OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
Reign and Ridley:
Framing the discussion in terms of whether the world “exists” or not is misleading.
It is not that ‘the world does not exist,’ but that at the most basic logical level it is quite impossible to disentangle the world from the practical knowledge activities that we use in constituting and studying it.
If you (and everybody else) stopped looking at and calling this thing a “cat” and a “nebula,” then there is logically no way to *prove* or *substantiate* the claim that it would “cease to exist.”
One can infer that because the cat was visible at time x then it is also visible at time y. But if the cat is not visible at time y because no one is observing, then the claim cannot logically be demonstrated that the cat continues to “exist.” It is an inferential leap that isn’t necessarily warranted or as obvious as you imply.
Moreover, couching the debate in terms of objective and subjective is also misleading. It is more useful and logically more consistent to say that the “cat” and the “eagle nebula” are *social-relational creations*
What do I mean? We can’t know or study this observable thing called a “cat” and a “nebula” without naming it, classifying it, and describing it. The thing is inseparable from the name given to it—the name constitutes it, gives it meaning to our lives. It isn’t just a “cat,” but somebody’s “pet” that they “love” and “care” for. And without a human invention called a telescope, the “nebula” would have never been observed in the first place. Without words and other human inventions, none of these things would matter—they are *only* significant to us because we have made them significant by observing and naming them.