May I quote: "we can never know what is ACTUALLY going on":
This is an assertion about the future without basis. It is an inductive, logically invalid argument!
It involves the same fallacy as what is known as the 'telephone exchange' problem. What if you were in a telephone exchange, and everything you knew came through wires? How could you know for sure anything about the outside?
It presumes an 'outside' to question whether you could know anything about the outside. The telephone exchange collapses into the operator.
We can know something for sure. We can know which pattern-matches we are making.
We can also start with the most basic idea possible; Existence; and work out a logic of Existence. This goes deeper than math or logic.
"How do we know what the laws of physics are...?"
We can know what the laws of physics WERE; in so far as we can arrange patterns previously experienced and call patterns of conservation: "laws".
"How do we know we can trust our senses...?"
"Because those are the ONLY means by which one can observe the universe. Therefore, either we trust our senses and move on, or we don't and we are forever questioning knowledge of reality"
Comments: We know from experience how much we can bank on our senses. We can be mistaken. They are NOT the only means to observe the Universe. We can DETECT Existence of phenomena outside the scope of the senses; for example can experience sense of honesty.
"How do we separate "truth" from "illusion"?"
By experience, trial and error, honesty.
"Afterall, it is this final interpretive process that ultimately is deemed "knowledge", and yet, we don't even know how this mental/sensory communication network operates"
But we do know that it MUST reduce to comparing and matching patterns; as this follows from the logic of Existence.
"How do we know actual "truth" ever even materializes? For that we must trust our brain, and yet our brain has been known to play tricks on us (go to your local bookstore and check it out; there are plenty of pictures that play tricks on your mind due to illusion)"
We know that the logic of Existence means that there IS only what there IS. Truth is all there IS (obviously). If we superpose two patterns that do not match, in reality, how we think they do; that is a mistake. But an illusion is a true illusion. If we do not realise it is an illusion, we make a mistake. Our experiencing truth directly requires correct matching of patterns.
Knowledge is correct matching of patterns.
"Afterall, how do you collect and interpret information without using one or more of your five senses?"
By using the sense of honesty, of Existence-detection of phenomena (even phenomena undetectable by the five senses). You can 'interpret' via honesty, and the logic of Existence.
"Mathematics would appear to be "knowledge" in its purest most powerful form... Pure logic is seemingly unadulterated by pesky illusions"
The logic of Existence is more basic than math, more basic than usual logic.
Start with Existence, the end of the scientists' journey; and work back to where the scientists are up to. How to minimally describe the existence of a phenomenon?
How to describe Existence 'space'?
An object exists- so it has a boundary making it distinct/ existent. The boundary involves a three-is-one pattern: the boundary of a boundary is a boundary. A pair of options is bounded by another pair; the two pairs compared constitutes a third pair.
One might describe math by this logic as follows:
A point is option a,b
A line is OPTION GROUP (a,b) (c,d)
A directed line is OPTION GROUP (a,b) (c,d) (e,f)
A rotated line is OPTION GROUP (a,b) (c,d) (g,h)
is a plane.
A directed rotated line is OPTION GROUP (a,b) (c,d) (g,h) (i,j)
A 3D physical space can be then described as options of planes such that they have only one line intersection option group between any two planes.
Time can be brought in as a new 'plane' at 'right angles' bringing new degrees of freedom.
Lorentz transformations could be mapped out in option-group form, and so on. Haven't sorted it out properly yet.
Pattern matching is absolute simultaneity- instantaneous action at a distance, in Existence-space.
The option state of the Universe is huge. Each jump changes that state and creates a new state.
The Universe is being created in option-space right now. Our world is being created right now.
Dick started his paper postulating a starting position of 'no knowledge'. But he presumed one piece of knowledge in doing that- the existence of at least one phenomenon.
Maybe from beyond the singularity, one can begin with the logic of Existence; and show how the laws of physics don't break down so much as how they might be created; or rather, how they are logical.
"My approach would go along the lines that perhaps it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a complete theory of nature and hence unquestionable truth."
Godel's idea seems to be mistaken in that he makes a 'category error'; confusing 'axioms' with 'theorems'.
However, in so far as a 'theory' of nature is not exactly the same as nature (if it was it would not be a theory, it would BE nature) then of course such a theory is incomplete (or it would BE nature).
But you can still have certain truth: by perceiving nature via "Existence".