For me, “objective reality” is the reality in itself (noumena) coming in contact with the neurons of our brains through our senses, which senses (once altered by the “signals” received) our conscious mind observes as “appearances” of reality, as phenomena. That is the best we can do. But still, this reality is “objective” to us since it represents “objects” present in space and time.
Consciousness here is “[a phenomenon arising] from the interaction of physical and cognitive processes in the brain.” (Daniel Dennett) So, the only things we are “conscious of” are the “physical processes” happening in our brains, the “appearances” of reality, which we perceive as “ourselves” living in space and time. These same processes also occurred in the mind of “animals,” but since none of them has conceptualized space and time, they all live in the instant and react instinctively to the signals they receive at each of these instants.
While replying to your comment, I came in contact with the “binding problem,” which my theory, De evolutionibus res naturas, explain by exposing how our brain transmits sound to our consciousness. It goes like this:
Let’s say, for example, that we are in a concert hall listening to an orchestra rendering Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. What is delivered by the orchestra is not sound but organized motion produced by instruments activated by the energy present in the musicians. Here, “energy” and “motion” are important notions because this is what, to answer your question, the “objective reality” is made off: Energy and Motion, as in E=mc².
Here we can say beyond the iota of a doubt that if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, THERE IS NO SOUND BUT ONLY MOTIONS, which are chaotic in this case. Thus the “CRACK-BANG” we hear when we are in proximity.
Here too, in our example of the orchestra playing Beethoven, the waves that come to us in the hall are not “sound waves,” but atmospheric waves, which our inner ears transform into electrical and chemical signals transmitted by the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex. Where each neuron is activated (motion) by specific signals altogether organized in mathematical patterns. Mathematical patterns which our consciousness perceives as the symphony once present in Beethoven’s mind…
Animals, not being conscious of what is happening in their brains but of what is happening in the outside world, are thus not confronted with this binding problem. If the signals they receive from the outside world is significant to them, they react instinctively as they have in their evolution; if these signals are not significant for them, they don’t respond. This is why animals are defined by the environment in which they live, while we define ours. Animals react to their environment using the somatic resources that evolution has given them, we transform ours using the “exosomatic” tools that our power of imagination (the consciousness of our inner world) allows us to produce. (I will explain in my dissertation why and how this consciousness of our inner world, our individual selves, had to happen in order for us to survive in the Savannah.
My theory also explains in evolutionary terms Kant’s” transcendental idealism.” For Kant, the notions (space and time) necessary to understand our sensibility are present “a priori” in our brain. For me, what we first “transcended” when entering the Savannah was our animal nature, the information present in our genes. It is then that the many first “proto-scientists” understood, on many occasions while becoming Homo, that there were “objects” out there that we could use to defend ourselves against the danger of the Savannah. It is then that, for the first time, the notions of space and time became fundamental for our understanding.
I have a hypothesis: The Security-Stick Hypothesis, synthesizing the Climate and Savannah hypotheses, which shows why and how this could have happened by “Chance and Necessity” (Jacques Monod). It is then that nurture became essential to our nature because it is these notions of space and time that we still now unconsciously transmit to our offsprings while raising them. Feral children never ‘objectify” reality, not having lived in a post-partum “social womb” where the mind of human beings is conceived…in space and time. It indeed takes us a minimum of two years to become self-conscious individuals (cf terrible twos), and teachers afterward to become well-adapted human beings (Cf Helen Keller, who became deaf and blind at 18 months, after having developed her “self.” The notion which allowed her to become a well-adapted human being after having met a teacher who made her understand that objects have a name.)
That is why all of science is wrong at the moment because the essence of human nature is still founded on notions of space and time that quantum mechanics has shown us to be wrong:
“There are few ideas that, like our notion of time, shape our thinking about literally everything, with major implications for physics and beyond—from climate change to the economic crisis.” Lee Smolin, Time Reborn.
The beauty and the curse of human knowledge are that it often doesn’t have to be completely right to be useful. That’s why, if it works, it’s hard for us to see why and how it might be wrong. Zat Rana
For millions of years, the notions of space and time were not conscious but inherent in our understanding. It is only 30,000 years ago, while we were representing on cave walls objects that we had perceived somewhere else in space, that we first intuit, unconsciously again, that “space” existed as the background of our reality. (surely, our forebears were as amazed when looking at these simple paintings, if not more, as we are now going to the cinema.) And it is only 15,000 later that we unconsciously again intuited” time” while understanding that what we planted in one season could be harvest in a later one. And it is only with the birth of science that these notions of space and time essential to our understanding became objective concepts to us… but wrong, as will propose in my PhD dissertation, De evolutionibus res naturas: An attempt to save the world from science’s and philosophy’s “plagiarism of their own past”:
“It needs but half an eye to see in these latter days that science, the Grand Revelator of modern Western culture, has reached, without having intended to, a frontier. Either it must bury its dead, close its ranks, and go forward into a landscape of increasing strangeness, replete with things shocking to a culture-trammeled understanding, or it must become, in Claude Houghton’s expressive phrase, the plagiarist of its own past.” Benjamin Lee Whorf,(1956) Language, Thought, and Reality. The M. I. T. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In passing, we can speculate that space was first recognized by males while time by females. Males were painting deep in caves images of their hunts, which had already happened somewhere else in space. And females perceived the passage of time later while noticing the same stages of growth in all their children and the appearance of harvestable vegetation where they had buried seeds in an earlier season. Evidence of these suppositions could be seen today in men (linear beings) being reluctant to ask for directions and in women (cyclical) never forgetting…
Those are speculations stemming from my theory, which is a GToE a General Theory of Everything. You can take them with a grain of salt. This is not as well organized and to the point as it would be if I were a specialist addressing other specialists. But I am not. I am an outsider, a generalist of science, an anthropologist of knowledge, who developed through his life while visiting many specialized domains in 8 colleges and universities, a Theory, again, based on an original conception of time affecting human knowledge in its entirety.
“A macroscope is to the infinitely complex, what a telescope is to the infinitely great, and a microscope, to the infinitely small.” Joel de Rosnay, Le macroscope (1979)
PS I am 75 years young man, going on 20. (See Jürgen Lawrenz’s comment on my telling him that he forgot, what is for me the most significant paradigm shift of humanity, the Copernican revolution.) I still have much to do but not much time to do it. This is not a good sign for humanity since I may own many crucial answers but do not have much time to present them to specialists and professional philosophers who tend to see me as a quack… Here is my curriculum of studies:
My second general BA was undertaken intentionally to find out as a generalist what is wrong with specialists that they cannot use the knowledge that they have to solve the problems created by progress. This, after having read Buckminster Fuller’s saying that:
“…of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking,” (Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth),
and after being secured in this way of thinking by Konrad by Konrad Lorentz’s saying that:
“Specialists, by knowing ever more and more about less and less, will finish knowing everything about nothing” (Behind the Mirror).
It is the theory which decides what we can observe.
Scientific theory do not spring on stage fully developed, with their range fully established and with their empirical credentials in hand. They may begin as the recommendation of an alternative kind of answer to traditional questions or from the recognition of new questions in need of an answer. They develop historically, often in ways unimagined by the originators.
Merrilee H. Salmon