Philosophical viewpoint of solipsism

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  • #26
RuroumiKenshin
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
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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
RuroumiKenshin
On the premise of being=existence, rocks (who do not think) are.
 
  • #29
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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 noone 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
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  • #31
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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
Lifegazer


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, realy 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
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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
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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 realy 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 physcis, so such statements are typical meta-physical.
 
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  • #35
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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.
 
  • #36
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What a species-centric point of view...

that the existence of something has no meaning unless WE can know about it!

I'll bet there are a LOT of things we don't know about (yet...if ever) that we don't know about or can test directly.

"Speculation" is not a four-letter word. It precedes theory, which precedes testing.

And...some things can be known ONLY by their EFFECTS.
 
  • #37
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
that the existence of something has no meaning unless WE can know about it!

I'll bet there are a LOT of things we don't know about (yet...if ever) that we don't know about or can test directly.

"Speculation" is not a four-letter word. It precedes theory, which precedes testing.

And...some things can be known ONLY by their EFFECTS.
I hope you see the difference between things we CAN know about (but do not yet know) and things we CAN NOT know about.

Some examples of the first:
- planets near stars, not yet discovered
- matter in galaxies or in between galaxies (dark matter components)
- etc.

Things we CAN NOT know about:
- parallel existing universes with no interaction whatsoever
- forms of matter with even in theory no interaction with kown matter

These things can only be theoretically postulated, but can never be verified (not even in directly).
 
  • #38
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Objective Idealism versus Subjective Idealism

Within philosophical idealism, there are two main disciplines:

Objective Idealism

This philosophy postulates an 'Absolute Idea' (Hegel) as the primary substance. According to this philosophy everything is the result of an objective principle of mind. This ideal creature is existing outside of our own mind and independend of the human mind, and which is primary to the material world. Acc. to objective idealism, this creature, or this objective mindfull principle is the creator of the world, and the world is developing according to the laws set forth by this objective idea.

Representants of this philosophy are for instance: Plato, Thomas von Aquin, Leibniz and Hegel.

Philosophical directions that are part of this philosophy are: Newhegelianism, newplatonism and newthomismus.

Subjective Idealism

This comes down to the philosophy that sees all of reality as only consisting in the human mind itself. All things only exist in our mind, and not outside of it. The world is our consciousness. If this kind of reasoning is followed consequently, the conlusion is that the ONLY reality is the reality of one mind, and nothing else. This form is known as 'solipsism'.


Objective and subjective idealism are the two main disciplines within idealism. They have both in common that, wether this is in form of an objective mind outside the human mind, or the human mind itself, both oppose materialism in ascerting that the primary substance in the world is not matter, but mind.
 
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  • #39
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Originally posted by heusdens
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.
The fact that something exists does not pre-suppose that we can know about it, heusdens. Isn't that obvious?
 
  • #40
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
"Speculation" is not a four-letter word. It precedes theory, which precedes testing.
Just to clarify, theory does not precede testing. Hypothesis precedes testing, and, afterwards, may graduate to "theory".
 
  • #41
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Originally posted by heusdens
I hope you see the difference between things we CAN know about (but do not yet know) and things we CAN NOT know about.

Some examples of the first:
- planets near stars, not yet discovered
- matter in galaxies or in between galaxies (dark matter components)
- etc.

Things we CAN NOT know about:
- parallel existing universes with no interaction whatsoever
- forms of matter with even in theory no interaction with kown matter

These things can only be theoretically postulated, but can never be verified (not even in directly).
There are however some things, such as the exact state of an individual particle (for example) that we cannot ever know.
 
  • #42
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Mentat...

Thanks. That was useful.

Meanwhile, what's your position on "speculation"?

Cannot someone "take the case" that something is so...then see how far they can take the premise until it falls apart -- or is torn apart by others?

Have not such speculations yielded THEORIES that were CONFIRMED ...down the road?

Am I being asked -- at least indirectly -- to keep my speculations to myself?

Frankly, I think I'm onto something (as opposed to "on" something! )...and WELCOME specific objections that force a response.

And if not here, where?
 
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  • #43
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Thanks. That was useful.

Meanwhile, what's your position on "speculation"?

Cannot someone "take the case" that something is so...then see how far they can take the premise until it falls apart -- or is torn apart by others?

Have not such speculations yielded THEORIES that were CONFIRMED ...down the road?

Am I being asked -- at least indirectly -- to keep my speculations to myself?

Frankly, I think I'm onto something (as opposed to "on" something! )...and WELCOME specific objections that force a response.

And if not here, where?
No, no, please don't feel that you should keep your speculations to yourself. All I, personally, ask is that you not make them appear as though they were already theories.

My position on "speculation" is that a speculation is an hypothesis, provided it can be tested. If it's untestable then it's unscientific, and thus could never graduate to being a "theory".
 
  • #44
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Mentat...

Is it not true that there have been speculations in the past that have seemed untestable at the time -- hence, "unscientific" -- but, at a later date, the means of testing, measuring or even just detecting were found?

In the thread I originated -- A Conscious Universe? -- I asked how this speculation might be "proved".

Solipsism -- the subject of THIS thread -- is a philosophy that will NEVER graduate to a theory, because solipsists only talk to themselves!

If that myopic point of view is worth discussing, surely we can discuss the possibility of a Cosmic Mind.

Just not on this thread...
 
  • #45
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Originally posted by Mentat
The fact that something exists does not pre-suppose that we can know about it, heusdens. Isn't that obvious?
No, cause it is a false pre-position. The existence of something can only be stated as a fact, because we have in theory the possibility to know about it.

Else, the famous P-particles would also have existence.
P-particles are particles that do not in any way interact withn normal matter, they can coexist at the same time and place as normal matter, so in theory the universe can be full of it, and they could be in plenty abundance residing inside your body and brain.

However, from their definition, it is absolutely impossible to test their existence. Therefore one can not state that such particles exist.
 
  • #46
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Originally posted by Mentat
There are however some things, such as the exact state of an individual particle (for example) that we cannot ever know.
Yes, thanks. Great! But they just belong in the second category, I am sorry I did not list them exhaustively (that would be quite impossible!)
 
  • #47
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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).
Consider the Matrix as an analogy/example. If you can't do a Neo and "wake up" and suddenly experience something totally different, then what you have is reality. Everything else is just fairy tales making up a small tidbit of your reality. As the link I provided earlier points out, the entire idea is basically without foundation.
 
  • #48
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Cause and Effect...

Scientists speculate that there is "Dark Matter" to account for the "extra gravity" that seems to be needed to explain the movement of stars within their galaxies. They haven't found any Dark Matter as yet...only its EFFECT.

Scientists speculate that there must be "Dark Energy" to explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe. They can't DETECT it...only it's supposed EFFECT.

My challenge, then, might be to identify an EFFECT that suggests that the Universe may be conscious.

Gotta put my thinking cap on for that one.

And I better do it on another thread.
 
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  • #49
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Scientists speculate that there is "Dark Matter" to account for the "extra gravity" that seems to be needed to explain the movement of stars within their galaxies. They haven't found any Dark Matter as yet...only its EFFECT.

Scientists speculate that there must be "Dark Energy" to explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe. They can't DETECT it...only it's supposed EFFECT.

My challenge, then, might be to identify an EFFECT that suggests that the Universe may be conscious.

Gotta put my thinking cap on for that one.

And I better do it on another thread.
That is not a TOO BIG challenge, cause we know the effect of the material reality was (amongst others) the appearence through billions of years of evolution of consciouss beings in the form of humans.

It can be states that the universe is conscious, cause it contains parts that are consciouss. In exactly the same way as I can state that I am consciouss, cause parts of me are consciouss.

But what does this help us to understand things? What does it clear?

We must put in mind that in order to distinguish conscioussness from non-consciousness, we usually refer to Nature and the processes of Nature as acting without consciousness, will or intent. Even so, we think of ourselves as having those properties, and we have come from Nature and are part of it.

Further, it must be noted that there isn't a clear line within Nature between consciousness and unconsciousness. We refer to Nature as unconscioussness, cause this allows us to distinguish ourselves from other processes in Nature.
 
  • #50
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Heusdens, I still don't agree that we must be able to know about everything that exists. For example, P-particles: Just because it is impossible for us to know about them, doesn't mean that they don't exist, merely that we can never know about them. To say that our lack of ability to ever know about something means that it doesn't exist, is (IMO) anthro-egotistical.
 

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