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rejectednocomments t1_jbm51q0 wrote

I think there’s a big leap here.

So our senses aren’t entirely reliable, and it’s conceivable that we experience colors differently. Is reality itself called into question by this!

Has any doubt been raised about wavelengths of light? Or minds?


WrongdoerOk6812 OP t1_jbmb2ci wrote

I'm mostly asking questions about how realistic our perception and descriptions of that reality are. Assuming we already experience things we already consider as reality such as colors differently, In other words: does physics accurately describe how reality is or only the ways in which we all perceive the same relative differences between stuff compared to each other.

Another question could be if there is really something like empty space in which we and everything we see exists? Or is it rather a characteristic of al the matter and / or energy or whatever reality is made of, which we all just perceive in relatively the same way?


rejectednocomments t1_jbmcwij wrote

Okay. You might want to think about the presentation to make your purpose more clear.

You might also want to look at Kant.


FluentFelicity t1_jbmj5am wrote

Second this. OPs reply sounds exactly like a crude intro to Kant's metaphysics.


WrongdoerOk6812 OP t1_jbmjjpp wrote

Thanks for the tip. It's not always easy to translate these kinds of ideas and questions into words without having an academic background. Did a quick search on Kant, and it seems like his first critical work could cover some inspiring points. Might well be worth a closer look, indeed.


Broad_Judgment_523 t1_jbpoqu4 wrote

I think the problem only arises when we try to 'is' something. When we say "(this sensation I am experiencing) means this physical object is (some category of thing)". Categories are rational entities that may or may not map on to the physical world very well.


AllanfromWales1 t1_jbm45i9 wrote

Essentially this is a map vs territory issue. Our senses - which is all we have - can tell us what something looks, tastes, feel like, but absolutely cannot tell us what something is. Our brains allow us to create a model from this data, say for instance that the red thing that tastes that way is a tomato. That is then a theory. If more and more evidence backs up that theory, we can be more and more confident that the theory is accurate. But we can never really 'know' the underlying reality of a thing. Apart from anything else, the whole thing could just be an illusion, but even without considering that extreme case, it could be that it's another thing that's very similar to a tomato in most ways but has important differences. At the end of the day, though, all that matters from a practical point of view is whether by treating it as a tomato we are at risk of failing to predict how it will behave in any given circumstance. Prediction of the unknown is the only worthwhile property of a map. The existence or nature of any underlying 'reality' simply doesn't matter.


BroadShoulderedBeast t1_jbmpta7 wrote

The map analogy really doesn’t hold up when you bring up “prediction of the unknown.” A map only gets its lines and colors from what’s observed in the territory.


HamiltonBrae t1_jbo61l9 wrote

well i think the core of the analogy is just representation vs real thing being represented, rather than a literal map.


BroadShoulderedBeast t1_jbo6yuw wrote

>Prediction of the unknown is the only worthwhile property of a map.

Not according to the original commenter. If it’s any purpose of a map, predicting the unknown might literally be the last objective of a map. Maps are straightforwardly and primarily about recording what has already been discovered.

The analogy basically works, until you use it to say the opposite of what the objects in the analogy are really for.


HamiltonBrae t1_jbodo49 wrote

Well okay, now that I've been forced to think about this more deeply I'll agree with OP that maps are about prediction. Why do you use a map? Because you don't know where you are with any great familiarity and need it to make predictions about what will happen if you walk in one direction or another. Prediction is primarily what the validity of a map relies on.


BroadShoulderedBeast t1_jbpiev9 wrote

A map is not predicting anything, it is a graphic representation of the earth’s surface. A map is a record of the terrain. A map is not created by getting to the edge of a known territory and then extrapolating what might exist in the unknown regions. That’s just not how maps are created. It’s not.

The person holding the map can use the map to understand what the earth will look like when they get to the portion of the terrain the map is meant to represent. Sure, as roads move, buildings change, and construction continues, maps become out of date, but at that point, the map is no longer a representation of the terrain. It doesn’t predict where the roads might move to, what the buildings will look like in ten years, or how a new hill might form. Once the terrain is no longer described by the map, the map ceases to be a map of the terrain and is a historical document of what it used to be.

The analogy works to describe the difference between perception of reality (the map) and reality (the terrain) as a metaphor for a useful representation of an underlying fact of reality without literally being the reality. Beyond that, different analogies are needed.


HamiltonBrae t1_jbrnwcn wrote

>The person holding the map can use the map to understand what the earth will look like when they get to the portion of the terrain the map is meant to represent.

Yes and this is prediction. I am using a map to predict what I might find if I go walk in a certain direction. This is precisely what a map is used for, allowing us as individuals to predict things we do not have immediate perceptual access to, and is in the same spirit as what any model is for. Maps and the notion of a "useful representation" are meaningless without this notion of prediction.

>It doesn’t predict where the roads might move to, what the buildings will look like in ten years, or how a new hill might form.

Neither does any other model. Models can be wrong, then you just change the model.


BroadShoulderedBeast t1_jbtmtli wrote

You’re not predicting the shape of the terrain based on the map anymore than you’re predicting what someone’s face looks like based on a photo.

Someone else already created the map and took the photo, it requires no prediction on the reader’s part, and a map itself cannot predict because it is an inanimate objects.


HamiltonBrae t1_jbw1m4p wrote

A person looks at the map and the map provides them with information that tells them what will happen if they move in a certain direction or whatever. A map can tell someone standing on a road whether if they take the second left hand turn they will come across a church or an open field or a roundabout or another street. Its giving them information about something they cannot immediately access and don't know about. That is a form of prediction, made by the person using the information from the map which is a model of the topographic features of some landscape. If I have never been somewhere before and have no knowledge of its terrain, then I can think of the map as allowing me to make a prediction of the kind of terrain I might expect to see. Its my personal prediction. Maybe you will see it more easily if I use words like knowledge or expectation instead of prediction, but I would be meaning the exact same thing. I don't necessarily mean predicting something no one has ever seen before. This is about the personal knowledge of whoever is using the map. They get knowledge from the map and they use that knowledge to act. That implies prediction. I am not going to embark on a route unless I know whats at the end of it which means I can predict what will happen if I were to go down that route, which is essentially just equivalent to making factual statements about this route and its endpoint which I cannot access immediately from my current position. When I say prediction, I basically just mean the utilization of knowledge, knowing what will happen or what is the case beyond my immediate experience. A map trivially allows this to occur. Even the photo example too: if you have never seen someone before and you have seen their photo, then you suddenly have information about them which you can use in novel contexts, you might be able to recognize them walking down the street.

>map itself cannot predict because it is an inanimate objects

Well so are models. no model is useful unless someone is there to initialize it and put in the parameters, the variables, the initial conditions that need to be used to predict something.


Even_Mastodon_6925 t1_jbqu67k wrote

Your essay reminded me very much of this Ted talk by evolutionary psychologist Donald Hoffman.

He goes off the deep end a bit but I found it super interesting and relates to your topic.


WrongdoerOk6812 OP t1_jbqwhg6 wrote

I'm not sure if I've seen that one already. But it was also Donald Hoffman who inspired me to start thinking more about this subject in the first place.

I remember an anecdote he once made. About in order to save a certain beetle from extinction, Australians had to change the color of their beer bottles because them beetles thought they could mate with them, and even started preferring them 😅

Edit: Your link is probably the same video I once saw... he made the exact same anecdote 🙃 Lot of more interesting stuff from him out there...


[deleted] t1_jbpc2fi wrote



WrongdoerOk6812 OP t1_jbqu7cy wrote

Had to look this one up... but I'm afraid I don't see the connection. Can you elaborate?