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Nature of Existence
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

Regulus133 wrote:

Eros responded well in regards to the actual content of your post. Linguistic philosophy would, I'm afraid, tear it to shreds.

I ask myself two questions before I get into these mental gymnastics:
1.) Can this really lead to a conclusion of which I can be certain, or reasonably so?
2.) Can this change my life in some way?

Far more often than not, "no" is the answer to each question, particularly the first.

My own opinion on the nature of existence? It is, as far as I'm concerned, unknowable. Our systems of reason and language that we use to organize and communicate reality are still just systems, imposing themselves upon reality rather than reflecting it. We are bound and therefore limited to them, so our hopes of understanding the true nature of reality (if such a thing can be said to exist) are foolish.

With this outlook, I find more and more that human communication is little more than mental masturbation. But I'm straying.

Beyond my own opinion, I would like to point out that you are 1.) assuming your premises are true (as you mention), 2.) assuming your premises are meaningful, 3.) concluding something from your premises that does not necessarily follow from them as they are stated, and 4.) not arriving at a significant conclusion.

I think we humans assume too much in general about our capabilities. To think we can reason effectively in the face of language itself, to even think that reason is the proper way of concluding things... aren't we arrogant?



The first half of your posts seems to consist of many things I have already pointed out in my response to eros' most recent post.

The second half seems to advocate the ridiculousness of believing that reason and logic are at all effective in anything beyond figuring out the most basic of cause and effect circumstances.

Beyond that I would also like to point out that 1.) as did Anselm (which is one of the critical flaws in his argument, but let me finish first) 2.) according to your way of thinking (which I have also adopted long ago) nothing is quite meaningful. 3.) right, there are some more that I am too lazy/careless to have included. 4.) that is a matter of perspective.

but most importantly 5.) read my first sentence in my OP, think about it, what do you think that post was intended as?

You finish with an extremely negative critique on our reasoning capabilities, yet your entire post is filled with reason and logic, how do you expect me to take you seriously?

While I agree with your views on our reasoning abilities, that does not change the fact that it is the only thing that we have. Should this stop us from reasoning altogether? Some believe so. Fortunately or unfortunately, for them or us, they are no longer with us.

I think I will reserve my deduction from your post about how you think we should live and ask you instead:

Based on your beliefs about human nature, how do you think we should carry out our lives?
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

excalion wrote:

The first half of your posts seems to consist of many things I have already pointed out in my response to eros' most recent post.

The second half seems to advocate the ridiculousness of believing that reason and logic are at all effective in anything beyond figuring out the most basic of cause and effect circumstances.

Beyond that I would also like to point out that 1.) as did Anselm (which is one of the critical flaws in his argument, but let me finish first) 2.) according to your way of thinking (which I have also adopted long ago) nothing is quite meaningful. 3.) right, there are some more that I am too lazy/careless to have included. 4.) that is a matter of perspective.

but most importantly 5.) read my first sentence, think about it, what do you think that post was intended as?

You finish with an extremely negative critique on our reasoning capabilities, yet your entire post is filled with reason and logic, how do you expect me to take you seriously?

While I agree with your views on our reasoning abilities, that does not change the fact that it is the only thing that we have. Should this stop us from reasoning altogether? Some believe so. Fortunately or unfortunately, for them or us, they are no longer with us.

I think I will reserve my deduction from your post about how you think we should live and ask you instead:

Based on your beliefs about human nature, how do you think we should carry out our lives?


Admittedly, I didn't read much past the post I mentioned.

As for the second half, that may be true, depending on what you mean by "basic." I criticize/contradict myself partly to be ironic, but mostly because of the nature of the systems I'm using. I could choose to not do so, but that would involve me not communicating, as I said. And I still use language even while I recognize that it's pointless.

1.) Well, I'm confused. Are you stating your opinion and asking us to respond? If so, then pointing out assumptions is a good critique. If not, then I'm not sure what you're after.
2.) Yes, but that's just my point. These are just ways of thinking. I was assuming (how terrible of me) that you were trying to establish some certain truth using reason. Perhaps I misunderstood.
3.) If you're stating an argument, it's probably best for all involved if you draw it out. But I won't ask at this point.
4.) It is a matter of perspective, but, since you were using God only as an example and were questioning the nature of reality itself, I concluded that you were actually trying to say that all is in the imagination. That may be completely wrong, but you spent a great deal of time on God and very little on existence despite saying this was not to be about God. What difference does it make if all is in my mind, really? Keeping in mind, of course, that very important word: ALL.
5.) I only think it was a statement of opinion with an expectation of critique.

Back to the reasoning and logic. I chose to respond to you on this forum; for it to 1.) make sense, and 2.) be appropriate, I needed to use those tools. Really, though, I only meant to criticize our attempts to know things of this nature and our tendency to get caught up in the language we have to use to make our points. But I'm not sure I agree that reason is all we have, even if I understand your point and have said it to others myself.

I have no particular answer to how we should live out our lives. Sometimes I long for the extreme of an emotionless, purely logical society... sometimes I long for anarchy, complete celebration of the individual. I know the problems of both. I do feel that there's no point in existing if no happiness (possibly with the addition of no purpose, but I'm undecided at the moment) is to be found in that existence, but that philosophy is for me alone.

We've strayed from the original topic, I fear. I don't know what else I have to say about it unless I've misunderstood your purpose and/or arguments, so... your move.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08
God exist in the heart of the ppl ~ ~ ~ so did anyone saw a GOD before not if u are dead ~ ~ ~ people juz need something to believe since existence is something u can't explain with Science or even words ~ ~ ~
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08
"My point however is the existence of the idea of God in the imagination IS the existence of God in the imagination, and in the reality of our existence as perceived by our imagination."
There is little point to your point...it is just an alternative way to describe things. That was my main point, and I've already typed at length about why that is the case.

"Care to clarify exactly what you mean here?"
Though I was not explicit in displaying what the good reason for why you have not seen your position, the matter was dealt with in the remainder of my previous post.

"I do not find that strange at all since I believe the standard notion of God is wrong."
"To be honest I only used Anselm as a reference various times to argue my own point."
Good...others take special note of these quotes. Recall what I typed before, "You went to some length to create an alternative conceptual structure in order to support a seemingly contradictory position." Again, we agree on the facts of the mater, you just have unusual ways of stating the same exact position.

Ah yes, finally, next comes, as I mentioned earlier, your convoluted answer for why you disagree. This is good though...for others to realize why your description is not the norm. Your basic drift is something along the lines of all existence is in the mind...etc,etc,etc. How well do you understand science? I'm going to conclude not well considering your step #5 and the unicorn issue. There is stuff out there in the world to be right or wrong about, and obviously we have made progress in our understanding of the universe.

Well, I don't want to be too long at this so I'll just make a display with an example. I'll go with this quote for hilarity's sake:
"Why? You used the example that an imaginary unicorn cannot pierce a man's heart with its imaginary horn. There is one reason for that, because the average man does not seriously believe in unicorns."
Well, I just typed about poking, not piercing hearts and all. Anyway...
*Deadpans* No, the reason imaginary unicorns cannot pierce a a mans heart is because they do not have real horns to poke people with.
Honestly...

Back quickly to point 5. There might well be empirical evidence for the existence of God. For instance, clearly god given miracles could occur. However, as far as I know, there is no verifiable empirical evidence for the existence of God. Thus, reasonable to claim that God does not exist. (Yes the matter is a bit more complex than this, but you should get the drift...)

Though, yes, the mind does have a remarkable influence over matter, one could say. After all, activity in the brain gives rise to the contents of the mind.

"Look carefully and you will see God is merely an example used in the discussion, and the discussion is in fact on the topic of various forms of 'existence'."
Indeed, and existence is such a hazy matter thats its easy to say whatever one wishes about it, and shift away from the norm.

I had to finish this last bit up quick, and might not have dealt with it in the length you might have liked as I have to run. This is last post on the matter unless perhaps something new is brought to the table.

-some minor edits made
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08
i'm catholic
but i hate it.
so i guess i'm a big sinner.

but i don't care

cus my church is so hypocritical
it's sickening.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

excalion wrote:

Given these premises and assuming they are true, we now apply deductive reasoning, but first, let me simplify.

1. Existence is something that is 'there'
2. Ethereal existence is a higher form than physical existence
3. Everyone in the world, believers and nonbelievers alike, are able to comprehend 'God'

The logical conclusion would be:

God exists, but only in the minds of people.

What does this mean exactly? Well you see its quite simple. For centuries the human race has been asking the wrong question,'is there a God?' or 'does God exist?'; the answer to those questions are simple and can be summed up into one word, Yes.

However the most important question is rarely addressed. In what form does this 'God' exist? Through my contemplation I have arrived at the existence of God being purely in the land of imagination.

Any questions?


I have read your posts and most of the replies. Pretty impressive and I agree on what you have concluded.

One thing that catches my attention is your last question on the first post. The form in which a 'god' may exist is of course as important as what kind of power does one hold. But the most important and undoubtably the most interesting question would be the nature of 'relation' between 'god' and 'me'. I assume that's why 'religion' exist in the first place.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

excalion wrote:


cleaverboy wrote:

If ethereal existence is placed above physical that would put god in his place above man.
Personally i don't believe in existence without an observer. (pretty much the tree falling in the forrest statement applied to this situation) So that is to say if you happen to be the last intelligent sentient being in the universe (impossible i know ) and there is nobody there to confirm your existence, then you might as well not exist. This is where the concept of god could come in to contradict such a statement. One could consider god to be a supreme observer that is concious of every living being so he would be confirming one's existence. I'm don't belive in god myself which is how i allow myself to this way of thinking but even if god is not "real" himself. His premise and concept certainly are.

Edit: I wasn't trying to make one particular point here, this is all general.


Yes but does God need us to confirm HIS existence?

If he does, would the idea of him existing in our imagination be such a confirmation?



Indeed he does. What makes him a god if nobody is there to confirm it? Without people who believe in his existence he might as well just be another random entity.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

excalion wrote:

But rather than thinking about that, consider this.

The image that pops into your head when you first decide to paint, would you consider that image as an existence? Along with the feelings that come with it. (majestic, elegant etc.)

If you do, how does that existence compare with the existence of your finished painting?


It depends on your definition of existence. You said that it is something that's "there."
Does that mean it is something you see? Or something you hear?...Touch? ...Smell? ...Taste? Or is does it have to be all of these in order to be called an existence.

..........Or perhaps, none of these?

As for me, I think that something only exists fully when one believes in it fully.

-----------------------------------------------------------------



EDIT: I just realized I didn't completely answer the question you asked me.

So let us say that I do consider the image in my head as an existence. When I compare the mental vision to the one that I see before me, how can I believe in the one in my head more than the one that I can see, feel, touch, smell, taste? (I wouldn't taste it though )

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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

Eros wrote:
There is little point to your point...it is just an alternative way to describe things. That was my main point, and I've already typed at length about why that is the case.


Yes you are right, it is just an alternative way to describe the issue of the existence of God, but I believe that this way of describing God's existence might offer new insight into the nature of his existence.

I see now that you're main point is just to point out that my entire OP was just a rephrase of something that most people already believe anyways. Yes that is true, except athiests that believe this still do not believe in an existence of God. I have constructed a way of thinking that allows athiests to claim the nonexistence of God while still claiming the existence of God as an idea which might be just as powerful.


Eros wrote:
Though I was not explicit in displaying what the good reason for why you have not seen your position, the matter was dealt with in the remainder of my previous post.


I see clearly what my position is, however the focus of this topic is not to debate if I can see my position clearly or not, I will disregard this statement.


Eros wrote:
Good...others take special note of these quotes. Recall what I typed before, "You went to some length to create an alternative conceptual structure in order to support a seemingly contradictory position." Again, we agree on the facts of the mater, you just have unusual ways of stating the same exact position.


Yes, true. Except this conceptual structure seems to take away a little bit at the conflicts between athiests and religious followers. You say we agree on the facts of the matter, so does that mean you agree with this alternative conceptual structure, given that you also think it is weirdly obscure in a way?


Eros wrote:
Ah yes, finally, next comes, as I mentioned earlier, your convoluted answer for why you disagree. This is good though...for others to realize why your description is not the norm. Your basic drift is something along the lines of all existence is in the mind...etc,etc,etc. How well do you understand science? I'm going to conclude not well considering your step #5 and the unicorn issue. There is stuff out there in the world to be right or wrong about, and obviously we have made progress in our understanding of the universe.

Well, I don't want to be too long at this so I'll just make a display with an example. I'll go with this quote for hilarity's sake:
"Why? You used the example that an imaginary unicorn cannot pierce a man's heart with its imaginary horn. There is one reason for that, because the average man does not seriously believe in unicorns."
Well, I just typed about poking, not piercing hearts and all. Anyway...
*Deadpans* No, the reason imaginary unicorns cannot pierce a a mans heart is because they do not have real horns to poke people with.
Honestly...


My understanding of science is I will agree, not top-notch, but at the very least above average. You take my arguments too seriously. Consider the example brought up by Gabcom about the Nazis.

What I meant with my imaginary unicorn example was simply 'both physical and imaginary objects may achieve the same end' I in no way stated they are required to utilize the same means. This is especially apparent in my final conclusion of that when I said 'Per the example that Gabcom provided, if a person is absolutely convinced that a certain 'imaginary' happening is 'real', it could lead to quite 'real' outcomes and circumstances.'


Eros wrote:
Back quickly to point 5. There might well be empirical evidence for the existence of God. For instance, clearly god given miracles could occur. However, as far as I know, there is no verifiable empirical evidence for the existence of God. Thus, reasonable to claim that God does not exist. (Yes the matter is a bit more complex than this, but you should get the drift...)

Though, yes, the mind does have a remarkable influence over matter, one could say. After all, activity in the brain gives rise to the contents of the mind.

"Look carefully and you will see God is merely an example used in the discussion, and the discussion is in fact on the topic of various forms of 'existence'."
Indeed, and existence is such a hazy matter thats its easy to say whatever one wishes about it, and shift away from the norm.

I had to finish this last bit up quick, and might not have dealt with it in the length you might have liked as I have to run. This is last post on the matter unless perhaps something new is brought to the table.

-some minor edits made


We seem to differ on our opinion on the facts of an empirical reality. I do not believe any empirical evidence is ever obtainable by humans, yet it seems you do believe that. Care to clarify your position so I dont assume too much from what you possibly carelessly typed.

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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

qweruiop wrote:


excalion wrote:

But rather than thinking about that, consider this.

The image that pops into your head when you first decide to paint, would you consider that image as an existence? Along with the feelings that come with it. (majestic, elegant etc.)

If you do, how does that existence compare with the existence of your finished painting?


It depends on your definition of existence. You said that it is something that's "there."
Does that mean it is something you see? Or something you hear?...Touch? ...Smell? ...Taste? Or is does it have to be all of these in order to be called an existence.

..........Or perhaps, none of these?

As for me, I think that something only exists fully when one believes in it fully.

-----------------------------------------------------------------



EDIT: I just realized I didn't completely answer the question you asked me.

So let us say that I do consider the image in my head as an existence. When I compare the mental vision to the one that I see before me, how can I believe in the one in my head more than the one that I can see, feel, touch, smell, taste? (I wouldn't taste it though )



Do you believe the existence of the internet?

I'm not talking about the machines that keep it running, I'm talking about the actual entity known as the internet.

Can you see/hear/touch/smell/taste it?
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08
You are well enough receptive, curious, and mannered that I'll go though with it...

"But I believe that this way of describing God's existence might offer new insight into the nature of his existence."
Yes, well, I'm going to get into this (even more than I already have...). But for now all I have to say is...sorry. =P

"I see clearly what my position is, however the focus of this topic is not to debate if I can see my position clearly or not, I wisll disregard this statement."
Perhaps I could have worded my response better so you understood my meaning easier. I was just noting that you have not seen your position elsewhere because it is not common, and it is not common for good reasons, some of which I have gone into.

"Except this conceptual structure seems to take away a little bit at the conflicts between athiests and religious followers."
Well its seems to at least, in the sense that both can say "God exists". You do not mean that in the same way of course, but more subtle qualifications like this are harder for people to grasp,so maybe some will be fooled for a time at least, ha. Whether your notions might help this divide in some way is a political matter which I don't care to get into it.

"You say we agree on the facts of the matter, so does that mean you agree with this alternative conceptual structure, given that you also think it is weirdly obscure in a way?"
Ah, finally...I consider this a more intriguing question. See my post bellow for more on this topic.

"You take my arguments too seriously."
A funny charge. Thanks.

"We seem to differ on our opinion on the facts of an empirical reality. I do not believe any empirical evidence is ever obtainable by humans, yet it seems you do believe that. Care to clarify your position so I dont assume too much from what you possibly carelessly typed."
I venture that most good scientists would balk at you at this point.
Lucky for you however, I know a bit about you, and this, I suspect, again comes from you talking about something - in this case "empirical" - in a diffrent way.
Quickly I might say that any grounds for belief based on observation counts as empirical evidence.
Now you might pop in with your previous claim "Humans cannot know empirical reality".
Go along with me for a moment will you...I would say your concern is not so much about about empirical evidence being obtainable. I would say your concerns are about this empirical evidence showing us the true reality (whatever that means).
Whatever, a real doozy, and a matter for another time perhaps. The important thing I want to get across is that knowledge gathering methods that are based on empirical evidence are by far the most successful ever created.
Thus, those knowledge gathering methods should be (and I might say typically are to rational people) the normal scheme adopted to understand th world.
And thus, I suggest you study up on scientific method.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08
One of my specialties is personal identity. One might ask, in what sense does a person exist? Though, actually, most professional philosophers know better then to ask this question, and rather ask related question such as what does it take for a person to persist from one time to another. This question is basically a restatement of the question: what does it take for the same person to exist at diffrent times?

Applying this to our situation, we might ask, "What does it take for God to persist from one time to another" Many Christians, believing God is omnipresent, might say that he is always present, or some such thing. I might say that the question is null as he does not even exist in the first place. You might say that as long as people hold the idea of god, god exists.

Now the thousand dollar question is (seeing as we both discount the religious response I stuck in above) am I correct or are you correct? We want the truth...right?

There is hardly any limit to the conceptual schemes we can use to represent reality.
We have diffrent schemes, yet it is clear that both our schemes are remarkably diffrent than the religious response I stuck in above. What I have been calling the facts of the matter (what some might call the truth) do not depend on us to the slightest extent. Read that again, it is very important. Thus, there need not be a single complete theory of the world. Speaking in one sense or frame of reference, your response may be valid, but not in another. Same for my conceptual scheme. What I have been attempting to show you is that my conceptual scheme is more natural (or normal or whatever you want to call it), and yours does not really add anything significant to the facts of the matter, so there is little reason to go with it.


One story before I go. Imagine you have recently died, and one old friend that knows you have died is talking to a newer friend of yours who does not know that you have died.
New friend: where is excalion?
Old friend: hes gone, man.
New friend: really where is he?
Old friend: he died.
New friend: dont joke with me man, your saying he dosn't exist anymore?
Old friend: of course he exists
New friend: oh, geez, I'm relieved, dont joke with me like that man.
*And he walks off to find you.*
*The new friend eventually figures out that you have died.*
*He goes back to the old friend to talk*
New friend: why did you tell me excalion existed? That was cruel.
Old friend: He does, but now only in the minds of people.

Funny eh?
(the point of the story is to show oversimplification in action as well as the abnormalness of the old friend's scheme - one that emphasizes types of existence)


Lastly, I might suggest you look into some of Kan'ts philosophy. He stressed the activity of the experiencing subject, as you do. I think he was a bit overboard on some things however.
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

excalion wrote:

Do you believe the existence of the internet?

I'm not talking about the machines that keep it running, I'm talking about the actual entity known as the internet.

Can you see/hear/touch/smell/taste it?


Yes I believe in the existence of the internet.
However, I also believe that I would believe in it more if I could see/hear/touch/smell/taste it.

You see, the senses strengthen our beliefs and reassures our uncertainties. Does it not?



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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

qweruiop wrote:


excalion wrote:

Do you believe the existence of the internet?

I'm not talking about the machines that keep it running, I'm talking about the actual entity known as the internet.

Can you see/hear/touch/smell/taste it?


Yes I believe in the existence of the internet.
However, I also believe that I would believe in it more if I could see/hear/touch/smell/taste it.

You see, the senses strengthen our beliefs and reassures our uncertainties. Does it not?





Here we are faced with a rather abnormal comparison.

Say, I hold a knife in my hand, and I continue to tell you, I can slice an orange in half with this knife.

At this point, you may believe me, you may not.

But when I actually do slice an orange in half in front of your eyes, you will believe me more.

This of course is the normal progression of events.

However, consider this.

I hold a knife in my hand, and I continue to tell you, if I stab you with this knife, you will die.

At this point, you may believe me, you may not.

But when I actually do stab you and you do die, you will believe me more. But what is left of you TO believe me if you are dead?

ahem...my point is in there somewhere, I promise XD
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Posted 1/18/08 , edited 4/18/08

Eros wrote:

One of my specialties is personal identity. One might ask, in what sense does a person exist? Though, actually, most professional philosophers know better then to ask this question, and rather ask related question such as what does it take for a person to persist from one time to another. This question is basically a restatement of the question: what does it take for the same person to exist at diffrent times?

Applying this to our situation, we might ask, "What does it take for God to persist from one time to another" Many Christians, believing God is omnipresent, might say that he is always present, or some such thing. I might say that the question is null as he does not even exist in the first place. You might say that as long as people hold the idea of god, god exists.

Now the thousand dollar question is (seeing as we both discount the religious response I stuck in above) am I correct or are you correct? We want the truth...right?

There is hardly any limit to the conceptual schemes we can use to represent reality.
We have diffrent schemes, yet it is clear that both our schemes are remarkably diffrent than the religious response I stuck in above. What I have been calling the facts of the matter (what some might call the truth) do not depend on us to the slightest extent. Read that again, it is very important. Thus, there need not be a single complete theory of the world. Speaking in one sense or frame of reference, your response may be valid, but not in another. Same for my conceptual scheme. What I have been attempting to show you is that my conceptual scheme is more natural (or normal or whatever you want to call it), and yours does not really add anything significant to the facts of the matter, so there is little reason to go with it.


One story before I go. Imagine you have recently died, and one old friend that knows you have died is talking to a newer friend of yours who does not know that you have died.
New friend: where is excalion?
Old friend: hes gone, man.
New friend: really where is he?
Old friend: he died.
New friend: dont joke with me man, your saying he dosn't exist anymore?
Old friend: of course he exists
New friend: oh, geez, I'm relieved, dont joke with me like that man.
*And he walks off to find you.*
*The new friend eventually figures out that you have died.*
*He goes back to the old friend to talk*
New friend: why did you tell me excalion existed? That was cruel.
Old friend: He does, but now only in the minds of people.

Funny eh?
(the point of the story is to show oversimplification in action as well as the abnormalness of the old friend's scheme - one that emphasizes types of existence)


Lastly, I might suggest you look into some of Kan'ts philosophy. He stressed the activity of the experiencing subject, as you do. I think he was a bit overboard on some things however.


That conversation sounds like something out of a movie where the Oldfriend takes a role of a master and the Newfriend takes the role of a young apprentice lol

also, I have read kant's philosophy, although mostly just the things that deal with his first and second formulations.

Also, how do you suppose the 'facts of the matter' as you refer to them do not depend on 'us', seeing as we are who percieve them and how we percieve them is what becomes the 'facts of the matter' to us?

Do you mean 'us' as in you and me or 'us' as in the human race?


PS: also read Regulus' first post in here. Some of the points he brings up is a direct opposite standpoint of the scientific process.
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