By Titus Rivas
It is sometimes claimed that we cannot even be certain of our own independent reality as conscious subjects (let alone of anything else). According to this claim, it might also be the case that we do not exist as conscious subjects, or else that we only exist as elements of some divine dream.
The first option is in fact outright nonsense as we should know since Descartes' Meditations, because we cannot exist as conscious subjects who question their own existence and at the same time not exist at all. The impossibility of the second option may appear less obvious, so let me spend a few words on it.
If we exist as conscious subjects, then by definition our existence must include our own subjective awareness. If we merely are elements in another subjectís dream, we can never have our own (real) subjective awareness. Our consciousness would have to be merely apparent and its apparent reality would simply be part of the dream as a whole. The only real (rather than merely apparent) conscious subject involved would be the dreamer. None of the elements he or she dreams about can in themselves be conscious in their own right as anything more real than a product of a dream-imagination.
Thus, our existence as conscious subjects cannot be merely apparent, unless we do not experience any consciousness ourselves. If we really do experience subjective awareness, then we really are conscious subjects. Our own conscious experiences cannot appear to be conscious experiences to us, without really being so. See my paper Kant's Error.
In other words, our existence as conscious subjects must be real and as such (in its reality) also independent of (the mind of) any other conscious subject.
(Iím grateful to my dear friend Valentijn)