Re: "The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality"
I haven't listened to the podcast, but I did read the article. Help me understand this because I'm really not getting it.
Well, why? We may not have evolved to always see the world accurately, but certainly what we perceive with our senses is something that exists in reality. When I see and touch a cat, I have detailed knowledge of that cat’s physical characteristics. I can weight the cat on a scale. I can describe the animal and someone else, who has seen cats before, will know exactly what I’m talking about. We even use the same word for “cats.” The word is a reference to something—an animal—that exists in the real world. I don’t know a lot about quantum physics, but apparently no one else does either. If I can see the cat with my own eyes, I think it exists in the real world.
The cat doesn’t exist when I’m not looking at it? I don’t think so.
Snakes exist and they can be dangerous, which is why evolution has instilled in us a healthy aversion to them. Using Occam’s razor, this is the most straightforward answer. Though we are limited in what we can understand and prone to bias and logical errors, humans still can perceive physical objects in the real world. I’m not sure what Hoffman is saying here. I think snakes (and cats) do have objective, observer-independent features, such as length and weight and texture and many other details that give us a pretty good idea what they are. Hoffman’s theory sounds a little like solipsism to me. It seems a little too clever by half. Then again, I don’t really understand the Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment either. The cat is either dead or alive; we just don’t know which state until we open the box and look.
Of course, now that I've run my mouth, I'll have to listen to the podcast.