A Fairly Short Skepticism-Resistant Proof That You’re Not Living in a Digital Simulation.

By Robert Hanna

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You can also download and read or share the complete longer essay from which the short essay directly below has been extracted, “Caveat Lector: Six Investigations in The Philosophy of Reading,” HERE.

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1.You, the reader of this very sentence, can’t either coherently or self-consistently deny that it’s self-evidently true that you’re reading this very sentence.

2. Therefore, as soon as you’ve read sentence 1, then you have skepticism-resistant knowledge of it.

3. In order to read sentence 1, you have to be able to scan it from left to right, from right to left, from top to bottom, or from bottom to top, and also be able to tell the difference between sentence 1 and its mirror-reversed counterpart (aka its enantiomorph), as is self-evidently true when you look at this [boldfaced] version of sentence 1 —

1. You, the reader of this very sentence,

can’t either coherently or self-consistently

deny that it’s self-evidently true that

you’re reading this very sentence.

and then compare-&-contrast it with its enantiomorph, as depicted in the image at the top of this essay.

4. But necessarily, in order to be able to do those things, then you have to be a rational living animal that’s capable of consciousness, self-consciousness, sense perception, memory, imagination, conceptualization, judgment, inference, etc., and embedded in an egocentrically-centered, intrinsically directional (aka orientable) real space.

5. Therefore, you’re living in an orientable real space.

6. But, if you were living in a digital simulation (aka virtual reality), then you’d be living in a non-orientable digitally-encoded representation of an orientable real space, not in an orientable real space.

7. Therefore, you’re not living in a digital simulation. QED[i]

NOTE

[i] See also (Kant, 1992; Hanna, 2000, 2006: ch. 1, 2015: esp. chs. 2–3, 2016, 2022).

REFERENCES

(Hanna, 2000). Hanna, R. “The Inner and the Outer: Kant’s ‘Refutation’ Reconstructed.” Ratio 13: 146–174.

(Hanna, 2006). Hanna, R. Kant, Science, and Human Nature. Oxford: Clarendon/OUP. Also available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2015). Hanna, R. Cognition, Content, and the A Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 5. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Also available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2016). Hanna, R. “Directions in Space, Non-Conceptual Form, and the Foundations of Transcendental Idealism.” In D. Schulting (ed.), Kantian Nonconceptualism. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 99–115. Also available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2022). Hanna, R. “A Very Short Proof That Skepticism-Resistant Knowledge Exists.” Unpublished MS. Available on Against Professional Philosophy HERE.

(Kant, 1992). Kant, I. “Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space.” Trans. D. Walford and R. Meerbote. In Immanuel Kant: Theoretical Philosophy: 1755–1770. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. Pp. 365–372 (1768, Ak 2: 375–383).

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Mr Nemo

Mr Nemo

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.