Talk:Consensus reality

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(Who Coined)[edit]

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Truly, Karen Marie Romero —Preceding unsigned comment added by Karenmarieromero (talkcontribs) 20:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

From the article:

Steven Leibowitz has coined the term "conframe" to refer to consensus reality or some aspect of it.

Who's he? Why doesn't Google have any hits on it?

See this. Admittedly to me this is a lot of jargon but for what it's worth. I am unsure to what if any extent this should be acknowledged/discussed in the article. --Daniel C. Boyer

Who coined "consensus reality"? In what contexts is it used?

I don't know who coined the phrase, but Andre Breton (for example), used it. --Daniel C. Boyer

The article claims "idealist, surrealist and other anti-realist" theorists use it. I'm familiar with many idealist and anti-realist philosophers, but this is the first I've heard this phrase. Do you mean that it's used, perhaps, among art theorists?

We aren't on "surrealism is an artistic movement" again, are we? --user:Daniel C. Boyer

I wouldn't know about that. One thing I do know is that most idealists and anti-realists (who actually deserve the name) would scoff at the suggestion that their theory involves regarding "consensus reality" as "false." (How can a reality be false? You mean beliefs about reality, perhaps.)

Obviously. Reread the first sentence and notice, among other things, the quotation marks around "reality." --Daniel C. Boyer 16:59 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

Anyway, this article confuses me because I really don't know who is being said to say all these things.

Also, who coined "reality enforcement" and in what context is it used?

--Larry Sanger

(Reality Enforcement) - Is it about Cognitive liberty?[edit]

the reference to operation terra was sneaky and dangerouse as the site takes the reader on a voyage of brainwashing before leading to the idea of meeting groups to talk about ways to transend this world, eventually leading to suicides. this needs further investigation —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

The theory is open to criticism on the basis that "reality enforcement," on its face, cannot exist, as "enforcement" would play no part in a reality that exists a priori.

What does this even mean? Martin 23:08 May 13, 2003 (UTC)

That if reality exists or existed independently of the human mind or any human actions, one couldn't talk about "reality enforcement," because reality would just exist and wouldn't need to be enforced. For example, if The Matrix were real, it would have no need to employ Agent Smith. --Daniel C. Boyer
I don't think that logically follows. Consensus reality is "the "reality" accepted by the majority of individuals in a given place or at a given time". A consensus reality can exist completely independently of objective reality - in 1984, the consensus reality is that they have always been at war with Eastasia/Eurasia. 1984 has reality enforcers in the shape of thought police to enforce this consensus reality. All this has no bearing on the objective reality of the situation. Martin
You fundamentally misunderstand what I am saying and to some extent agree with me. Clearly the only need for reality enforcers would be if the consensus reality does not conform to the objective reality of the situation; the job of the "reality enforcers" (maybe it could be better understood as a sort of confusing shorthand for "enforcers of the consensus reality") would be meaningless if there were a complete correspondence of the consensus reality and the objective reality. --Daniel C. Boyer
What about in the following situation: a few people from an advanced culture get shipwrecked on an island of "primitives". They try to educate the primitives that, for example, the earth goes round the sun. The primitives agree with this, not least because the advanced folk have guns. So the consensus reality now matches the objective reality. But', if the advanced folk depart, the primitives may quickly revert to their old belief that the sun goes round the earth. Hence, the advanced folk act as reality enforcers, even though the reality they are enforcing is the objective reality. Martin
Seems to me that consensus enforcers would better describe them.--Dell Adams 07:46, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
"Reality enforcers" is a familiar term to be that I've heard used by multiple authors and speakers. While I agree that "consensus enforcers" would be more descriptive, I don't think it would be appropriate here if it's something you personally came up with. Archaeoptryx
In reference to Wikipedia's entry:
An interesting entry defining consensus reality, although I do feel it is rather biased in favor of current theories. I wouldn't necessarily expect this from an encyclopedia, which should espouse definitions as close to impartiality as possible. Consensual reality can be considered in terms of the end product of thousands of years of cultural/ social evoluton, not to mention the findings of the scientific culture/ community. And it must be remembered that science itself, and all the theories it advocates, continue to be modified according to new developments in any given field. As a species we do not yet have all the answers, and many of the most common, everyday phenomenon are still poorly understood despite the great efforts made to bring total comprehension to a subject. There is very good reason why psychology is referred to as a soft science; our innermost processes are still poorly understood, making a concept such as consensual reality even more difficult to grasp. There is still a great deal of discovery to be made in this field (psychology) before a definitive definition of the subject at hand can be presented. I mention this in reference to the author's attempt to discredit other theories of consensus reality, when the currently accepted theories are themselves matters of debate.

(Scientific community)[edit]

>Consensual reality can be considered in terms of the end product of thousands of years of cultural/ social evoluton, not to mention the findings of the scientific culture/ community.

This is incorrect. The phrase "consensus reality" applies specifically to the consensus or agreed-upon -- here by mutual belief -- reality and can be used to refer to objective reality as opposed to the ravings of a deranged or insane individual whose reality is outside of the consensus.

The findings of the scientific community tend to affect only the consensus of the scientific community overtly. Whereas this may have an impact upon the consensus reality among scientists, it is not necessarily so for the general consensus reality.

(Alan C. Walter)[edit]

"(It should be noted Alan C. Walter uses the phrase "reality enforcers" in a highly idiosyncratic way..." Who is Alan C. Walter? GangofOne 07:25, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Spot of humor[edit]

Wikipedia talk pages shouldn't be abused, but nothing wrong with livening things up a bit... I came upon an excellent comment on about this type of thing:

I offer this argument to those who state "You create your own reality." 
I kick them in the shin. 
Then say, "Why did you do that?"

Just thought it was funny :) - JustinWick 02:23, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't tend to hang out around the sort of people who kick me in the shins. So I guess I am smart enough to not do that. :) (talk) 00:13, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

(Lack of References)[edit]

Since I wrote the main body of text for this entry, I guess I should offer an explanation for why it lacks references. I did not, BTW, write the paragraph that talks about Objectivists or any of the material below the Contents box.

This explanation of consensus reality reflects my own personal understanding, though informed to some extent by the various concepts I gave links to within the text. As I hope I made clear, there is no overall agreement about what the term consensus reality refers to, and I tried my best to present the different POVs that I'm aware of without prejudice against any of them. However, since I am merely an unpublished 'freethinker,' so to speak, I can offer no reference or validation for my definition. In fact, my own understanding of the nature of reality is sufficiently different from mainstream thinking that I wouldn't expect it to appear in any publication.

I suppose, in a way, if there is lack of enthusiasm for this definition of consesnsus reality, then that in itself helps support my premise that one group's consensus reality might not be valid for everyone, even if that group includes 99% of the people.

It equally supports the idea that there is one reality and people just have different ideas about it. We can characterise varying viewpoints as different "realities" -- the question is whether we must or should.1Z 22:58, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, I posted this definition quite a while ago and, except for the addition of the paragraph on the Objectivist POV, hasn't been altered as far as I can see, so I imagine it's been satisfactory to those who've ventured onto the page during this time.

Manjusri053 05:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

While your contribution is, I think, interesting and valuable, Wikipedia does not allow original research. I am tagging it appropriately.Skomorokh 18:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Sigh... sometimes I wish reality were of the kind where my most loosely written conjecture from pop culture hypotheses resulting in a contradiction in terms was always termed original research. In other words, I think Skomorokh is much too kind.

I agree that there is a lack of references, especially ones that provide for composing a section named "Consensus reality in science and philosophy".

The article seems a copy-paste of [1], also citing no sources in those disciplines.

Perhaps, since the bulk of the concept seems to be 'dealing with shame' (rather than to be related to metaphysical descriptions of reality) better luck for sources may be found in sociology and psychology nee psychotherapy[2]. I'm sorry for not providing good refs, most of what I get is blogs and forum threads. HenrikErlandsson (talk) 21:18, 8 December 2012 (UTC)


This paragraph gives me pause:

"In considering the nature of reality, two broad approaches exist: the materialist approach, in which there is a single objective overall space-time reality believed to exist irrespective of the perceptions of any given individual, and the solipsistic approach, in which it is considered that an individual can verify little except their own experience of the world, and can never directly know the truth of the world separate from that."

I think this description is conflating ontology with epistemology. In principle one could be both a materialist and a solipsist (as descibed here) by saying "I believe that an objective reality exists, but obtaining certain knowledge about it is not possible". I'm debating whether to change the solipsism link to metaphysical solipsism, which is an ontological viewpoint, or just re-wording the description of solipsism to something like "[in solipsism] the universe has no existence independently from the individual's mind". Or both. Thoughts? — Xaonon (Talk) 21:37, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

That same paragraph gave me pause too, but for a different reason. I don't want to get off-topic, but I've had some minimal experience with astral projection. Therefor, I don't believe in materialism, but I don't believe in solipsism either. I believe that the physical and astral planes are objective realities, regardless of our subjective experiences. I would argue that most people, as well as most major world religions, would adhere to neither materialism nor solipsism.

Change as reality[edit]

"Just as a person's personal view could be Idealist internally so can a society's view be Idealist externally and just as a persons reality can change so can a society's reality change. Is the world flat? Is it round or oval? Does the sun revolve around the earth, the center of the universe? We currently have new beliefs but are they true today? Is Pluto still a planet? Social and personal realities are in constant change and as such can never be real, the only reality is change.Change as reality"

This seems to be WK:OR, is vague, and unsuitable for an encyclopedia article as it asks questions instead of answering them.1Z 22:53, 14 January 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the template be {{sprotected}}? I considered changing it myself with a pithy edit summary like "that the other template was false is self-evident" but decided it's best, as a non-admin, to be careful around administrative tags like that. --Random832(tc) 14:28, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Human Consensus Reality and other[edit]

This distinction, mentioned at should be included in article, but I'm not sure where. --Daniel C. Boyer 18:52, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Just Dump It[edit]

This entry is a disaster. It's a tangle of confusions. The very phrase "consensus reality" encourages the conflation of (a) what is real and (b) what is thought to be real. What we basically have here is an entry that is based on a confusion which then pervades the whole thing.

Seriously. The best thing to do with this entry is just delete it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm going to agree that this article is trash. The word ontology isn't even mentioned once, and the only time it appears in discussion (and I agree here) is when the article is rightly criticized for conflating metaphysical issues with epistemological issues. The juncture of these two issues cannot be dealt with without significant background information - essentially this would have to be a highly technical article that would only be accessible to scholars/academics anyway. In order for the article to be redeemed in any sense it would have to include delineations of ontology (what actually exists) and epistemology (our limitations in acquiring knowledge of that reality) and furthermore would have to heartily engage in a variety of views, including phenomenology and Kant's philosophy wherein he describes certain principles of cognition as being inherent to human consciousness. In other words since we don't have any non-human consciousnesses to communicate their perception of reality to us, the shared-ness of our nature limits our ability to discern reality. This is furthermore complicated by the probable truth of certain principles in quantum mechanics wherein our knowledge/ignorance of the world changes the world. (talk) 17:07, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Mentioning quantum mechanics in this context is facile name-dropping without relevance. The absence of the word "ontology" from the article is not dispositive one way or another. Mentioning Kant and "principles of cognition" in the same sentence carries a whiff of eighteenth-century or earlier a priori word games, not to be mistaken for serious current philosophy which casts doubt on Cartesian duality, where it does not reject it outright. In other words, your word salad is unconvincing; there is certainly opportunity to clean up this article, but it is hardly trash.
Furthermore, the actual experience of working with animals tends to give "discerning" humans a practical sense of how those animals view reality. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 20:54, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Yep, it's terrible.1Z (talk) 16:39, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Just Dump It: A Look at Section 1[edit]

I can't emphasize enough what a disaster this entry is. Consider just the very first sentence:

Consensus reality (rarely or mistakenly called "consensual reality")[1] is an approach to answering the question 'What is real?', a profound philosophical question, with answers dating back millennia; it is almost invariably used to refer to human consensus reality, though there have been mentions of feline and canine consensus reality.[2

1. So-called "consensus reality" is not an "approach." Rather, that there is such a thing as CR is a theory. One might have an approach to something (e.g. answering or addressing a question) that included a reference to CR, but CR itself cannot be an approach. Compare: reality is an approach.

2. The sentence is a run-on

3. We get two utterly trivial bits of fine-tuning right off the bat--the correction about 'consensual reality' and mentions of dog and cat CR. Seriously: if we're discussing "feline consensual reality," this is a sign that the entry in question belongs in Uncyclopedia or somesuch. —Preceding unsigned comment added by William Knorpp (talkcontribs) 13:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

core confusion[edit]

The confusion at the core of this article is due to the fact that the phrase is used with different meanings by different people, and no proper effort has been made to nail down the different senses of the phrase. Some seem to think that human agreement on what is real somehow "creates" reality, or underpins it; others (including myself) consider this a preposterous idea, promulgated by the wishful thinking of folks who want to live in Matrixland, or readers of such volumes of self-help fantasy as "The Secret."

However much I may deprecate that concept, it is, nevertheless, one of the common ways people use the phrase, and should be covered in the article.

Others, however, would regard people who use the phrase in this way as mistaken; they would say that "consensus reality" is not reality at all, but is the culturally-accepted map of what is deemed real (often including the decidedly unreal, like the geocentric astronomical model), subject to change as culture changes, whether through geographical exploration, scientific method, or religious conversion [and lapse]. In this sense, "consensual reality" is neither an "approach" nor mere theory; its existence is easily demonstrated in the comparison of cultures, or shifting convictions within a single culture.

The basic work of defining the concept needs doing, first of all. Perhaps nominating the article for deletion will motivate people to do the work required. Bustter (talk) 05:12, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

parenthetical remark, absurd citation[edit]

DELETED: (rarely or mistakenly called "consensual reality") and the absurd citation:

The phrase "consensual reality" is not so very rare nor is it demonstrably mistaken, and the cite offers support of nothing.

This does little to rescue the horrendous opening graf, but it's a start. Bustter (talk) 05:12, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The feline example[edit]

I kind of liked the dog and cat remarks, regardless of the necessity for omission from the beginning. Its a simplistic yet prime example of a human consensual reality that denies animals (or even insects) the same rights as humans. As Reality would have it, all beings created evil (equal i mean), never denied from the competition for dominance, but really simply survival for most, but certainly not perceived dominance through ignorance. Excluding animals is a prime example of the consensual "racism" or is it "species-ism" of humans, or humanism, which has its place between cultures of humans or countries but little else. The fundamental problem with culture is their all too willingness to accept the consensual realities presented on television, that are little more than marketing tactics enforcing a maladaptive way of life for someone else's profit... forcing what would be perceived as good for the whole, on everyone, regardless of its actual necessity, supposed benefit or not... while ignoring all harm... something like the groove on a record being defined as the only music possible, and forcing everyone to listen to it, and then, a few people puke that everyone is just nodding along mindlessly (tangent: heaven forbid blow something up), and this concept is born, or at least very real, along with a lot of resistance that reality gets classified as unrealistic in spite of existing. The purpose of the term is to seek a better understanding of actual reality by providing a means to distinguish between popular belief and the pursuit of actual knowledge or ultimate consequence of action. It is unfortunately a catch all insult, because almost anything can be dissected as simply an ignorance of conformity (ie: acceptance of a consensual reality AS Reality, a very basic sin, to toss "accepted truths" around like a manipulative toolkit). One example is that the economy is actually important to our future being enforced as a consensual reality, when meanwhile there are economies of waste, and economies of pollution, of questionable ultimate value to survival of humans'ism or life at all. It's arguable that these simple displays of dominance of humanity (ie: making a lot of "noise", or consequence) are accepted as real or actual power. -SaLa(vb) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:33, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Referencing notability, synthesis, OR...[edit]

Name a problem, this page has got it. It *appears* to be reffed, in the sense of being sprinkled with little numbers, but ha;f the refs are to very non-notable personal; websites and the rest are to solid works by notable authors that aren't actually about Consenus Reality in any sense that would pass muster (ie it is WP:SYN to say that they are). 1Z (talk) 21:10, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Rewrite plx[edit]

Can someone rewrite this article. Pref. someone who understands what the hell the author was trying to say. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Overuse of "citation needed"[edit]

I don't understand how a heading could need one, let alone two, cite tags. There's no claim being made, therefore there's nothing to need a citation for. I'm going to remove the tags on the heading now, and if there's a good reason to change it back, let me know on my talk page. --Tathar (talk) 06:25, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

This Page is Troll Bait P:D[edit]

While I'm the last to defend any popular consensus as granting a legitimate claim to truth, I also know from direct personal experience that this page will never really know peace. I am starting a page on my Wikia titled (badly?) "Social Epistemology", and it would seem that the subject is likely to include the issues raised here (and others as well). The problem with this page is that it almost directly addresses the problem of how knowledge, completely true or completely bogus, must first originate with an individual before it can ever be critiqued by a larger body of persons, or society at large.

I've previously pointed out that historically, the Original Research of various persons now form a part of the lore of our modern society, sometimes as an examination of people who were well out of their depth in just about every way possible, to those who were wrong for all the right reasons, those who were right for all the wrong reasons, and those who were right at the time, but everybody since has forgotten the expiration date and attendant caveats. To cite one example, Freud was trained in Medicine, failed to be able to hypnotize his patients as many of his contemporaries were wont to do, and improvised a method of verbal association to make up the difference. In other words, other than in the field of Medicine, Freud was a third-rate hack. The value of the field could only have gone up, as it could not have descended any lower.

Consensus reality can also address institutions' Monopoly on violence, and the ability to demand that individuals must act according to a knowledge that is politically or ideologically convenient to various established interests, rather than the knowledge that is plainly available to any conscious person of the time.

In short, consensus reality is social rather than personal, linguistic rather than experiential, and a muddied average of the many different beliefs of a culture and society. If I remind you here of Arrows' Theorem, you get just the barest idea of how unlikely it is that CR is to be internally consistent, coherent, etc. in any way but that the more intelligent people in such an august body overwhelmingly agree to ignore CR however they like, keeping only the parts that do in fact seem rational and factual. Now excuse me while I go ride my unicorn. P:D -- TheLastWordSword (talk) 17:13, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Argumentum ad populum[edit]

Why is this article separate from argumentum ad populum? Doesn't it deal with exactly the same phenomenon? At the very least there should be a mention of the argument from popularity in this article. Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 21:23, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

While there may indeed be a need for a link between the two pages, this page highlights that some socially preferred intellectual positions are protected from criticism, reality-testing, and being overturned, which goes far beyond the nature of AAP. We could also refer here to Argumentum ad baculum, but that's just another reference to methodology. I think the bigger question being asked here is "Why, and what are we to do about it?" --TheLastWordSword (talk) 00:54, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

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