The human brain generally fails to distinguish between signifier and signified. We have vague abstract words like “truth” but we fail to understand that the vagueness & abstraction are the consequences of our very limited cognitive faculties. Alas, we go on to assume we can search for embodiments of our vague abstractions. From Plato onward, humans have blundered into this error.

Now it seems we continue to make a related mistake, which is one of definition. There are, actually, objective facts such as: all objects will, in the absence of opposing forces, attract one another in proportion to their respective masses and this attraction attenuates in proportion to the square of the distance between them. Our description of how this happens may alter but the underlying phenomenon does not alter. This is the fundamental difference between empiricism and all other forms of purported investigation. This phenomenon does not depend on context and will occur regardless of whether or not its occurrence is acknowledged by anyone or anything. Nor will this phenomenon alter as human circumstances and contexts alter. There really is an objective universe out there, just as there really is an objective passing of time at 300,000km/s even though our personal subjective responses may vary from moment to moment and context to context.

This is why science works; were there no objective unchanging reality, we would be trapped forever in individual solipsisms. Much like being stuck in a philosophy class, in fact….

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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