Re: Reality and other memes

Robin Faichney (
Sat, 10 Apr 1999 19:46:42 +0100

Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 19:46:42 +0100
From: Robin Faichney <>
Subject: Re: Reality and other memes
In-Reply-To: <>

In message <>, writes
>In a message dated 4/10/99 5:19:10 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
><< I don't "really" think reality is an illusion. Nor do I think the self
> is an illusion. Both are concepts, memes (as is "illusion"). Both are
> apparently intentional, in the philosophical sense of that word, i.e.
> they refer to something beyond themselves. My view is that, though
> these concepts are indubitably useful in many situations, neither will
> stand rigorous analysis. >>
>Yes, they are ABOUT something, or in other words they are representations.

Nope. There's a difference between reference and representation.
Representations are a subset of references, that in some sense "picture"
their referents. References in general do not do so.

>As far as representations are concerned, there is always some degree of
>analysis that they will not be able to withstand. This is true of all
>representations - not because they refer to illusions or unreality, but
>because no representation is perfect. The reason is because they are not and
>never will be identical to the thing represented.

This is all irrelevant because these memes are references, but not
representations. Far from being identical to it, a pointer need have no
structural similarity whatsoever to what it points at, and yet perform
its task perfectly. It is an interesting feature of intentionality that
the referent need not even exist. A classic example is Santa Claus.
Selves and reality are not quite like that, but neither are they like
"this table" -- they are neither entirely fictional, nor actual objects,
but concepts that gain what usefulness they have due to their
relationships with other concepts, rather than their reference to
anything non-conceptual. In other words, they function as components of

>>>What they refer to is, in neither case, a coherent entity.<<
>Certainly they refer to a complex entity, but I don't suppose the
>imperfection of the representation to indicate the unreality of the thing

I said these referents are not "coherent". That is not equivalent to
saying they're "complex".

>>>The real/illusory dichotomy is far too crude to appear in any serious
>I think it can be made uncrude for appropriate purposes...

In other words, reality vs. illusion is context-dependent, a matter of
pragmatics, which is exactly what I said. Thanks for your support.

Robin Faichney

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