Our Knowledge of the World Around Us

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Protocol Paper 5 "Our Knowledge of the World around Us" Recall: In "Our Knowledge of the World around Us," Rachels makes several important points: 1) Our sensory experiences and powers of reasoning cannot necessarily be trusted as valid sources of truth; 2) Sensory data, as interpreted by our brains, might only be an idea about an object and not a direct interaction; 3) Our perception of sensory data may be a one-step process rather than a two-step process, making possible the possibility that we interact directly with our physical environment; 4) Sensory data is heavily processed, analyzed, and interpreted by the brain. Summary: The author discusses science fiction movies, such as The Matrix, and describes how it would be impossible for the human brain to discern the difference between an artificial reality and a real one. Rachels discusses the thought experiment posed by René Descartes where he proposes the idea of an “evil demon”, who could alter our mind’s landscape. Descartes posits, that under those circumstances, rational thought and human senses would not be trustworthy. Rachels discusses Descarte’s thoughts on the dreaming state, and how if we can be made to believe that our senses are correct there, than they cannot be trusted. The author discusses Philosophical thoughts on Idealism, in which it is considered that our perceptions of physical objects are not “real”, they are only mental ideas as recorded by our senses and imagined by our brains. Rachels discusses the attempts by Descartes to find a foundation for knowledge by identifying absolute truths, and concludes that the task may too difficult, or impossible. Quotes: I found it intriguing where the author wrote, “The mind does not simply record what passes before it; instead, the mind actively interprets experience according to certain built-in principles. Therefore, what we think of as “simple”
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