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Isn't Reality Relative Too?

Heterodox
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8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.

How could we ever know?
Would we consider the programmer(s) to be God(s)?
Would it make our reality any more or less real?
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/25/2016 9:22:15 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.

How could we ever know?
Would we consider the programmer(s) to be God(s)?
Would it make our reality any more or less real?

If we foresee the possibility of humans creating very complex, even intelligent technologies and simulations, and combine this with the belief that humans are not the only intelligent life forms in the universe, then it seems open to reason that some or all elements of what we call "nature" or our environment are created by such programs. The fact that much of nature can be closely modeled as fractal designs might provide some foundation for this. I think the best prospect for understanding whatever principles motivate nature at such a fundamental level, is to develop our technologies enough that they can become sufficiently complex to hook up with those patterns already present in nature. This has already taken place to some extent: we analogize the mind in its cognition to, successively over periods of development, eg a rider on a horse, the reader of a book of nature, a sophisticated computer.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
NHN
Posts: 624
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8/25/2016 10:44:57 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.
That conception was first developed in the 1600s in conjunction with the scientific revolution. The big names of the day, Newton and Descartes, both considered the universe a giant clockwork (computer by our standards) operating according to fixed laws. And the one directing this grand scheme was the great watchmaker himself, God.

It is interesting to see how this near-400-year-old conception is experiencing a renaissance in the computer age.

How could we ever know?
We can't. Ever since Descartes introduced methodic doubt in the 1640s (https://en.wikipedia.org...), any such description of the world is irrefutable.

What you can rely on, though, is that such a worldview defies both common sense and post-Newtonian physics. If that helps.

Would it make our reality any more or less real?
Before we answer that question, we must first define and delimit what we mean by "reality" (see the dream argument in the link).
Heterodox
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8/25/2016 1:43:45 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 10:44:57 AM, NHN wrote:
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.
That conception was first developed in the 1600s in conjunction with the scientific revolution. The big names of the day, Newton and Descartes, both considered the universe a giant clockwork (computer by our standards) operating according to fixed laws. And the one directing this grand scheme was the great watchmaker himself, God.

It is interesting to see how this near-400-year-old conception is experiencing a renaissance in the computer age.

How could we ever know?
We can't. Ever since Descartes introduced methodic doubt in the 1640s (https://en.wikipedia.org...), any such description of the world is irrefutable.

What you can rely on, though, is that such a worldview defies both common sense and post-Newtonian physics. If that helps.

Would it make our reality any more or less real?
Before we answer that question, we must first define and delimit what we mean by "reality" (see the dream argument in the link).

Likely because we can actually do it ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale (and imprecisely). It doesn't take a very big leap to assume that if we can do something, something greater than us could do it better.
NHN
Posts: 624
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8/25/2016 3:20:26 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 1:43:45 PM, Heterodox wrote:
Likely because we can actually do it ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale (and imprecisely).
If you're still stuck on precision in measurement as a premise for "reality," then you haven't abandoned the Newtonian-Cartesian conception of a giant clockwork/computer controlled by a master technician.

I prefer the anti-epistemology of Charles Taylor (drawing heavily on Heidegger and completely rejecting Husserl). According to this position, we always-already find ourselves in a direct encounter with things in the world, but there are no mental representations -- sense data, visual experiences, intentional content -- that mediate our relation to everyday reality. Whatever we conceive of the world is the result of invention, lore/custom, and prejudice.

That is not to say that there is no universe as such. Space is full of galaxies and quasars, which we can measure empirically. Invention is no minor thing and hard science a key to our existence. The point is rather that the "why?" is forever missing in our comprehension of the world (which is why we have theology). In this view, there is no subject/object distinction. That is, no self-sufficient subject or pure individual. In its place there is a self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned being.

There are also no inner/outer or fact/value distinctions. Facts, verified empirically, never exceed their provisional status. And values are established through power relations, culturally relative and constantly in flux where there is no social unity. Yet facts and values and impressions overlap as equivalent elements to self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned beings.

It doesn't take a very big leap to assume that if we can do something, something greater than us could do it better.
That means, in the first place, that you would have to invent or discover "something greater" than humankind. And unless you mean that very same Newtonian-Cartesian watchmaker/supercomputer, I very much wonder what that would be.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/25/2016 5:08:34 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
There are also no inner/outer or fact/value distinctions. Facts, verified empirically, never exceed their provisional status. And values are established through power relations, culturally relative and constantly in flux where there is no social unity. Yet facts and values and impressions overlap as equivalent elements to self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned beings.

I think that is very interesting, but I wish NHN could use less opaque language!

Likely because we can actually do it ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale (and imprecisely). It doesn't take a very big leap to assume that if we can do something, something greater than us could do it better.

But there is something we can't do ourselves, not even approximately. If you are thinking about something like Sim City then what we can't do is program sim-citizens with consciousness. We can 'mock up' a sim-citizen to "say" 'I think therefore I am', but we can't program a sim-citizen to invent, understand and believe it.

Maybe our self-awareness casts doubt on whether we are a simulation or the real thing?
sdavio
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8/25/2016 6:43:49 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 3:20:26 PM, NHN wrote:
At 8/25/2016 1:43:45 PM, Heterodox wrote:
Likely because we can actually do it ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale (and imprecisely).
If you're still stuck on precision in measurement as a premise for "reality," then you haven't abandoned the Newtonian-Cartesian conception of a giant clockwork/computer controlled by a master technician.

I prefer the anti-epistemology of Charles Taylor (drawing heavily on Heidegger and completely rejecting Husserl). According to this position, we always-already find ourselves in a direct encounter with things in the world, but there are no mental representations -- sense data, visual experiences, intentional content -- that mediate our relation to everyday reality. Whatever we conceive of the world is the result of invention, lore/custom, and prejudice.

Largely, it seems to depend upon where we put the onus for a positive account in these two opposing views. On the one hand, as you have said the prospect of simulation betrays a certain assumption of mechanism in nature. But to criticize the assumptions of another position, we are always implicitly maintaining some standard which we are supposing (if rejecting the other position) that so-and-so does not live up to. And the assumption on the part of this regressive strand of continental philosophy (illustrated, for instance, by Hubert Dreyfus, who makes similar Heideggarian arguments toward the conclusion that AI can never approach human experience) seems to be that no measure of mechanism in nature must be allowed, since it is deemed imperative that the whole order of the universe remain perched upon the foundation of the "experience of a meaningful totality" or whatever.

Of course, the implicit assumptions involved in AI, simulation theories and so on, should be questioned. But in my view it is just these kind of foundationalist and dogmatic commitments which preclude the possibility of taking up such a line of questioning. What I like in Nietzsche is his relentless questioning directed toward just those parts of humanity which were held so close as to be considered beyond questioning. But I fear I'm seeing, in some parts of continental philosophy, this great tradition turn into a flaccid reiteration of Pascal's wager.

there are no mental representations -- sense data, visual experiences, intentional content -- that mediate our relation to everyday reality.

Not to be too harsh on your position, you have a lot of deep insights here, but it is this kind of commitment in particular which I think is a road leading nowhere but toward solipsism and presumed omniscience / omnipotence. I feel like this assumption, combined with the essentialist commitments which I seem to sense some continentals harboring below their outwardly skeptical-revolutionary disposition, could lead to some pretty disastrous systematic consequences in a philosophy which has such potential to challenge dogmatism. If any philosophy leads to absurd conclusions about the actual world - for instance, that nothing exists but myself, or that there would be no Eiffel Tower if I never thought about or perceived it - I think this should be an immediate cause for a serious reconsideration of that position's ideological commitments. I ask you: do you believe that the moon would still exist if it had no place in our "space of meaning" and even if you and I didn't know about it or have any experience of it? If yes, how do you square this with your framing of "external truth" as simply a functional element within the larger space of our meaningful engagement with lores, customs, and hammers?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
NHN
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8/25/2016 6:48:20 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 5:08:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
There are also no inner/outer or fact/value distinctions. Facts, verified empirically, never exceed their provisional status. And values are established through power relations, culturally relative and constantly in flux where there is no social unity. Yet facts and values and impressions overlap as equivalent elements to self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned beings.

I think that is very interesting, but I wish NHN could use less opaque language!
I'm trying to use the most accurate words to avoid confusion. What I call "the self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned being" is a simplification of the term Dasein (see Heidegger, Being and Time).

What it basically means is that there is no a priori knowledge. There is only an a priori condition, Dasein, in which we face the world from a very limited perspective, preconditioned by various falsehoods and prejudices which lead us to (mis)interpret the world's phenomena.

Maybe our self-awareness casts doubt on whether we are a simulation or the real thing?
Being a simulation assumes too much, as far as I'm concerned. Especially as it strikes me as an echo of Newton or Descartes. It also doesn't take into account the facts as verified by the scientific method. And if we are to create a philosophical outlook on the world that disregards established facts, however provisional, I fail to see what that achieves.
NHN
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8/25/2016 8:11:46 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 6:43:49 PM, sdavio wrote:
Largely, it seems to depend upon where we put the onus for a positive account in these two opposing views. On the one hand, as you have said the prospect of simulation betrays a certain assumption of mechanism in nature.
Right. But Descartes and Newton formed their view on the basis of 17th century science. With new discoveries they would likely have altered their view and abandoned the watchmaker theology. That was my issue with the OP: that he presupposed either a premodern environment or a solipsistic condition to justify his position.

But to criticize the assumptions of another position, we are always implicitly maintaining some standard which we are supposing (if rejecting the other position) that so-and-so does not live up to. And the assumption on the part of this regressive strand of continental philosophy (illustrated, for instance, by Hubert Dreyfus, who makes similar Heideggarian arguments toward the conclusion that AI can never approach human experience) seems to be that no measure of mechanism in nature must be allowed, since it is deemed imperative that the whole order of the universe remain perched upon the foundation of the "experience of a meaningful totality" or whatever.
I see nature and culture (language: art, science, philosophy, etc.) as radically separate. But that doesn't discount the factual existence of galaxies and quasars in nature. Rather, culture and nature function side by side in a non-relationship, where the former constitutes text and the latter non-text. Existence as such becomes a struggle with (textual) interpretation through an a priori condition (Dasein). (And yes, I'll qualify my stance as positively Dreydeggerian.)

What I like in Nietzsche is his relentless questioning directed toward just those parts of humanity which were held so close as to be considered beyond questioning. But I fear I'm seeing, in some parts of continental philosophy, this great tradition turn into a flaccid reiteration of Pascal's wager.
That's the tricky thing with continental philosophers. Nietzsche opened the door to a complete reinvention of onto-theology. He did this through the creative destruction that is nihilism. What most of us don't realize, however, is that Western society is structured via Christianity. Remove but a small piece and the whole structure comes crashing down.

In other words, these continental philosophers want to have their cake and eat it. But Heidegger knew better. He was aware that "Only a god can still save us," that we require the presence of a suprasensuous command/order to maintain totality. Yet he wasn't able to develop it further.

there are no mental representations -- sense data, visual experiences, intentional content -- that mediate our relation to everyday reality.
Not to be too harsh on your position, you have a lot of deep insights here, but it is this kind of commitment in particular which I think is a road leading nowhere but toward solipsism and presumed omniscience / omnipotence. I feel like this assumption, combined with the essentialist commitments which I seem to sense some continentals harboring below their outwardly skeptical-revolutionary disposition, could lead to some pretty disastrous systematic consequences in a philosophy which has such potential to challenge dogmatism.
Rejecting mediation of representation doesn't make my position essentialist. It regards making an a priori condition as a starting point, which renders void all a priori knowledge. And as the distinction between a priori and a posteriori is explicitly delimited and ascertainable, the position actually blocks the way to solipsism.

I ask you: do you believe that the moon would still exist if it had no place in our "space of meaning" and even if you and I didn't know about it or have any experience of it? If yes, how do you square this with your framing of "external truth" as simply a functional element within the larger space of our meaningful engagement with lores, customs, and hammers?
The answer is Yes. The existence of the moon is a fact which does not require verification from any perceiving mind. And I further qualify this position by placing the statement in the field of provisional facts verified by the scientific method. For Dasein, empirical facts are as basic as primordial sense perceptions.
sdavio
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8/26/2016 8:24:52 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 8:11:46 PM, NHN wrote:
But to criticize the assumptions of another position, we are always implicitly maintaining some standard which we are supposing (if rejecting the other position) that so-and-so does not live up to. And the assumption on the part of this regressive strand of continental philosophy (illustrated, for instance, by Hubert Dreyfus, who makes similar Heideggarian arguments toward the conclusion that AI can never approach human experience) seems to be that no measure of mechanism in nature must be allowed, since it is deemed imperative that the whole order of the universe remain perched upon the foundation of the "experience of a meaningful totality" or whatever.
I see nature and culture (language: art, science, philosophy, etc.) as radically separate. But that doesn't discount the factual existence of galaxies and quasars in nature. Rather, culture and nature function side by side in a non-relationship, where the former constitutes text and the latter non-text. Existence as such becomes a struggle with (textual) interpretation through an a priori condition (Dasein). (And yes, I'll qualify my stance as positively Dreydeggerian.)

Sure, to some extent, within certain coordinates, I must grant the existence of a certain manifest image of human life, where individuals inhabit a self-present space of thought governed by relationships of value with other people. The problem arises here:

Existence as such becomes a struggle with (textual) interpretation through an a priori condition (Dasein).

Sorry to harp on this point, but is a moon in another, undiscovered galaxy, engaged in a struggle with textual interpretation? To give this manifest "everyday" structure priority over all else, and to make self-presence the axiomatic basis for any other relationship to factual external objects, does still smell strongly of essentialism. I am still not sure how external objects can fit into such a paradigm, when the whole point in Heidegger (and even moreso in Dreydegger) seems to be that objects cannot transcend their place in "showing up for us" as meaningful, since this would be to extend the present-at-hand "written" structure of culture into the supposedly self-present domain of nature. If "Da-sein" signifies anything, surely it is Heidegger's attempt to contain the structure of the externalizing function of writing (or "presence-at-hand" - really, rational contemplation altogether) into the "activity" of a somewhat self-contained principle. Being-there: Being is relegated to the almost secondary phenomenological zone of "there" (ie, temporal presence) which constitutes our middle-sized experience of events as meaningful. The most confounding part of B&T, for me, is his hamfisted attempt at rationalizing the demand that we must begin our examination of Being with one of Dasein. This allows for no transcendence of the object unless by becoming secondary to the active unity constituted by something which, for all the caveats and changes, still remains in some ways his version of the Cartesian subject. It's just this structure of the suspension of self-presence into the becoming-present of the object, that Heidegger had sought to purge from Hegel (and ultimately Descartes) in order to avoid the violent intervention of the Other, and which Derrida (via Freud) revealed to be dictating the whole game via the iterative structure of any text whatsoever - even those aspects considered to be most phenomenologically "self present" - by allowing for meaning itself (or reference) to be detached from any first-person intentionality.

Sorry for ranting and raving if this is too convoluted lol.. but I think that by the lights of phenomenological philosophies, perhaps simply denying the absolute priority of Dasein as an active constitution of meaning, this would alone be sufficient to grant a level of "mechanism" to objects, which would undo some of these arguments against things like AI. We don't require the kind of full-blooded "mechanistic" physicalism invoked by Newton to grant some form of AI or simulation.

The answer is Yes. The existence of the moon is a fact which does not require verification from any perceiving mind. And I further qualify this position by placing the statement in the field of provisional facts verified by the scientific method. For Dasein, empirical facts are as basic as primordial sense perceptions.

But I don't know how this kind of knowledge would be possible for Dasein, because it cannot be extracted from any amount of empirical data, nor by any phenomenological experience of meaningful situations.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
NHN
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8/26/2016 10:24:42 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/26/2016 8:24:52 AM, sdavio wrote:
Sorry to harp on this point, but is a moon in another, undiscovered galaxy, engaged in a struggle with textual interpretation?
No. Textual interpretation of empirical data gives rise to the understanding of a heavenly body which, through lore, has been given the name "moon."

To give this manifest "everyday" structure priority over all else, and to make self-presence the axiomatic basis for any other relationship to factual external objects, does still smell strongly of essentialism.
But Heidegger rejects the "self," "subject," or "individual" as axiomatic basis. Dasein deals in a conditioned coping which is reliant on engaging directly with the world. Being, the sum of beings, remains Nothing (A - A + B - B ... = 0).

I am still not sure how external objects can fit into such a paradigm, when the whole point in Heidegger (and even moreso in Dreydegger) seems to be that objects cannot transcend their place in "showing up for us" as meaningful, since this would be to extend the present-at-hand "written" structure of culture into the supposedly self-present domain of nature.
Since everything is external to Da-sein (everything is out "there"), the inner/outer distinction is rejected. The way facts, values, prejudices, etc. show up for us relates to the concept aletheia, when things are drawn out of their concealed status and made to appear in the clearing.

And yes, present-at-hand, when equipment breaks down and we enter a mode of reflection, is necessary for us to pass to an ontological outlay of the world. It is the breakdown of equipment, of passing from readiness-to-hand to present-at-hand, that allowed observers to no longer consider the moon a deity (Mani), as lore and prejudice would have it, but a heavenly body orbiting the earth.

In this way, the breakdown of the primordial activity (readiness-to-hand) is what allows us to contemplate and take a closer look at what is "there."

The most confounding part of B&T, for me, is his hamfisted attempt at rationalizing the demand that we must begin our examination of Being with one of Dasein. This allows for no transcendence of the object unless by becoming secondary to the active unity constituted by something which, for all the caveats and changes, still remains in some ways his version of the Cartesian subject.
That's very accurate. A Heideggerian approach requires the complete replacement of the Cartesian subject and of transcendence.

The Cartesian subject, the thinking thing, has attached to it a built-in causation: I think, therefore I am. It is this ergo that Nietzsche overlooked in his critique of metaphysics, which makes Heidegger (and his followers) the more radical alternative. Moreover, in returning to Parmenides, Heidegger equates thinking and being. And such is the case with Dasein. Dasein thinks being/is thinking. And from this vantage there is no transcendence. What remains is the hard work of existential (in German, as opposed to existentiell) analysis and understanding of ontology and theory.

And this lies at the heart of the matter. An existentiell analysis is tied to the ontic, the world of beings, whereas the existential analysis reinterprets ontology, in effect rewriting the language for the ontic. That's the priority.

Sorry for ranting and raving if this is too convoluted lol.. but I think that by the lights of phenomenological philosophies, perhaps simply denying the absolute priority of Dasein as an active constitution of meaning, this would alone be sufficient to grant a level of "mechanism" to objects, which would undo some of these arguments against things like AI. We don't require the kind of full-blooded "mechanistic" physicalism invoked by Newton to grant some form of AI or simulation.
No problem; I always welcome lengthy, measured replies written in advanced English.

Yet I disagree with the above. There have been attempts at "Heideggerian AI" to counter the many philosophical blind spots of natural scientists, but this is also doomed to failure. Dreyfus has been instrumental in pointing out the grandiosity of AI researchers, especially of the 1950s and '60s. It's getting better lately -- despite the freakish chatter (Gerede) of "singularity" -- as scientists now mainly focus on the internet of things. And whereas "our side" (the Dreydegger crew) admits that it is possible to create a preconditioned entity, learning chess and go/weiqi, there is no point at which this entity becomes self-(mis)interpreting and able to take the step from primordial readiness-to-hand to contemplative present-at-hand.

But I don't know how this kind of knowledge would be possible for Dasein, because it cannot be extracted from any amount of empirical data, nor by any phenomenological experience of meaningful situations.
It is entertained through existentiell analysis, which regards anything ontic.
sdavio
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8/26/2016 12:39:46 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/26/2016 10:24:42 AM, NHN wrote:
At 8/26/2016 8:24:52 AM, sdavio wrote:
Sorry to harp on this point, but is a moon in another, undiscovered galaxy, engaged in a struggle with textual interpretation?
No. Textual interpretation of empirical data gives rise to the understanding of a heavenly body which, through lore, has been given the name "moon."

This would totally make sense to me if what was under consideration was the causal factors in an epistemological account of how we come to understand entities. It seems clearly unacceptable, though, as a characterization of the ontological conditions for the existence of an entity. I can reasonably assert the existence of some entity which has never been considered by any human mind, and which is never accounted for in any text.

To give this manifest "everyday" structure priority over all else, and to make self-presence the axiomatic basis for any other relationship to factual external objects, does still smell strongly of essentialism.
But Heidegger rejects the "self," "subject," or "individual" as axiomatic basis. Dasein deals in a conditioned coping which is reliant on engaging directly with the world. Being, the sum of beings, remains Nothing (A - A + B - B ... = 0).

That Being is nothing unless part of such a "coping" relationship is just what I perceive as the problem. It is just this principle which I cannot find compatible with certain common-sense facts, such as that there are objects in existence which I have never, will never, and could not possibly ever be directly engaged with. The framing of our analysis of objects and states of affairs as genuinely separate entities with properties different from our own using the metaphor of a broken instrument is also unacceptable in my view: it limits the ability to see the world as genuinely independent of ourselves to whatever degree such an assertion doesn't overlap with our momentary desires. Again, surely there are external objects that I can never directly engage with, but which it will also never be incumbent upon me to posit the existence of in order to solve some pragmatic issue such as turning a doorknob. Some of these facts, like configurations of the neurons in the brain, changes in the equilibrium of microbes in the gut, etc, may or may not be grasped by present-at-hand analysis, yet remain fundamentally constitutive of the coping relationship, and causally mediate its existence.

I am still not sure how external objects can fit into such a paradigm, when the whole point in Heidegger (and even moreso in Dreydegger) seems to be that objects cannot transcend their place in "showing up for us" as meaningful, since this would be to extend the present-at-hand "written" structure of culture into the supposedly self-present domain of nature.
Since everything is external to Da-sein (everything is out "there"), the inner/outer distinction is rejected. The way facts, values, prejudices, etc. show up for us relates to the concept aletheia, when things are drawn out of their concealed status and made to appear in the clearing.

And yes, present-at-hand, when equipment breaks down and we enter a mode of reflection, is necessary for us to pass to an ontological outlay of the world. It is the breakdown of equipment, of passing from readiness-to-hand to present-at-hand, that allowed observers to no longer consider the moon a deity (Mani), as lore and prejudice would have it, but a heavenly body orbiting the earth.

In this way, the breakdown of the primordial activity (readiness-to-hand) is what allows us to contemplate and take a closer look at what is "there."

This seems perfectly plausible to me as an anthropological account of the early genesis of human knowledge. The interesting and difficult part is where the beginning of communication begins to allow for inference, and therefore gives rise to a "present-at-hand" externality of the object. I wonder if you've read any Derrida, because in Grammatology, Derrida provides a really detailed criticism of phenomenological accounts of this stage of development, which attempt to offset the inferential stage until writing appears, to retain for speech a sense of pure phenomenological direct engagement.

The most confounding part of B&T, for me, is his hamfisted attempt at rationalizing the demand that we must begin our examination of Being with one of Dasein. This allows for no transcendence of the object unless by becoming secondary to the active unity constituted by something which, for all the caveats and changes, still remains in some ways his version of the Cartesian subject.
That's very accurate. A Heideggerian approach requires the complete replacement of the Cartesian subject and of transcendence.

The Cartesian subject, the thinking thing, has attached to it a built-in causation: I think, therefore I am. It is this ergo that Nietzsche overlooked in his critique of metaphysics, which makes Heidegger (and his followers) the more radical alternative. Moreover, in returning to Parmenides, Heidegger equates thinking and being. And such is the case with Dasein. Dasein thinks being/is thinking. And from this vantage there is no transcendence. What remains is the hard work of existential (in German, as opposed to existentiell) analysis and understanding of ontology and theory.

I agree with the criticism of the inference Descartes makes from thinking to being, since it mistakenly assumes that the mere appearance of something can constitute a form of leverage or authority for that claim. However, to just respond by equating (!) the two seems to me like solving a sore thumb by lighting yourself on fire.

And this lies at the heart of the matter. An existentiell analysis is tied to the ontic, the world of beings, whereas the existential analysis reinterprets ontology, in effect rewriting the language for the ontic. That's the priority.

On what grounds can the ontological (in H.'s sense of the phenomenologically revealed world of direct engagement) gain the leverage to rewrite the language of the ontic? I think it is just the opposite that must happen. When new technologies and understandings supervene, we are called upon to achieve a previously unthinkable overhaul in our self-understanding. It seems like this is being motivated by the same weird move from the beginning of B&T where Being itself is made secondary to Dasein's mode of access to it.

Yet I disagree with the above. There have been attempts at "Heideggerian AI" to counter the many philosophical blind spots of natural scientists, but this is also doomed to failure. Dreyfus has been instrumental in pointing out the grandiosity of AI researchers, especially of the 1950s and '60s. It's getting better lately -- despite the freakish chatter (Gerede) of "singularity" -- as scientists now mainly focus on the internet of things. And whereas "our side" (the Dreydegger crew) admits that it is possible to create a preconditioned entity, learning chess and go/weiqi, there is no point at which this entity becomes self-(mis)interpreting and able to take the step from primordial readiness-to-hand to contemplative present-at-hand.

Well, I am not well versed enough in the history of AI to comment in depth here, but I am at best skeptical of approaches which deny its possibility on the grounds that it crosses a border found by phenomenological analysis. The nature of ourselves as we appear in everyday life may be wildly different from how we are materially constituted, and the question concerning whether we can be replicated by metal is a question primarily concerning the latter - our material constitution, and not our social self-understanding as revealed by any hermeneutical reflection upon medieval philosophy et al.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
NHN
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8/26/2016 2:35:44 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/26/2016 12:39:46 PM, sdavio wrote:
This would totally make sense to me if what was under consideration was the causal factors in an epistemological account of how we come to understand entities. It seems clearly unacceptable, though, as a characterization of the ontological conditions for the existence of an entity.
That's why you need an anti-epistemological account, which renders void the existence of a priori knowledge. In its stead there is the a priori condition, Dasein, which deals with the world directly, albeit through a prism of lore, prejudice, etc.

I can reasonably assert the existence of some entity which has never been considered by any human mind, and which is never accounted for in any text.
That is accounted for in anything from Kantian rationalism to Hegelian or Heideggerian phenomenology. Existential analysis involves precisely such an ontological investigation.

That Being is nothing unless part of such a "coping" relationship is just what I perceive as the problem. It is just this principle which I cannot find compatible with certain common-sense facts, such as that there are objects in existence which I have never, will never, and could not possibly ever be directly engaged with.
How is the potential presence of unaccounted-for beings a problem? In Derridean fashion, the text is never finalized.

The framing of our analysis of objects and states of affairs as genuinely separate entities with properties different from our own using the metaphor of a broken instrument is also unacceptable in my view: it limits the ability to see the world as genuinely independent of ourselves to whatever degree such an assertion doesn't overlap with our momentary desires.
That's why we have nature: to account for the non-textual world independent of ourselves. As such, nature -- potentially available through ontic data -- lacks ontology.

The interesting and difficult part is where the beginning of communication begins to allow for inference, and therefore gives rise to a "present-at-hand" externality of the object.
Heidegger suggests that it could be due to an error. That is to say, primordial readiness-to-hand is the core element of being-in-the-world, which through some error broke down and caused beings to reflect, to ask why.

I wonder if you've read any Derrida, because in Grammatology, Derrida provides a really detailed criticism of phenomenological accounts of this stage of development, which attempt to offset the inferential stage until writing appears, to retain for speech a sense of pure phenomenological direct engagement.
I've read Derrida, but consider him more of a critic of textual practices (before the word), of the lingering, ideological prejudice of "phallogocentrism." Sure, deconstruction draws directly on Heideggerian Destruktion. But I wouldn't consider Derrida directly involved with Heideggerian ontology when it regards existential analysis. In that sense I prefer Heidegger's reflections on Nietzsche, from whom he draws the substantial basis of his thinking on will and nihilism, the greatest danger.

I agree with the criticism of the inference Descartes makes from thinking to being, since it mistakenly assumes that the mere appearance of something can constitute a form of leverage or authority for that claim. However, to just respond by equating (!) the two seems to me like solving a sore thumb by lighting yourself on fire.
Heidegger qualifies it in his text on Parmenides, "Moira": thinking and the thought "it is" are the same. I recommend reading it, as he points out how Aristotle, medieval thought, and Descartes derailed the primordial aspect of being/thinking. Rather, imagine Berkeley's being = representation, but replace representation with the thought "it is."

In a way, Heidegger also leans on Hegel: "Thinking produces itself, and what is produced is a thought. Thinking is thus identical with its Being; for there is nothing outside of Being, this great affirmation" (Lectures on the History of Philosophy XIII).

On what grounds can the ontological (in H.'s sense of the phenomenologically revealed world of direct engagement) gain the leverage to rewrite the language of the ontic?
The ontological always-already outranks the ontic. Our language is this connection to the hermeneutic circle of (mis)understanding and (mis)interpretation of the world of beings. But through time, and with the aid of contemplation, new theory and science replaces old; new provisional facts replace lore and prejudice. And every new introduction is "added to the text," as the trace of the old grows weak.

I think it is just the opposite that must happen. When new technologies and understandings supervene, we are called upon to achieve a previously unthinkable overhaul in our self-understanding. It seems like this is being motivated by the same weird move from the beginning of B&T where Being itself is made secondary to Dasein's mode of access to it.
You have to take into account the lagging effect of those unwilling to change their ways (lore, prejudice, error). Most of us don't experience the breakdown of equipment, which is necessary for reflection. Most of us are on autopilot (das Man), wading through an ontic haze (Gerede).

However, we who have access to ontology -- that is, theory and science -- have the ability to reshape the ontic field. This isn't easily done, as we effectively rewrite the current text, which forces us to tread carefully and avoid confrontation.

Well, I am not well versed enough in the history of AI to comment in depth here, but I am at best skeptical of approaches which deny its possibility on the grounds that it crosses a border found by phenomenological analysis.
I'd say it's the opposite. AI is based on naive presuppositions which phenomenology is particularly good at dismissing (https://en.wikipedia.org...). That said, I welcome the internet of things, robotics, smart homes, and the like. Technology is destiny. But the foremost issue here isn't the artificial construction of the conscious mind -- but the unconscious. And once physicists comprehend this aspect, though I doubt they will, all that AI optimism will go out the window.
Heterodox
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8/26/2016 3:10:45 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 5:08:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
There are also no inner/outer or fact/value distinctions. Facts, verified empirically, never exceed their provisional status. And values are established through power relations, culturally relative and constantly in flux where there is no social unity. Yet facts and values and impressions overlap as equivalent elements to self-(mis)interpreting and preconditioned beings.

I think that is very interesting, but I wish NHN could use less opaque language!

Likely because we can actually do it ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale (and imprecisely). It doesn't take a very big leap to assume that if we can do something, something greater than us could do it better.

But there is something we can't do ourselves, not even approximately. If you are thinking about something like Sim City then what we can't do is program sim-citizens with consciousness. We can 'mock up' a sim-citizen to "say" 'I think therefore I am', but we can't program a sim-citizen to invent, understand and believe it.

Maybe our self-awareness casts doubt on whether we are a simulation or the real thing?

That's true, we don't have A.I. that advanced, yet. However, it's also not unthinkable to assume that our precision will increase enough to be able to copy our reality better, both in design and function - making that kind of A.I. possible and, even further beyond that, duplicating reality into another one.
keithprosser
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8/26/2016 5:40:17 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I am not sure I completely follow. Say if we improve our computer climate models to preduct the weather perfectlt - there will still not be any actual rain falling inside the processors. Why would real consciusness appear if real rain wouldn't?
Furyan5
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8/26/2016 11:13:25 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.

How could we ever know?
Would we consider the programmer(s) to be God(s)?
Would it make our reality any more or less real?

Neither. To a virtual being, a virtual reality is real.
Heterodox
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8/27/2016 3:13:32 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/26/2016 5:40:17 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I am not sure I completely follow. Say if we improve our computer climate models to preduct the weather perfectlt - there will still not be any actual rain falling inside the processors. Why would real consciusness appear if real rain wouldn't?

What is real consciousness?
keithprosser
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8/27/2016 4:07:45 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/27/2016 3:13:32 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 8/26/2016 5:40:17 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I am not sure I completely follow. Say if we improve our computer climate models to preduct the weather perfectlt - there will still not be any actual rain falling inside the processors. Why would real consciusness appear if real rain wouldn't?

What is real consciousness

Perhaps more context would help

I said:
Maybe our self-awareness casts doubt on whether we are a simulation or the real thing?

You replied:
That's true, we don't have A.I. that advanced, yet. However, it's also not unthinkable to assume that our precision will increase enough to be able to copy our reality better, both in design and function - making that kind of A.I. possible and, even further beyond that, duplicating reality into another one.

You seem to be implying that while we don't have self-aware AIs today, self-aware AI may be possible if/when we have simulations with greater precision. I think to make that claim you must already have a good idea what consciousness/self-awareness is, so I don't see why you ask.

In my view everyone knows what 'conscousness' is - consciousness is what you are using to read these words and understand their meaning. The nature of consciousness is immediately apparent by introspection. The puzzle of conciousness not what consciousness is or even what consciousness does - the puzzle is how consciousness can happen in a brain when it seems impossible for a machine.
Heterodox
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8/27/2016 4:45:01 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/27/2016 4:07:45 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 8/27/2016 3:13:32 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 8/26/2016 5:40:17 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I am not sure I completely follow. Say if we improve our computer climate models to preduct the weather perfectlt - there will still not be any actual rain falling inside the processors. Why would real consciusness appear if real rain wouldn't?

What is real consciousness

Perhaps more context would help

I said:
Maybe our self-awareness casts doubt on whether we are a simulation or the real thing?

You replied:
That's true, we don't have A.I. that advanced, yet. However, it's also not unthinkable to assume that our precision will increase enough to be able to copy our reality better, both in design and function - making that kind of A.I. possible and, even further beyond that, duplicating reality into another one.

You seem to be implying that while we don't have self-aware AIs today, self-aware AI may be possible if/when we have simulations with greater precision. I think to make that claim you must already have a good idea what consciousness/self-awareness is, so I don't see why you ask.

In my view everyone knows what 'conscousness' is - consciousness is what you are using to read these words and understand their meaning. The nature of consciousness is immediately apparent by introspection. The puzzle of conciousness not what consciousness is or even what consciousness does - the puzzle is how consciousness can happen in a brain when it seems impossible for a machine.

I asked, because I did't understand what you thought it was. Fake, or unreal as you suggested, consciousness is an oxymoron.

There are two ways I will answer your question:

The first, is that if we can duplicate the brain in a virtual setting, then it follows we can duplicate consciousness. The brain can be virtual, but not the consciousness.

The second, which is actually likely to occur first, is to duplicate consciousness without having to duplicate the brain.
ANON_TacTiX
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8/27/2016 6:41:34 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.

How could we ever know?
We wouldn't. There are many ideas like this one out there, but there is no real way to prove or disprove any of them. For example, there is the idea that I am the only conscious being in the universe. Every other being is simply an inanimate object programmed to perfectly mimmic a conscious being. There is no way to prove or disprove this, though, because I cannot enter someone else's consciousness to see if it is even there. I am restricted to my consciousness and mine alone.

If we cannot comprehend or perceive the program that the universe may or may not be running on, there is no way to test or prove anything.
Would we consider the programmer(s) to be God(s)?
We could. Or maybe parents.
Would it make our reality any more or less real?
Not necessarily. If humans ever do manage to create artificial intelligence, we would still consider that consciousness to be a real one with real experiences. It may be artificial, but that doesn't make it any less conscious or real. If the universe was running on a complex program, the only difference it would really make for our reality is that our reality could be deleted or reset at any time. Although, that wouldn't matter to us much, as if our universe was deleted, we would simply cease to exist. If it were reset, we would cease to exist, only to come back into existence later on with no idea about the previous universe. As far as we know, the universe could be one big program that has been deleted, reset, or tweaked many times. We simply wouldn't know.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. - Albert Einstein
NHN
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8/27/2016 7:01:19 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/27/2016 3:13:32 AM, Heterodox wrote:
What is real consciousness?
Consciousness is a reflecting process which makes possible introspection and awareness. That can be achieved in a smartwatch, constantly recalibrating itself. But consciousness is not the crux of this matter, the unconscious is -- the infinite, unbounded, incalculable processes present in sentient beings.

The unconscious entails the creation and storage (and distortion) of memories, automatic skills, concealed and latent desires, altered states of consciousness, dreams, involuntary thought, and so on.

With all this in mind, how are we to duplicate something artificially which will remain beyond our grasp?
keithprosser
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8/27/2016 8:42:45 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
The first, is that if we can duplicate the brain in a virtual setting, then it follows we can duplicate consciousness. The brain can be virtual, but not the consciousness.

The second, which is actually likely to occur first, is to duplicate consciousness without having to duplicate the brain.


I think 'the first' is saying that if we built a brain out of silicon, or wrote a computer program that simulates the activity of each neuron and synapse of a human brain then consciousness must arise in it. Unfortunately, that is based on an assumption of monism. If dualism is true then a silicon brain or an exact algorithmic simulation of brain activity might not manifest consciousness after all.

I also think that blindly copying the brain would not give us an explanation of consciousness even if it did manifest consciousness. We still wouldn't know how it happened. To understand consciousness we need a theory of consciousness.

Similarly, on point 2, I think it is very unlikely we will be able to make an artificial consciousness without a theory of consciousness to guide us.

That can be achieved in a smartwatch, constantly recalibrating itself
I am thinking about a self-calibrating watch as a conscious entity. I'll get back to people on that...
Heterodox
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9/9/2016 7:39:23 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 8/27/2016 8:42:45 AM, keithprosser wrote:
The first, is that if we can duplicate the brain in a virtual setting, then it follows we can duplicate consciousness. The brain can be virtual, but not the consciousness.

The second, which is actually likely to occur first, is to duplicate consciousness without having to duplicate the brain.


I think 'the first' is saying that if we built a brain out of silicon, or wrote a computer program that simulates the activity of each neuron and synapse of a human brain then consciousness must arise in it. Unfortunately, that is based on an assumption of monism. If dualism is true then a silicon brain or an exact algorithmic simulation of brain activity might not manifest consciousness after all.

I also think that blindly copying the brain would not give us an explanation of consciousness even if it did manifest consciousness. We still wouldn't know how it happened. To understand consciousness we need a theory of consciousness.

Similarly, on point 2, I think it is very unlikely we will be able to make an artificial consciousness without a theory of consciousness to guide us.

That can be achieved in a smartwatch, constantly recalibrating itself
I am thinking about a self-calibrating watch as a conscious entity. I'll get back to people on that...

You're not wrong, it does assume monism, programming is a part of "science" after all.

There are probably already "theories of consciousness", whether they are adequate is the more important question.
IamamI
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9/9/2016 7:56:58 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 8/25/2016 2:14:46 AM, Heterodox wrote:
Imagine if everything that we know, all of our science, all of our thoughts, all of us, and all of our reality is simply a running program. A program so advanced that we could never comprehend it.

How could we ever know? : :

A few of us do know today.

Would we consider the programmer(s) to be God(s)? : :

Yes.

Would it make our reality any more or less real? : :

No. What we perceive with our created senses will always give us Life experiences but knowing that we're only programmed thoughts can remove the fear that we have of the "good and evil" that is perceived by most people.
sadolite
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9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
sadolite
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9/11/2016 12:26:01 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM, sadolite wrote:
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.

I would start by ignoring the laws of physics as a starting point.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Heterodox
Posts: 293
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9/11/2016 10:35:59 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM, sadolite wrote:
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.

I am not entirely convinced you understand what "relative" means in the context I used it in. Or, if you do (using Hanlon's Razor), I am not sure how your statement addresses anything I have said, in context. Could you elaborate or clarify your position?

I would very likely assume that it's possible that what's real in a different reality isn't the same as what's real in ours (was even a question I kind of wanted others to answer in the OP).
sadolite
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9/11/2016 12:14:46 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/11/2016 10:35:59 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM, sadolite wrote:
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.

I am not entirely convinced you understand what "relative" means in the context I used it in. Or, if you do (using Hanlon's Razor), I am not sure how your statement addresses anything I have said, in context. Could you elaborate or clarify your position?

I would very likely assume that it's possible that what's real in a different reality isn't the same as what's real in ours (was even a question I kind of wanted others to answer in the OP).

Reality is reality. You cant pick and choose which parts you think can be different and which ones must remain the same in order to make your premise work.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Heterodox
Posts: 293
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9/11/2016 1:09:40 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/11/2016 12:14:46 PM, sadolite wrote:
At 9/11/2016 10:35:59 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM, sadolite wrote:
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.

I am not entirely convinced you understand what "relative" means in the context I used it in. Or, if you do (using Hanlon's Razor), I am not sure how your statement addresses anything I have said, in context. Could you elaborate or clarify your position?

I would very likely assume that it's possible that what's real in a different reality isn't the same as what's real in ours (was even a question I kind of wanted others to answer in the OP).

Reality is reality. You cant pick and choose which parts you think can be different and which ones must remain the same in order to make your premise work.

I haven't done that, you have though, which is why I asked what you were talking about. Am still wondering. You need to be a bit more specific in what you are talking about and how it has anything to do with what I have mentioned in this thread (like direct point for point quotes or something).

I am not trying to pick apart what is real within our reality (in this thread). But questioning our reality entirely (did you read my OP or only the title?).
sadolite
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9/11/2016 4:23:03 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/11/2016 1:09:40 PM, Heterodox wrote:
At 9/11/2016 12:14:46 PM, sadolite wrote:
At 9/11/2016 10:35:59 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 9/11/2016 12:24:32 AM, sadolite wrote:
If you think reality is relative don't follow any rules or laws. Your life and standard of living shouldn't change relatively speaking.

I am not entirely convinced you understand what "relative" means in the context I used it in. Or, if you do (using Hanlon's Razor), I am not sure how your statement addresses anything I have said, in context. Could you elaborate or clarify your position?

I would very likely assume that it's possible that what's real in a different reality isn't the same as what's real in ours (was even a question I kind of wanted others to answer in the OP).

Reality is reality. You cant pick and choose which parts you think can be different and which ones must remain the same in order to make your premise work.

I haven't done that, you have though, which is why I asked what you were talking about. Am still wondering. You need to be a bit more specific in what you are talking about and how it has anything to do with what I have mentioned in this thread (like direct point for point quotes or something).

I am not trying to pick apart what is real within our reality (in this thread). But questioning our reality entirely (did you read my OP or only the title?).

No I have not chosen to decide which apply and which don't. I am saying one can not assume anything is the same if reality can be relative. If you are going to suggest reality is relative, you can't believe anything is certain or is absolute. You must test all aspects of your premise to determine if any are. I suggested you start with the laws of physics.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%