Solipsism discussion

For me there is the world of perception and then there is the world of reality separate from mind.

Or as it says above, that one can only be sure that one’s own mind exists. One can only be sure. Note the difference. So all that is experienced is internal. There are not things, but just this ongoing phenomenon. So there is no elephant that is denied, but it is wondered if there is just this phenomonen with no Self - Peception - External things set up like current models have. Of course this seems odd and counterintuitive, but then many true things are odd and counterintuitive, so it becomes a philosophical issue around how do we know this is false. The importance, for nearly all is not Oh, no is it just my mind, but rather how do I know, on what am I basing that. And you can argue that modern neuroscience supports solipsism in a way, since we experience only our own minds, the virtual reality reconstructed by the brain, rather than directly experiencing anything external. Note, obviously neuroscience just presumes external reality, but experience is argued by many to be a kind of virtual reality out of contact with the external.

Actual solipsists are very rare. It’s an issue, not a position like being a Rationalist or an Empiricist or, the closest actually to solipsism, and Idealist. You are finding an enemy, where there is no groups to have as an enemy.

Hypocrisy is common to both men and women.

Or like someone claiming to be outraged by a philosophical position almost never even mentioned by women and finding a way to snarl out his misogyny as if it was relevent in some way.

No. We are in direct contact with the world and experience it through our senses, our mind then processes this information about the world it receives from the senses.

Misogyny, lol. I’m probably a couple of -phobes and -ists too. Infantile word games.

A mind can only experience a cartoon version of what is outside of it. But that doesn’t stop it from being able to deduce extreme detail that far exceeds what the senses can report.

Ultimately, it’s a fairly empty philosophical proposition - whether reality is Out There or In Here, it’s not particularly amenable to our will and we’ll carry on doing everything we would otherwise do if the converse were true. The consequences of your actions remain the same, there’s no meaningful test of truth - if the solipsist murders one of the people in his mind, other of his creations will come and arrest him and throw him into a prison… in his mind.

It seems far more often used as a punchbag, a dummy to test one’s reasoning and assumptions, than it’s ever taken seriously as a philosophy. As in “this is clearly an outlandish claim, but just try arguing against it and see what you come up with”. You sometimes even hear “… but that just leads to solipsism!” as a counterargument to a stance.

If they’re correct, though, they don’t exist outside your mind (and neither do I) - you’re begging the question by assuming a non-mental reality, so that’s not a proof that they’re incorrect.

I’m not assuming anything, I’m just speaking of the external world that forces itself upon myself and that I perceive through my senses whether I like it or not.

Solipsist or not, once a pack of wolves is running after you, no amount of words will change the reality of that.

The obvious problem with this being that, since senses are our connection to the external reality, as long as solipsists are using their senses, they are connected to the world (external reality), and since we can’t just decide not to use our senses, solipsists are inevitably forced to face the world constantly. Which is why solipists themselves contradict their own position, not only with their words, but with actions.

The only possible way a solipsist MAY be able to remain consistent is if some scientist modified their body so as to remove all sensory perception - touch, smell, eyesight, and everything else that would connect them to an external reality. But even then, the solipsist would have memory of the external reality as proof of it, in his mind.

But even then, the solipsist is only consistent due to his handicap, and others, who do have senses, are perfectly justified in thinking the external reality exists, and even by perceiving the solipsist they could see that despite him disconnecting his mind from the world, he is STILL part of the world, and unless he is kept alive by others, he will die unless he reconnects himself back to the world.

Not really unless you are an idealist

You are mixing up control and externalness. If I cannot control something, it is not me. Apart from the fact that his is not even true in relation to things we do consider a part of us - various emotions, reactions, urges, thoughts that arise, dream stories and so on, it need not be the case. That things happens outside of control or outside of seeming control does not mean they are from outside or beyond the mind. Life could be analogous to a dream.

The obvious problem with this being that, since senses are our connection to the external reality, as long as solipsists are using their senses, they are connected to the world (external reality), and since we can’t just decide not to use our senses, solipsists are inevitably forced to face the world constantly. Which is why solipists themselves contradict their own position, not only with their words, but with actions.
Basically you are using a tautological argument. Because they are wrong to say that they are merely sensing a part of themselves and not external reality, when they do this they are clearly wrong. But to a solipsist or for someone using the idea as a thought experiment, the base claim is that what is experienced is the self, much as what is experienced in dreams is the self EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMS LIKE SENSING OUTSIDE STUFF, NOT SELF STUFF.

In a dream one cannot control everything or at least it sure seems that way, even in lucid dreams there are generally limits. In dreams things seem external and sensed, but they are not.

The solipsist does not accept the model Self perceiving external reality via the senses. They are not denying that there are images and other experiences, just that this may be all there is - you might want to look up phenomenalism - just experiences, or as in dreams, what is experienced is really the self.

And modern ideas like the Simulation hypothesis are very similar.


Haha, really? I am the one being tautological here?

Let me ask you, how does the concept of self come about?

Does it not come about by differentiating between the other (world) and self, when an organism reaches a certain level of awareness? So does not using the concept of self already imply something that is not self, aka the world?

Another way of explaining solipsism is that they confuse their own conception of reality for reality itself, and since their conception is subjectively constructed (although based on an objective world), the reality also must be subjectively constructed.

So, in dreams things seem external and senses, but they are not. And yet:

  1. Dreams, as all subjectively constructed imagination, is based on taking information, the perceived sensual data of reality (external world), and recombining it, where the end result of the combination does not necessarily have to have a referent in reality, although the parts do. Example: unicorn - horse + horn.

  2. We can differentiate between dreams and reality, some, more aware people, even while dreaming. Why is it so? I would say that one of the reasons is the very different atmosphere specific for the dreams. Images are rarely clear, mostly blurry, there is little causality and interconnectedness between actions and events. Another thing is that in dreams there are no costs to actions, making them perfect for hedonistic indulgence. This may be the most relevant distinction, and it also points to a similarity between living in dreams and in a sheltering environments such as human societies.

In reality the consequences of our actions can be very severe, and, I daresay, real, but in dreams and society they are often mitigated by the disconnection from reality and the mind being granted the rights to wander on its own, within certain limits, and indulge in self-referential gratification. This makes living in a society, a sheltered environment that protects us from the harshness of reality, similar to dreaming. This may explain why something like solipsism occurred only in safe, sheltering environments. Whereas many other philosophical positions can be considered extensions of so called ‘common sense’ which was used by people to explain and understand reality in order to survive, solipsism seems completely detached from common sense and inverts our own sensual perception, telling us not only that it is false, but that the opposite of it is true and so that the world is not outside of us, but inside of us. Solipsism corrupts and then denounces the very thing that disproves it, and for this reason, among others, it can appear to be an irrefutable position. The mind, sheltered and safe, its basic biological needs satiated, can claim that no external reality exists now that it is protected from it, like a lion cub can think the safe confines of his parents and the pack are reflective of the entire world, and that the world is really no different than the society, which is no different from dreams.

EDIT: fixed some atrocious grammar mistakes

The main thing with the solipsism issue is it does not matter.
I do not think you can demonstrate to a hypothetical solipsist that they are wrong, especially the soft solipsist who argues that for all he knows all he can know is mind.
The solipsist cannot convince the non-solipsist to be a solipsist. Or at least, should not be able to.

If the solipsist is correct, or more relevently, it changes nothing. He might as well live as if there is an outside world. In and of itself solipsism does not matter. As a way of raising issues of perceptions, things in themselves, knowledge, simulations and so on, it can work as a thought experiment. Descartes built a lot on his use of it.

Arbiter, that seems like a fallacy you are making.

Solipism says that external reality exists, but is temporary until you die.

The funny thing about solipsism is that if one encounters a solipsist (and solipsism is correct) the solipsist is a part of you and not the other way around.

So how do you know that the external world forcing itself on you is not merely an uncontrolled mental event?

You saying “mental event” already implies events that are not mental, which contradicts solipsism. It puts into question whether I’m hallucinating or not, not whether there is an external world or not, because the very way you phrased the question already implicitly admits that.

So basically you’re asking me how do I know whether I’m sane or not. A good question indeed… viewtopic.php?f=15&t=189640

Sanity is defined as the lack of schism. Schism is a disconnect and incoherence.

even if this reality is fake, to a sane person, the whole of it is fake, and if the whole of it is fake then it is coherent, and behaves within predictable and coherent bounds and parameters, therefore you’d be sane even if reality was fake.

insane people have disconnected and incoherent realities.

For example, if an insane person thought he lived in dreamland, with pinkfluffy leprechauns and such, and if he at a mental hospital, and if the inmates tried to kill him and he was stabbed but could not die from them he might as well be called sane, because his reality is unaffected by the world.

but if that guy in leprechaun land could die from a blade in this world, he would be insane because to him, his death would be meaningless and desynced, it would not have an apparent linked cause. Incoherent.

Fair enough. We have a clear concept of hallucination, dreaming, misperception, as distinct from “seeing things as we ought to”. The question is what generates this “what we ought to”. Is the wolf pack external or simply the concepts and ideas we should be having in a certain situation as long as we’re not hallucinating?

Solipsism is the most extreme form of subjecivism, and materialism is the most extreme form of objecivism. The problem of solipsism and materialism or simply of subject and object is not really solvable, it is a dualismn. Many philosophers have tried to solve it and have failed.

“I” have been many different persona’s at many different times. Plurality is real. How can “I” possible believe that “I” am the only one who exists, when “I” have been a hateful neo-facsist and have ALSO been a liberal pacifists? (just to name a few extreme examples).

Now if you want to say that Solipsism is "real’ in the sense that existence can only be experienced, and that there is one energy/god/pattern that is experiencing all of it, then we are not really discussing Solipsism anymore but rather ancient (and modern) thoughts, that go as far back as the history of religious thought itself.

Solipsism can be an interesting thought experiment, but taken literally it is quite insane.

Solipsism is really just an irrational form of subjectivism.