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What if I told you, that nothing is real? posted 22 November 2008 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat if I told you, that nothing is real? by Thorsten, Candidate

What if I told you, that right now, everything around you might very well not exist?


Then I'd tell you that this is an ontological position known as [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism:1mlcmn3w]Solipsism[/url:1mlcmn3w]. I'm not aware of any water-tight case which could be made against it, but all in all it's not a very plausible position.

Everything around you, you percieve with your senses. And your senses are then interpreted by your brain. Now, if human perception is all we have to go on, then we have a very narrow veiw of reality. In fact, everything we see, hear, touch, feel, and taste exists to us, but in reality only exists in our minds.


It is true that things are known to the mind only in the form of perceptions - but that does in no way disprove the existence of an outside reality, part of which we perceive. Indeed, that is the current scientific idea of how reality works - the 'true' reality are quantum states of fields, out of which perception creates the world of matter and energy you're more familiar with. The fact that, by persistent observation of nature, we actually came up with such a weird model of reality seems to argue somewhat against Solipsism - after all, if my mind makes up all the world around me, then why not do it in a simple-to-understand and pleasant way?

Such things as: Good, Evil, Love, Hate, Courage, Trust, Rightousness, Power, and even reality itself, in essence are all abstract concepts.


So what? Why would that lead you to the conclusion that they are not real? I'd argue that plenty of people have been killed for the sake of abstract concepts and ideas, so if they are not real, how can they cause people to be killed? They (like many other things) are not real in the same sense that a rock is real.

Well, consider a movie - say Shrek II on DVD. We can talk about it, we can watch it, so it clearly has some reality. Yet on the DVD are just magnetic markings - meaningless unless decoded. Still, the decoded signal is meaningless unless projected in a certain way onto a screen. And what is seen on the screen is also not real - we can't go to the studio and ask for an autograph of Shrek. So where in the whole thing is the movie? And yet, I'm willing to pay money to see it in a cinema, so it must be real, no? If it were just in my mind, why would I pay money?

* I could apply the same concept to Religion (which I do, I'm an atheist) but that's not what this topic is about.


You could certainly try, at which point you'd get in touch with yet one more sense of 'real' - the reality of revelation. view post


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