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Old 05-28-2010, 01:36 AM   #1
Orion
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Idealism v. Objectivism

This forum doesn't appear to have a dedicated debate board, so I'd like to start one here, if that's okay with everyone. I'm sure most people have heard the age-old philosophical question, "If a tree falls in the forest with nobody around to hear it, does it make a noise?"

I'd like to take that a step further, to ask your views on whether anything truly exists if nobody believes in it. Take a normal kitchen table, for instance. If everybody - from the tree who supplied the wood, to the carpenter who cut it, to the craftsman who built the table, to the family who now owns it - completely disbelieved in the table's existence, would it still be around?

The Idealism school of thought (that's the belief-determines-existence group) has often been ridiculed by popular thought, but with modern quantum physics and superstring theory, it's starting to seem like they might've been right all along. Their opponents, the Objectivists, believe that "reality" is separate from our own beliefs - gravity, for example, will always exist regardless of whether anyone believes in it or not.

The whole thing ties rather neatly into that New Agey paradox known as the Law of Attraction, as well. If we think about something and believe in it strongly enough, does that make it real? And by contrast, if we truly and completely disbelieve in something, does it cease to exist?
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:16 AM   #2
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it will be it, regardless of our recognition of it. ants are still ants even we never see one.

if reading right: i would say know that our beliefs of things doesn't make them real/non-real, pretty sure some old native tribe thought blacks were the only kind til whites came.

idealism seems too flawed but objective-just-reasoning is a great way to be true in all cases

in minor cases yes our beliefs shape our reality, minor being view of life(its a big thing to the individual but not so much to all), tolerance to pain, amount of spirit etc
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion View Post
If we think about something and believe in it strongly enough, does that make it real?
Depends on how it's thought of, and what it is thought to be, and whether or not there is evidence to support it, or (especially) to deny it.

Evidence is not proof. Proof gives you the bottom line about the nature of an item, individual, or event.

The snag is that for many items, individuals and events, proof is lacking and the evidence is not enough to give a definite answer.

If the "something" being expereinced is below our level of concious awareness (subliminal) it won't be perceived in a concious manner, although the unconcious may be aware of it and react to it.

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Originally Posted by kgdaemperor View Post
And by contrast, if we truly and completely disbelieve in something, does it cease to exist?
For us individually, it can be seen to have no effect on us. However, if others believe in it, it can cause an effect on them. And their behaviour can directly affect us.

So even though we as individuals may KNOW totally that something doesn't exist, that doesn't stop others belief in it affecting us.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:43 AM   #4
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That's my philosophy exactly, Pat! On a related note, the early Idealists conducted studies in which a ball rolled down a slope at a random time, with nobody present to watch it. It still rolled down the hill. When questioned as to why gravity didn't stop existing when he wasn't watching it, the Idealist said for the same reason the world didn't stop existing when we closed our eyes - namely, more people in the world are seeing and believing at any one time than people who aren't. In another study, some Idealists cited that God observes everything, and He is, in a sense, the ultimate believer.

Despite everything, I'm more on the side of the Idealists here than that of the Objectivists. I definitely believe that thoughts affect our reality, but our reality is also affected by the thoughts of everyone else. Thus, even if I firmly stopped believing in gravity, it wouldn't change anything for me because everyone else I associate with would believe otherwise.
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