gary_s wrote:How do we define whether something works? Is the definition subject to context? What does "lining up with our experience of reality" mean? And that's a pretty important phrase since we don't all experience reality the same. Reality itself isn't subjective, but how we experience it certainly is.
The part in italics touches upon something that was often asserted as agreed upon by both parties, that what can be objectively demonstrated does not define the limits of reality and existence, and perhaps this should be examined more closely. Because I am begining to suspect that different interpretations of this statement may have a lot to do with the difficulties in that thread.
Our immediate and direct contact with reality is a completely subjective thing. The objective is an abstraction that we construct based on our communication with others to see which things that we experience are shared with others. This is certainly a valuable and useful thing to contruct for the purpose of communication and community. However it has been rather obvious in the contact with other cultures that this process can be culturally relative to a rather high degree. But then we invented another level of abstraction with a higher degree of objectivity in the modern scientific method and this proved to have a whole new kind of utility in discovering new and unexpected things about the world around us. But then people began to imagine that this new abstraction could define the limits of reality itself. But I object that not only is this not objectively justifiable but that I do not even believe that it is the case.
I think that this new utility of the scientific method in discovering things that are not only unexpected but even downright contrary to our expectations demonstrates without a doubt that despite the wholly subjective nature of our immediate access to it, there is an objective aspect to reality out there. But I not only see no reason to assume that reality is completely and exclusively objective, but think there are good pragmatic reasons to believe that there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality as well.
Thus when different parties have been agreeing that, what can be objectively demonstrated does not define the limits of reality and existence, I believe that there may have been a disconnect because one party meant what can be objectively demonstrated in practice while I meant what can be objectively demonstrated even in principle. Thus I suspect that the former imagined our ability to demonstrate things increasing as time goes on and thus what we could demonstrate becoming a closer and closer approximation of reality itself. But since I believe that there is an irreducibly subjective aspect of reality, then no matter how much I imagine our ability to demonstrate things increasing as time goes on, I never imagine that what we can demonstrate would become a closer and closer approximation of reality itself.