Are things only what people and society determine them to be?

Are things only what people and society determine them to be?

[ 11/1/21 ]

While I align very closely with most of Alistair Riddoch’s answer, my simplest answer to the question is No.

Things are what they are.

We have some degrees of influence over our simplistic understanding of “things”, be those “things” physical or conceptual.

Most of the functioning of our brains seems to be set by patterns that are internally generated and maintained, and what passes for learning seems to a significant degree to be a process of aligning the already existing internal patterns with the stimuli from our senses. So there seem to be more layers in the process of human learning and cognition than most are taught in biology, psychology, AI or systems approaches.

And certainly, our brains have evolved because at some level they aided the survival of our ancestors in some sets of contexts. The thing that most forget to consider is that every other line of cells (bacteria to butterflies) has been around evolving for the same length of time on the same planet. The particular sets of contexts that resulted in brains with awarenesses such as we experience were the exception, not the rule.

Reality seems to be deeply more complex and fundamentally uncertain than any computational entity can appreciate in detail – ever!

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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