Is anything real?


Hello everyone,I came across an interesting video on youtube and decided to share with you his(Vsauce) words.


Where are your fingers?  It’s a pretty simple question.  You should be able to answer it but, how do you know?  How does anyone know anything?  You might say, “Well, I know where my fingers are.  I’m looking right at them, or I can touch them I can feel them the right here.”

Your senses are a great way to learn things.  In fact, we have way more than the usual five senses we talk about.  For instance your kinesthetic sense … your “proprioception”, which is the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts. This is what the police evaluate during a field sobriety test.  It allows you to tell where your fingers and arms and head and legs and your body are, all in relation to each other without having to look or touch other things.

We have way more than five senses.  We have at least twice as many, and then some, but they’re not all perfect.  We deal with optical illusions, audio illusions, temperature sensation illusions, even tactile illusions.

How do you know if anything is real?

The philosophy of knowledge, which is the study of “knowing” is called “Epistomology”, the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

Plato famously said that the things we know, the things that are true that we believe, and that we have justification for believing.  Those justifications might be irrational or they might be rational. They might be based on proof, but don’t get too confident because “proven” is not a synonym for “true”.

There are things that we can know without needing proof, without needing to even leave the house.  Things that we can know as true by reason alone.  These are things that we “know”.  An example would be the statement, “All bachelors are unmarried.”  We “know” that all bachelors are unmarried because that’s how we define the word, “bachelor.”  Of course, you have to know what the words, “bachelor” and “unmarried” mean in the first place.

But, how do you know?  How do you know where knowledge is biologically in the brain?  What are our memories made out of?  Research has shown that memories don’t exist in the brain in single locations.  What we call “memory” is likely made up of many Different complex relationships all over the brain between lots of brain cells … neurons. Science shows that when one neuron stimulates another neuron repeatedly, that signal can be enhanced over time, wiring them even more strongly together, and that connection can last a long time, even an entire lifetime.  As this relationship strengthens over time, it creates “memory” or, something you’ve “memorized.”

How Do You Know if Anything is Real?

The world IS real, right?  That’s a difficult question.  It’s not rocket science.  Instead, it’s like asking whether or not rocket scientists even existed in the first place. What we always thought was true, might not be.  Will we ever know “reality”, or are we stuck in a world there the best we can do is be “approximately” true, discovering more and more useful theories every day but never actually reaching true objective actual reality.

Can science or reason ever prove convincingly that your friends and YouTube videos and your fingers actually exist beyond your mind?  That you don’t just live inside the matrix?  No.  Your mind is all that you have. You are alone in your own brain, which technically makes it impossible to prove that anything else exists.  It’s called “egocentric predicament”.

Everything you know about the world out there depends on, and is created inside your brain.  The world is filtered through our senses and bodies.  It’s the only information we can get. Or, you can exist in a world where you believe that only YOU exist and everything else in the universe area all figments of your mind.  This is called  is called “solipsism”.

There is no way to convince a solipsist that the outside world is real, and there is no way to convince someone who doubts that the universe wasn’t created just three seconds ago, along with all of our memories.  It’s a frightening realization that we don’t always know how to deal with.

There’s even something known as “The Matrix Defense.”  In 2002, a woman shot and killed her landlady.  She argued that she believed she was in the matrix that her crimes were not real.  By using The Matrix Defense, she was found “not guilty by reason of insanity,” because the opposite view is just way more healthy and common.  It’s called “realism.”

Realism is the belief that the outside world exists independently of your own mind.  Rocks and stars and chairs and tables would continue to exist even if you weren’t around to experience them.  But you cannot KNOW that realism is true.  All you can do is believe.

It’s like the cat, who doesn’t understand the sound the the keyboard makes when you are typing.  Yet, the cat knows that keyboards are a fun place to be, it’s a great way to get our attention, and cats love to get their scent on everything, to make their mark in their existence in the universe.  We aren’t that much different from the cat, except instead of keyboards we have the mysteries of the universe.

We will never be able to understand all of these mysteries.  We will never be able to ever answer every single question.  But walking around in those questions, exploring, is fun and it feels good.


Post Author: Dr Dee

1 thought on “Is anything real?

    Mr ken

    (November 14, 2014 - 4:57 pm)

    Thought provoking

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