Philosophical viewpoint of solipsism

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  • #1
heusdens
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This is a thread on the philosophical viewpoint of solipsism.

Solipsism is the doctrine that the only thing that really exists is one's own mind. All other things that are known to exist (by others), are declared to have no existence at all. For a real solipsist, all of outside reality (outside of one's own mind) are just projections, thoughts, images, etc, but do not describe a real existing outside reality, that exists independend of one's mind.

So far, no real philosopher of person has ever declared him/herself to be a solipsist, there exists no debating clubs for solipsist.
The reason for that is that for a solipsist it's no use to ever meet someone else and debate anything, cause all of outside reality, including other persons/minds are declared non-existence either.

Nevertheless, solipsism is a very common viewpoint, and is still practised all around the globe in various forms. This is because it is hiding it's content and the only outside form of it is better known as religion. In this form the mind has been transformed into an absolute form, namely God. God is for a solipists the substitution for what other people call the outside material reality. Some of them do recognize a material reality, but not in the way materialism pictures it (as independend of the mind). In the viewpoint of solipsist material existence (if such a material existence in their viewpoint exists at all) is in last instance dependend on the existence of God. God is in this viewpoint defined as the ultimate or final cause of the material world.

This is a clear distinction with the philosophy of materialism, in which matter is the primary substance, which is neither created or destroyed, but is in eternal motion/change, and mind is a secondary consequence of the material world itself.
 
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  • #2
Mentat, I think this really contradicts your thread, "I think therefore I am"!
Is Wuliheron's "Paradox of Existence" solipsm (sp?)?
 
  • #3
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens

Nevertheless, solipsism is a very common viewpoint, and is still practised all around the globe in various forms. This is because it is hiding it's content and the only outside form of it is better known as religion. In this form the mind has been transformed into an absolute form, namely God. God is for a solipists the substitution for what other people call the outside material reality. Some of them do recognize a material reality, but not in the way materialism pictures it (as independend of the mind), which in their view bases it's existence in last instance on the existence of God.

Religion is not synonymous with solipsism and a solipsist is not necessarilly religious. Religious people worship a god or divinity, but a solipsist doesn't necessarilly worship anything. In addition, according to this definition just about anything can be solipsism. For example, even Atheistic Monism and Pantheism. Therefore it contradicts itself.
 
  • #4
wuliheron
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Originally posted by MajinVegeta

Mentat, I think this really contradicts your thread, "I think therefore I am"!

Is Wuliheron's "Paradox of Existence" solipsm (sp?)?

Not by this definition it isn't. I am not religious nor do I believe or disbelieve everything is just in my mind. For me existence is a paradox and one I am happy to accept without demanding explanations. However I will say if it all really IS just in my mind I must have quite the imagination. :0)
 
  • #5
heusdens
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Originally posted by MajinVegeta
Mentat, I think this really contradicts your thread, "I think therefore I am"!
Is Wuliheron's "Paradox of Existence" solipsm (sp?)?

I've discussed that viewpoint with Mentat in the thread "The Fundamental Question". This was about consequently reasoning the scenario: what if nothing would exist (think about everything that exist, and then try to eliminate that from your thinking). When your mind is trying to think that thoroughly through, the last thing it will face is the fact that you cannot think of reality, where your thinking isn't present any more. Not that such a reality isn't in itself possible (anybody knows there was a real world before one was ever born, and a real world will continue to exists after one is gone) but in that reality the "you thinking" part isn't present, obviously.

My conclusion was, that thinking a real world would not really exist, would just lead to the fact that neither you would or could be present. It would be unthinkable/impossible that the thinking me was existing, without the world itself be present.

But things can be interpreted within the mind in the wrong way.
One could conclude (if one would lend on that fact only, and not taking into account the reality we know about) that for instance the mind itself must exist eternally (for the obvious reason that, without outside knowledge, the mind doesn't know about a world which existed before the mind itself existed, since there can be no experience within the mind of a world in which the mind itself was not present), and also that the normal way of perceiving causality (first there was a world, which in later instance formed me) is turned upside down (or inside-out). From our mind itself, without acknowledging any outside fact of reality, we can not know that, of course. Therefore it's good there is a material reality outside of our thinking and mind, to base our thinking on!
 
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  • #6
M. Gaspar
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Heusdens...

If all people were solipsists, would anyone be exploring the sciences? Or would some of them at least be inclined to explore the "outside world" as a study in what they themselves had come up without of their own minds?

Do solipsists "arise" SPONTANEOUSLY at birth? If not, don't they realize that this position they have taken has come as a result of listening to the ideas of OTHERS with which they -- the "convinced solipsists" -- resonate?

Sounds a lot like studying one's naval.


So, materialists see matter as the primary substance...even though we "know" that "matter" is fundamentally "bound-up ENERGY".

Who then (group label) sees ENERGY as the primary substance?

And who are the "anti-solipsists"...those who believe that matter AND consciousness might be "out there" as well...with the energy of consciousness -- perhaps -- the interconnecting medium common to all "things"? And, where do I sign up?
 
  • #7
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Religion is not synonymous with solipsism and a solipsist is not necessarilly religious. Religious people worship a god or divinity, but a solipsist doesn't necessarilly worship anything. In addition, according to this definition just about anything can be solipsism. For example, even Atheistic Monism and Pantheism. Therefore it contradicts itself.

That what religion and solipsism have in common is that both in first instance refuse to accept a material reality, which exists outside and independend of their(the) mind. Both share the viewpoint of the philosophy of Idealism, which opposes Materialism.
Both believe in the abdoluteness of their own mind, although religion (the belief in a supreme being) does that in form of inventing a Deity (Absolute mind) for that reason.
Religion is just the outside shape of the same viewpoint as solipsists have. As explained from the contradictionary viewpoint itself, in reality one never meets a solipsist. They all cover up in form of religion, but the content of their ideas are the same.
 
  • #8
Mentat
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Originally posted by MajinVegeta
Mentat, I think this really contradicts your thread, "I think therefore I am"!

Not really. In fact, the two views are perfectly compatible. You see, if I say "I think therefore I am", I may still be a solipsist, and think that "I" is the only thing that exists :wink:.

Is Wuliheron's "Paradox of Existence" solipsm (sp?)?

I don't think so. I think it probably allows for it, as much as it allows for any other view - provided you recognize that whatever you view you present, it must be irrational and paradoxical.
 
  • #9
heusdens
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
If all people were solipsists, would anyone be exploring the sciences? Or would some of them at least be inclined to explore the "outside world" as a study in what they themselves had come up without of their own minds?

Do solipsists "arise" SPONTANEOUSLY at birth? If not, don't they realize that this position they have taken has come as a result of listening to the ideas of OTHERS with which they -- the "convinced solipsists" -- resonate?

Where solipsism comes from is from studying one's own mind and adopting conclusion on reality from that point of view only, without studying reality itself.

This is much like studying one's own naval and from that claiming to know where the world comes from, indeed!

So, materialists see matter as the primary substance...even though we "know" that "matter" is fundamentally "bound-up ENERGY".

Who then (group label) sees ENERGY as the primary substance?

This is a simple misunderstanding. The notion of matter in the philosophical context is different as what physicist see as matter.
Philosophical materialism depicts both matter and energy (in the physical meaning) as being material i.e. matter.
Physics (Einsten!) just explains to us that matter and energy as physical notions are in fact the same substance. One can be transformed into the other.
It's a nice fact that philosophical materialism already adopted to this view on matter, before physicists explained this in physical terms!

And who are the "anti-solipsists"...those who believe that matter AND consciousness might be "out there" as well...with the energy of consciousness -- perhaps -- the interconnecting medium common to all "things"? And, where do I sign up?

Solipsism must be seen as an extreme form of Idealism. The opposite viewpoint of Idealism is Materialism.
And it's of course not the viewpoint of materialism that mind does not exist, it's just the notion that minds do not exist without a material reality. Evolution theory is therefore a materialistic viewpoint, cause it explains how life and consciousness have arisen out of an unconsciouss and lifeless material world.
Matter and consciousness are out there, for sure. The question is just: what came first? The materialist viewpoint is that in first instance just matter existed, and only later, as a result of a long material process, life began to evolve, forming consciouss beings.
Matter can exist without the need for consciouss beings to exist. Conscious beings (like us) can only exist if a material reality exists.
 
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  • #10
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens
That what religion and solipsism have in common is that both in first instance refuse to accept a material reality, which exists outside and independend of their(the) mind.

Sorry, but that flat out isn't true. You can define words any way you want, but this is definitely not like any accepted definition of religion I've ever heard. Some people I've known actually worship material reality as Divine or God and belong to registered religions.

Both share the viewpoint of the philosophy of Idealism, which opposes Materialism.
Both believe in the abdoluteness of their own mind, although religion (the belief in a supreme being) does that in form of inventing a Deity (Absolute mind) for that reason.
Religion is just the outside shape of the same viewpoint as solipsists have. As explained from the contradictionary viewpoint itself, in reality one never meets a solipsist. They all cover up in form of religion, but the content of their ideas are the same.

I think most spiritual and religious people would argue that the mind is not the issue, it is the heart that matters. If anything, some of the religious claim the mind is the work of the devil or some such.

I recommend Ursula LeGuin's story, "The Lathe of Heaven" for a more Asian perspective on solipsism. It was made into a movie in the seventies. In the story the lead character, George, is caught forging drug perscriptions and sent to a psychologist.

The Dr discovers George was attempting to suppress his dreams because sometimes when he wakes up he finds reality has changed to match his dream. Upon further examination the Dr discovers George's dreams really do have the power to change reality. In the end, George buys a copy of the Beatles singing "All you Need is Love" and falls asleep listening to it.

Even in this story, what the lead character discovers is that even his mind is subservient to his feelings.
 
  • #11
heusdens
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
If all people were solipsists, would anyone be exploring the sciences? Or would some of them at least be inclined to explore the "outside world" as a study in what they themselves had come up without of their own minds?

If people meet who are solipsists, then they have to make a decission on what they should believe or not. They can either believe that all other persons are just images in their mind, and do not exist for real (the "world" vision of solipsism allows only one mind to exist) or they have to abandon or reshape their belief.
Abandoning their belief means they have to adapt the vision that the outside world really exists, independend of their minds.
When they reshape their belief, they have to acknowledge the fact that also other minds exists, apart from themselves, but which have adopted a similar disbelief in the material world. This then takes the form of religion.
 
  • #12
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Sorry, but that flat out isn't true. You can define words any way you want, but this is definitely not like any accepted definition of religion I've ever heard. Some people I've known actually worship material reality as Divine or God and belong to registered religions.

The basis of religion lies in philosophical Idealism. I did not say that religion argues that an outside reality does not exist, just that in their point of view this material reality can not be seen as independend of the mind. In last instance, they will claim that this material reality was the work or creation of some Divine being, or they will claim that material reality itself is consciouss.

I think most spiritual and religious people would argue that the mind is not the issue, it is the heart that matters. If anything, some of the religious claim the mind is the work of the devil or some such.

I recommend Ursula LeGuin's story, "The Lathe of Heaven" for a more Asian perspective on solipsism. It was made into a movie in the seventies. In the story the lead character, George, is caught forging drug perscriptions and sent to a psychologist.

The Dr discovers George was attempting to suppress his dreams because sometimes when he wakes up he finds reality has changed to match his dream. Upon further examination the Dr discovers George's dreams really do have the power to change reality. In the end, George buys a copy of the Beatles singing "All you Need is Love" and falls asleep listening to it.

Even in this story, what the lead character discovers is that even his mind is subservient to his feelings.

It's a nice story. But it conflicts with reality and is therefore only a story. The feelings one has, definitely determine one's perception of reality. But not reality as such, although of course, one's perception of reality do determine also how one deals with and act in reality, and that is a reality in itself of course.
 
  • #13
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens

The basis of religion lies in philosophical Idealism. I did not say that religion argues that an outside reality does not exist, just that in their point of view this material reality can not be seen as independend of the mind. In last instance, they will claim that this material reality was the work or creation of some Divine being, or they will claim that material reality itself is consciouss.

Idealism incorporates the use of infinity, but a solipsist need not. I could believe my mind is finite and, therefore, everything is finite and the universe will end when I die.

It's a nice story. But it conflicts with reality and is therefore only a story. The feelings one has, definitely determine one's perception of reality. But not reality as such, although of course, one's perception of reality do determine also how one deals with and act in reality, and that is a reality in itself of course.

Here's a more realistic one.

I keep maps in my glove box to help me navigate occationally. Some of these are fairly old, but still helpful. However, if the map says turn left and there is no left turn I go straight. The map is not the territory and I do not worship the map as a God or somehow superior to my mind. One of the biggest and easiest mistakes you can make with a map is to assume it shows everything that is there and is perfectly accurate.

Another huge mistake is to read the map while driving and forget where your attention needs to be. Sometimes I will memorize parts of a map and then use my memory of it while driving, but again, I try to never forget where my real attention needs to be. Driving is also just plain more fun without distracting thoughts, preconceptions, and expectations. Nothing like a sunday drive in the country.

The "reality" that you describe as divided between the material and mental worlds, just sounds like another distracting map to me. I'd never use it to play guitar and sing or any number of other things. Certainly I wouldn't contemplate it while driving.

In addition, your obvious attachment to this old map seems counterproductive. I'd never use a NY City map to try and find my way around Boston, nor would I attempt to make every map conform to my personal ideas of what all the little symbols should look like. Some maps are good for oceanography but are useless for city driving and vice versa.

Fortunately for me, the paradox of existence accommodates a potentially infinite number of distinct kinds of maps.
 
  • #14
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
The "reality" that you describe as divided between the material and mental worlds, just sounds like another distracting map to me. I'd never use it to play guitar and sing or any number of other things. Certainly I wouldn't contemplate it while driving.

The material world and the wold of the mind are of course distinct feautures of reality, but there isn't a clear line between the two.
Same there isn't a clear line between life and death. All such notions are artificial categories of the mind.
 
  • #15
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens
The material world and the wold of the mind are of course distinct feautures of reality, but there isn't a clear line between the two.
Same there isn't a clear line between life and death. All such notions are artificial categories of the mind.

The same could be said for the idea of "artifical catagories of the mind" as well. It is another example of using the absurd to disprove the absurd. In essence, it is a "logical" argument that one absurdity is more absurd than another. Like children on a playground taunting each other, that is often how people use such maps.

What a waste of time. The alternative is to simply compare maps like adults, and make the best of a less than crystal clear situation. The old joke has it that men will never pull over to a gas station and ask for directions. Some of them would rather drive around lost for hours or make their own damn road. :0)
 
  • #16
heusdens
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Originally posted by wuliheron
The same could be said for the idea of "artifical catagories of the mind" as well. It is another example of using the absurd to disprove the absurd. In essence, it is a "logical" argument that one absurdity is more absurd than another. Like children on a playground taunting each other, that is often how people use such maps.

I didn't claim that the categories of the mind are absurdities, they are obviously based on observations about the world, and analyzing them, only the abstract looking at things, without considering the things in their process of becoming, makes that such categories do no longer reflect on reality. What is needed is the notion of development and change within everything material.


What a waste of time. The alternative is to simply compare maps like adults, and make the best of a less than crystal clear situation. The old joke has it that men will never pull over to a gas station and ask for directions. Some of them would rather drive around lost for hours or make their own damn road. :0)

What makes a map a good map? That is defined by the purpose. You use other maps for walking as for driving a car, since the scale of things is important.
 
  • #17
wuliheron
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Originally posted by heusdens

What makes a map a good map? That is defined by the purpose. You use other maps for walking as for driving a car, since the scale of things is important.

Scale, detail, and ease of use are criticaly important in the context of using and developing maps. Even more important is the attitude with which we approach using and developing maps. Contentious arguing or "knocking heads together" is great for coming up with new ideas for designing maps, but often counterproductive towards actually using them.

In addition, knocking heads can also lead to more maps specifically designed for people intent on knocking heads together. Thus you can spend most of your time just designing new maps rather than enjoying life and just using them when convenient. In fact, by focusing so intently on creating new maps with which to bang heads you help to create and environment where that occurs routinely. This website and western science in general is a good example of such an environment and approach. :0)
 
  • #18


Originally posted by heusdens
This is a thread on the philosophical viewpoint of solipsism.
... Solipsism is the doctrine that the only thing that really exists is one's own mind.
I'd just like to mention that this therefore means that I'm not a solipsist - if these statements of yours are actually what solipsists believe. For example, I disagree with this very first statement. I argue that the only thing that really exists, is A Mind. It's a singular. And 'everybody' else is a mere perception within this Mind. That includes 'you' 'me' and my hamster.
I'd just thought I'd mention it, since you accused me of being a solipsist. And in your very first statement, I break-free of solipsist beliefs (as you narrate them).
Other than that, feel free to continue chatting about solipsists.
 
  • #19
Mentat
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Originally posted by Lifegazer
I'd just like to mention that this therefore means that I'm not a solipsist - if these statements of yours are actually what solipsists believe. For example, I disagree with this very first statement. I argue that the only thing that really exists, is A Mind. It's a singular. And 'everybody' else is a mere perception within this Mind. That includes 'you' 'me' and my hamster.
I'd just thought I'd mention it, since you accused me of being a solipsist. And in your very first statement, I break-free of solipsist beliefs (as you narrate them).
Other than that, feel free to continue chatting about solipsists.

Are you sure about this? If there is only one Mind, then is it not reasonable to conclude that that Mind is your own? You can never know (through the use of your physical senses) whether anyone else is even conscious, can you? You can never know if they are not just figments of your imagination. However, you can know, from personal experience, that you are conscious, so what makes you think yours is not the Mind that creates all reality?

BTW, I'm just applying solipsism to Lifegazer's hypothesis, I don't actually believe any of this stuff I'm saying (just in case there's still someone who doesn't realize my need to play Devil's Advocate .
 
  • #20


Originally posted by Mentat
Are you sure about this? If there is only one Mind, then is it not reasonable to conclude that that Mind is your own?
Sure. But "Who am I?"
My argument reduces the identity of all finite-beings (you, me, and my hamster), to a singular-Mind. My argument does not state that "lifegazer" is that Mind - since I too, am but a mere perspective of It.
The confusion rests-amongst the question of true identity. 'we' are the imagination of It. That's my position.
 
  • #21
Mentat
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Originally posted by Lifegazer
Sure. But "Who am I?"
My argument reduces the identity of all finite-beings (you, me, and my hamster), to a singular-Mind. My argument does not state that "lifegazer" is that Mind - since I too, am but a mere perspective of It.
The confusion rests-amongst the question of true identity. 'we' are the imagination of It. That's my position.

Then why aren't you conscious of the universe from the view-point of God? Why are you conscious from the viewpoint of one of the creations? If the only thing that really exists is God, then why isn't He the only conscious/aware being?
 
  • #22
M. Gaspar
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Originally posted by heusdens
Evolution theory is therefore a materialistic viewpoint, cause it explains how life and consciousness have arisen out of an unconsciouss and lifeless material world.
Matter and consciousness are out there, for sure. The question is just: what came first? The materialist viewpoint is that in first instance just matter existed, and only later, as a result of a long material process, life began to evolve, forming consciouss beings.
Matter can exist without the need for consciouss beings to exist. Conscious beings (like us) can only exist if a material reality exists. [/B]

Evolution explains how life rose out of the mud. It does not say that life did not use any of the INGREDIENTS of the mud while it was doing so.

And let us also go on record to say that our biological definition of "life" may not be as COMPREHENSIVE as some of us would like to believe. Ideas -- like EVERYTHING ELSE -- evolve !

According to my "calculations", matter (baryonic and otherwise) and consciousness BOTH "came first"...out of the Primal Singularity that burst forth into the most recent "Big Bang".

And, to finish a thought, the Primal Singularity was "simply" the condenced energy/matter/consciousness/(spirit?) of the Universe in its former incarnation.

I believe that matter and consciousness are interdependent when it comes to the ongoing evolution of each, and are "simply" part and parcel of the Entity that is the Universe.
 
  • #23


Originally posted by Mentat
Then why aren't you conscious of the universe from the view-point of God? Why are you conscious from the viewpoint of one of the creations?
That's a spiritual/emotional question.
 
  • #24
M. Gaspar
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Solipsism

Originally posted by wuliheron

In addition, knocking heads can also lead to more maps specifically designed for people intent on knocking heads together. Thus you can spend most of your time just designing new maps rather than enjoying life and just using them when convenient. In fact, by focusing so intently on creating new maps with which to bang heads you help to create and environment where that occurs routinely. This website and western science in general is a good example of such an environment and approach. :0) [/B]

But this IS one of the ways I enjoy my life...kicking around ideas and knocking heads with people...especially those who are "smarter" than I am.

Some people do bunji jumping. Some people collect stamps. Some people go treasure hunting...or to yard sales.

Its the adventure of EXPERIENCING something exciting -- or DISCOVERING some new -- that makes such pre-occupations "FUN" ...even when you don't find the treasure (but NOT fun, I suppose, if the bunji cord breaks).

My point is that, for those of us (you included) who like a cerebral workout, this a great place. And add to this the ADVENTURE of maybe coming up with a NEW IDEA (that in the future might gain credibility) or EXPRESSING AN EXISTING IDEA in a way that superbly explains it...these are reasons enough to knock heads with one another.

Finally (you know I don't mean it ), these "maps" you so abhor are simply "models" of certain belief systems for the purpose of discussion, not "real" in and of themselves.
 
  • #25
heusdens
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Originally posted by Lifegazer
I'd just like to mention that this therefore means that I'm not a solipsist - if these statements of yours are actually what solipsists believe. For example, I disagree with this very first statement. I argue that the only thing that really exists, is A Mind. It's a singular. And 'everybody' else is a mere perception within this Mind. That includes 'you' 'me' and my hamster.
I'd just thought I'd mention it, since you accused me of being a solipsist. And in your very first statement, I break-free of solipsist beliefs (as you narrate them).
Other than that, feel free to continue chatting about solipsists.

One can, at one moment, for sure think that one's mind is the only real thing, but that thinking needs of course to be tested against reality. I can of course claim all my sensory perceptions are dilusions, and do not imply a material reality out there. That can explain an assumption as the one stated to the doctrine of solipsism. But we know the solipsist is not alone, and some day he will meet another mind, and they can talk and communicate about reality. That is what humans have been doing, since they developed means of communication, to talk about this outside reality thing. We merely concluded that our mental images of reality are alike. And not only that, the reality thing seems to have objective existence, which does not depend on our mind. We are not naive realists any more. We know perceptions don't tell all of the truth about reality, but can deceive us. Therefore mankind developed science, to have a better picture of reality. And guess what? The picture we have of reality, really positively affirms of there is reason to state that there is an objective reality out there, which is veryfiable in many ways, and which is independend of our mind.
So far science has never come up with one fact that makes us doubt about wether there is a material reality. The only thing is that we never have a 100% acurate view of reality, and therefore our investigation has not yet ended, but is still going on.
Further, we have the profound impression that our material reality, is not the same as, for instance that of a piece of rock, a drip of water, or an electron. Because we are consciouss beings, and discoverd that material processes going on on this planet, developed life forms on a previously lifeless planet, and costed about 3,2 billions years to develop lifeforms with consciousness.
This kind of knowledge also convinces us, that we have no reason to stick to old beliefs, in which the material world was believed to be governed by mysterious beings or spirits, and that the cause for the existence of the world was some super natural event. The long course of science, makes it possible for us, to provide enormous amounts of evidence against these primitive beliefs. This is not like saying that science has found "absolute truth", since that never will or can happen, but that the need to explain our material reality around us, in terms of ununderstandable and unexplainable factors like deities, do no longer fit into our picture of reality. As far as the 'hypothese of God' is concerned, this is the story of course.

Now what about the investigations, which are based on the alternative assumption? We have on one side (on the materialist assumption) enormous amounts of evidence about a material reality, that is independend of our mind. On the other side, the assumption that there is a Big Mind at work out there, wouldn't it be needed to have one bit, if just a very very tiny bit at all, of proof, which can be objectively be verified? Or is that asking too much?

I never claimed that - in principle - the fact that this universe and all there is, exists as an effect of the presence of some Deity of some sort, is a possible assumption. Provided that in first instance we start out from no knowledge at all (that is: being a child at the age of 4 or so), and just reasoning from our own minds, we can in principle come up with such an assumption, without being ridiculous. But this assertion, as it is an assertion on reality itself, needs to be tested against all of reality of course, which has been done profoundly and intensively in the course of human history.

A couple of thousand years of human communication on this issue, and large scale investigations in form of science, which came up with enormous amounts of evidence for the assumption that there is an objective reality, a material reality, which is not in any way dependend of our mind, urges me to very profoundly me consider that. If I am sensible and reasonable of course, and not stubborn. That is: if I proof I really have a mind, because also that is something that needs to be tested against reality too!
I would argue that the best choise is the obvious choice, the one which has plenty of evidence, and not the one for which no evidence exists.
 
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  • #26
Are you sure about this? If there is only one Mind, then is it not reasonable to conclude that that Mind is your own? You can never know (through the use of your physical senses) whether anyone else is even conscious, can you? You can never know if they are not just figments of your imagination. However, you can know, from personal experience, that you are conscious, so what makes you think yours is not the Mind that creates all reality?

Mentat:
It is possible to conclude that someone/something is conscious. Quite simply, observing a living thing, you could take into account the properties of consciousness (which include awareness of oneself and surroundings) and arrive at a conclusion. It may sound simplistic, but I find it fairly tenable.

Also, if your perceptions of reality are not real, then what is the purpose of your existence? And how do you know your physical body is real?
 
  • #27
heusdens
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Evolution explains how life rose out of the mud. It does not say that life did not use any of the INGREDIENTS of the mud while it was doing so.

And let us also go on record to say that our biological definition of "life" may not be as COMPREHENSIVE as some of us would like to believe. Ideas -- like EVERYTHING ELSE -- evolve !

According to my "calculations", matter (baryonic and otherwise) and consciousness BOTH "came first"...out of the Primal Singularity that burst forth into the most recent "Big Bang".

And, to finish a thought, the Primal Singularity was "simply" the condenced energy/matter/consciousness/(spirit?) of the Universe in its former incarnation.

I believe that matter and consciousness are interdependent when it comes to the ongoing evolution of each, and are "simply" part and parcel of the Entity that is the Universe.

Your question can be adressed at what is the relation between Being and Thinking. Like I explained in the previous post, we have profound reasons to think that Being (material being) was there first, and only later that Thinking (consciousness; mind) developed.

Or to state the issue differently: how much thinking can there be, without a material world? Just try to THINK that!

This is just to say: we need to conclude that Thinking (consciousmess; mind) without Being (material world) is an impossibility. However this does not urge us in any way to conclude that Being without Thinking would be impossible too.

In exploring that issue, I think we have not found much real evidence of anything having the ability to Think, oustide of our own species and some other species. We know monkeys and some other animals, up to some extent can Think, besided our selves.

Therefore there is reason to conclude that Thinking was not a primary substance on which material existence is in any way dependend.
 
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  • #28
On the premise of being=existence, rocks (who do not think) are.
 
  • #29
heusdens
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Originally posted by Mentat
Are you sure about this? If there is only one Mind, then is it not reasonable to conclude that that Mind is your own? You can never know (through the use of your physical senses) whether anyone else is even conscious, can you? You can never know if they are not just figments of your imagination. However, you can know, from personal experience, that you are conscious, so what makes you think yours is not the Mind that creates all reality?

As stated in the begin of the thread any hypothesis that aserts that no outside reality exist, is a form of solipsism. From the outside, however, all solipsists cover up for this unreal notion about reality in the form of 'inventing a Deity' for substituting this 'One Mind' thing.

There is absolutely no real difference between 'real solpisism' and 'belief in a Deity', only that the first is 'openly' admitting it (and so far no one does that) and the other is just trying to cover it up behind a facade of religion.

Another way how one can see this is done by using the method of transformation/projection (the mathematical method). Reality consist of two things: the 'outside' material world, and the 'inner' mind.
For the solipsist we can make the projection of the 'outside' reality to their 'inner' representations of this. But not only 'outside' reality is projected innerly, also their own mind is projected innerly. The first mind (all processes of cogniation as an ensemble, so the functions of your brain) we call 'Big I'. The projected image of this in the solipsist mind is 'Little I'. It can be seen as the awareness part within the mind (that which is aware of other parts of the mind). Then we have a good 'picture' of how the solipsists worldview is. The outside reality, which was for him inexistent and for us is just the outside material world, has become now the 'Holy Spirit'. 'Big I' is 'God the Father'. And 'Little I' is 'God the Son'.
The Trinity concept of a Deity used in religious context is arrived from that model.

As can be stated, this 'world' view which Idealism (of which solipsism is its purest form) claims to have is based on the claim that no outside reality exists in the first place. Therefore all claims that are made based on that, are in forms of 'Absolute Ideas' (a term used by Hegel, who was a well known Idealist. See the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1496" for references to Hegel).
Since no idea can be claimed to be true without testing it against reality itself, the notion of Absolute Truths etc. are nothing more then Absolute Absurdities. To KNOW something about reality, means to INVESTIGATE reality and thoroughly study it, and base knowledge on that. That is how science, based on Materialism proceeds.
 
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  • #30
Adam
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  • #31
heusdens
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Originally posted by Adam
Solipsism

http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/s/solipsis.htm

There is one BIG problem with the idea: If the reality you are experiencing is the only one to which you have access, then the entire question becomes 100% irrelevent.

First I don't see why, and secondly, there can only be one reality (if more then one exist, they merge together into one reality).
 
  • #32


Originally posted by heusdens
One can, at one moment, for sure think that one's mind is the only real thing,
My position is that The Mind is the only real thing. Everything else - including 'me' - is a perspective of that Mind. I don't know what solipsists think, but there seems to be many deviations from my own line-of-thought (by them), according to you.
But we know the solipsist is not alone, and some day he will meet another mind, and they can talk and communicate about reality.
Different perspectives can meet in One Mind. It's no different than meeting various characters in your dreams.
And not only that, the reality thing seems to have objective existence, which does not depend on our mind.
The sensations of that reality are real. Anything which happens in your mind is real. But what else seems real beyond your sensation of it?
Therefore mankind developed science, to have a better picture of reality.
Science is the analysis of sensation. Our sensations are ordered... and the Laws of Physics are a reflection of this order. Science does not give us any keys to an external reality. Science merely shows us how our sensations work.
And guess what? The picture we have of reality, really positively affirms of there is reason to state that there is an objective reality out there, which is veryfiable in many ways, and which is independend of our mind.
Which scientific law verifies external reality?
So far science has never come up with one fact that makes us doubt about wether there is a material reality.
Science is the study of our perceptions/sensations. The reason why science hasn't come up with one fact to make us doubt the reality of these sensations, is because those sensations are real.
I can state - with all philosophical certainty - that science doesn't even address the true nature of reality! In the centuries since Galileo, not one scientific theory has ever addressed the nature of reality. Science just addresses the behaviour of that reality, and tries to unveil its order.
Only philosophy can even attempt to answer these questions. Not to make any inflammatory comments - but science is largely redundant when it comes to such matters as this.
 
  • #33
Mentat
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Originally posted by heusdens
First I don't see why, and secondly, there can only be one reality (if more then one exist, they merge together into one reality).

You don't see why? It's because we can never prove it either way, if the only thing we have to go on is our own senses. Lifegazer uses this point of reasoning alot, so I'm sure you are familiar with it.
 
  • #34
heusdens
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Originally posted by Lifegazer
My position is that The Mind is the only real thing. Everything else - including 'me' - is a perspective of that Mind. I don't know what solipsists think, but there seems to be many deviations from my own line-of-thought (by them), according to you.

Different perspectives can meet in One Mind. It's no different than meeting various characters in your dreams.

The sensations of that reality are real. Anything which happens in your mind is real. But what else seems real beyond your sensation of it?

Science is the analysis of sensation. Our sensations are ordered... and the Laws of Physics are a reflection of this order. Science does not give us any keys to an external reality. Science merely shows us how our sensations work.

Which scientific law verifies external reality?

Science is the study of our perceptions/sensations. The reason why science hasn't come up with one fact to make us doubt the reality of these sensations, is because those sensations are real.
I can state - with all philosophical certainty - that science doesn't even address the true nature of reality! In the centuries since Galileo, not one scientific theory has ever addressed the nature of reality. Science just addresses the behaviour of that reality, and tries to unveil its order.
Only philosophy can even attempt to answer these questions. Not to make any inflammatory comments - but science is largely redundant when it comes to such matters as this.


In other words, you state that you can make claims about reality, that are not adressed and even open for scientific research, and not verifyable therefore.

What is your basis of your statements (for instance the existence of 'The Mind')? Your only arguments and only proof is your own mind, there is nothing that can be tested outside of it.
And the reasoning is flawed, because you first assert there is no such thing as an 'outside reality', but as this is exactly the position of a solipsist, you then argue there must exist 'The Mind'.

There is absolutely no basis on which you can argue for 'The Mind' cause all you know about is your own mind.

The cause for different minds having same experiences about the outer reality does not lead to 'The Mind' however, but to the material world outside of our consciousness.

The term 'The Mind' is rather meaningless, cause there is no way to test for the existence of such an entity. What makes the outer reality behave like or have the property of a mind?
What basis do you have to conclude that the outer reality isn't material, but mindfull. As far as this, you never gave any real argument for that.

The way we see reality, eanbles us to put meaning into reality.
For instance the formation of life forms, and their evolution, can be seen in such a context. But does that really mean some intelligent force guided evolution and other material processes?
This can't be stated on the basis of known phenomena and the laws of physics, so such statements are typical meta-physical.
 
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  • #35
heusdens
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Originally posted by Mentat
You don't see why? It's because we can never prove it either way, if the only thing we have to go on is our own senses. Lifegazer uses this point of reasoning alot, so I'm sure you are familiar with it.

The reasoning is flawed and speculative. What is the meaning of the existence of something, if we can not know about it?
Either it exists, and we can know about it, or it doesn't, and we can not even test it indirectly, then the assumption is meaningless.
 

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