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Статья

What can the global observer know?

Constructivist Foundations. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 2. P. 227-237.

Context • Discussions related to the detection of objective reality, the truth and lie are still a heated topic in the domain of philosophical epistemology. While certain philosophical contexts and theories suggest that the notion “reality as an independent category” should not be engaged, instead, interpretations, including reciprocal, should be used, others hold it that philosophical discussion cannot continue without reference to the said notion. Different philosophers and scolars approach this problem from different angles, e.g., they attempt to find answers to such questions, as: whether realism can be applied in philosophy and science, how to localize and describe occurances correctly, whether or not ultimate knowledge exists, how our universe can be explained with the help of ontology of quantum physics, etc. When discussing these topics, philosophers often resort to certain thought experiments, engaging an important concept, which can broadly be identified as “the global observer.” This concept has something in common with such concepts as the God’s Eye (Putnam H.), Omniscient Interpreter (Davidson D.), Ultimate Observer (quantum physics), Agent of logical omniscience (game theories), Ideal Observer (ethics and meta-ethics), God (analytic theology). Despite the abundance of works on the topic and scrupulosity of arguments, there still remain many uncertainties in such discussions, mostly related to a great number of logical paradoxes, associated with the problem. Therefore, in view of the current situation, the focus of the research paper is on the deliberation of consistency of the notion “global observer” from the standpoint of logic and philosophy. The results of the analysis of the issue at stake are expected to clarify the notion and to enrich current discussions on the topic.  >Problem • I examine certain difficulties in the philosophical assumptions concerning one of the philosophical concepts, which could be collectively named as the “global observer.” The article below explores the notion of the global observer as the guarantor of the determinability and configuration of events in the world. There is explained the meaning of this concept and attempt to show that, despite variations in the wording, it is used in many philosophical contexts related to epistemology. The core issue of the present research paper is the analysis of the consistency of the notion “global observer” from the standpoint of logic and philosophy. The paper discusses why application of this notion in some contexts poses challenges and appears to be paradoxical. > Method • These are theoretical conceptual methods of argumentation, such as logical (deduction) and philosophical (phenomenology) kinds of proof. The key approach used in the present research is the engagement of thought experiments. > Results • The main result of the research is the idea that the notion of a global observer contains within itself a certain contradiction. This notion seems incoherent: “being global” and “being an observer” appear to be incompatible features.  In addition of this I prove a hypothesis according to which, from the standpoint of global observation, there are no events occurring in the world. It is also proved the indefiniteness of the world as a whole, related to the uninformedness of the global observer regarding the “true state of affairs.” The research shows, “global observation” turns out to be incompatible with the figure of the observer, blocking, as a result, the opportunity for a determinable configuration of events. In addition to this critical part the positive result of the research is that it would make sense to discuss only local observations, which are limited to mutual observation or introspections (Foerster 1981b; Luhmann 1990), and to not assume the existence of some absolute truth, reality, or the state of affairs beyond the local observations. > Constructivist content • One of the key aspects of constructivism is the role of the observer and observation. I share this perspective, but beyond that I try to open up some problematic consequences of the core philosophical assumptions of globally observing existence. Actively used Foerster`s and Luhmann`s idea that in fact we can only speak reasonably about local observations, leaving out the issue of an external reality. The reality is not external to the observer and is not independent of him/her; it is meaningless to talk about the reality prior to the observation and it is pointless to envision an observer before his/her meeting with the reality (Foerster & Poerksen 2002). > Implications • The paper could be productive for epistemic theories, theories of quantum physics and theories of non-classical logic.