I've been trying to spend a little free time reviewing Spinoza. I would have never thought much of him, but Matt pointed him out as decidedly non-religious thinker that influenced Western thought. Here is the first premise from Spinoza's Ethics (which ultimately becomes a version of the ontological proof for God):
Substance exists and cannot be dependent on anything else for its existence.
Spinoza then talks about attributes, which the substance had and the perceiver can perceiver. Then there are modes or affectations, which are the result of the attribute on the perceiver. So, he is carefully breaking down the process of perception, or the make up of reality.
Anywho. Here is what I find interesting: We as human beings--most of us--assume that our perceptions are linked to a substance. We process these various stimuli in such a way as to think that there is a cause of those stimuli outside of ourselves.
I wonder why we do that. Spinoza has no evidence for his first premise. We can know that there is a something--us--and maybe a something else--because otherwise there can't be a defined something--but we have no reason to believe that our sensations are caused by a something else.
Then I heard a story about autism and wondered if autistic people don't so easily make this assumption.