Are Possible Worlds Really Real?
To avoid misunderstanding or confusion, I should start with my understanding of the definitions. What do we mean the possible worlds? Simply saying is more than one world that are possibly happen/ exist, those worlds can be similar to or different from the conceivable and perceivable world that I am existing in BUT these worlds must be consistent with the laws of logic. Real existing as a thing, occurring as a fact (Oxford dictionary).
Are we talking about same possible worlds?
If there are other possible worlds exist, then, What are these possible worlds about? Where are these? Your possible worlds are same as mine? Give an example, this morning Mark asked me (Ricco) to enjoy French dinner with him tonight, in evening his girl friend called him for date, finally Mark changed mind and broke the appointment with me.
In the world that both Mark and I exist and experience, we didn’t meet each other (Mark went for date and I took dinner alone), but unquestionably we believe we are in the same real world because all the events logically occurring. One saying is that Mark and I in the same world having its own time and space . I am not sceptical about truthfulness of this world because we can connect/ communicate with each other with no error of incompatible ‘time’ and ‘space’.
However, it has another possibility that I had dinner with Mark. Because it didn’t happen in my world, I consider it as another possible world which is out of my conscious experience. How do I know this possible world is real?
At late night, Mark called me and apologized, I told Mark about the delicious French food, we started to talk about that famous French restaurant. Both of us imagine the scene(s) of having French dinner together, scenario(s) immediately came to our brains. Although we talked about the same restaurant, same atmosphere, same decoration, same food and same people, I can’t verify my input and process of imagination is 100% identical with Mark’s imagination, therefore the output the scenario(s) of having French dinner may not be identical also.
If Mark and I are in another same possible world, all the scenario(s) must be perfectly 100% identical, otherwise we are just talking about the same range of possible worlds BUT not same possible world. Inside Mark’s scenario, he may started the escargoes at 7:10pm, but inside my scenario, I started it at 7:11pm, also how slight difference of candelas can be. Obviously, Mark’s possible world is non-identical to mine.
I cannot deny that it has possibility that Mark’s imagination and output (scenario) can 100% identical with mine. Despite my usual experience that it is extremely rare we can match all physical, physiological and psychological elements to produce identical output (scenario). I asked myself ‘How can I examine Mark’s possible world is whether same as mine?’. My answer is I don t know because I cannot find any effective tools to verify Mark s imagination: By imagination? By Drawing? These tools have weaknesses that may not produce accurate findings. By reason? What can be the reason?
I don’t know what exactly Mark’s possible world is, with the same reason, Mark shouldn’t know what exactly my world is. Up to here, there has no reasonable ground I can convince myself that Mark’s and I are talking about same possible world EXCEPT the one that both of us had consciously experienced (Mark went for date and I took dinner alone). The fact is most of the time, we might talk about similar but non-identical possible worlds.
Can possible worlds be real?
From the example, I can’t find direct/ indirect relationship between Mark’s possible worlds and my possible worlds, even though those possible worlds are exist. If there is no relationship in-between our possible worlds, then it means our possible worlds are personally individualized n every one can possess her own possible worlds. Without Mark, I can have my own possible worlds and vice versa.
I asked myself again:
Mark and I exist in the same world with conscious experience and holding individualized possible worlds. How is the system (if any) operate?
If possible worlds are personally individualized, how can a world external to one s own mind does exist? What would the truth of metaphysics?
Are all possible worlds of us are unreal? Pure illusion? So it sounds more logical and reasonable?
If possible worlds are real, how can we discover these out of our conscious experience?
If possible worlds are real, what are the contents? Why there are good worlds full of joy, bad worlds full of misery, and mixture of good and bad? Is there any law or principle to control their running? If there is an ultimate law or principle, What is it? Why is it? Who created it?
At here, I am stuck in the mud! I try to find reasonable explanations:
Is it occasionally (coincidence) one of Mark’s possible world interact with one of my possible worlds at same ‘time’ and ‘space’ producing conscious experience to both of us?
If possible worlds are personally individualized, a world external to one s own mind should not exist. The notion no existence outside minds can be established. I aware that it must be some errors of the above example. The errors may because of the underlying assumption that Mark and I being the subject (the nucleus/ center of different possible worlds).
Now, let s look from an different angle, there was the date without human beings on earth but Dinosaurs, no one should deny that the world without human beings, human body, human mind or perception CAN be a possible world. Of course, there shouldn’t had any definition of Dinosaurs or meaning at all. In this case, the underlying assumption will be different: all the things in the world (including human beings) are objects.
Another big question raised: If human is just one of the objects in the world, then, Are we only part of the nature? Do we possess ultimate control? Or we are fundamentally have no freewill (determined)?
Assuming human beings is the subject now, if all other possible worlds are unreal, then Mark and I MUST have to participate in only one real world. But How do I know other possible worlds are unreal or just my pure illusion? How do I know the world I think I am exist is real but not a logical dream?
Firstly, I believe I am not living in a logical dream. It is because all events occurring logically and possibly without discontinuation. Also, I have five senses working simultaneously sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. In my experience, all my dreams missing some senses and most of the scenarios did not happen in logical sequence and sometimes impossible. I don t see any reason that I am living in a dream. In here, I don t take into account the mysterious possibility of being tricked by evil, because I am incapable to prove it.
Although I have enough reasons to believe the world I am existing is real, how can I examine whether other possible worlds are unreal? Based on the same underlying assumption, I am the subject/ center/ nucleus of possible worlds, without me, there should be no other possible worlds. If I am unreal (I cannot exist in my world and other possible worlds at same time), then other possible worlds should be unreal.
Now I switch to another assumption: I am only a part of the nature. The existing world with me is real, without me (one object) can be real. Consider other possible worlds, with or without also possibly to be real. The problem is I don t have any evidence to prove either real or unreal.
If other possible worlds are real, then we have chance to discover these worlds; if possible worlds are unreal, we can never discover. In usual experience, we discover possibilities by picturing them in our imagination. In fact, imagination is not reliable. It is because:
Imagination can be wrong and technically impossible to occur.
To imagine, you must have materials/ elements for create imagination in your mind. It implies the limitation of imagination, there is something you can never imagine.
Without imagination, possible worlds may still possibly exist under certain assumption as we have discussed in above. If you deny that, you have to agree with no existence outside minds .
In the above example, either Mark or I can hold back our decisions and take the alternative choice again (dinner together). Therefore, by our conscious experience is also impossible to prove the existence of other possible worlds. There is another possible way to prove possible worlds are really real, it is to climb across the border from one possible world to others time machine.
This question can drive me mad, so I decide to stop here and open the books to find necessary materials. I hope I can find the most rational, reasonable and convincing explanation or answer in the future.
© Ricco Leung 2014