Publication 6222

Imoto S. (2004) What is the external world? A cognitive science perspective. Tetsugaku (Annals of the Philosophical Society of Hokkaido University) 40: 29–44. Fulltext at
John R. Searle (1998) upholds what he calls “external realism” that there is a real world that exists independently of us, a world of mountains, trees, oceans, molecules, and so on. Some research findings in cognitive science, however, are compelling us to re-examine such a framework. In this essay I insist, from a cognitive science perspective, that the so-called external world we perceive as it is, is not independent of us, it is dependent on us in such a manner that those entities such as mountains and oceans are the end results of our perceptual processes, and as such they are in our phenomenal or mental space. It is a world as causes for our perceptual processes that is considered to be independent of us, though we have no direct, empirical access to the world as such.

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