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Let's say there is a person, who is logical, but also afraid of deception to the point of paranoia.

How would this person know to trust their senses if they were randomly transported to a fantasy world(i.e. Middle Earth, Alagaësia, Oz, etc.)?

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    $\begingroup$ Read "Descartes' Meditations." Basically a entirely logical person would realize that ever trusting one's senses is founded on an entirely and absolutely baseless assumption. At some point the character just has to want to be able to trust his senses, and begin to trust them, as we all do. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Jul 15 '16 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @NexTerren so the answer would be, there isn't any way to know. Interesting. I'll read the book. $\endgroup$ – Areeb Jul 15 '16 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @NexTerren it's a little more complicated than that, but your summary works for assessing the question. Descartes was looking for an absolutely true state of knowledge, and came to the conclusion that the only provably true thing is awareness of the self, as all sensations can be falsified. This is doubly true in a fantasy seeing where illusions exist. One wouldn't be paranoid, just massively skeptical. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jul 15 '16 at 0:52
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There is actually no need to be in different world. You have exactly the same problem in our world. And it is core problem of epistemology and the scientific method. There are whole books written about this problem. I would say this should go to philosophy forum than worldbuilding one.

First, you can never be absolutely sure. Yeah, you can do experiment thousands of times, and always get the same result, but there is not a guarantee that next time will be the same. So rational people assume that if you can reproduce results with high probability, then you can say you know how things work. (simple explanation)

This assumes that you can trust your senses. If you think there is a possibility that your brain is just wired up to a computer and all you experience is just electrical signals fed to it, then any semblance of confidence goes out of window. You can do anything and justify it in any way you seem fit.

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  • $\begingroup$ So like Nex Terren said, there is no way to be certain and one should just go along with it. I'd expected that there would be a more concrete answer, but since everyone here pointed out that senses can be manipulated convincingly, there isn't one. Interesting. $\endgroup$ – Areeb Jul 15 '16 at 23:59
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Either this stuff is real happening and he should trust his senses or it not and crazy trapped in a white room. If that the cause then he should just go along with the illusion because it has to be mush more interesting and fun then what reality he lives in.

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The question actually isn't whether it is an illusion, but whether it is better to act as if it were real, or as if it were an illusion.

Assuming that reality can kill you, but an illusion cannot, in general it may be better to act as if what you experience is real, just in case that it is. Of course if you suspect someone may create the illusion in order to get you to do something you don't want to do, then this possibility should also be considered in your decisions. Also even if not an intentionally created illusion, you might consider that if you experience an illusion, your actions might cause things you don't want (for example, if you kill a person you love because you've got the illusion it is a dragon attacking you).

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