"What do you mean by representation? Do you mean human constructs that give us insight into the universe? If so, then they are just that - human constructs. If they are more than that, how would we know that? See my reply to Mike which you didn't respond to."
I'm well over budget on internet spending; not time to follow everything. Need to locate the reply to Mike. "Human constructs" are one form of representation.
"If they are more than that?"
Here is an issue: does a particular representation correctly match the pattern it is claimed to represent went viewed by method 'x', within the limits of precision given by the definitions of the original pattern, the representation, and the method of viewing (x)?
Example: define Mount Fuji (original pattern). Define: a painting purported to be of Mount Fuji (representation). Define "you" and "looking at a painting" (method of viewing).
To be talking about "reality", each of these definitions must be compatible and not contradictory, surely?
Beyond that, is there more? At least this much more: that this 3-way match is, within its specified margins of precision, a non-contradicting match-up as it presently is defined.
It seems like "the something more" is "consciousness"; full awareness of both the data and its relationships and degree of definition? The "something more" seems to be that you know you are dealing with accurate relationships if you have full awareness of the relative precision of each of the related items (of you, of looking, of the painting, of Mt. Fuji.)
If your definition of original pattern "Mt. Fuji" is too broad to exclude an illusion of that sight; then the possibility of such an illusion is contained already in your degree of precision about defining this original pattern?
Seems like the key to knowing reality is to know the full extent of your conscious experience, to know the full origins of all your foundations from which you construct definitions?
Then you can say: I know reality? As any "reduction" is either new and outside the boundary of your definitions and not contradicting them? Or such reduction is already known to you because you know all your definitions historical construction from their smallest ingredients (to have full consciousness is to have access to all the reduction already built into your definitions within their error margins?)
"What do you mean 'communion with existence'?"
I guess I mean "open to all available data (so full historical awareness of the construction from scratch of all one's definitions; so no evasion or obscuration of any existent phenomenon one is capable of detecting). Something like that.
The claim "atoms are ultimate reality" is a claim about the future and might be unsustainable. It is a claim that no future test can reduce them. It is probably a claim that exceeds the honest limits permitted by knowledge at that time of what is or is not possible.
What might be an accurate claim is: "within the technology and knowledge at such-and-such a time; and within the margin of error of the various definitions at this time; that atoms are ultimate".
But EVERY definition can be ultimate within its limitations in that way?
Any reduction of atoms after such a careful claim would then be found to make use of freedom of other possibilities available within the inherent broadness of the definitions of that time?
Thus within the weak ability of star-measurement equipment at one time, no parralax was found of nearby stars over 6 months of Earth's time to prove that Earth goes around the Sun. Within the limitations of equipment of the day and the false assumption that nearby stars were closer than they are and that the parallax effect would be greater; the question of Earth moving around the Sun was not proven by initial parrallax tests.
But maybe one can still say that ultimate reality is still that given the knowledge and equipment of that day; the parrallax issue was not resolved?
But this does not seem right. Perhaps no error is possible with full awareness. Perhaps human mistakes are due to limited awareness.
Also to have claimed in that day that the Earth therefore didn't go around the Sun; such a claim would have to be qualified by all other ingredients in the relevant definitions. Perhaps such a claim could not have been made, only a very qualified claim.
But can we ever stop having to make very tentative claims, I think is the issue you are addressing?
If one has full consciousness of the full history of all ingredients making up one's claim; can one not at least say that within those error margins certain patterns CAN be matched together without contradiction?
And so the puzzle continues.