I want to clarify that I am an an Ignostic, Axiological Atheist and Rationalist who uses methodological skepticism. I hold that there is valid and reliable reason and evidence to warrant justified true belief in the knowledge of the reality of external world and even if some think we don’t we do have axiological and ethical reasons to believe or act as if so.

Thinking is occurring and it is both accessible as well as guided by what feels like me; thus, it is rational to assume I have a thinking mind, so, I exist.

But, some skeptics challenge reality or certainty (although are themselves appealing to reason or rationality that it self they seem to accept almost a priori themselves to me). Brain in a vat or jar, Evil Demon in your mind, Matrix world as your mind, & Hologram world as your reality are some arguments in the denial or challenge of reality or certainty.

The use of “Brain in a vat” type thought experiment scenarios are common as an argument for philosophical skepticism and solipsism, against rationalism and empiricism or any belief in the external world’s existence.

Such thought experiment arguments do have a value are with the positive intent to draw out certain features or remove unreasoned certainty in our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. However, these are only valuable as though challenges to remember the need to employ Disciplined-Rationality and the ethics of belief, not to take these thought experiment arguments as actual reality. Brain in a vat/jar, Evil Demon, Matrix world, and Hologram world are logical fallacies if assumed as a reality representations.

First is the problem that they make is a challenge (alternative hypotheses) thus requiring their own burden of proof if they are to be seen as real.

Second is the problem that they make in the act of presupposition in that they presuppose the reality of a real world with factual tangible things like Brains and that such real things as human brains have actual cognition and that there are real world things like vats or jars and computers invented by human beings with human real-world intelligence and will to create them and use them for intellectually meaningful purposes.

Third is the problem of valid and reliable slandered as doubt is an intellectual professes needing to offer a valid and reliable slandered to who, what, why, and how they are proposing Philosophical Skepticism, Solipsism and the Denial of Reality or Certainty. Though one cannot on one had say I doubt everything and not doubt even that. One cannot say nothing can be known for certain, as they violate this very thought, as they are certain there is no certainty. The ability to think of reasonable doubt (methodological Skepticism) counteracts the thinking of unreasonable doubt (Philosophical Skepticism’s external world doubt and Solipsism). Philosophical skepticism is a method of reasoning which questions the possibility of knowledge is different than methodological skepticism is a method of reasoning, which questions knowledge claims with the goal finding what has warrant, justification to validate the truth or false status of beliefs or propositions.

Fourth is the problem that external world doubt and Solipsism creates issues of reproducibility, details and extravagancy. Reproducibility such as seen in experiments, observation and real world evidence, scientific knowledge, scientific laws, and scientific theories. Details such as the extent of information to be contained in one mind such as trillions of facts and definable data and/or evidence. And extravagancy such as seen in the unreasonable amount of details in general and how that also brings the added strain to reproducibility and memorability. Extravagancy in the unreasonable amount of details also interacts with axiological and ethical reasoning such as why if there is no real world would you create rape, torture, or suffering of almost unlimited variations. Why not just rape but child rape not just torture but that of innocent children who would add that and the thousands of ways it can and does happen in the external world. Extravagancy is unreasonable, why a massive of cancers and infectious things, millions of ways to be harmed, suffer and die etc. There is a massive amount of extravagancy in infectious agents if the external world was make-believe because of infectious agents come in an unbelievable variety of shapes, sizes and types like bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. Therefore, the various types of pleasure and pain both seem an unreasonable extravagancy in a fake external world therefore the most reasonable conclusion is the external world is a justified true belief.

Fifth is the problem that axiological or ethical thinking would say we only have what we understand and must curtail behavior ethically to such understanding. Think of ability to give consent having that reasoning ability brings with it the requirement of being responsible for our behaviors. If one believes the external world is not real, they remove any value (axiology) in people, places or things and if the external world is not real there is no behavior or things to interact with (ethics) so nothing can be helped or harmed by actions as there is no actions or ones acting them or having them acting for or against. In addition, if we do not know is we are actually existing or behaving in the real world we also are not certain we are not either, demanding that we must act as if it is real (pragmatically) do to ethical and axiological concerns which could be true. Because if we do act ethically and the reality of the external world is untrue we have done nothing but if we act unethical as if the reality of the external world is untrue and it is in fact real we have done something to violate ethics. Then the only right way to navigate the ethics of belief in such matters would say one should behave as though the external world is real. In addition, axiological or ethical thinking and the cost-benefit analysis of belief in the existence of the external world support and highly favors belief in the external world’s existence.

Solipsism (from Latin solus, meaning “alone”, and ipse, meaning “self”) is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. To me, solipsism is trying to limit itself to rationalism only to, of, or by itself. Everyone, including a Solipsist, as the mind to which all possible knowledge flows; consider this, if you think you can reject rational thinking as the base of everything, what other standard can you champion that does not at its core return to the process of mind as we do classify people by intelligence. If you cannot use rationalism what does this mean, irrationalism? A Solipsist, is appealing to rationalism as we only have our mind or the minds of others to help navigate the world accurately as possible.

By Damien Marie AtHope

Reference 1

According to Peter Klein at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Philosophical skeptic challenges our ordinary assumption that there is evidence available that can help us to discriminate between the real world and some counterfeit world that appears in all ways to be identical to the real world. Ordinary incredulity arises within the context of other propositions of a similar sort taken to be known, and, in principle, the doubt can be removed by discovering the truth of some further proposition of the relevant type. On the other hand, philosophical skepticism about a proposition of a certain type derives from considerations that are such that they cannot be removed by appealing to additional propositions of that type—or so the skeptic claims. These movies illustrate one other fundamental feature of the philosophical arguments for skepticism, namely, that the debate between the skeptics and their opponents takes place within the evidentialist account of knowledge which holds that knowledge is at least true, sufficiently justified belief. The debate is over whether the grounds are such that they can make a belief sufficiently justified so that a responsible epistemic agent is entitled to assent to the proposition. The basic issue at stake is whether the justification condition of knowledge can be fulfilled. A corollary of this is that strictly reliabilist or externalist responses to philosophical skepticism constitute a change of subject. A belief could be reliably produced, i.e., its causal pedigree could be such that anything having that causal etiology is sufficiently likely to be true, but the reasons available for it could fail to satisfy the standards agreed upon by both the skeptics and their opponents. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/

“For the record: Quantum mechanics does not deny the existence of objective reality. Nor does it imply that mere thoughts can change external events. Effects still require causes, so if you want to change the universe, you need to act on it.” – Lawrence M. Krauss

 
According to some views on quantum physics, there may be no consistent reality saying we change the outcome of experiments by what we choose to measure or observe particles or waves. Our observing the particles or waves requires our use of consciousness right, is that subjective or objective? And where does consciousness the subjective or objective observer, from quantum physics, or are an illusion as there is no consistent reality for observer consciousness? Humans and animals have consciousness and there are those who seem to be arguing what exactly that it is omnipresent in quantum physics? Does one need to admit that the objective reality of an observer’s consciousness exists independent our observing or didn’t it exist before you actually took the decision observing quantum physics particles or waves. What if the particles or waves themselves were conscious, and act as their own observers? Would that change the way we interpret the observed experiment? There is no magical mind-over-reality going on in quantum physics. What happens is the instruments either alter what it is measuring by interacting with it, or it just don’t measure everything. And it has nothing to do with “you the observer”, if it was just mindless robots switching the measuring setup based on random coin flips things would behave just the same. The myth that conscious observation can change the behavior of fundamental physics. The interference effect results from amplitudes from “photon through slit A” and “photon through slit B” being summed up at the far screen, such that they can cancel or reinforce each other. The effect disappears when you introduce a particle detector NOT because your conscious knowledge has any influence, but because you’ve changed the experiment so that “photon through slit A” and “photon through slit B” result in differently configured universes – one has a particle detector going “bing” and the other doesn’t, so the amplitudes for the two cases can no longer be summed. A non-mysterious introduction to quantum mechanics, intended to be accessible to anyone who can grok algebra and complex numbers. Cleaning up the old confusion about QM is used to introduce basic issues in rationality (such as the technical version of Occam’s Razor), epistemology, reductionism, naturalism, and philosophy of science. Not dispensable reading, even though the exact reasons for the digression are hard to explain in advance of reading. Ref

 

Scientific Values: fallidilism, realism, & rationalism
 
According to Alan Musgrave in the book Essays on Realism and Rationalism, scientific theories, it has sometimes been maintained enable us to describe precisely how things happen, but cannot really explain why they happen as they do. According to this view (which I shall call ‘descriptivism’), the .search for explanation or for explanatory theories is an illegitimate intrusion of metaphysics into science. Descriptivism is related to (but not, as is often supposed, identical with) an even more radical view, which I shall call ‘instrumentalism’ (following Popper) or ‘fictionalism’. The instrumentalist agrees with the descriptivist that scientific theories are not explanatory but goes further, and denies that they are descriptive as well. Theories, according to the instrumentalist, are not descriptions of the world, but mathematical devices or fictions which enable us to classify, systematize and predict descriptions of the world. Opposed to both of these views is realism. My aim is to argue in favor of realism. And in general will favor a fallibilist, realistic, and rationalist position in opposition to the idealistic, antirealism and relativistic viewpoints some champion. Ref
 
Here is more on fallidilism:
 
Fallibilism is the epistemological thesis that no belief (theory, view, thesis, and so on) can ever be rationally supported or justified in a conclusive way (that no evidence or reason can ever overturn it). Always, there remains a possible doubt as to the truth of the belief (ie. one is always open to valid and reliable reason and evidence that could disprove or deminish the belief). Fallibilism applies that assessment even to science’s best-entrenched claims and to people’s best-loved commonsense views. Some epistemologists have taken fallibilism to imply skepticism, though, it is fallibilist epistemologists (which is to say, the majority of epistemologists) who tend not to be skeptics about the existence of knowledge or justified belief. Generally, those fallidilist epistemologists see themselves as thinking about knowledge and justification in a comparatively realistic way — by recognizing the fallibilist realities of human cognitive capacities, even while accommodating those fallibilities within a theory that allows perpetually fallible people to have knowledge and justified beliefs. Epistemologists generally seek to understand knowledge and justification in a way that permits fallibilism to describe a benign truth about how we can gain knowledge and justified beliefs. The difference between fallibilism and skepticism lies in their beliefs about what constitutes knowledge. Fallibilists and skeptics both believe that we can never establish the truth of a proposition with 100% certainty. However, skeptics believe that we don’t know what we cannot confirm with 100% certainty, while fallibilists have a more moderate view where 100% certainty is not required for knowledge. Ref

Epistemology Confusion?

Skeptics think they are more clever than me an astute rationalist, with claims such as, because we distrust our senses we therefore somehow can’t use them to know if we exist but fear not my friends as all is not lost. Just saying something has a random nature is not an evidence clam it lacks all value. lol