5/22/12 questions and discussion
1-what affect does might knowing about confirmation bias have on us?3
2-what do you think a diverse citizenry eventually leads to?4
3-what does productivity have to do with morality?5
4-are professional sports good for us?5
5-if football were invented today would we allow it?3
6-are there more or less disadvantages in believing in something greater than oneself?6
is the physical world what it appears to be?7
[this discussion began with a photograph Phillip took of himself in a mirror that should not have looked as does. His camera is not facing into the mirror. We guessed it could be because the mirror is not flat, but no one came up with a good explanation for the image. Our conversation then became about reality as we perceive it]
Phillip: Maybe the world is more than seems possible. Much of this world is an illusion.
Shannon; the philosopher DesCartes used a stick in water to demonstrate how reality can be counterintuitive. Half of the stick is in the water, the other half out. The half under water appears to our eye to be bent at the point where the water level is. Our senses aren't foolproof so we need to use our minds to test and measure reality. Our minds, of course, can also be fooled. So how do we test and measure the mind?
Phillip: we imagine orange when looking at the light spectrum. Orange does not exist in actual projected light spectrums.
Larry: we can see a face in a cloud so why can't we see a cloud in a face?
Jon: the best reason I find for the best of modern art is that it pushes my assumptions about what reality out of my mind and encourages me to try on new ways of experiencing the real.
John: what's the practical purpose of this kind of investigation?
Phillip: maybe we live in Alice's Wonderland?
Shannon: what you've offered is another way of looking at it.
Phillip: maybe this is a situation where reality fails?
Ron: our minds are more closed and this kind of thing can open it.
Jim: we're fallible. When we see things that don't make sense we naturally go down a list of possible causes. I's a problem that we don't do this kind of curiosity-based thinking more commonly. The resulting idea is we're fallible.
Phillip: sometimes we should be skeptical of what we see.
Dick: how do other animals see?
Phillip: very differently
Ron: and this process of discerning or deciding reality doesn't develop until we reach a certain age. Kids learn this with time.
John: fantastic thinking like this would useless in war.
[makes me remember the movie Men Who Stare at Goats depicting a US army experiment with ESP/psychokinetics]
Shannon: questioning our assumptions about reality is good in certain contexts, although pure skepticism can't function. But where is it not an illusion?
Jon: in my other philosophy group we're reading the book Righteous Minds. One of the last things I read in it is to do with confirmation bias. Apparently this mental activity is normal to our species and useful. However when our efforts to maintain a particular bias become too extreme it can cause a kind of addiction. Someone suffering from this will be increasingly harmed by the cycle of confrontations with a reality that contradicts a bias leading to increasingly complicated mental gymnastics.
Jim: cognitive dissonance does inspire the tendency is to reaffirm.
Shannon: a different viewpoint is not necessarily correct. Reality can overlap with illusion as well.
John: fundamentalist thinking probably qualifies as an addiction to bias.
Dick: everything we realize comes through our senses. I am imagining an impossible world, totally dark, a world where our senses can not give us any data to use in perceiving it. What would that world be?
Phillip: the phenomena PTSD is about an endless mental cycling through the sensations of something traumatic. It makes reality more dangerous than it actually is.
John: if someone has a color blindness, are they less aware of reality than someone who sees all the colors?
Phillip: now we're watching 3-D movies made from non what were originally 2-D movies.
John: the question to do with our data base for predicting future events. The difference is really the certainty of prediction.
Rob: we ought to assume everything that is possible but question that which seem impossible.
Larry: what one is familiar with.
John: what is an optical illusion? How does this fit into the question?
Larry: over time memories change.
Jon: I have memories now that I can't be certain actually happened or were instead dreams.
John: UFOs. Seeing what isn't. Illusions makes a difference to airplane pilots which is why they are trained to focus on their instrumentation; to trust it more than one's perceptions.
Jim: if you're right Philip, what would change to help us see more reality?
Phillip: I would look for more exceptions to reality.