I have had this issue circulating in mind probably since I was in kindergarten. The basic question is this: how – being conscious of my own being, seeing through my own eyes, thinking my own thoughts, interpreting all the other senses, etc. – can I know or accept that every other person in existence does the same thing, if I myself have no way of experiencing other people's beings except from a third-person perspective? From my vantage point, I am the only person who has his own thoughts and autonomy. It has often occurred to me as an afterthought that, since I consider myself pretty intelligent in my own right, that perhaps everything else in my environment could be some massive illusion that my own mind is causing me to accept as reality. Could the fact that there are philosophers responding to this very question prove that my mind is playing a trick on me by creating a response for me to interpret? I suppose my basic question is, is this entire situation possible, and/or is there a concrete way to disprove it?

This is sometimes called the problem of other minds. You should check out the 17th century French philosopher Descartes and his Meditations and Discourse on Method! I personally am with you and Descartes in thinking that various radical skeptical hypotheses are possible (we could be in the Matrix), however philosophers from Hobbes to Wittgenstein to Ryle to Putnam have all worked hard to undermine such radical skepticism. You can find various strategies at countering skepticism in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy --in particular, check out the entry on the private language argument. I think all of them have weaknesses. For example, one commonplace anti-skeptical move is to argue that you cannot intelligibly ask your question unless it turns out that the skeptical hypothesis is false. For you to even be able to think or speak about your having a point of view or perspecitve or to be subject to illusion presupposes that we are subjects in a very public world of other persons and non-illusions. After all, perhaps the idea that everything is or could be an illusion would be like the hypothesis that all money is or could be counterfeit --which seems impossible. Or is it? In a kind of Matrix scennario couldn't you be made merely to have the illusion that you are interacting with other persons, using money, writing in a queston to AskPhilosopheers. Many philosophers today think radical skepticism is a dead end, but I think it is very important and humbling.

You've nicely articulated several of the fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind and epistemology - the problem of other minds and the problem of the external world. If your knowledge of the world is gained through awareness of your own thoughts, how do you know that there are other thinking persons, and indeed how do you know that there is a world external to your thoughts, a world of other persons and physical objects? The question of whether what philosophers call solipsism, that you, as a thinking thing, might be the sole existing entity is possible, is at the heart of discussions of this issue, both in historical philosophical texts and in contemporary discussions. In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes provides arguments for solipsism in the early part of his work, but then attempts to show that we prove the existence of a wholly good god who would not deceive us about our ordinary beliefs about the existence of other persons and the external world. As Charles Taliaferro points out, contemporary debates have focused on whether radical deception of the kind you describe is possible. One avenue is to look closely at the claim that we are more certain about the deliverances of introspection than we are about beliefs acquired from the third-person perspective. For the classic arguments, I recommend Descartes' Meditations. For criticisms of those arguments, you might want to look at discussions of the views of the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein. A difficult but very rewarding text is Wittgenstein's Blue and Brown Books.

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