• The Case Against Reality

  • Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes
  • By: Donald Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Timothy Andrés Pabon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (671 ratings)

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The Case Against Reality  By  cover art

The Case Against Reality

By: Donald Hoffman
Narrated by: Timothy Andrés Pabon
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Publisher's Summary

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 by Donald Hoffman. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Case Against Reality

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Don't buy - visual examples missing, no pdf

The ideas Hoffman present in the book are expansive and very interesting.

However, contrary to the opening statement in the introduction, Audible doesn't have the downloadable pdf, nor can they get it.

The original publisher (Brilliance Audio via Tantor Media) says there is no accompanying pdf.

Further, Donald Hoffman doesn't respond on social media to requests for the download, although he's certainly busy making posts promoting the book.

I recommend purchasing the kindle or physical copy.

65 people found this helpful

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not an audiobook

there are so many visual components that you lose a huge, HUGE portion of the book by listening rather than reading. very disappointed.

38 people found this helpful

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Accompanying PDF Is now Available!

I reported this issue to Audible and it was FIXED expeditiously and professionally. Listeners who totally missed the author's point because of the missing PDF can now go back and listen again to the referring sections. This author makes some very good points. It's well worth the listen!

32 people found this helpful

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Take the red pill and be lost in the rabbit hole

Mysticism meets Science, Consciousness clashes with reality. I have not read a book that challenged my view of reality for a long time. There are lot of scientific facts that the author used to make his points and some places it was a little dry but i guess it is essential for the book. It is high time for the scientific world to look for a new approach to explain our reality or the lack of it. A must read for anyone who is interested in science, philosophy and psychology because this book actually brings elements from wide variety of disciplines to make a point which i think should not be ignored by anyone.Like any good book on science, it makes us think of more questions than it answers.

And behold there is a mathematical equation for a conscious agent !!!

27 people found this helpful

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“The accompanying pdf”

I like this book but the author has many references that would probably make this book a good bit easier to understand, but I listen to E-books while running or driving so this is not preferable to me. I really like the concept of this book, and books in this category. The beginning was a bit slow and somewhat redundant but it laid the foundations for understanding of the rest of the book pretty well so it’s all good. The middle/end of the book was great though and made it all worth the read!

25 people found this helpful

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Pseudoscience

If you don’t care for pseudoscience, skip this one. It is vacuous statements dressed up in the language of physics and evolution.

23 people found this helpful

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I expected to hear about guirks of human perception, but got so much more.

Yes, you’ll learn about what, how and why we perceive the world, but this book is so much more: „The Case Against Reality” goes into epistemological and onthological territory so deep and convincing, that I had to revise my views on myself and the world. Sometimes hard and complicated, it needs a lot of focus and attention on your part, but you’ll find out a great deal about evolution, quantum mechanics, the inner lives of famous thinkers and consciousness. No previous physics and philosophy training needed, although it casts a new light on the history of both. Oh, and Mr. Timothy Andrés Pabon does a great job interpreting it for audio. Truly amazing stuff.

22 people found this helpful

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Hunches turn out to be real

I should have gone with my hunch. A book with a recommendation by Deepak Chopra. Usually that’s a deal breaker. It should have been. Lots of deepities. If I’m wrong I apologize. Couldn’t keep reading. Perhaps if I hear lots of support of it by a few well respected scientists, I’ll give it another try.

19 people found this helpful

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One Idea, No PDF

Firstly there are many examples used in the book which are difficult to understand without the promised PDF which is not there, and I was unable to find elsewhere.

The one idea presented is that there is no good reason to believe our senses' perceptions of reality closely match the actual underlying reality. With this, I totally agree. Hoffman discusses a proof of this based upon evolutionary psychology. He does not present the proof, let alone prove it. Anyway, to me, it does not matter, as I feel it is somewhat self evident, as Einstein pointed out, that reality is an illusion.

If you have any doubts about this idea, it is possible this book might be useful to help see the truth of this.

Near the end, one begins to suspect that there is a subtle pseudo-religious subtext to the book.1

14 people found this helpful

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Real problem with the missing PDF

Real problem with the missing PDF So you can't refer to the images but otherwise maybe the best book I've read

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jadedragon
  • 09-19-19

mind blowing

This book gave me chills. I now see the world as an interface filled with icons that guide evolutionary fitness. The step into that reframed perspective was disturbingly easy. Amazing book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 02-05-20

accompanying PDF file doesn't exist

there are numerous references to so called PDF file that didn't exist rendering the whole listening experience useless.

9 people found this helpful

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  • mr michael peter hale
  • 02-03-20

no point

spends the first chapter name droping,got one point too make which is not a new or insightful and then just keeps repeating it . could of be done in one paragraph

6 people found this helpful

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  • Invisfx
  • 01-27-20

missing the PDF

the book is good but the PDF is missing which is a shame because there are optical ill-using being described which I cannot follow along with. please look into this

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-29-19

said the same thing a lot got a bit bored.

it was intresting. but I got bored . kept on saying the same thing her and over again and I lost concentration a lot .

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tobias Ballauff
  • 01-27-21

Underwhelming

Certainly introduces some interesting concepts, but not as groundbreaking as it deems to be. Maybe this book tries a bit to much by combining to many disciplines, but the resulting theory feels patchy. The concepts introduced are also repeated over and over with endless examples, not introducing any new insides. Quit halfway through the book

2 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 05-23-20

Repetitive and contradictory

The subject of this book is something I find very interesting, but I found this book to be extremely repetitive, giving endless examples and going over the same ground repeatedly without moving forward. I also found it to be contradictory in some fundamental ways, at least in the way it was described.
Due to the repetition it missed out dealing with some important questions and consequences.
However, right at the end of the book it suddenly moved on from the repetition and started taking things forward, but unfortunately the book then ended without taking it very far.
So overall I found I didn’t get anything useful or new except for the very last part of the book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alex Burdyga
  • 08-02-21

*Accompanying PDF available only thought desktop

Incredible book, and for those unable to get the accompanying PDF through the mobile app, you can get the PDF through the desktop version of Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CM
  • 10-28-22

Metaphysics isn't real....

Dude meta physics isn't real - it's not testable or falsifiable - and therefore it is not science. You have some interesting ideas - but then so does the author of batman. I did like the explanation of icons to represent the physical world... but this is not new thinking.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-22

Attention driven text disguising as science

Interesting subject dealt with many thought provoking questions but also falling to some shallower popular talking points formulating an uneven text.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-19

No PDF with images

This version does not include the much needed PDF which is frequently referenced in the audiobook. Don’t bother.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-06-20

Out there.

The central theme suggests that space time is not real, just an illusion we see due to evolutionary processes. A lot was above my head but I got annoyed with the author hammering the same theory over and over. Telling me that illustrations were in the accompanying pdf ad nauseam was irritating. Speaking of which if Audible can't supply the pdf file of illustrations, there's not much point listening to the audio book as it's referred to a lot.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-24-22

Please, no more about the red apple one meter away

Some interesting theories talked through but a few examples were very repetitive. A lot of "what isn't there" and how to (dis)prove its existence but not very helpful in the "what is there" department. Definitely some out-there concepts that'll be fun to bring up at parties but this came across more like philosophy than science. The publishers notes on this site say the accompanying PDF with all the mind-blowing demonstrations is to be found in my Audible library but I can't see it anywhere.

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  • John Lyons
  • 05-06-21

Brilliant!

So grateful Mr. Hoffman thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. A wonderful piece of work.

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  • Robert Collins
  • 02-23-21

Extremely intriguing

The last bit of the book with all the maths kinda went over my head but the rest of the book was very interesting.

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  • Paul Floyd
  • 04-24-20

Very insightful.

Very insightful. I enjoyed the dissection and reformulating of the theories. More on the usefulness of such theories would have given the book more impudence. A little humour would have made the volume of theories more palettable. Over I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you.