How would one choose between Solipsism and Realism/materialism?

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  • #51
quen_tin
I think you may have misunderstood the private language argument. The argument uses memory skepticism to show that a private language is unintelligible even to the person for whom it is supposedly private.
OK I understand better your argument. However I still disagree.

If you mean that language (and thus probably the whole world) would be unintelligible within solipsism, that is probably true. But that does not entail that solipsism is false.

I don't think we can prove that language is intelligible. This is merely an unquestionned assumption on the basis of which we use language, just as the assumption that other people genuinely exist is an unquestioned assumption on the basis of which we communicate and live.
 
  • #52
quen_tin
I think you may have misunderstood the private language argument. The argument uses memory skepticism to show that a private language is unintelligible even to the person for whom it is supposedly private.
Also note that memory scepticism does not appear to be involved in Wittgenstein's argument, according to the article you cited before. Rather the constancy of assignment is involved. Memory scepticism is as much destructive of public language as it is of private language.
 
  • #53
It doesn't even seem that solipsism can explain itself. All it states is that all that can be known is the existence of the self/mind. It can't even explain what that mind is or where it came from etc.

Realism at least gives us the ability to attempt to explain the world we experience, and it works very well.
I don't think realism or solipsism would get us any closer at defining where everything came from. Any explanation of reality misses something deeper. The rabbit hole knows no end in this case.

In regard to the original question, I've battled with this for a while. Some people want to pass off solipsism as "silly" but it speaks to something fundamental. The limitation of knowledge by the fact that experience is bound to an "individual" or experience IS indidivualistic by its very nature and hence we should not ever expect to be able to answer this question even in a "realistic" world, and hence our knowledge of the physical world is always limited and any well defined physical theory will always lack deeper unattainable information.

This point leads me to believe that such questions inherently make no sense. To ask a question about something where the answer is, by definition of the situation, unattainable , we have asked a nonsensical question. Therefore, whether we are the only ones perceiving or whether there is something else "out there", makes grammatical sense, but lacks conceptual sense because there IS no answer in either case (either case referring to the case of a realistic reality or a solipsistic reality).
 
  • #54
I say, refute it. Asking yourself questions which can't be contradicted or proven right/false with what I/we perceive as logic seems somewhat pointless to ask. Remember, it's a philosophy for a reason. It's not science because science is always based on something we call evidence. How could we possibly prove Solipsism is right?
It's the same argument given to religious people, how can we prove your wrong if you can just add more philosophical barriers to it?

If the case is that you believe that this is all an illusion you have created, why do I also think? Why do I also ponder around asking myself the same questions as you do? Am I just an imagination you have created? Maybe I'm just your subconciouss trying to convince you're wrong for your own personal comfort? If so, that's a pity because I feel like I exist. Maybe your right? I don't know, personally it just feels like something Philip K. Dick would write a FICTIONAL book about. But that's just me, you could see the world like that if you want to, I think I'll stick to the idea of earth being a place where everything is connected, and a place where we all coexist.

Now, how would you choose between the two?
It's your decision, isn't that what Solipsism teaches? Your individual decision is the only thing that matters here. I will just say this, it's called Realism for a reason. That's because it's reality, whatever that is.
 
  • #55
Ah, metaphysics.

The first thing to remember about metaphysics is how expansive it is. Essentially, you are facing two primary problems. First, one must begin with a theory of ontology which is entirely arbitrary. As well, in metaphysical space, there is no meaningful comparison of what is more probable or logical. What is more probable, for example, is dependent on the arbitrary axioms one begins with.

There is one "philosophy" that claims absolute Objective (<-here it is! This is the hint. It's right here.) knowledge from naive realism, but it is so stupid and potentially destructive, I will not name it. I will, however, leave behind a hint in the previous sentence because... because I can.

Solipsism is irrefutable. So is Berkeley's Idealism, no matter how many stones you kick. It's also tends to be rather nihilistic, though not necessarily. Regardless, if one is consistent, unlike Descartes who conveniently remembered God, doubt pervades all epistemic claims.

I don't recommend logical analysis as an arbiter for matters of philosophy or science (Hey, science is basically pure ontology on the philosophies of philosophical and methodological naturalism. Comport to the evidence, not the logic!), it usually has valid applications in many instances, but there always exists the problem that the universe may not necessarily comport to logic. Rather, what I find is that the logico-linguistic nature of such discourse often degenerates similarly to what Popper noted in that "every discipline, as long as it used the Aristotelian method of definition, has remained arrested in a state of empty verbiage and barren scholasticism".

Perhaps you should ask whether you think that the universe is discoverable. This would imply Realism. Otherwise, you are going to have to find a harder way to irrationally believe what is naively most obvious. Or believe in solipsism. Actually, I find solipsism to be really more improbable, just because it's coherent doesn't mean it is of equal value in justification. Why give such consideration to solipsism to begin with?
 
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  • #56
27
0
Hmm. I can't agree with much that's been said here. Solipsism has been opposed to realism, but this is not a true contradictory pair by Aristotle's rules and so there can be a third answer. Metaphysics is full of these unintentional category-errors, and they cause all the problems. I would say that solipsism and realism are false, and that a more subtle view is called for. But it's a monster of a topic.
 

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