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2321Conceivability of Mind-Independent Reality

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  • Adhanom Andemicael
    Jan 16, 2003
      On Monday, January 13, 2003 1:20 PM Rachel Seabrook wrote:

      [Rachel Seabrook]
      OK, I know that the only thing I can be certain of is that I exist. I
      don't actually know that there are other minds out there responding to
      my ramblings. You don't know that these words were written by a person
      in any sense separate from yourself. They might be the product of your
      own fevered imagination (how unfortunate for you). But does
      inscrutability imply non-existence? Are we forced into solipsism?

      Not admitting the possibility of the existence of the inconceivable
      seems vaguely arrogant to me. Why should the world be knowable? In my
      world-view, my sensory experiences are the results of other,
      in-principle-unknowable events. These events (or other, similarly
      unknowable events) would still occur even if I was not present. Can
      anyone persuade me that this is wrong?

      [Adhanom Andemicael]
      Most scientists appear to be realists. They believe that there is a
      concrete, objective 3-dimensional world "out there" waiting to be
      investigated. There are perhaps a few true solipsists who believe that
      nothing *at all* exists other than the self. I believe, however, that
      reality has both objective and subjective elements.

      It seems to me that all conscious perceptions must be regarded as subjective
      occurrences; the very existence of these phenomena depends on the existence
      of the consciousness that is experiencing them.

      Some philosophers do not acknowledge the existence of non-physical
      consciousness. They believe that there is a *concretely* existing, objective
      world, and that there is no place for anything non-physical in that world.

      I believe that reality does indeed have objective aspects that can be
      described scientifically/mathematically. However, in my view, the realist's
      view that there is a *concrete* objective world out there is incorrect. It
      seems to me that we need a far more *subtle* conception of what is
      objectively real.

      A "concrete entity," by definition, has concrete (i.e., definite) values for
      *all* its attributes simultaneously. However, according to quantum theory, a
      "quantum entity" (whether microscopic or macroscopic), never has concrete
      values for *all* its attributes. (An entity with a definite position, for
      example, necessarily has indefinite momentum.) If my definition above of a
      "concrete entity" is valid, we must conclude that there is no *concrete*

      The 3-dimensional, phenomenal images that a mind "sees" (i.e., experiences)
      are subjective experiences that exist *within* one's phenomenal
      consciousness. These 3-dimensional images appear to posses both definite
      position and velocity simultaneously. But these concrete, virtual images
      cannot be regarded as proof of a concretely existing, *objective* world.


      Adhanom Andemicael
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