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Frank

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  1. Yeah, after reading some more replies, I realized my position is too influenced by Theravada Buddhism, which, opposite of Mahayana, is strictly realist, and denies any and all agent in being. There is no experiencer in this understanding, hence, indirect realism is impossible. I understand, now, that this view is incompatible with Objectivism, which seems to hold consciousness a lot higher than Theravada Buddhism (not saying much, since Theravada breaks it down entirely to entirely empty phenomena with no doer even involved [Visuddhimagga XIX.20]), but a lot less than your average eternal soul believing religion. I need to read more about Objectivism. I realize now, that I was unconsciously, and wrongly, equating atheism with reductionism/mechanism thusly: If there is no soul, then there is no such thing as an experiencer. Thank you for your mature, well written, and polite critique.
  2. I Studied Buddhism for 20 years lol! That's probably why I sound the way I do. Traditional Theravada Buddhism (what I preferred, Mahayana, which I studied but then rejected entirely, is almost entirely subjective idealism, extreme nihilism, or relativism, or all three mixed up) teaches that we are utterly devoid of anything even resembling a soul, even going so far as to say humans are no different than marionettes, and that there is no doer (see Visuddhimagga, VIII.31, XIX.20). It is vehemently atheistic, and opposed to all possible versions of anything even resembling a soul. It even rejects the use of the phrase "I am" as a conceit to be eliminated (Visuddhimagga III.122). In such a world, the very idea of indirect realism is nonsense, as every formulation involves someone seeing a representation of reality, but from this perspective, there is no one to see this representation, but rather there are just inanimate objects interacting with each other. Hence, you wouldn't say a rock that rolls down a hill didn't really experience the hill directly, because what in the world would that even mean? Likewise, if we are merely meat animated by electricity, it is nonsense to say we experience things indirectly. There are meaty blobs of matter animated by electricity who have sensors that are affected by other matter. Ditto for cameras, and any and everything else. From this perspective, talking about indirect realism is completely irrational, as we would be ultimately inanimate objects. That said, I am realizing this is not the Objectivist way, and that this philosophy involves a very different understanding of consciousness. My mistake! I guess I need to read more about it! I really wasn't trying to say that my understanding was right. I was actually hoping for exactly what Boydstun provided: lots of quotes and references defending direct realism! I only submitted my own ideas as a side note, and merely as musings, in order to contribute, even in a small way, to the defense of direct realism generally. I seem to have failed, and have zero problem with this. I don't see myself as an expert on these matters. I'm responding to you because your critique was respectful, mature, and politely written, and I sincerely thank you for that.
  3. Thank you so much for all the info! A work I'm considering buying that defends direct realism: Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, by Michael Huemer.
  4. Not at all. We are conscious, as in an electrical process. There is no ghost sitting inside watching a screen of the outside, though. Since we are simply conscious, but there is no ghost, there is no reason to delineate about direct or indirect realism. Light bounces off of objects, hits our eyes, triggers things in our brains and we become conscious of them, in the same way an electronic camera picks up images and so on. We don't debate whether an electronic camera really experiences the outside world, because we don't think cameras have ghosts inside them. Cameras are accepted as having light sensors and so on which are triggered by the world and which directly take in the light from the outside world and make an image. We don't make up a story and say that the camera must be watching the images inside of itself and never actually experiences the objects themselves, that would be nonsense. Likewise, If we are conscious, but there's no delineation between a ghost mind and the physical body, then there is no ghost mind to watch the representational reality. There's just a consciousness directly perceiving the world. Thus, I believe that if religion, and other hocus pocus ideas about ghosts and souls and such, had never been developed, there would never have been this debate about whether or not we perceive things directly, since the presumed "we" in this sentence is a ghost, spirit, magical entity that doesn't exist. Without this false dichotomy, it doesn't even make any sense to say "we never experience the outside world". Who doesn't experience it? The material body and its dependent consciousness certainly experience it. If they didn't, then there is no separate entity to have that represented version of reality. There's just the material body and mind, that's it.
  5. A lot of smart people feel that representational realism (indirect realism) is the correct view. I disagree, and would like to present my own argument in support of direct realism. I would also like to see any successful defenses of it. Here is my take: I believe the position that only indirect realism can be correct is based on soul theories, even if subconsciously. I'll try to demonstrate this simply, without being verbose. Take a small plant. It senses light, and this light, having been sensed by external cells, then has effects inside the plant. We don't bother discussing how the plant experiences the world because we don't see them as that type of entity. Now, imagine we believe that plants have souls, and do experience the world. Imagine we think there's a little consciousness inside the plant, looking out. Now we have to discuss whether the conscious soul inside actually experiences the light or not. Does the soul actually see, if it only gets information sent to it from cells on the outside, while it is inside? The same is true with humans. If we see the process of perceiving light as a process no different, though albeit more complex, but nonetheless ultimately the same, than a plant sensing light, there is no issue. But if we imagine that there is a soul piloting the human, now we have to consider if the soul inside really experiences the outside world or not. Hence, if we don't believe there is a ghost in the machine of the human body, there is no one to have a representation of the outside world, there are just light and other phenomena sensors that trigger certain things inside the body, and so on. In other words, if a suit of armor has a camera hooked up to it, we don't discuss whether or not it directly perceives the world. We take for granted that the camera has sensors that are picking up light and other information from the world. Put a person in the suit, now we have something to discuss. Likewise, if the human body is just a suit of meat armor with a camera, no need to discuss this, but if there's a soul inside, we have to discuss it. A special entity that is imaginary, and has no support in science, is required to have representational realism: a ghost. There must be a ghost to be seeing this "representation" of reality. If there is no ghost inside, who is watching? If there's no ghosts, then perception is just a process of sensors triggering chemical responses and synapses firing. There is no little man inside the skull watching a screen that represents the "outside world." Without ghosts the very idea of indirect or representational realism is superfluous at best, and completely irrational at worst.
  6. Thanks! I have been studying dead end, self defeating philosophy for 20 years, enough for a thousand lifetimes (as circular logic and meaningless ruminations get a lot of mileage), and am pleased to have found one that is productive and useful. I appreciate the clarification.
  7. Thank you. Does the book circle back around at some point and affirm what was left deliberately open in that line though? Because at this point, it sounds like the philosophy carefully, openly, and deliberately avoids this issue: "The concept does not specify that the physical world exists." So, does the author later explain a concept that does specify that the physical world exists?
  8. I have "Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand" in my Amazon cart and am about to buy it. However, while reading the preview, I came across this statement, on page 5, after a discussion of foundational axioms: "The concept does not specify that the physical world exists." I've had my fill to sickness with philosophies that question the existence of the physical world, and ones that set up a great doubt about it, while neither confirming nor denying its existence. I am interested in Objectivism as a solution to doubting the external world, which I see as a serious flaw in many philosophies, as this doubt means that there is no reason to read the book in the first place, as the author is telling me I shouldn't be confident that it exists at all (ditto for every philosophy that plays this game). Forgive me for this being related to my other question! I just wanted to confirm before paying around 20 dollars for the book, and this very specific question about a specific book is not quite answered in that question.
  9. I appreciate your thoughts and I believe you're pretty spot on. There are some Buddhists out there who teach a pragmatic, down to earth, realist form of Buddhism based on the historical Buddha's teachings. However the vast majority seem to be in denial about reality and see Buddhism as a way to escape into fantasy where everything is imaginary or unreal, yet all the while eating three meals a day, paying bills, and generally constantly contradicting their own purported views and living as huge hypocrites. That said, yes, I have wasted enough time thinking exactly what you said about the question "would they understand if I said this or that." I have finally decided to be done with it. I've realized it's not that they don't understand, there's no confusion, rather it's that they are willfully ignorant. They don't even believe their own teachings, as is evident in what I said above about them living as huge hypocrites. So there's no reason to try to convince them of something they are lying about to begin with. If someone was refusing to drink water because they thought it was imaginary, they need help! And one may be able to convince them to drink and give up on believing everything is imaginary. But these charlatans don't believe for a second that everything is imaginary or unreal or whatever, they just benefit in some way by pretending to believe this, and self delusion is easier for them than facing reality I guess. I suppose a small subset is just plain dumb and don't see that they are self contradicting. But, if they are too stupid to see that claiming water is totally imaginary but also making sure to drink it every day all day to stay alive is a huge contradiction, then they're probably too dumb to understand this even if explained. So there's willful charlatans and idiots. Neither can likely be helped, and all may reject any help offered anyway.
  10. Ah. Apologies for my negative assumption. I've been out in the cold for 10, or more like 20 years if I count pre online forum era of discussion. I know very little of objectivism, and I don't know you people at all, and yet, I feel like I'm finally back home. This philosophical position matches exactly how I think on this particular issue. Namely, philosophy picks up after, and only after significant evidence for existence (realism) has already been accepted and is, indeed, undeniably self evident. I'd probably stray into strange walks beyond what you all might, and take these positions to the ends of all possible reasonings, to where self evident existence and realism is true in every conceivable scenario (and indeed I've done this above by demonstrating every other scenario as self refuting). But, nonetheless, I've finally found people who are practical, and not obsessed with playing word games to try to make it sound like bizarre ideas that exist strictly as quirks of language exist in actuality, and, better still, people who consider their philosophy to be past that rudimentary word game that belongs in a pre philosophy prep course before one learns real philosophy. Thank you all for this. 20 years arguing with idealists and anti realists really was enough. I'm thrilled to be poised for philosophical progress that is not at all mired by nonsensical hippy "what if it's all unreal dude?" quasi philosophical pop nonsense posing as deep wisdom. And, seriously, this is 90% of Buddhist and secular philosophical debate. I cannot even express the relief to have found a place where that position isn't even on the table! :)❤
  11. Ah, fresh air, thank you yes, those schools enter self referential nonsense. "All is unreal." Means "Unreal is unreal." Quite literally gibberish. Ditto for "All is mind." Means "Mind is mind." Asinine nonsense. Throw out all the evidence, call it all maya, your argument goes too. Bye and good riddance.
  12. I love this forum so much. I expected a counter, assumed you were going to be arguing that everything is imaginary or some other hogwash. However, unless I'm much mistaken, it seems you're so in agreement that you see my arguments as excessive and the matter as solved wordlessly and without debate nor argument as the issue is self evident and automatic, irrefutable proof of the objective? A bit like if I was going on and on arguing that water is wet. You'd be like, "Obviously, why all this discussion when that is self evident?" Am I reading you right? Or am I about to be schooled on why everything is imaginary and such is a perfectly intelligent conclusion? Please forgive my caution, I've dealt with Buddhist forums and philosophy forums for 10 years and 90% of replies to questions like this either argue for "All is mind" or seem to agree, kind of, but are ultimately trolling in favor of "All is mind." 7% are on the fence and may lean toward "Some things are real." But while strongly cautioning against realism. And about 3% are actually realists.
  13. Thanks. I'm confused, though. Are you implying I need to be taught a lesson on this topic because I am ridiculing when I should be arguing? Or what are you meaning with this suggestion?
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