Does the world exist apart from our perception of it?

This is an old epistemological question that I just want to put out for comment.
I would appreciate any answer not discussing semantics in regard to the subject line. If you like, you can change the “our” to “my” so that you don’t have to answer by saying, “Well, by saying “our”, you’re presuming others exist, and therefore a world outside of your perception exists.” That’s too easy an answer, because my saying “we”, “us”, “our” etc. could very well be based on belief, not knowledge.

I am asking for answers and comments based on a notion that what I know about the world I get from perceiving it (use of the five senses and playing with those perceptions in my mind (a physical entity?))…therefore, what I do not perceive may not exist. Any comments on the logic of this statment are welcome, and language arguments in such a case ARE acceptable. Citing philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers’ views on this topic are also welcome; just don’t say, “You should read what _____ has to say about this” and leave it at that. Articulate what the person says as well as you can.

Of course, none of you may really exist, and your answers are just perceptions for my entertainment grins

P.S. I definitely BELIEVE the world exists apart from my perception of it. Of course, that is one of the reasons why this question has been discussed so often in philosophical circles.

The question is not whether or not the world exists; the question is whether or not you can prove the world exists. Frankly, I don’t think you can, so the subject isn’t really worth discussing.

Thank you, Alessan. I thought that was exactly what I was asking when I posted my message, and that I wasn’t looking for people to answer simply, “Yes, the world exists apart from my perception of it”, or “No, the world does not exist apart from my perception of it”. I guess I was wrong. Thanks for the input.

good to see the discussion of solipsism is alive and well…

No, the world dosn’t exist outside my perception of it wich means that you’re only a small figment of my imagination.
The fact that even I think of you asking this question can only mean that I’m very bored so I’m going to bed now.

Very sorry, I just had to do it.:wink:

Assume, for the moment, that memory is at least occassionally accurate.

I look around, then close my eyes. I reopen my eyes, and see that what I previously saw corresponds to what I am now seeing.

Now, this means that there is something outside of my conscious control that is responsible for the correspondence, because I did not consciously will myself to see what I saw.

It might be that this something is really just another part of my mind (a subconscious part), or it might be that this something is completely independent of my mind. Either way, it is independent of my perceptions themselves.

If, however, you consider memory nothing more than another perception of the world, then the above argument doesn’t work.

You’re have to get in touch with our ‘programmer’ whom Timothy Leary wrote so much about. We can’t answer this.

In the original sense of the word. Neither answer can be proven rigorously. If I act as if my perceptions are not reflective of an external world, I gain a certain degree of moral freedom, since my “actions” create no “real” effect. But I gain little else, I remain bounded by my perceptions regardless. If I assume that my perceptions are reflections of a material Universe, I gain access to all things outside of my self. I gain the ability to share, to communicate, to strive, to create, to understand.

I choose the latter.

If the world did not exist, neither would we.

If my world doesn’t exist outside of my imagination of it, then my assumption that it does exist independently presents the problem that I can falsely assume it to be real, and then imagine it to be unreal when it really is unreal. (So, in that instance I am imagining reality to be unreal when it is really unreal, when I have assumed otherwise). So, if there is no independent reality, it must be imagined to be real, which means that I cannot assume it and also imagine the world to be real, which makes sense, because if I imagined the world to be real, it wouldn’t be real, it would be imaginary. Thus, to assume an imaginary reality is to imagine an assumed reality, and vice versa. Which then begs the question that if I imagine reality to be unreal, my imagination would then be reality, and the only limitation to this is that I cannot imagine a real reality, because if it did exist it would be unimaginable. Therefore, I cannot imagine what I cannot imagine, and I cannot imagine unreality, so reality must exist not because I imagine it, but because I cannot imagine reality to exist if it does not, nor can I imagine it to exist if I assume it does, when it does not, nor can I imagine it to exist if it does, but I pretend it does not.

Hehe, after reading brian’s post several times I think it makes sense. If there is no reality, what are we basing our perception of reality on? Maybe there really is a reality, but everybody has their own perception of reality and thus their own reality.

I think that solipsism is the only reasonable philosophy. I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t agree about that.

Wendell: ha! Nice :slight_smile:

As for the OP:
A la the Matrix: would it matter?