The Instigator
Furyan5
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MagicAintReal
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The reality we see exists only in our minds

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 419 times Debate No: 88796
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

Furyan5

Pro

When we see something, we are actually seeing an image which exists only in our mind and it is not an accurate depiction of reality. The moon appears roughly the size of an orange, when in fact it only appears that size because of the distance away from it we are.
That image exists only in our minds. Although we may know that things appear smaller if they are far away, what we see is not a true reflection of reality. The moon does not shrink.
MagicAintReal

Con

Thanks Pro for the debate.
I saw no definitions 1st round, so I shall supply my own.

reality - existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

see - discern visually.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

exist - have objective reality or being.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

only - exclusively.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

mind - the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences; the faculty of consciousness and thought.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

I reject the resolution, because by definition, if we are seeing reality, we are not seeing something contingent on humans' faculties.

The moon, that wee see, is part of reality and does not only exist in our minds.
Basically, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, it does make a sound...human minds are not necessary for reality to exist.
Debate Round No. 1
Furyan5

Pro

I agree that human minds are not necessary for reality to exist. But we are not debating reality. We are discussing the reality we see and what we see is a very limited version of reality. There are wavelengths of light which our senses can't detect. Color does not even exist in reality and the picture we see is snapshot, taken from one position, at one specific moment in time. That image exists in one and only one place, our mind.

As for your tree falling in a forest, many have made a similar claim. Many claim it makes no sound. I can claim that a rainbow turns into a unicorn when nobody is around to see it. Please provide your proof.
MagicAintReal

Con

*The Resolution Is Not True*

I reject the resolution that the reality we see exists only in our minds.

We know that human brains, via eyes, can accurately detect external stimuli in the correct position in space:

From the Brain Journal of Neurology,

"Visuospatial attention and attention to perceptual attributes...are in accordance with the model of an interactive brain...in which the circuits' [components]...for orientation discrimination are recruited differently according to the position of the stimulus."
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org...

To translate, the brain can authentically and accurately detect objective stimuli given their real position in space, and this is all accomplished though the brain's interaction with an externally verifiable reality; we're seeing what is objectively there.

The study continues,

"Horizontal eye movements were monitored with contact electrodes placed on the outer ocular canthi and a reference electrode placed between the eyes."
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org...

Using this method, the researchers were able to conclude that our eyes and brain can accurately detect the orientation and the position of objective reality.

But Pro doesn't seem to see it that way.

*Pro's Issues*

Pro claims:
"We are actually seeing an image which exists only in our mind...the moon appears roughly the size of an orange."

My response:
Irrespective of perspective distortion, the moon exists outside of the mind, and, though it appears to be "the size of an orange," the image of the moon that we see COULD ONLY EXIST with the objective existence of the moon; we see more than one image of the moon, and it is the collection of those many images that affirms our detection of it.

Pro asserts:
"The moon does not shrink."

My response:
That's not true, Pro.

"The moon has been shrinking, suggest scientists who spotted relatively young geological features that form when a planetary body cools and contracts."
http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

Regardless, optical illusions do not negate our detection of reality. If we detect an illusion, that means there is an objective, accurate image, and that we've not arbitrarily detected it; the illusion is even contingent on outside-of-the-mind reality.

Pro says:
"But we are not debating reality. We are discussing the reality we see and what we see is a very limited version of reality."

My response:
This sounds like a concession to me.
Pro agrees that the reality we see is "of reality," though it may be limited.
This seems to negate the resolution that the reality we see exists only in our minds...Pro says we see a version of reality, which, by definition, is not contingent on humans.

Pro continues:
"There are wavelengths of light which our senses can't detect."

My response:
Pro, would you agree that we can detect the visible light spectrum?
Does the visible light spectrum only exist in our minds?
Is the visible light spectrum part of reality?

Pro adds:
"The picture we see is snapshot...that image exists in one and only one place, our mind."

My response:
This ignores that the images we see are CONTINGENT on the matter that objectively exists.
If an image of something seen in reality exists only in our minds, then why are our minds' images contingent on external stimulus?
If images only exist in our mind, why aren't the images matter independent?
Why does this "mind only" concept need ANYTHING outside of the mind to occur?

Pro responds:
"As for your tree falling in a forest, many have made a similar claim. Many claim it makes no sound. I can claim that a rainbow turns into a unicorn when nobody is around to see it. Please provide your proof."

My response:
While proving that rainbows turn into unicorns may be near-impossible, proving that a falling tree in the forest makes a sound without anyone around is simple.
In a forest, there is air and there are animals.
The tree falling would vibrate the air molecules, creating a vibration that all those woodland creatures would hear...in fact, I argue that because of the ubiquity of sound-detecting animals and air in a forest, the forest is never silent without anyone around to hear the sounds.

Now, I want to see the proof of unicorn metamorphosis from the dispersion of visible light.
Debate Round No. 2
Furyan5

Pro

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Only a small percentage of the population actually understands this philosophical question.
It has nothing to do with animals. The question is whether sound waves and sounds are the same thing or whether the sounds we perceive are merely contingent on sound waves. The fact is that unless a sound wave is detected by a sentient creature which can perceive it, it makes no sound.
For example, a dog whistle can be heard by animals but to a human it makes no sound. This is because our ears can't detect sounds of such a high frequency. Dogs hear the sound, but we don't. If nothing detects the sound waves, no sound is heard.
So to answer the question, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?", the answer is a resounding no!

In pitch darkness we see nothing. Does this mean reality ceases to exist if there is no light? Or does it just mean that our image of reality can't exist without light?

I should actually thank Con for stating that the image we see is contingent on reality. By doing so he admits that what we "see as reality" and "actual reality" are two separate thing. What we see may be a very accurate depiction of reality which is why humans are the dominant species on the planet, but it is not reality. It is merely a 3 dimensional visual representation of reality, created by our minds from input received from our senses and enhanced by our brains. Because this image of reality is the only one we can experience it is very hard for most people to understand that is is merely a sensation. It looks real and feels real. But pain also feels real. Yet pain does not exist outside of our perceptions. Happiness, sadness, love, anger are other examples of things we feel but which do not exist outside of our perceptions. They may be the result of things that happen in reality, but they do not exist in reality.

To answer your questions:

Pro, would you agree that we can detect the visible light spectrum?
yes.
Does the visible light spectrum only exist in our minds?
no
Is the visible light spectrum part of reality?
yes

But the visible light spectrum consists of rays with different wavelengths which our minds interpret as colors.
Wavelengths exist in reality, colors do not.
Please note, i am not saying, nor have i ever claimed that colors are imaginary. They are the result of light waves striking our eyes. They would not be created without light. But the colors exist only in our mind. Light itself has no color.
Con seems to be arguing that for something to exists only in the mind must be totally independent of reality.

http://www.ghc.org...
How Our Bodies Turn Food Into Energy

All parts of the body (muscles, brain, heart, and liver) need energy to work. This energy comes from the food we eat.

Our bodies digest the food we eat by mixing it with fluids (acids and enzymes) in the stomach. When the stomach digests food, the carbohydrate (sugars and starches) in the food breaks down into another type of sugar, called glucose.

The stomach and small intestines absorb the glucose and then release it into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, glucose can be used immediately for energy or stored in our bodies, to be used later.

As we can see, the glucose is created by our bodies by breaking down the carbohydrates we eat.
Our brains work the same way. It takes raw data from "external reality" and creates images, colors, sounds, smells and tastes. These things are contingents on "external reality" but do not exist in "external reality".
MagicAintReal

Con

*Pro's Concession*

Pro says:
"Human minds are not necessary for reality to exist."

My response:
Then the reality we see CANNOT exist only in the mind, because reality itself is not contingent on the mind, according to Pro.

Pro continues:
"What we see is a very limited version of reality."

My response:
Pro admits that what we see, though a limited version, is of reality, and, given that Pro also says reality needs not humans, this demonstrates that we see something that is not contingent on humans or the mind; the reality we see does not only exist in our mind, and Pro agrees.

Pro goes on:
"What we see...is merely a 3 dimensional visual representation of reality, created by our minds from input received from our senses."

My response:
Pro has not acknowledged my point on this, but notice that Pro mentions that what we see is "created from input received."
If the reality we see is created from input received, then it is not ONLY created in the mind; at its inception, the reality we see does not ONLY exist in the mind, the reality we see exists in the input.

*VOTERS LOOK HERE*

Pro completely concedes:
Me - "Pro, would you agree that we can detect the visible light spectrum?"
Pro - "Yes."
Me - "Does the visible light spectrum only exist in our minds?"
Pro - "No."
Me - "Is the visible light spectrum part of reality?"
Pro - "Yes."

My response:
Pro concedes...
1. that we can detect (see) the visible light spectrum,
2. that the visible light spectrum does not only exist in our minds,
3. and that the visible light spectrum is part of reality.

By these answers above, Pro concedes that the reality we see, the visible light spectrum, does not only exist in our minds, which effectively negates the resolution...this is a huge slip up by Pro.

Pro brings up how our bodies make glucose from food, how sounds, including falling trees, require a listener, and things contingent on external reality do not necessarily exist in external reality.
This is all unimportant, because Pro has already conceded.

Pro has conceded that the visible light spectrum is the reality we see and this reality does not only exist in the mind, so glucose, sounds, and contingency need not be addressed, because Pro has already negated.

I negate this resolution, and so does Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
Furyan5

Pro

There is one major flaw with Con's logic. Human minds may not be necessary for reality to exist, but without human minds we have no way of knowing anything actually exists at all.
Everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell is just electrical impulses interpreted by our brains. It's possible these electrical impulses are artificially created and the reality we perceive does not exist at all. People under the influence of drugs or suffering from mental deceases actually see and hear things that are not real.
There is no way of proving anything without relying on our perceptions, which in themselves are unreliable.
But this in not the point of my debate.
Con keeps arguing that because our perception of reality is contingent on reality, it does not exist in the mind.
Please note that i never made the claim that this image we see is independent of reality or that it is manufactured by the brain from nothing, but just because the image is a result of external stimuli, does not prove that it exists outside of the mind.

Con please answer the following 3 questions.

1: Is realities existence contingent on light?

2: Does reality cease to exist when there is no light?

3: What do we see when there is no light?

You seem to think that the image we see and the visible light spectrum is the same thing. You are mistaken. The visible light triggers a reaction when it strikes our retina. The retina sends electrical impulses too our brains optic center where pictures are created. This image exists only in the mind but is contingent on light. The fact that the image wouldn't exist without light proves that the image exists only in the mind.
MagicAintReal

Con

*Pro Has Already Negated*

The resolution is that the reality we see exists only in our minds, so if Pro agrees that there is a reality that we see that does not ONLY exist in the mind, then Pro concedes the negation of this resolution.

Pro has conceded:
"What we see is a very limited version of reality...I agree that human minds are not necessary for reality to exist...the image we see is contingent on reality...the image is a result of external stimuli...the image wouldn't exist without light...yes, we can detect the visible light spectrum...no, the visible light spectrum does not only exist in our minds...yes, the visible light spectrum is part of reality."

Pro has negated the resolution for me.

*Round 4 Rebuttal*

Pro posits:
"Everything we see...is just electrical impulses interpreted by our brains...it's possible these electrical impulses are artificially created and the reality we perceive does not exist at all."

My response:
Pro has dropped my study from the Brain Journal of Neurology.
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org...

In it, they mention that the impulses ARE NOT artificially created...
"the circuits are not simply activated in an additive way. Instead, the components of the circuitry for orientation discrimination are recruited differently according to the position of the stimulus."

It's not possible, in this study, that the reality the participants saw does not exist at all, because the eye contact electrodes detected the accurate detection of objective external stimulus by the eyes; the reality they saw existed outside of their mind, and the circuitry was not additive/artificial.

Pro adds:
"People under the influence of drugs or suffering from mental deceases actually see and hear things that are not real."

My response:
Ok, so Pro agrees that there is a "real," and that this "real" exists outside of the minds of drugged/mentally-ill people...

Pro continues:
"There is no way of proving anything without relying on our perceptions, which in themselves are unreliable."

My response:
Then how does Pro prove that what drugged/mentally-ill people see is not real?
Pro must be using his own perceptions to determine the reality of a druggy's hallucination.

Pro complains:
"Con keeps arguing that because our perception of reality is contingent on reality, it does not exist in the mind."

My response:
No, I'm arguing that because our perception of reality is contingent on reality, it does not exist ONLY in the mind, because of that on which it is contingent is NOT ONLY in the mind.

Pro asks:
"1: Is realities existence contingent on light?

2: Does reality cease to exist when there is no light?

3: What do we see when there is no light?"

My response:
1. No, by definition in this debate, reality is self-sufficient.
2. No, see #1.
3. No light.

Pro finishes:
"You seem to think that the image we see and the visible light spectrum is the same thing...The fact that the image wouldn't exist without light proves that the image exists only in the mind."

My response:
This logic is baffling to me.
Pro has already admitted that we see the visible light spectrum and it's separate from our mind, but here he's claiming that since the image couldn't exist without light, this proves the image exists only in the mind...huh?

Pro, does light exist outside of the mind like you've already admitted?
Then how does a dependence on light affirm that something is completely mental?

Pro's baffling logic could be used to say:
The sun can't exist without light, and this proves that the sun only exists in the mind...wack.

Pro has negated the resolution already, and I agree with him, because the visible light spectrum is the reality we see, and the visible light spectrum does not only exist in our mind.
Debate Round No. 4
Furyan5

Pro

Pro does not agree that there is a reality that we see that does not ONLY exist in the mind. We do not see reality. We see an image created by our minds because of light which is reflected off objects and strikes our retina. Con is still under the impression that the image we see is reality. Let me try to explain why it's not.

Imagine a house with a apple tree a few feet away from it. Depending on where you stand, the tree will either be next to the house, in front of the house or behind the house. Each of these images only exist when you are on one side of the house. We can use the image to imagine the other views,but our view will always be subjective. So where does this subjective image exist? Is it a property of the location? No it's not. At night the image is different, if we even see an image. So not only is the image we see specific to our location, but also to the moment in time.

Well reality is not subjective. Trees do not move or change color depending on the time of day. Only the image in our mind changes. That image exists nowhere else and it is not reality.

Thanks Con for an interesting debate.
MagicAintReal

Con

I extend all arguments dropped by Pro, including, but not limited to my study from the Brain Journal of Neurology and Pro's concession that we see the visible light spectrum, which Pro agrees does not ONLY exist in the mind AND which Pro agrees is part of reality.

But I like debating Pro, so I'll entertain his 5th round.

Pro requests:
"Imagine a house with a apple tree a few feet away from it."

My response:
Done.

Pro continues:
"Depending on where you stand, the tree will either be next to the house, in front of the house or behind the house."

My response:
Ok, depending on my perspective, the position of the tree relative to the house will change...this is called relativity.

Pro furthers:
"Each of these images only exist when you are on one side of the house. We can use the image to imagine the other views,but our view will always be subjective."

My response:
Because there a different places to observe from the observations are therefore subjective?
Non sequitur.

Pro goes on:
"So where does this subjective image exist? Is it a property of the location?"

My response:
Yes, what you see from a particular perspective is a property of the location of the observation.
"Specific to our location" is another way to say "perspective."
Though there are different perspectives, that does not mean that each perspective is subjective, it just shows there are different perspectives to view things from.

Pro thinks:
"Trees do not move...depending on the time of day."

My response:
Since the earth is always turning, trees are always moving dependent on the time of day (rotation of the earth).

Thanks Pro for another new age deism topic.
Debate Round No. 5
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