The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Empirical Reality is Probably Mental

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 795 times Debate No: 77584
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




The burden of proof will be shared. I will argue that the empirical reality we experience is mental and exists within mind, and my opponent will argue that the empirical reality we experience exists outside of mind.

First round is for acceptance.


*takes rip of bong*

Lets do it brosif
Debate Round No. 1



I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Interaction Argument

P1: If our minds interact with empirical reality and vice versa, then reality is mental
P2: Our minds interact with empirical reality and vice versa
C: Therefore, empirical reality is mental

This argument is of the type Modus Ponens and is logically valid. P2 is uncontroversial... Our minds must interact with empirical reality or our idea to type on a computer would never be carried out, and empirical reality must interact with our minds or else we would have no perceptions of it in the first place. Therefore, the only premise I find that needs defending is P1.

Defense of P1

Coherence between properties is required for interaction between two things. The reason I can slice a knife through butter in a material world for example, is because all the atoms "recognize" the other atoms and interaction occurs. The reason a body with mass can warp spacetime (which entails a gravitational pull) is because it is all part of the same physical arena, governed by the same forces, and follows the same rules. Consciousness/ mentality however, is something that brings to the table feelings, love, hate, mental imagery, feelings, perceptions, thoughts etc. This world is completely different than the world of dead atomic interactions and mindless forces (which means we can probably rule out that this mental world is physical/ material). Thus, they would be extremely metaphysically distinct from one another and wouldn't have properties that cohere. However, if they don't have properties that cohere, then they cannot interact. Therefore, empirical reality is mental, because if it wasn't, it wouldn't have the necessary conditions to interact with our minds; but it does interact with our minds.

One might say that if God exists he could make the mental and the non-mental interact as he is omnipotent. However, Omnipotence only means that God can do anything which is metaphysically or logically possible. It would be impossible for him to make two metaphysically distinct type of things interact because interaction is in terms of cohered properties. It would be like expecting God to be able to make a perfectly round square and put it in my hand. God cannot do the nonsensical or metaphysically absurd. Either way, even if it was metaphysically or logically possible for God to make this interaction occur it was be an implausible solution:

"First, it has the strange consequence that God is the only real agent in existence, i.e. the only one that can bring about changes in the real world that deserve to be called "actions". This has a further consequence. Agency is an essential precondition for moral responsibility. So if none of us are really agents, then none of us are ever morally responsible. That will strike many as absurd.

Finally, the theory has the unenviable whiff of ad-hocery about it. In other words, the supposition that God acts as a causal middleman is being adopted purely to save face. It is generally agreed that the acceptance of ad hoc principles of this sort is to be avoided." [2]

Digital Physics Argument

When we introspect, we encounter integrated information and this is what are consciousness is. This is also entailed by the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness[3]. Also, the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describes all the information in the universe[4], and it is integrated as the wave-function of the universe entails that everything is entangled and quantum entanglement entails integration. We already know the universe most likely boils down to information based on Digital Physics (Which has been shown to be a better way to model reality [5]), but the fact that it is integrated entails the universe is a conscious state. Thus, it must either be a conscious mind or an aspect of a conscious mind. Either way, it becomes pretty clear that all reality that we can reasonably infer exists around us is mental.

The Safe Bet Argument

We cannot doubt that mind exists (or at least some form of mentality exists), as doubt itself is essentially mental. People assume that because objects that we perceive (like chairs, tables, books and what not) seem to be beyond our minds, that we can invent a whole new category of non-mental to explain it. The problem is that we don't know that anything non-mental can actually exist, and it explains nothing better than Idealism. Again, we know that our minds exist as we cannot rationally doubt them, but anything non-mental we can doubt without any such inconsistency as non-mentality could just be an "illusion". The Mind cannot be an illusion though, as an illusion requires a mind to have the disassociated perception in the first place. Thus, if we are going to create a model of reality sticking with what we know is going to yield more probable results than taking a gamble on a non-mental substance that might not even exist. Since we cannot doubt mental substance and mentality, but we can doubt non-mentality (non-mentality is just a theory with no basis or reason behind it), then reality being mental is the safe bet and most likely the case.

In Conclusion

If empirical reality is non-mental, then it wouldn't be able to interact with our minds and vice versa (their properties wouldn't cohere). Since it does, then then means empirical reality is mental. Also, the safer bet that is most likely the case is that everything is mental, as we cannot doubt mentality and if we know anything, we know the mind has to exist (knowledge entails mentality). However, there is 0 reason to believe in a non-mental reality, it is just a random theory. Lastly, an integrated informational complex is a conscious state. Quantum Mechanics in terms of Digital Physics (which is probably true) entails the universe is an integrated informational complex. Therefore, it is a conscious state, and thus, mental.





Jedi4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.


Jedi4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.


Jedi4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by johnlubba 2 years ago
Looks like both of them hit the bong
Posted by canis 2 years ago
There is no emperical reality. There is emperi and there is reality. So yes it is only mental...
Posted by Jedi4 2 years ago
holi sh1t. Read your own arguments high it will blow your mind and start to make sense
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
*type of
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
Nope, essentially not any different. I just want to the avoid the argument that there may be some time of reality that we never interact with, and has no reason for it it should be there, but none the less exists outside of empirical reality. While this may be possible, it is added "fat" to a model of reality and should be excluded without reason. So, this debate will just be about empirical reality, the one with the apparent laws of nature, space, time, galaxies, objects....
Posted by Teaparty1 2 years ago
Is empirical reality any different than just "reality" as commonly used?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
If by "physical" you mean "not existing as content of mind" then debate me on it.
Posted by vi_spex 2 years ago
reality is physical
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made the only arguments.