which they are not.

Save that it’s not useless. We can have both “knowledge” (as I’ve stated it) and “reason to believe.” We can have both. Your hang-up is that you think the two are mutually exclusive, or that one is somehow better or worse than the other. I don’t think that’s the case at all. They’re simply different.

I’d say the entire process is pointless and keep my money. Of course I’m going to function with these beliefs. But note these are “beliefs.” I’m just willing to treat them as what they are.

I don’t know if it’s one way or the other. If I had to err on the side of caution, I’d say there’s “something there.” But it’s irrelevent. The relevance is that I have my experiences and perceptionss, intuitions and rational beliefs. This is what I have. This is what I have to work with. If there is or isn’t something “real” behind it, it only matters in that I understand there is a “goal” to hit (knowledge) and that I can use that basic standard to more effectively evaulate what I actually have to work with in this world we live in.

So again, the two (knowledge and reason to believe) are not mutually exclusive, and indeed, they greatly benefit from one another.

Save that “religious” matters are not founded in truth. They are founded on belief, and unfounded belief at that. And yes, the definition I’m giving you is the one we assume and utilize now. It doesn’t matter if it has or has not changed. The definition of the word as we have it now is what matters.

You’re right. Truth should be able to stand on its own. But as I said, in “religious” matters we’re not even dealing with truth, or at least not truth as I understand it or have any concept of.

And I’m willing to accept that.

for some reason the words “rational” and “belief” put together make me cringe.