Hi, my name is Stephen, I’m 16.

I am a very well-known member (and a finacial contributer) on Philosophyforums.com, but I wanted to give another forum a try.

Here’s an essay I wrote on reality:

Comments? :wink:

Um…the first post of this thread was posted by me (BMW-Guy), but it came out as “Guest”. And, it didn’t save my Essay.

Here’s my essay:

The Philosophy of Reality

Of Dual-Realities; That They May Co-Exist:

What is reality other than a mere perception of both the past & the present? Reality exists as a solid, almost tangible, essence of "what-is". However, reality is quite subjective in many (often times, overlooked) ways. Reality is nothing more than what our mind perceives, to the best of its ability, to be the only knowable past & present. No one (save for God, the almighty Creator of Reality) can ever understand what reality really is. No one needs to ever know or comprehend reality's hidden corners and clefts. But reality remains. It always has remained. It always will remain. It is remaining. 

True reality is not the same for me as it is for you. You may accuse me for claiming that reality is "relevant" (what is true for you is not true for me). But if one considers reality for even just a moment, he cannot successfully refute this claim of relevance. Reality is the collection of everything that we know about everything. From this seemingly un-comprehendible amount of knowledge, our brains form their "records" of the past (both of ourselves and humanity in general). Do you know EVERYTHING that I know, and [do you] know nothing more than that which I know, and visa-versa? Of course not! Surely there exists innumerable facts, events, information, etc. that while known to you, will never become known to me. Your reality then, by definition, cannot be the same as mine. Consider the following analogy:

50 victims of the German Holocaust and 50 common-class citizens who deny that the Holocaust ever took place. They are all placed together on an island that completely satisfies the means needed for survival, but at the same time is completely (and eternally) isolated from the rest of the known world. Now suppose that out of the 50 citizens, there rises up 25 [citizens] who come govern the remaining seventy-five. Let us call this governing-group, "governors". The 25 remaining citizens we shall refer to as " opponents ". Finally, the 50 victims we shall call the "victims". As time progresses on this island, the victim's children will no doubt be told by their parents that the Holocaust occurred , and (at the same time are being told) that the Holocaust never occurred by the governors & the opponents. Let us now advance 100 years in the future. The original members of the island (the victims, the opponents, & the governors) are all dead, leaving only their progeny as their successors to their "positions" (victims, opponents, & governors). This second generation is of utmost importance as it is the fulcrum on which the "balancing-bar of reality" rests. The only records of the Holocaust dwells within the children of the victims. As time continues on, you must agree that it is most likely that the opponent's/governor's views of the Holocaust (namely, that it never occurred) will successfully suppress the victim's views (namely, that they are the children of actual Holocaust survivors). This will not take place within the lifetime of one generation, but rather many generations. But, in the end, there will be no one on the island who truly believes in the depths of his soul that the Holocaust ever occurred. Yes, every member of that remote island will involuntarily, or voluntarily cause himself to truly believe (with all of his being) that the Holocaust could never have occurred. At the very least, no member will believe that the Holocaust of his ancestors ever occurred in history. The island's members therefore, now live their lives accordingly.

We now are left with two, equally credible Realities: 1) All of the members of the island who truly (within their own being) believe that the Holocaust never occurred, and 2) the rest of the world, who believes that the occurrence of the Holocaust is utterly undeniable.

I do not deny the existence that there seems to be a "Common-Reality". That is, a form of Reality which tends to be similar to most members of a given population. Several people can develop a Reality that is similar to that of his neighbor's. For instance, I believe that George Washington was America's first President. You may also believe that George Washington was America's First president. If you do, [then] we are sharing a portion of a Commonly-Held Reality. Rarely do you find a completely unique (in every way) Reality. If everyone held a completely unique Reality, the slow, but steady advancing of human history would cease. Unfortunately, it is all to common that one finds himself latching-on to the Reality of his parents (or any influential individual, for that matter) merely for its (Reality's) own sake. These are they whose span of learning-abilities are easily predicted. It is to my opinion that such "Parent-to-Child Realities" are to blame for the development of some of the absurd Common-Realities we have today.

Lastly, consider for yourself one final fact. Would you not agree that within in all of the records of all history, there are events (even major ones) that have occurred (i.e. wars that took place between Indians in America before Columbus ever discovered America), and yet [have] gone un-noticed to the pen of those who have written the records we have today? If this is the case (which it is), WE ARE NOT LIVING IN TRUE REALITY AT ALL! Ironically, this is the one form of reality that is still comprehendible to humanity and yet, it is just out of our reach! Yet, you (the reader of this essay) have probably accused me for being absurd in my suggestion that reality could be lost so easily!

Of Proof; That it Does not Exist:

"What", I ask, "is Proof?" Proof is (at least in my Reality) not a sensible essence. Meaning, Proof's existence cannot be proved by any of our senses (taste, hearing, touch, seeing, smell, etc.). It is nothing more than that which we create it to be. Proof has; however, managed to permeate into Common-Reality, and thus, is generally accepted. Excluding God, Proof is arguably the only thing that has no essence at all, and yet, is still believed by the populace to exist. PROOF DOES NOT EXSIST! You may be outraged at such a bold claim, but consider this: can you prove that the last person you saw was really a true, living/breathing/rational human-being, and not a hallucination of your own mind? The carefully thought-out answer to my question would always be the same: NO. The only way to answer, "Yes" to my question would be to deny the existence of any and all forms of hallucinations (let alone supernatural-phenomena caused by God). True, the existence of proof is "relative" to each individual's own Reality. But if this is the case, then I argue that Proof has lost its esteemed purpose. For what good is it to try to "prove" that paper comes from trees when your Reality states that all paper is a synthetic substance? 

Proof; however, may exist in two senses: 1) the ability to prove one's own existence, and 2) the dilemma of mathematics. Such a concept as self-existence was contemplated as far back (in history) as the 1700s' by [the] French philosopher, Rene Descartes. Descartes' Philosophy was (at its core) quite simple: "Cogito Ergo Sum". "I Think; Therefore, I Am". In order to even contemplate the question, "Do I Exist?", one must first exist to begin with. Furthermore, does anyone or anything really exist at all? Let us doubt all that we may in order to ascertain whether or not we exist. I hereby doubt the existence of everything. Nothing exists. But what is "nothing"? If I can understand to some degree of what "nothingness" is, then something must exist (or at least, have existed). For I would not have known what "nothing" is unless I first had known what "something" is. Therefore, I must exist. But what am I? I am something that thinks, to be sure. This, to me, is the only logical form of proof. Everything else may be probable, but never provable. As soon as we arrive at this conclusion; however, we are immediately confronted with the dilemma of mathematics. I refer to mathematics as being a "dilemma" because I find that, despite all my efforts, I am able to neither affirm, nor deny its existence as a substance of proof. If I affirm its existence, I betray my own reasoning. Yet, on the other hand, I discover I have no grounds on which to deny its validity as a substance of proof. Therefore, I am unresolved as to whether or not mathematics is a valid form of proof.
Having said all this, I propose to you a simple question: "Does anything at all really need to be proved?" I'd answer such a question with an emphatic, "NO!". I can live my life in light of the fact that I will never be able to prove that anyone (or anything) exists. Most things do exist. But their existence is not contingent on whether or not it (it's existence) is provable.

Of Superiority and Inferiority:

Oh Man, what a stranger creature you are! Fascinated by an ever-increasing list of absurdities which plague all life-human beings, that is, who contribute nothing but idleness to society. Who is truly a Superior being or Inferior being, and why? Is superiority a mere measure of "positive" contribution to one's own society? I'd argue not.

Consider the [former] dictator of Iraq, Mr. Hussein. Is he not a Superior to one degree or another? Perhaps not when measured only against his human-rights standard for which he is so vehemently despised for. But, was not Mr. Hussein a "successful" dictator? He, unlike many other dictators, has managed to remain in full-authority for a span of over thirty years. You see, Saddam was very good at doing what he intended to do; namely, be the dictator of Iraq. He was a Superior sovereign when compared to other such dictators. Hence, I label Mr. Hussein as not an Inferior being, but rather, as a Superior [being]. 

Let not this scale of Superiority/Inferiority become inaccurate, however. I shall add that I classify Saddam not merely as a Superior, but as a Negative-Superior. Successful though he was as a dictator, he left a negative effect upon humanity that will never be forgotten. Along with Saddam, I'd classify Hitler and Stalin as Negative-Superiors, as well. This rating (Negative-Superior) is NOT applied to only political leaders-it can (and does) include any imaginable genre of people. My scale of rating now consists of: 1) Positive-Superior, 2) Negative-Superior, 3) Positive-Inferior, and 4) Negative-Inferior. 

Let us now consider Inferiority. Examples of persons who I consider to be Inferior (and in these specific examples, Negative-Inferiors) include Heavy-Metal artist, Ozzy Osborne; the majority of those publicized for their role as actors/actresses; "ghetto-dwellers"; etc. Such persons contribute nothing of value to society. Negative-Inferiors are often denoted by their socialy-inacceptable lifestyle, careless wasting of any personal talents, and/or lack of respect and respectability. Beware of the Negative-Inferior beings; for they contribute nothing to humanity in return for their consuming of our ever-precious supply of oxygen! Positive-Inferiors are far less common than the Negative-Inferior are. To be rightly classified as a Positive-Inferior, one must have little or no effect on the lives of others; and all-the-while contribute just as little society at large-a very difficult task, indeed.

“You may rob me of all [of] my possessions; but you cannot rob me of God. God is Knowledge; and Knowledge is Power”.

Stephen K. Donnelly, Platonist

First of all, Stephen, if you’re sixteen, then I’m your new manager.

I get 50% percent of the proceeds. Cool?

Kidding. Let me read it completely and I’ll get back to you.

Loved the topical examples you used. You chose situations that are highly controversial(sp?) in your demonstration.

Very brave young man.

Why thank-you…:slight_smile:

Ok, since Nanook/detrop seems to have forgotten to comment, anybody else want to comment? Thanks! :wink:

Guy, a question comes to mind when I read this. You appear to be with the empiricists in the claim that reality is the world, that first the world exists with certain objectivity, that it is complete, the “what-is.” Then you say that reality is nothing more than what the mind percieves, which is a kind of rationalism. The problem is this. If it is the world that is the reality before it is percieved, then perception does not constitute that reality. That would mean that the object you percieve as a “tree” exists with or without your perception of it. Given this, then, no, reality is not what the mind percieves because perception can be deceiving: the illusion, the mirage, the dream, etc. You don’t know if that tree is real, but you know that you perceive what you believe is a reality, see?

Have you read any Kant? You should check it out. He deals with this problem nicely, building a bridge between empiricism and rationalism.

This is another popular problem in philosophy. The battle between objective and subjective truths. On the one hand, it would seem absurd to claim that the experience of a triangle is unique to me and not to you, that you might see a different triangle. Or that 1+1=2 is true for me and not for you. So there might be certain objective truths which are accessible during any kind of perception whatsoever. On the other hand,(and back to solipsism we go), there is no way to prove that what you see as an illusion and what I see as real are not the same things. For example, I see that tree over there and call it a tree. You see an object over there that I see, but it doesn’t look like a tree to you, still you call it a tree, and we agree that we see the same thing. The problem at this level merges into something altogether different. Are the objects of our perception certified as mutually real simply because we make such a corespondence: I say its a tree, you say its a tree, therefore its a tree? All we have proven here is that we have an intersubjective agreement on the etymology, which at this point is only a representation of the object itself. How, without language, could we communicate a proof that we are experiencing the same thing as another? Yet, in the case that I am demonstrating here, you might very well call what I call a “digglewop” a “tree,” and we walk away with the assumption that we have communicated the experience correctly. So language fails as well. The point is that objectivity might exist, but subjectivity is inescapable. We assume that experiences of the world are similiar through analogy: I ain’t much different than you, so hopefully we’re seeing the same thing…call it a “tree” or not.

Yeah, its tricky stuff, and I have merely brushed the edges of this great dilemma.

Again we are back at the initial problem. Instead of asking: “do you know everything that I know,” ask, “is there anything that can be known by me alone even if you experience the same objective world that I do.” Remember, that triangle is for you as it is for me, so in the case that I don’t experience the triangle, it only means that I haven’t…not that I couldn’t. See?

If you can prove that statement, then that statement is false, and therefore proof is sensible. This, guy, is the famous self-referential paradox. Back and forth it goes:

There are no truths.

If that is true, then there is truth.

Truth of what? That there aren’t any truths?


See how it disassembles itself? Let us imagine that this is an epistemological exercise which doesn’t necessarily corespond with the world. Rather it is only a logical method used to decipher concepts as propositionally sound. In other words, the human mind has invented a system where certain principles are employed while deciphering “what is the case.” In the case that the case not be “true,” such as the tree you see is an illusion, then it becomes the case that the illusion is “true,” and the foundation is ripped out from under us.

Consider these three principles in traditional logic:

Law of identity (A=A)

Law of non-contradiction (not both A and not-A)

Law of excluded middle (either A or not-A)

Now watch.

  1. The principle of identity is wrong because everything is always more than itself: is that tree black and white, is it not changing, isn’t there a grey area? This logic only coresponds to rational dialectics, not empirical, ie. the physical world is in a flux.

  2. The principle of non-contradiction is wrong because everything is both itself and not itself: The tree is phasing from what it was to what it is to what it will be(refer to 1). So on ad infinitum.

  3. The principle of the excluded middle is wrong, we replace the previous “either-or” with a “both/and” because we don’t see the line between was, is, and will be. (refer to 2)

So given these conditions, epistemological practices with logic are not actual, they are synthetic. That is, what is regarded as “truth” isn’t an empirical matter, it is a rational matter. “Proof” then can only mean the certainty of what is conceptualized, not what is the actual case. Unless what is the case is what is conceptualized…and here we go back and forth again.


I only understand this in one way, a way which Sartre has fostered. The concept of “nothingness” is only a negation of an object. To experience a “nothingness” one must experience the absence of a being, but it would then be necessary that the being actually “be” to be noticed as absent. It isn’t that “nothing” is “something,” as you have stated, but rather that “nothing” is the lack of something in situation: BMW-guy is not in the room. As I sit in this room, not only do I notice what is here, the bookshelf, the table, etc., but I also notice what is not here, that being your presence. It is the nihilating power of consciousness to conceptualize non-existent beings, so in apprehending the room as empty and without your presence, the absence is actually a presence, that is, it is as real of a concept as the concept of the room with you there in it.

It is quite complicated and I will discuss this specific idea further with you if you like.

That is because mathematics doesn’t deal with the empirical world of existents. It is instead a model with which intellection organizes the world, distinguishes bodies in space from one another and the relationships between objects and/or quantities. At the heart, mathematics is really only a phenomenological reduction of the world. Its “all in our heads.”

I liked your “Superiority/Inferiority” model. I’m not sure I agree with it completely, but I’m also not one to try and persuade someones ethical and moral inclinations. I won’t say “you’re wrong” with such judgements.

Keep up the good work, guy. Keep thinking and keep writing.

are you refering to the principle of indiscerinbles, which leads to the identity theories for liebniz and locke? because that’s not it.

are you refering to the principle of non-contradiction? because that’s REALLY REALLY REALLY not it.

so that means…

wait for it…

your ‘refutations’ are wrong.

I am refering to the axiom first put forth by Aristotle. It implicates that there is no change in the empirical world and insists that entities remain the same: an A is an A. This notion was taken further by Newton until Relativity and Quantum Mechanics showed otherwise. At a subatomic level empirical entites are unobservables, they are in a superposition. “A” is not an “A” unless it is observed, and if it is observed then it is an a posteriori logical deduction. This means that the “A” only becomes the “A” AFTER it is observed. Therefore (A=A) is not a logical empirical truth. At this subatomic level, if you asked me where a particle was, I couldn’t tell you. If you asked me where it is, I couldn’t tell you. If you ask me where it is going, I couldn’t tell you. At a microcosmic level then, trix, what is an “A?”

Aristotle was right when he created his system of logic for epistemological use, but he was mistaken when he thought that the time and space structures of the empirical world remained constant. Aristotle assumed that “A” was black and white and that this was given without logic. I disagree, as does Kant and Hegel(Hegelian dialectics of “truth”). It is given IN logic and only in logic. Logic is a rational activity, it is synthetic, it is a structure of the mind…not the world.

Okay, trix, [yawn] please, really really really enlighten me, but on one condition.

That I can put you on ignore for the rest of eternity.


So you gotta ask yourself, “why should I even respond.”


It’s like this, sweetheart. I don’t like you. You are, as Mark put it nicely, playing the unimpressed expert. I see your quick, snotty replies to other people and it turns my stomach. You do not demonstrate patience with the people you disagree with, you start fights, and you pick on people.

If I ever speak to you again it will be inside a gladiator pit with the gates locked. The two of us will enter, and one of us will leave.

You let me know when that day comes.

aristotle never argued that. i’ve studied aristotle in univrersity for 2 years now, and have never heard of it. in fact, i had to look it up on google. here’s the thing – it’s a stupid and trivial theory that is by no means the major factor in aristotle’s concept of identity. rather, his arguement consists of 3 different categories of identity that is explained in the categories/post an/topics…i’ve forgotten which defines it clearly, but all use it. this site here explains: http://www.geniebusters.org/915/04e_ex01C.html

from the site:

so you’re attempted ‘denouncment’ is completely off. woops! sucks when you speak without knowing stuff, huh?

hume proved that. kant and hegel built on this, but went beyond it at a far more advanced level. close, but not quiet at what you’re saying.

the thing is, i could go on and pick a part all the many mistakes you’ve made, based on vague knowledge and snotty reasoning, but, i simply haven’t the time. in my spare time, i do tutor disadvantaged youth, and maybe if you weren’t so old AND stupid, i could help you out. but, the age thing really gets you there. so, all i do is point out the major flaws that i find particuarly funny. if you had good knowledge and clear reasoning, it would be a different story. you don’t so, this is how it is.

No. The only point you are making here, trix, is that I shouldn’t trust what I read. So now I ask you, what have you read? Are my sources correct? Are yours? This is what you are essentially asking. Hey babe, I’m asking you the same thing. When you build a time machine, we’ll go back and ask Aristotle himself, mmkay? My sources are stolen college text books which a friend never returned, probably not much different than yours. The point? There isn’t one. Think for yourself. Fuck Aristotle. The only thing you have proven here is that sources of Aristotle’s works aren’t always accurate, or just down right false. News flash: I don’t need Aristotle to entertain my points. I could invent an entirely new language myself. I made a reference to those logical principles while I was explaining something to BMWguy, assuming that my sources were correct. Again, this is a meager consequence. Correct or not, my reason still stands. Frankly, I don’t care what Aristotle said…I think for myself.

One day you will do so yourself. And your days of quoting text books at random philosophy sites between classes will be over. Hopefully that will be soon.

Oh, and you can bring your fucking professor here and I’ll debate with him too.

I think in parallel with your philosophy idols so that you understand what I am saying. My thoughts exist in my head with or without Aristotle. If I didn’t make reference to what I believe is Aristotles work, you’d have to relearn everything you have ever known and start from the beginning if you were to understand a single one of my points. The beginning of my mind is where my thinking starts.

I am prepared to never mention another “philosophers” name again. Could you do the same, trix? How easy is it to memorize the words of another? How easy is it to regurgitate anothers ideas?

What would you be thinking if you had never found those books?

And for Christ’s sake, drop the damn thesarus. You ain’t foolin nobody.

See you in the arena.

Yeah, yeah, this says nothing. Who wrote what where when why.

Let’s start over, shall we? Let’s reinvent the concept ourselves, trix.

Burn the books.

What is an “A?”

What is not an “A?”

[licking my chops]

That is unfortunate.

In 29 years I have forgotten more than you will ever learn, trix.

That is unfortunate.

Four consecutive posts in response to one person.

Nanook…err…detrop…whatever the fuck you want to be called now. The more I read from you, the more I wonder if you’re undergoing a mental breakdown before our eyes.

EDIT: ohhh seee, I just edited a post…how friggin hard is that?

Trix, nice URL, thanks.

Quit sweating me, Rafa. Its getting old.

Those four posts were the alternative to reaching through my computer screen and choking trix. I was infuriated. Yes I am losing my mind. What’s it to ya?

Yeah, like four simple one liner posts are anything new around here. Look at this fucking place. Its a mess. No wonder Ben doesn’t come around. Nobody reads the rules when they get here.

I’ve literally seen at least seven threads dealing with the topic of determinsim/freewill. In the religion forum…

Does God exist?
Is God good?
Does God eat cheesburgers?
Where does God live?
How do I get there?

yada, yada, yada.

Forget about my four posts. Look at this place, then ask yourself if I’ve got the problem.

A) I’m seeing you doing exactly what that BMW kid does and it’s an annoy trend I’d like to see stopped. It’s not sweating YOU.

  1. If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge would you take a swim in the Hudson?

iii) Yes, you do have the problem…well you sure as hell aren’t part of the solution…and you sure as hell are a violator so you’re not by the sidelines…therefore, yes, you are part of the problem, and you’ve got the problem. Not me. K thanks.