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A question about describing reality and other things.


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I wanted to ask if there is an equation out there that describes what is real and what is not. Sort of like a ''mathematical backbone'' that can separate reality from an illusion. Is there such a thing in physics or is it just an individuals point of view?

 

 

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I am guessing you've recently learned about the simulation theory of reality and are looking for a genuine answer to the question, and because of your general, and probably limited, knowledge of physics and mathematics (God knows I want and need to grow mine further still) you feel there is probably an answer hidden in a textbook somewhere and you've thought somethings along the lines of "Maybe one of the guys on a forum dedicated to science has read the answer, but it's just not well known".

 

Hate to break it to you, but a moment of critical thought about the idea would reveal that no, there is no such answer and there couldn't be.

 

First of all, let's break down your question,

 

I wanted to ask if there is an equation out there that describes what is real and what is not. Sort of like a ''mathematical backbone'' that can separate reality from an illusion. Is there such a thing in physics or is it just an individuals point of view?

 

I first want to point out embedded in your question is another question about the definition of real, existence, and imagination. We can all agree that the building that the senate uses does exist, but in what sense does the senate exist? When you see the building, do you see the senate, or just the building it uses? When you walk in, and watch the votes, are you seeing the senate, or just a bunch of guys in a room? When someone casts a vote, does the vote exist, is it synonymous with a scratch of graphite on a piece of paper, or does the vote hold something which the graphite doesn't?

 

Embedded in all those questions, and more, are the questions "What does it mean for something to exist?" and "What does it mean for something to reasoned about?". Neither of said questions has an easy answer, nor an agreed upon answer by all people everywhere. Your answer to those questions actually reveals a lot about who you are as a person, not to mention the scale and depth of your thought and consideration for such matters.

 

Moving on...

 

 

I wanted to ask if there is an equation out there that describes what is real and what is not. Sort of like a ''mathematical backbone'' that can separate reality from an illusion. Is there such a thing in physics or is it just an individuals point of view?

 

Assuming for a moment that we did have a perfect answer for the previous section, one that we could all agree on and was definitely correct (Spoiler: nope), it's clear you have litter understanding of what an equation really even is.

 

Generally an equation is a statement of equality, one thing is the same as, or similar to, another. [latex]a=a[/latex] not because it's just some axiom we take to be true, nor just because math wouldn't work without it, but because reason itself would not exist. Oh sure we can always add extra layers of complexity to our answer, and say things like either this thing is true, OR we get something we don't like or it isn't very sensible, or we have to throw away this whole other thing that we also really like, but at the end of the day, those answer boil down to it is or there is no reason to be found here.

 

With that in mind, you want to basically know if there is an equation that looks like this: [latex] T = exist?(thing) [/latex], where T is the logical value True, and only things that do exist will satisfy the equation, and things that don't will result in a contradiction, much in the same way that only answers to [latex]y=x[/latex] are points on a straight line at 45 degrees to the x-axis.

 

So this part comes back to the previous section, you must first define what it is for something to even be real before you can even write an 'equation' to answer that for us.

 

I wanted to ask if there is an equation out there that describes what is real and what is not. Sort of like a ''mathematical backbone'' that can separate reality from an illusion. Is there such a thing in physics or is it just an individuals point of view?

 

Eh, I was going to continue, but at this point, all of the rest of what I can say would either be extremely presumptuous or simply "you still have to answer that first question before you can even move on" and I am bored now, so I am done.

Edited by Mathematical
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