• Michael McMahon


Updated: 4 days ago

Here I wonder about the scientific implications of anti-realist philosophy. What would unreality entail for our sense perception? There must be knock-on effects. In order to follow suit from this mysterious initial premise, all other scientific variables would need to be adjusted accordingly.

In terms of our vision, every single object we see is ultimately only made of light. We can’t synaesthetically see mass or atoms. We can feel tangible objects with our sense of touch. But matter is a different sense to sight even though photons happen to illuminate and correspond to where the physical substance is. Physical entities are invisible in and of themselves. The way light somehow locates tactual solid elements might be indirect.

As conspiratorial as this may sound, the thousand year mystery of free will might attest to radical flaws in not just our academic understanding but also our very own sensory perception of the ordinary medium-sized objects around us (rather than solely quantum-level mysteries or larger-scale gravitation). At the end of the day our brains are medium sized objects.

(Sorry Aztecs; it still doesn’t mean that logic goes out the window even if the world isn’t entirely materialistic! There’d still have to be mathematical and philosophical truths despite the inherent strangeness of consciousness and ineffable mysticism of dreams. )

Other comments I made in the philosophy forum (OP’s thread title on top):

I don't think there's free will:

If all of our thoughts and actions were preprogrammed and merely passive responses to external causes, wouldn't one expect far more uniformity among people in general? Even if a supercomputer could mimic all of my behaviour, would it be able to copy other people's responses at the same time? We all seem to have a different 'operating system' in the sense that meeting one person is a qualitatively different experience to meeting another person. We have an ability to improvise and deal with uncertainty. There is so much diversity and contrast between people which seems beyond that possible than if our decisions were completely deterministic. 1y

I don't think there's free will

Randomness is unpredictable.— TheMadFool I'm a compatibilist. I think free will might be a complex interplay of determinism, chaos and randomness. The mind may well have both deterministic and random elements that counterbalance each other. For instance, lets think about cognitive dissonance. This sensation forces us to reconcile our actions with our thoughts. It's a stressful feeling. If one were to try to act on an evil thought that randomly pops into their head, they will be prevented from doing so by this stress reaction. Maybe this stress is deterministic in nature. So the randomness of our thoughts is counteracted by an instinctive feeling of stress and tension if we act against our true beliefs. This makes us responsible for our actions. If hard determinism is true, then why can't we go on "autopilot" or "cruise control" and sleepwalk to where we need to get to? Consciousness must have a function. 1y

I don't think there's free will Perhaps your idea of self-restraint and frugality as an antidote to hedonism may provide a sort of veto power. We're not slaves to happiness and our emotions. This might provide a limited sort of freedom in and of itself. 1y

The brain is mysterious. I know what your thinking: he must have eaten a lot of plant seeds and now there’s some cauliflower growing up there. But that’s actually the cerebellum!

Determinism vs. Predictability

"Determining the motion and position of every particle within the universe would allow you to predict the future of the Universe and everything inside of it" - I don't think omniscience will ever be possible. The physical world is not self-aware so the particles themselves don't know what they're doing and are just passively responding to the various forces. "power of a computer" - But such a massive supercomputer would itself exist inside the universe and so in order to make predictions it would have to be simultaneously aware of every particle that constitutes this computer and every other particle in the universe. I don't think this would be possible at the same time. 1y

I don't think there's free will

Is there a degree of spontaneity in our interactions with other people? Even if my thoughts occurred deterministically, I obviously don't know what is happening in the mind's eye of other people. So even if my actions and your actions are physically deterministic, isn't there still an unpredictability in our social interactions? And the sheer number of people in the world makes it impossible to predict how the future will play out. There is just so much chance and randomness involved in our mutual communication. 1y

I don't think there's free will

Free will perhaps exists on a spectrum as we stress over some decisions more than others. So doing something trivial like choosing between different options on a dinner menu may be more of a subconsciously automated choice based on your taste buds. But then a more significant decision such as what subject to study in college requires more deliberation and stress to freely weigh up the pros and cons. Sometimes we are forced to randomly choose the least worst option. On other occasions when we are rushed we might take risks to avoid analysis paralysis. So how free a decision is may vary. 1y

The basics of free will

If consciousness has no causal role and is merely epiphenomenal, what is the point of the experience of pain? Why would our brains be "programmed" to feel pain if it has no causal function and everything is simply deterministic? 1y

A world where our sense of light is unaffected by tactile gravity. How diagonal the ground is would depend on our proximity to the equator.

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