From The Empirical Stance (The Terry Lectures Series) by van Fraassen:
Lecture 1. Against Analytic Metaphysics
3. Does the World Exist?
p. 5 “Doesn’t the answer seem obvious to us? We are all part of this earthly ecosystem, which is part of the solar system, and that is part of the Milky Way galaxy, and so forth. Surely this progression has an end, a final term? And that is what we all agree in calling the world.
Oh, Oh … The moment we have made this ‘obvious’ answer explicit, we are reminded of famous proofs of the existence of God. Those demonstrations tend to prove the existence of something and end with the words ‘and that we all agree in calling God’. But those arguments we now all agree in calling unsound.”
p. 6 “Whether the world exists is in fact a traditional question of metaphysics. Indeed, it encompasses three questions: What is a world? Does the world exist? Are there perhaps other worlds as well?”