CCC wrote: If “sound” is to be defined as a specific arrangement of neural firings, that’s fine… but that specific arrangement of neural firings, that cognitive picture, still exists, and is about as real as Windows, or Linux.
I guess we need a common definition as to what we mean by real. Let me concede that sound is real in a sense that it is a particular pattern of neuronal firing. This is close enough to what I want to argue – that sound is an experience.
CCC wrote:“Sound” can also be defined as the vibrations in the air. In that case, it is still there if no-one is there to hear it…
This definition of sound has problems. You can create sound without air pressure waves, using a cochlear implant, for instance, which generates the electrical inputs at the nerve endings in your ears. And, just because there are pressure waves doesn’t mean that there is sound – if you are deaf, or if you are asleep and so on. So you have to agree with me that sound is an experience – real or not.
My argument is not so much about what sound is. Rather, that it is not pressure waves. Sound is, in fact, a far cry from the underlying physical cause of pressure waves.
Now the next step – space is the experience associated with seeing. Is there any logical reason why space would be any different from sound? Space has to be an experience, a specific neural pattern rather than the underlying reality out there.
True we seem to get confirming sensory signals from our other “lesser” senses about the reality of space. But our brain has to do it that way in order to avoid sensory conflict and the consequent disorientation. Which is probably why bats don’t use their eyes while echolocating…
The next question about the reality of air pressure waves and light… may be in the next post?
Leo wrote:In the end we might discover that light travels at c only when we use it, otherwise it is instantaneous. Just kidding, eh…
Though this was a bit of tongue-in-cheek, this is quite close to what SR does. SR maps the speed of light to infinity. Let me explain what I mean by that. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the speed of light is infinity. What would that imply? It would mean that nothing could go faster than the speed of light. It would take an infinite energy to reach the speed of light. If you add or subtract anything to the speed of light, it wouldn’t change. IOW, the speed of light would be a constant in all frames of reference. If something did go at the speed of light, it would reach from A to B in no time, time stands still. And, more importantly, what we see (our perceived reality) would be what is really out there (the underlying reality). Doesn’t this neatly summarize SR? (I mean the coordinate transformation part, not the covariance of Maxwell’s equations part.)
Now, in order to do the mapping, Einstein used a radar-like round-trip paradigm. That’s why I thought the space-time in echolocation would be identical to SR. In our case, we don’t send out the light ray to see an object, we merely perceive the light emitted by the object. (That’s why I said SR is only slightly wrong ) The reason Einstein had to do it the way he did was that he was seeking a linear transformation. The light travel time transformations aren’t linear.
You are right, I’m rewriting more and more of my book here. I don’t mind as long as I have time.