Altera: Appearance and Reality

Appearance and Reality

Is there any knowledge in Altera that is so certain that no reasonable Nook could deny it?

Lets begin with Nook’s sense of sight. They see the weights of the discrete objects surrounding them. Can they be certain of their sensory knowledge?

In our world, we describe the appearance of objects using vague language. We say an object is red, but what we mean is the object is red under usual lighting conditions. Apart from describing our personal sensory experiences, it is difficult to state much about the “color” of the physical object. Precisely describing the object’s color and appearance would require knowledge of our current scientific theory.

We sense particles in our universe slowly and in aggregate. This may be because our minds and sense organs are constructed out of particles too. Perhaps, to achieve the complex structure required for conscious sensing, our minds and senses must operate above the dimension of particles.

The Nook’s sense of sight is simpler than ours, and it is embedded in the Alteran physical laws. The complexity of Nook minds can increase without requiring them to increase in space or using more resources. For this reason, it is possible that highly evolved, concious Nooks would still be aware of their bare sensory input.

It is also possible that they would not be aware of their immediate sensory input. Perhaps, like is likely in our universe, it is not evolutionarily beneficial to be aware of small details like this, and their minds abstract and condense their sensory input for their minds to consider and react to.

Since Nook’s physical size is fixed, I suspect that even highly evolved Nooks will continue to be aware of the discrete locations in Altera, but I can imagine their minds blending many individual sets of 7x7 weights sensed at each timestep, into larger views. This would be similar to how our eyes, visual cortex, abstract objects. Optical illusions occur when these abstractions occur at a low level in our sensory chain, causing us to perceive things that are not there.

If this sort of abstraction were to occur, the