The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes

The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes

by Donald Hoffman

Hardcover

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Overview

Can we trust our senses to tell us the truth?

Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman grapples with these questions and more over the course of this eye-opening work.

Ever since Homo sapiens has walked the earth, natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses to keep us alive and reproducing. We observe a speeding car and do not walk in front of it; we see mold growing on bread and do not eat it. These impressions, though, are not objective reality. Just like a file icon on a desktop screen is a useful symbol rather than a genuine representation of what a computer file looks like, the objects we see every day are merely icons, allowing us to navigate the world safely and with ease.

The real-world implications for this discovery are huge. From examining why fashion designers create clothes that give the illusion of a more “attractive” body shape to studying how companies use color to elicit specific emotions in consumers, and even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality, The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393254693
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 62,134
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Donald Hoffman is professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. His writing has appeared in Scientific American and Edge, and his work has been featured in the Atlantic, Wired, and Quanta. He resides in Irvine, California.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness 1

Chapter 2 Beauty: Sirens of the Gene 22

Chapter 3 Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun 40

Chapter 4 Sensory: Fitness Beats Truth 53

Chapter 5 Illusory: The Bluff of a Desktop 75

Chapter 6 Gravity: Spacetime Is Doomed 94

Chapter 7 Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld 115

Chapter 8 Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface 136

Chapter 9 Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business 155

Chapter 10 Community: The Network of Conscious Agents 178

Appendix Precisely: The Right to Be Wrong 203

Acknowledgments 207

Notes 209

Index 237

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