Terrapin Station wrote:
Londoner wrote: I see other people
But you don't on your view. You said that you can never know anything external to you (know by acquaintance presumably, since the other two connotations of knowledge wouldn't make sense there). Per your view, what you see are your own mental phenomena. So this is exactly what I'm challenging--not anything about others' mental experiences, but the idea of others period. What do you take as a good empirical or logical support for believing that there are others period?
If you read the whole of my posts you will see that I did not say that and it would save a lot of writing.
I point out that we cannot know
that other people, or anything, have a reality outside our own minds, because we cannot get outside our own minds. To put it crudely, while I am having a hallucination I cannot know it is a hallucination. I could only know it was a hallucination when I have recovered. Unfortunately, we never recover from being ourselves.
, even lacking that certainty, I can assume
that there is a reality outside my own mind. (I do so because my thoughts seem to be of different types, for example some seem to impose themselves on me whether I want them to or not (''Ouch, that hurt!") so I differentiate them from other thoughts and posit they have an external cause).
But even if I assume
that there is a reality outside my mind, it does not follow that the thoughts within my mind correspond in any direct way (or at all) to that reality.
This is was what I wrote earlier, so now I am back where I started. Now, in the hope of making some progress, let me take up a phrase from your post in reply to Hobbes' Choice.
...the very idea of perception requires awareness of things that are external to us.
Its use in communication (usually) implies we are working on the assumption that there are things external to us. But the point at issue here is what you mean to imply with the word 'awareness'.
Clearly I cannot recognise something as being a perception unless I am also aware of it, in the sense of paying attention to it: 'I am now looking at something
'. In that sense, 'awareness' would be a description of me, my state of mind.
But my 'awareness' of the object, the thing I am looking at, is quite different. If I am 'aware' that 'there is a tree in the garden
', that has only a very tenuous connection with any particular experience. It also requires me to have far more than the simply theory that 'there are things that are external to us'.
You write that 'we have access to objects via perception
'. But 'perception' just amounts to things like the stimulation of specialised nerve fibres in the eye by light. How do we get from some tiny electrical charges to objects?
The answer is that we do it. We attempt to construct a world of various types of objects in order to make some sort of sense of our raw perceptions. (And in the process, we are quite willing to include 'things' that can't be directly perceived and also to disregard some 'things' that we can perceive.) But it would be possible to construct alternative worlds that worked just as well. And if somebody suggests a world picture that works better than the one we are using, we are quite willing to adjust our notion of 'reality' accordingly.