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Old 25th August 2019, 04:00 PM   #522
Myriad
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Betwixt
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I've started a thread on Donald Huffman's "Interface Theory of Perception," which proposes that our perceptions do not construct reality in any way accurately, because such veridical perception cannot evolve. That implies that the reality we perceive isn't real, and that actual reality could be something completely different. Our perceptions and mental models don't "reconstruct" real objects, space, and time, but instead "constructs" them. Objects may or may not even exist when we're not looking at them.

That allows me to make a point relevant to this thread: Huffman's theory could be just another in a long succession of navel-gazing "reality isn't real" philosophical speculations. It might seem that this would be an example of a philosophy of science potentially contributing to our understanding of nature.

But it's really the other way around. What makes Huffman's work interesting is not his speculations about reality, but the fact that he actually tested a testable proposition: that (simulated) evolution of (simulated) perception would lead to veridical (simulated) perception because that would be a competitive advantage. The results of that experiment suggests otherwise: that veridical perception is selected against. If the results hold generally (I don't think they will, but that's not the point), it would instead be the next in a long line of scientific findings that have greatly contributed to our understanding of philosophy.

The point of my earlier question about quantum mechanics and the nature of reality is that yes, sure, philosophers can speculate and argue about the answers to such questions. But they have no process for coming to any agreement, so they can't produce reliable answers to those questions. Where we have been able to agree on answers, it's because scientists have been able to do experiments and make observations.
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Last edited by Myriad; 25th August 2019 at 04:02 PM.
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