Criteria as a reflective equilibrium. Therefore, it seems that none of the three standards of coherence, intersubjectivity, and effectiveness are able to establish a distinct distinction between what is illusory and what is veridical. However, this does not imply that they lack usefulness entirely. An ambiguous demarcation is distinct from the absence of a demarcation, as exemplified by any of the global territorial conflicts.

Three Criteria as a Reflective Equilibrium

It is incorrect to consider all perceptions that are mutually coherent, intersubjective, and effective as the sole veridical ones. Similarly, it is incorrect to classify anything that fails to satisfy as illusory. Success is a subjective concept. However, we can still achieve a state of reflective equilibrium by considering the three criteria. This will lead to a set of beliefs that are mutually supportive and mutually explanatory, allowing us to determine which objects of perception should be classified as illusory and which should be classified as non-illusory.

This can be comprehended in accordance with the approach for validating deductions put forward by Nelson Goodman in his work Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. In this scenario, there are two aspects that need to be balanced: the inferential procedures that we consider to be valid based on intuition, and the inferences that are approved by the logic system we adhere to.

Instead of making a binary choice between conflicting options, we should consider the mutual influence of intuitions and formal systems. Intuitions provide support for the development of formal systems, which in turn generate additional patterns of inference that may alter our initial intuitions. These revised intuitions can then prompt us to modify the formal system, and the cycle continues. Throughout the process, our intuitions gradually alter and the formal system undergoes modifications, resulting in diminishing differences between the two. Eventually, a condition of equilibrium is achieved where the disparities are reduced.

Similarly, we can argue that our instinctive perceptions of deception can be clarified by a specific set of standards. By applying these standards, we can shape and enhance our intuitions, leading to revised criteria. This iterative process continues until a harmonious equilibrium is reached between the phenomena we perceive as illusory and those that our theory designates as illusory. By aligning our intuitions with the conclusions of a theory, we can achieve a harmonious equilibrium. The interplay between practice and principles allows them to mutually influence and guide one another. This elucidates the rationale behind considering the illusory as a valuable concept.

Anyone with even a little familiarity with philosophy would have encountered the dream hypothesis. The dream hypothesis posits that our current state is one of being sleeping and dreaming, rather than being awake. Consequently, everything we perceive as occurring in the waking world is, in reality, unfolding within the realm of dreams.

I aim to explore a more expansive interpretation of this concept, which encompasses various hypotheses suggesting that our existence is actually a simulated reality. This simulation could be a product of our dreaming mind, or the result of a malevolent scientist manipulating our sedated body with electrical signals. It may also resemble the traditional brain-in-a-vat scenario or involve a different, currently unidentified method of presenting us with a fabricated world.

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I shall designate this as the deceit theory. The deception hypothesis is a combination of several theories that are mutually contradictory. All of them assert that we are prone to a pervasive misconception about the world surrounding us. The deception hypothesis encompasses various claims regarding the nature of our perception. These claims suggest that our current experiences may be akin to sights observed in a dream, or a complex hallucination.

Another possibility is that our perception of the external world is actually a script directly implanted into our brain by a deranged scientist, while our physical body remains unconscious in their laboratory. Alternatively, it is proposed that we may not have a physical body at all, but rather exist as a brain artificially stimulated in a container. Another belief is that we are a non-physical soul deceived by a powerful demon into believing that we possess a physical body in a material world. These are just a few examples of the deception hypothesis.