A "Fresh" Classification of various philosophical positions on "Does the external world exist?"
What are the different possible answers to the issue of relationship of perception and external world? Let's ditch all the confusing the epistemological labels, and use simply lay-man terminology. Broadly speaking, I think all the positions can be grouped as:
- The Common Sense View: The world as we perceive it actually exists and is more or less similar to what we perceive it to be.
- The Refined Common Sense View: An external world exists independent of human mind, and that external world is not the same as we perceive it to be, but what we perceive corresponds in some way to what actually exists.
- External World Skeptic View: An external world may exist but we can know nothing about it and we have no reason to suppose that external reality corresponds in any way with our perceptions.
- World as an Illusion View: This refers to all the various possible scenarios like my brain is placed in a vat and connected by wires to a computer which sends my brains the same impulses which a normal receives; we all exist in some computer program; we all exist in some work of fiction; what we are perceiving is actually a dream, etc etc.
- World as God View: We exist inside the mind of God, and God is the cause of all our perceptions.
- Solipsistic View: Only my mind exists and there is no external reality.
- The Flux View: Reality exists, but it is actually in a state of flux with no concrete "facts", and the individual and collective consciousness of humans "molds" that flux into adopting one or the other state through our beliefs and actions.