Can we prove (or provide a lot of evidence) that the world we perceive around us is real?
Debate Rounds (3)
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.
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.
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.
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" . The definition of examine is to "observe, test, or investigate" . The definition of observe is "to see, watch, or notice" . 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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks for a great debate!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by n7 1 year ago
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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.
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