Seeing is believing…but believing what? Reality: virtual vs veridical

The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum

philosophy forum time lapse style image of night sky with silhouette of figure and tress in the foreground
This is a past event
Date and time
3 October 2023
7.00 pm
From £3 (non-members)


What is reality? Is it exactly how it looks, sounds and feels to us?  In other words, is our perception veridical?  Perhaps.  But there are compelling reasons for thinking otherwise.

Perceiving the world is not like taking holiday pics.  So if our perception doesn’t tell us the way reality ‘really’ is, what does it tell us?  Many neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers think perception is virtual: it gives us only the representations of reality we need for survival.

At this Forum, presented by Christopher Burke, we will explore a version of this theory proposed by Donald Hoffman, a world-renowned professor of cognitive studies.  Welcome to the world of fitness-payoffs and interfaces!

This is the first Forum of a double bill on metaphysics.  The second session, Conscious Realism, follows on from this one and takes place on Thursday 2nd November. It deals with Hoffman’s view of what the reality behind our perceptions actually is.  His startling conclusion is that it is not physical but just pure consciousness!   Each topic can be considered independently, but they enhance one another.

Good to know: We take pride in putting the fun back into serious philosophy through our friendly and respectful discussions involving different levels of experience of philosophy.  The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is all about collectively exploring interesting and exciting ideas from different viewpoints … not winning arguments!

The focus paper Seeing is believing should be read before the Forum to enrich and guide our discussions. You’ll get a lot more about of the discussions if you read the paper beforehand.

We are usually oversubscribed, so if you book but find out later that you cannot attend, please cancel your ticket to free up a place for someone else. Thank you.

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