out of what

  • The “evil demon problem“, also known as “Descartes’ evil demon”, was first proposed by René Descartes. It invokes the possibility of a being who could deliberately mislead one into falsely believing everything that you take to be true.
  • The “brain in a vat” hypothesis is cast in contemporary scientific terms. It supposes that one might be a disembodied brain kept alive in a vat and fed false sensory signals by a mad scientist. Further, it asserts that since a brain in a vat would have no way of knowing that it was a brain in a vat, you cannot prove that you are not a brain in a vat.
  • The “dream argument“, proposed by both René Descartes and Zhuangzi, supposes reality to be indistinguishable from a dream.
  • The “five minute hypothesis“, most notably proposed by Bertrand Russell, suggests that we cannot prove that the world was not created five minutes ago (along with false memories and false evidence suggesting that it was not only five minutes old).
  • The “simulated reality hypothesis” or “Matrix hypothesis” suggests that everyone, or even the entire universe, might be inside a computer simulation or virtual reality.
  • The “Solipsistic” theory that claims that knowledge of the world is an illusion of the Self.”



“For while quite young he asked the schoolteacher who was reading to him “Yea, first all Chaos came into being”, out of what Chaos came into being, if it came into being first. But when this man said that it was not his job, but that of those called philosophers, to teach such things, Epicurus said “Then I must get over to them, if they are the ones who know the truth about the things that there are.””

Sextus Empiricus – Against the Physicists


“I propose, however, in the remainder of this introductory chapter briefly to pursue the earlier method and to study the problem of knowledge. I do so partly because it is by that road that I have come myself to consider the larger task, and I cannot help thinking that a man is likely to be more persuasive if he follows the course of his own mental history; but secondly, and mainly, in order to do something to meet an objection which will inevitably be taken to the other procedure. You are about, it will be said, to examine empirically Space and Time and the various categories of experience.”

Space Time and Deity

Samuel Alexander (1859-1938)


“”God,” on the other hand, for Alexander is not a name for a not yet existing emergent quality, but stands for the whole universe as “pregnant” with Deity.”

Dorothy Emmet





“Gaia hypothesis the hypothesis that the earth, its living things, and its physical environments constitute a single self-regulating entity. In contrast to Darwinian theories of evolution, which hold that living things adapt themselves to the extant environment, the hypothesis suggests that the earth has adapted to, and been transformed by, the living things that are a part of it. This perspective has been influential in modern ecological movements but is rejected by mainstream scientists. The hypothesis is named for Gaia, the Earth, a primordial Greek goddess who emerged from Chaos. [formulated and named by British scientist James E. Lovelock (1919– )]”

APA dictionary of psychology
Gary R. VandenBos
Second Edition




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