David J. Chalmers is my favorite philosopher. I have been following his work since 1994. He is known for his contributions to the academic studies of consciousness.
For many years he was focused on the question: “What is consciousness?” In his latest book titled Reality+ he turns his attention to the questions: “What is reality?” and “How can we know about reality?”.
Reality+ (the book) is a grand review of central questions in Western philosophy. David J. Chalmers is very knowledgeable about Eastern philosophy as well. There are brief references to Eastern philosophical ideas in this book but the focus is on Western philosophy as expected.
The book provides the most comprehensive examination of the “Simulation Hypothesis” I have encountered so far. David J. Chalmers takes the “Simulation Hypothesis” seriously.
“The world we’re living in could be a virtual world. I’m not saying it is. But it’s a possibility we can’t rule out” – David J. Chalmers
He explains why we cannot rule out the “Simulation Hypothesis” in great detail in this book. This is a nuanced subject. One has to be careful with the definitions of terms. David J. Chalmers is a professional philosopher. He is extremely careful with definitions and examines the subject from many different angles but I have not seen any argument involving the spiritual aspects of the Cosmos.
I hope to provide detailed commentary on various subjects mentioned in this book later.
Since Reality+ (the book) is a grand survey of philosophical arguments, and readers may confuse the reviewed arguments with the philosopher’s personal convictions, David J. Chalmers makes this important declaration in the introduction of the book to state his position clearly. I agree with his statement below hundred percent.
“We live in an age in which truth and reality have been under attack. We’re sometimes said to be in an era of post-truth politics in which truth is irrelevant. It’s common to hear that there’s no absolute truth and no objective reality. Some people think that reality is all in the mind, so that what’s real is entirely up to us. The multiple realities of this book may initially suggest a view like that on which truth and reality are cheap. This is not my view.
Here’s my view of these things. Our minds are part of reality, but there’s a great deal of reality outside of our minds. Reality contains our world and it may contain many others. We can build new worlds and new parts of reality. We know a little about reality, and we can try to know more. There may be parts of it that we can never know.
Most importantly: Reality exists, independently of us. The truth matters. There are truths about reality, and we can try to find them. Even in an age of multiple realities, I still believe in objective reality.” – David J. Chalmers
Comments by Richard Gauthier (https://richardgauthier.academia.edu):
“It sounds very interesting. I’ve always had a problem with simulated reality paradigms. A simulated reality is produced by an elaborate computer program. There is no evidence that a computer program (an objective structure) can produce internal subjective awareness when the computer program is running (just like there is no evidence that nerve cells produce conscious experience, though their activity may be correlated with conscious experience). The running of the simulation program can be viewed (say in 3-d on a suitable screen) by a conscious entity, without any of the entities that are viewed in the running computer program being conscious. So simulated reality computer programs don’t solve Chalmers’ “hard problem”.
I agree with Chalmers’ statement except in the end where he supports a real objective reality. Everything objective has a subjective counterpart. Otherwise, the word objective has no meaning. “Object of what or of who?” Objectivity depends on subjectivity so cannot be absolutely real since it is relative to its subjectivity.”
Comments by Marc Kroeks
“Thank you for the interesting posts.
Yesterday I listened to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbGoUwmqIEQ where Canadian Professor and clinical Psychologist Jordan Peterson discusses with Biologists and well known Atheist Richard Dawkins about “Truth”.
What we see are people acting. We try to understand what motivates them. We build simulations of reality in our minds. I like the way Joscha Bach talks about this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t4SOqWC6jw.
Both Jordan Peterson and Joscha Bach are practitioners of meditation.
I think we do what we can afford to do. The spiritual universe is the universal mystery, that we cannot know what is beyond the horizon of our perception and conception. Thus we project what we know on the unknown. When a great saint or guru comes, what do they know about the objective universe? Well, in fact they only know some very fundamental principles, like shiva shakti atmakam brahma, that is in Microvita Theory, the knowing and the doing aspect of all that is. It is the observation that all is one in this principle, that there is always a silverlining between abstract and matter on which life happens to exist.
The great seers who we ascribe omniscience do not come with the mathematics and physics of the future, they do not randomly channel some deep E=mc2 like wisdom. The question is why not and why do we not expect that from them?
They seem to come with the subjective truth, the wisdom of what it is like to be a human being and what to do in order to make life happy.
Somehow our unconscious mind and our subconscious mind, like the imagination of little children, needs a guidance in order to sort out what is real and what is fake, what is lie and what is true, what is friend and what is foo, who we are and who they are.
This is consciousness embodied. There is no other yoga, but there are certain people that we naturally feel attracted to and who create an atmosphere where we feel at home.
Of course, as scientists, we are bound to certain codices, forms of behaviour that are expected and accepted, like the rigid rules of how to do proper research. A Dan Winter (eg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxm9GBuFOYs) may attract a lot of followers, but he is obviously not going by the rules that would make one be accepted as a serious scientist. Still, he manages to survive!
So truth seems to be that which survives or at least that which allows a certain ideation to survive. In that way ideas are like software that run on biological hardware and the truth test is whether the idea manages to keep the biological matter available for maintaining its existing and evolution.
Thus it so often seems to be more of a linguistical problem, where people clash because they unconsciously speak from different contextual realms. As Baba once asked to write a history of consciousness, I try to understand where we are coming from and where we are going. Sometimes a human being succeeds to inhabit the role of being a respected scientist and within that rigid structure manages to express deep universal truth. This is when it seems like the objective and the subjective experience merged, a state of flow, very interesting and entertaining, calling forth a deep sense of meaning.
I have not examined Chalmers yet, but this would be my two cents of contemporary analysis. We open up to people who talk coherently and reflect having a certain status. Why does Baba have such a status? He does meaningful things. He is able to stand up for His ideas and defend and embody them. Many academic philosophy seems to be about converging the past into the present. Important work, when you have the intellectual capacity to do so. Artists may take a more intuitive path and spiritual people should choose a righteous path.
What bothers me often is when people who identify with spirituality suggest that there is something out there that they claim to know what it is, like “God” or “consciousness”. That seems to be disrespectful to the natural mystery unless it is put forward as a scientific thesis specifically, because that it asks for being persued as such in a scientific way by means of finding a way to test the hypothesis instead of making it political.
I think in these times, what seems to present itself as a confusion about truth is rather a sociological movement. These expressions reflect a change in social search space, maybe like when the sea suddenly withdraws and everything gets silent, you may expect a tsunami to come. I hope my links are interesting to you.”