The Instigator
HeraldSarah
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Alpha3141
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Can we prove (or provide a lot of evidence) that the world we perceive around us is real?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
HeraldSarah
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 591 times Debate No: 78003
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

HeraldSarah

Con

World: everything we sense with our senses and can theorize about
Real: existing without the necessity of being perceived (sensed) by a sentinent being

I argue that we cannot know what we are, how we look, etc, because everything around us, including our senses, could be artificially stimulated by a different being or law existing outside of this world that I know. Likewise, all other beings; humans, animals, etc, could only be figments of my cognitive abilities or stimulated upon myself by another being or law in reality, outside of my perceived world.

Because everything I experience, including this debate, could be artificial, I argue that everything I know, including myself, might not exist as I sense it.

Thank you in advance; common courtesy applies.
Alpha3141

Pro

I will start with a saying that I hear about a while ago. "I think, therefore I am". I am starting with this to show that we exist. That's where I am starting. The only way for us to question or think about if we exist is if we exist in the first place. Us questioning our own existence presupposes that we exist, because our existence is necessary for us to question our exist existence.

Now is what we perceive real? First, we can affirm that there is a reality. Us questioning our own existence proves that we exist. Our existence requires there to be a true reality that our existence exists in.

I now this may appear off topic. But I am trying to built up background for us to understand everything. I think it is important to show at the start of the debate.

Now to the question of "is this reality the real reality"? I have already demonstrated that there is a true reality. I will try some points and see where this all goes.

I will call what we see "this reality". In this reality, there are things we can not comprehend. If this was just an artificial reality, then we would be able to comprehend what our senses observe. This is because an artificial reality would deal with only our senses, and only those things. Then everything would be comprehendible in that artificial reality.

Lets say that there was an artificial reality that worked in such a way in which something would be uncomprehendable. The only way that could happen is if it went beyond our senses, and took a different level. But an artificial reality cannot do that, because it would only deal with what we perceive. Then, we would be able to know if the reality isn't real by investigating it. By investigating the boundaries, including the boundaries of human knowledge and perception, we can sufficiently determine if it is truly the true reality, or some artificial construct.
Debate Round No. 1
HeraldSarah

Con

Thank you for accepting my debate.

I did not specify a structure for this debate because I believe the best structure depends on the argument and is not best determined before the start of the debate. As such, I will refute Pro's arguments I this round. Pro will determine the structure of Pro's own debate.

Refutation:

1) I agree that we exist in some form or another, and this point is irrelevant to the debate

2). Again, I agree that a true reality exists, and again this is irrelevant to the debate

3). Although I agree that there are some things we cannot comprehend, I disagree that we would be able to comprehend anything our senses observe in the world, or as Pro called it, "this reality". Pro provides no evidence for Pro's assumption. This is also not in line with the definitions I provided in the debate's first post at the very top: "World: Everything we sense with our senses and can theorize about". Pro bases Pro's argument only on the first part of the definition, "World: Everything we sense with our senses" and limits it to that. I included in the definition that "this reality", or the world, includes anything we can theorize about. As such, this assumption that Pro makes is unsupported and can, as such, be dismissed until evidence is brought up. Even if this assumption were true, this is not enough to provide significant evidence for this world being the true reality.

4). Once again Pro ignores the definition provided of world, which Pro substitutes with the term "this reality". However, even using Pro's limited definition, Pro is incorrect when Pro says, "Then, we would be able to know if the reality isn't real by investigating it". Pro ignores the fact that the definition of world was "everything we sense with our senses and can theorize about". The definition of investigate is "to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry" [1]. The definition of examine is to "observe, test, or investigate" [2]. The definition of observe is "to see, watch, or notice" [3]. By it's definition, investigating requires the use of the senses. The definition of the world, or "this reality", is "everything we sense with our senses and can theorize about", and the investigation of the world around us would reveal only what our senses sense, which is, by definition, this world and not the true reality that may or may not exist. As such, Pro's argument that investigating the world around us would reveal whether or not this world is the true reality is incorrect. All we would succeed in investigating would be the world around us and not the true reality.

As Pro did not refute any of my original points, I extend my previous argument.

Sources:

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Alpha3141

Pro

You are right, I guess I did mess up some things. So, I will hopefully learn from my mistakes and change my argument.

Hypothetically, if the world around us is not real, then we could not know that our knowledge of things is certain. If our knowledge is uncertain (including our knowledge of the laws of logic), then how can we reason correctly? We presuppose that this is reality before we come to the argument. If we don't, then we cannot make an argument with absolute certainty. This debate presupposes that reasoning is true and correct and we are able to trust in it. But if you say that this isn't all real, then we couldn't know logical reasoning is dependable. We have no true knowledge of reality if this all isn't real. But we do think that the reality we perceive is real, and from that trues in logical reasoning.

My argument is that what we observe is real because our reasoning presupposes that what we observe is real. To question if what we see is real is to question if reasoning is true. What we perceive is real because the contrary leads to absurd consequences.

If what we observe with our senses isn't reality, then we could not be certain that logic is dependable.
We are certain that logic is dependable
Therefore, what we observe with our senses is reality.

Now, you could argue that we could be certain that logic is dependable. But you wouldn't be able to do that because everything you know and have ever learned or believed you took from what you observed, and reasoned from that. We justify logic by using what we know and observe. In order to disprove my deductive claim, you must disprove one of the premises given.
I hope what I say makes sense.
Debate Round No. 2
HeraldSarah

Con

I thank Pro for an interesting (and educational) debate.
I would like to start off by saying that the BoP (burden of proof) lies with Pro. This is established in the resolution "Can we prove (or provide a lot of evidence) that the world we perceive around us is real?" As Pro argues yes, Pro needs to provide a lot of evidence, of great quantity or quality, that the world around us is real. Now, onto my refutation.
Refutation:
1)Pro says, "Hypothetically, if the world around us is not real, then we could not know that our knowledge of things is certain. If our knowledge is uncertain (including our knowledge of the laws of logic), then how can we reason correctly?" I agree with Pro"s point in this regard. If this world is not the actual reality, then we cannot know what is true, if anything. As such, we may reason incorrectly or incompletely. However, Pro goes on to say that "We presuppose that this is reality before we come to the argument. If we don't, then we cannot make an argument with absolute certainty. This debate presupposes that reasoning is true and correct and we are able to trust in it." This statement I disagree with. This debate challenges logic and reasoning. Pro must argue that there is a way to determine if this is reality. To do this, Pro must use logic and reasoning. My argument, that logic and reasoning are not necessarily true (along with everything else), is supported by Pro"s statement. If Pro says that logic and reasoning may be false, then Pro can no longer argue with any semblance of effectiveness!
Pro then says, "But we do think that the reality we perceive is real, and from that trues in logical reasoning." Once again, I disagree with Pro. Just because we (humanity in general) believe in something does not make it true. Once, people believed we lived in a geocentric universe. Pro"s argument is saying,
A)We think something is true
B)Therefore, it must be true
As I pointed out, A being true does not make B true. As such, Pro"s argument does not logically follow. Also, as Pro brought up, logic may not be true; in which case any logically sound argument Pro brings up may not be true.

2)Pro says, "What we perceive is real because the contrary leads to absurd consequences." However, the definition of absurd is, "wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate". Although the argument about logic being false also applies here, I will focus on human perception. Nowadays, the idea that the world is flat is considered absurd, or that of the sun being a god. However, long ago people believed these things. Because absurdity is based off of common knowledge and belief, things that are absurd are constantly changing. Things believed to be absurd long ago are commonly believed today. As such, something being believed to be absurd does not make that belief, or idea, false. Even if the idea is absurd, it still may be true.
3) Pro says, "We are certain that logic is dependable". Again, being certain of something doesn"t make it true. All the same, I am not certain logic is dependable. And anyway, logic could just be a function of this world, not the true reality. There"s no guarantee that logic holds true outside of this world. I also do not understand the leap from "We are certain that logic is dependable" to "Therefore, what we observe with our senses is reality". I see no connection between these two points.
Over to Pro!
Alpha3141

Pro

Well, I think you got me on this one. Very good counter! I guess we cant really exactly "prove" that the world we perceive around us is real. Although, I will say that I think that what we perceive is real. But for this debate, you got me.
Thanks for a great debate!
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HeraldSarah 1 year ago
HeraldSarah
Anyone interested in debating this topic please PM me. Please note that this debate is not about whether metaphysical solipsism is true, but whether or not we can provide convincing evidence either way. This is also a debate about whether or not another being or law could control us, not just that reality could be imagined.
*No, I don't believe metaphysical solipsism is true. I believe it an unlikely possibility, but that we cannot prove it either way.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
I'd be interested in debating this topic after I finish my upcoming debate with RT.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
Will hopefully vote soon.
Posted by HeraldSarah 1 year ago
HeraldSarah
@Alpha3141
Do you have anyone in particular you would like to ask to vote on this debate?
Posted by HeraldSarah 1 year ago
HeraldSarah
@tejretics
This is a debate about metaphysical solipsism, but beyond reality being an extension of the individual, I argue that this world could be imposed upon myself by another being or law I am unaware of. I argue that even if you are not a figment of myself, you could likewise be manipulated and controlled by another being or law. Would you still be interested in debating this topic?
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@HeraldSarah -- I assume this is a debate about metaphysical solipsism. I could argue against it, and for this resolution.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
There is no "real".. only input...output/perceive.
Posted by HeraldSarah 1 year ago
HeraldSarah
Thank you for accepting. I look forward to an interesting debate. Good luck!
Posted by HeraldSarah 1 year ago
HeraldSarah
My position is that we cannot know for certain if the world we perceive is real (see definition). The Pro position would have to provide evidence of either high quality or quantity that the world around us is real.
Posted by Alpha3141 1 year ago
Alpha3141
This seems like a good debate. Im thinking of taking it.
Could you just expand some more upon what your position is?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by n7 1 year ago
n7
HeraldSarahAlpha3141Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's first argument was dropped. He admitted he misunderstood the definitions. He then argued from the laws of logic. Stating that if reality was an artificial construct, the laws of logic wouldn't apply. Although, this argument doesn't really apply, because the debate is dealing with empirical reality, not a priori reality. Con states that Pro has given no evidence that logic is true. Pro then concedes that he cannot give evidence for it. Arguments go to Con for concession and Pro's dropped argument. Although I believe Pro could've still argued. If logic isn't necessarily true, then neither is that statement. Which would make logic true.