Solipsism redefined?

  • Thread starter philly
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What do you think of this perspective on solipsism?

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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Ok... Solipsism is the thought that perhaps you are the only being in existence and that everything you percieve and experience is but a figment of your imagination. It has long been claimed to be unfalsifyible. But here is why solipsism cannot be. We have to attack it from several angles so bare with me.

First rationale: If you are truly the only thing in existence, then there can be no such thing as temporality (ie the world of opposites, comparisons, and cause and effect). In other words YOU ARE IT and you haven't a molecular structure or atoms- the existence of these would imply that you exist in some kind of temporal system that precedes your existence thus suggesting that you are not truly alone. So if it is the case then that you are truly singular in every way then you have nothing to compare yourself to. Without something to compare yourself to you would not and indeed could not feel anything that would even remotely suggest temporality such as feelings like hatred, fear, want or desire. The only thing that you would feel would be utter peace and even that would not be definable. As the sole conscious and singular entity you could only be self aware. There would be no possible way for you to experience anything or even concoct the concept of experiencing something since that would imply that you somehow can comprehend the idea of the existence of things other than yourself. Some might claim that over eons and eons it is possible that something could possibly evolve into existence that happens to possess the capacity for false emotions and true solipsism. But in truth if you are all that is and you are truly singular, this ultimately means that you are "stable" and you cannot evolve since evolution would require that you respond to your environment and you don't have one. At best you are surrounded by empty space and this empty space would mean nothing to you since there is nothing external of you for you to percieve and thus define the concepts of distance and hence space. So if you take it to the extreme and suggest that you TRULY are alone, then solipsism is not possible.

Second rationale: If you are a biological organism or if you are simply composed of more than one particle, then you by definition exist within a temporal system. One might suggest that an organism could evolve in this case over eons and eons that possesses the capacity for true solipsism but all of your emotions including want, desire, fear, love and hatred would had to have evolved as a result of a real perception of other entities. Otherwise these emotions could never be defined. Our basic emotions mean what they mean to us because of how they have served us and they therefore could never have evolved independently of an external reality.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
verty
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So is this a linguistic argument, that one can't rationally consider oneself to be alone?
 
  • #3
vanesch
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The problem with most (all) arguments against solipsism, is that they already assume it to be false in the argumentation.

Look at this argument for instance:
If you are truly the only thing in existence, then there can be no such thing as temporality (ie the world of opposites, comparisons, and cause and effect). In other words YOU ARE IT and you haven't a molecular structure or atoms- the existence of these would imply that you exist in some kind of temporal system that precedes your existence thus suggesting that you are not truly alone.
It is implicitly assumed here that "a temporal system" exists of which you are materially part. But such need not to be the case! Assuming solipsism, all your "temporal experience" (and more specifically your memory) is just as well part of the illusion as anything else. Time flow is just as much an illusion as is the existence of your body, or, by extension, the external world. You are only aware of the "now" and "one moment ago" with its memories, is part of the illusion.

There would be no possible way for you to experience anything or even concoct the concept of experiencing something since that would imply that you somehow can comprehend the idea of the existence of things other than yourself.
This is absolutely not a necessity. In the same way as you can have the illusion of a body, or an external world, you can have the illusion that in that fictional external world, there are fictional items with similar bodies as your fictional body. It's also part of the illusion.

But in truth if you are all that is and you are truly singular, this ultimately means that you are "stable" and you cannot evolve since evolution would require that you respond to your environment and you don't have one. At best you are surrounded by empty space and this empty space would mean nothing to you since there is nothing external of you for you to percieve and thus define the concepts of distance and hence space. So if you take it to the extreme and suggest that you TRULY are alone, then solipsism is not possible.
The "stability" comes again with the hypothesis of a true temporal evolution, which was, we concluded, also in fact an illusion. You are not "surrounded by empty space" ; space is just as well part of the illusion.

In order to help you grasp the concept of solipsism, imagine that all that exists (and we're even leaving here solipsism), is a string of characters (a mapping between {1,...,n} and the set of lettres {"a","b"....} making up the contents of a book. (no "paper" book of course, just an abstract mapping between Platonic natural numbers and a finite set of characters). Imagine now that "you" are a character (personage) in the book, which has the illusion of having lived the book.
 
  • #4
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Just a clarification. In this argument I am not assuming that a temporal system DOES exists. But I am suggesting that there would had to have been, at some point leading up to the here and now a system of comparisons by which I could compare my sense of self with something else. If I in my state of aloneness NEVER had exposure to something other than myself at some point, I could never even conceptualize emotions such as fear or desire. I may infact be in a solipsistic dream state now, but at some point I would had to have ACTUALLY experienced something other than myself in order to have a referenece for those emotions I experience that suggest interaction. The only thing I can know with certainty is my own sense of self and the effect my emotions have on it. The problem with solipsism is that the arguments for it tend to become more and more "less plausible" to the point where truly it is not likely.
 
  • #5
vanesch
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But I am suggesting that there would had to have been, at some point leading up to the here and now a system of comparisons by which I could compare my sense of self with something else.
But that is already a hypothesis which needs not to be true. Consider my "character in a Platonic book" case. A simple mapping between a finite set of natural numbers and a finite set of characters is all that is needed for this "world" to exist. No space, no time, no matter, no body. Just a story encoded by a finite mapping. The story can be as complicated as you wish. It can be the equivalent of a 500.000 page novel, describing the wanderings of a character, and that character is then your subjective experience. Timeless, evolution less, but entirely an illusion.

EDIT: such a finite mapping can even be put equal to a single Goedel number. So certain natural numbers, by themselves, could be an entire world containing an illusionary "self". Think about it: purely an abstract natural number, in the Platonic sense, can be an arbitrary complicated "story" and thus a solipsist world of a "self", full of illusions.

EDIT(2): you can push this even further, and consider the Goedel number corresponding to an entire computer simulation of a world. That natural number would then be, by itself, a world described by the simulation, in all thinkable details, and "lived" by a character undergoing the simulation (with the simulation).
So all possible computer-simulatable worlds are already Platonically existing, by the mere existence of the natural numbers.

If I in my state of aloneness NEVER had exposure to something other than myself at some point, I could never even conceptualize emotions such as fear or desire.
Why would that be so ? You are implicitly assuming that you need to go through a kind of material "learning cycle" before your illusions can be what they are, but that doesn't need to be so. Your illusions just are. You ARE your illusions.

I may infact be in a solipsistic dream state now, but at some point I would had to have ACTUALLY experienced something other than myself in order to have a referenece for those emotions I experience that suggest interaction.
Again, this pre-supposes a kind of material carrier of your "being" which needs to go through a learning cycle "before" finally experiencing its "current" illusion. The suggestions of interaction are just part of the same set of illusions which make you think you have a body, you have a past, there is some outer world, or there is some space, or there are others. consider your "learning cycle" part of the illusion of your memory!


The only thing I can know with certainty is my own sense of self and the effect my emotions have on it.
Yes, that's the only absolute truth we (I) have. All the rest is hypothesis.
 
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  • #6
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Ok... Solipsism is the thought that perhaps you are the only being in existence and that everything you percieve and experience is but a figment of your imagination. It has long been claimed to be unfalsifyible. But here is why solipsism cannot be. We have to attack it from several angles so bare with me.

First rationale: If you are truly the only thing in existence, then there can be no such thing as temporality (ie the world of opposites, comparisons, and cause and effect). In other words YOU ARE IT and you haven't a molecular structure or atoms- the existence of these would imply that you exist in some kind of temporal system that precedes your existence thus suggesting that you are not truly alone. So if it is the case then that you are truly singular in every way then you have nothing to compare yourself to. Without something to compare yourself to you would not and indeed could not feel anything that would even remotely suggest temporality such as feelings like hatred, fear, want or desire. The only thing that you would feel would be utter peace and even that would not be definable. As the sole conscious and singular entity you could only be self aware. There would be no possible way for you to experience anything or even concoct the concept of experiencing something since that would imply that you somehow can comprehend the idea of the existence of things other than yourself. Some might claim that over eons and eons it is possible that something could possibly evolve into existence that happens to possess the capacity for false emotions and true solipsism. But in truth if you are all that is and you are truly singular, this ultimately means that you are "stable" and you cannot evolve since evolution would require that you respond to your environment and you don't have one. At best you are surrounded by empty space and this empty space would mean nothing to you since there is nothing external of you for you to percieve and thus define the concepts of distance and hence space. So if you take it to the extreme and suggest that you TRULY are alone, then solipsism is not possible.

Second rationale: If you are a biological organism or if you are simply composed of more than one particle, then you by definition exist within a temporal system. One might suggest that an organism could evolve in this case over eons and eons that possesses the capacity for true solipsism but all of your emotions including want, desire, fear, love and hatred would had to have evolved as a result of a real perception of other entities. Otherwise these emotions could never be defined. Our basic emotions mean what they mean to us because of how they have served us and they therefore could never have evolved independently of an external reality.

Well, keep thinking! These kinds of approaches have been considerd before though.

I think you need to look deeper in to your own premises - ask what you mean when you say *I* - or *we* - question the ideology of the mono-self.

And then head in to meaning, and what it is and how it works. Separate emotions from the meanings applied by human awareness, and see what's left over.

Thirdly, one possible counter on your last point there is that it is possible - which we all know from our own dreams - for completely random and unassociated, non-logical events to be presented to us and to yet make perfect sense... in other words, just because it all seems logical that emotions evolved like that, doesn't negate the possibility that we just see it like that because of a trick of meaning.

Howver, that's just word games, of course - what is really important is that solipsism is based on religious ideas of an individual, atomic self - soul if you like - that's where it is most easily attacked - in its own premises.
 
  • #7
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But that is already a hypothesis which needs not to be true. Consider my "character in a Platonic book" case. A simple mapping between a finite set of natural numbers and a finite set of characters is all that is needed for this "world" to exist. No space, no time, no matter, no body. Just a story encoded by a finite mapping. The story can be as complicated as you wish. It can be the equivalent of a 500.000 page novel, describing the wanderings of a character, and that character is then your subjective experience. Timeless, evolution less, but entirely an illusion.

EDIT: such a finite mapping can even be put equal to a single Goedel number. So certain natural numbers, by themselves, could be an entire world containing an illusionary "self". Think about it: purely an abstract natural number, in the Platonic sense, can be an arbitrary complicated "story" and thus a solipsist world of a "self", full of illusions.

EDIT(2): you can push this even further, and consider the Goedel number corresponding to an entire computer simulation of a world. That natural number would then be, by itself, a world described by the simulation, in all thinkable details, and "lived" by a character undergoing the simulation (with the simulation).
So all possible computer-simulatable worlds are already Platonically existing, by the mere existence of the natural numbers.
Well, that;s just playing with words, surely? Especially the fuzzy meaning of *existence*.... you don't actually pin down how those things exist in any way - you just widen the meaning of the word *existence* to include those abstractions.

Besides, even in your model there is somethig that needs to be pre-supposed - the existence of the self. And it is arguments such as this that define self in to existence in the first place. (or rather, widen the meaning of existence, to incorporate our ideological beliefs, lol.)

Have you hear dof the *beetle in the box* argument?


Why would that be so ? You are implicitly assuming that you need to go through a kind of material "learning cycle" before your illusions can be what they are, but that doesn't need to be so. Your illusions just are. You ARE your illusions.
I agree in many ways, but it seems to me that my illusions aren't 'flat' -= i.e. I can specifically remember my illusions forming over time in to a greater level of complexity... and then I watched my kids do it as well.

Problem with your argument is it boils down to my illusions versus your illusions... i.e. the more you rely on such linguistic, ideological, limiting models, the more it really is only literally about illusions - ideas - ideologies versus ideologies.


Again, this pre-supposes a kind of material carrier of your "being" which needs to go through a learning cycle "before" finally experiencing its "current" illusion.
And the opposite presumes a disembodied self of some kind - which is FAR more of a presumption. Far more likely that the truth is all around us - what we are experiencing - a mental self-construct hosted in material body which has experiences... re Husserl.

The suggestions of interaction are just part of the same set of illusions which make you think you have a body, you have a past, there is some outer world, or there is some space, or there are others. consider your "learning cycle" part of the illusion of your memory!
Well, that is an idea that has many layers - one of which I agree with, and the lower layers I don't! Just because our interactions are really about mental activity doesn't mean that those interactons werepart of an artificial memory installed in to us - even the artificial memory was experienced on some level, even if it is only as a memory.

Still, yes - I can agree with the idea there - just, I wonder about the whole implication of illusion - to me, more like *Maya* than just pure illusion - like, appearence of truth.



Yes, that's the only absolute truth we (I) have. All the rest is hypothesis.
No, ALL of that is an ideological belief.
 
  • #8
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The problem with most (all) arguments against solipsism, is that they already assume it to be false in the argumentation.

Look at this argument for instance:


It is implicitly assumed here that "a temporal system" exists of which you are materially part. But such need not to be the case! Assuming solipsism, all your "temporal experience" (and more specifically your memory) is just as well part of the illusion as anything else. Time flow is just as much an illusion as is the existence of your body, or, by extension, the external world. You are only aware of the "now" and "one moment ago" with its memories, is part of the illusion.



This is absolutely not a necessity. In the same way as you can have the illusion of a body, or an external world, you can have the illusion that in that fictional external world, there are fictional items with similar bodies as your fictional body. It's also part of the illusion.



The "stability" comes again with the hypothesis of a true temporal evolution, which was, we concluded, also in fact an illusion. You are not "surrounded by empty space" ; space is just as well part of the illusion.

In order to help you grasp the concept of solipsism, imagine that all that exists (and we're even leaving here solipsism), is a string of characters (a mapping between {1,...,n} and the set of lettres {"a","b"....} making up the contents of a book. (no "paper" book of course, just an abstract mapping between Platonic natural numbers and a finite set of characters). Imagine now that "you" are a character (personage) in the book, which has the illusion of having lived the book.
That anology will already suffer from the fact that the only way that "character" can come alive is when there is "someone else" reading the book....
 
  • #9
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That anology will already suffer from the fact that the only way that "character" can come alive is when there is "someone else" reading the book....

Interesting thought.
 
  • #10
vanesch
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That anology will already suffer from the fact that the only way that "character" can come alive is when there is "someone else" reading the book....
No, that's the point. Take our "material" universe. We take it that the matter in it doesn't come alive because "someone is watching it". In the same way, you could conceive that the "character" comes to life just by its abstract Platonic existance. The number = the character = the illusion = the self in this case.

Don't confuse "the character as the mental picture build in the mind of the reader" with the self I'm trying to illustrate, and which is simply the number itself. If you give Platonic existence to mathematical concepts, then you could imagine that this mathematical structure is, in itself, rich enough to be self-conscious. This would then be a kind of solipsist self. It could be YOUR self, in fact :smile:
 
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  • #11
vanesch
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Well, that;s just playing with words, surely? Especially the fuzzy meaning of *existence*.... you don't actually pin down how those things exist in any way - you just widen the meaning of the word *existence* to include those abstractions.
I was only trying to find an illustration of a "solipsist world". So we limit the ontology to the strict minimum, and in the case I illustrate, the ontology is limited to the abstact concept of a number, which can be thought of having the structure of a story, which is in a 1-1 mapping with the experience of the self.
In the same way as we have our "laws of nature" which are in the end a mathematical structure, and which are supposed to "describe" nature (which makes nature itself into the equivalence of a mathematical object), and of which a small part is the "material carrier of our self" and hence the structure that describes our subjective experience, in the solipsist idea, we could limit the entire universe to just the description of the subjective experience, which is nothing else but the "self". It is the strict minimum of "nature" that has to exist to carry a "self" with those subjective experiences.

Besides, even in your model there is somethig that needs to be pre-supposed - the existence of the self.
Well, following Descartes, that's the only thing that is not open to negation: my subjective experience exists for me, without any doubt. All the rest is hypothesis, but not this.

I agree in many ways, but it seems to me that my illusions aren't 'flat' -= i.e. I can specifically remember my illusions forming over time in to a greater level of complexity... and then I watched my kids do it as well.
But that also could be an illusion, build into your fake memory (which is a structure of relationships, encoded in our number).

Whole of nature could just be a description of your subjective experience, which contains your "experience of memory", and even your "experience of formation of your souvenirs" etc.... In fact, illusion = self = subjective experience = the strict minimum of a "nature".

All you need for a self to exist, is a structure which carries it, and the minimum structure that carries it is the desciption of its experience in one form or another, such as a number.
 
  • #12
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I think one point that musn't be clouded is the starting point of the discourse and there truly can be only one- I AM. When you take that as very fundamental and serious as it is you quickly realize that the only evidence for or against solipsism that is ultimately admissible is what YOU can muster via your own metaphysical analysis. Everything external of your own self awareness, and everything that is supposed cannot truly be admitted as evidence. Interestingly in order to attempt to discredit solipsism you must first truly adopt solipsism.
 
  • #13
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I was only trying to find an illustration of a "solipsist world". So we limit the ontology to the strict minimum, and in the case I illustrate, the ontology is limited to the abstact concept of a number, which can be thought of having the structure of a story, which is in a 1-1 mapping with the experience of the self.
In the same way as we have our "laws of nature" which are in the end a mathematical structure, and which are supposed to "describe" nature (which makes nature itself into the equivalence of a mathematical object), and of which a small part is the "material carrier of our self" and hence the structure that describes our subjective experience, in the solipsist idea, we could limit the entire universe to just the description of the subjective experience, which is nothing else but the "self". It is the strict minimum of "nature" that has to exist to carry a "self" with those subjective experiences.
Carry a self?? Pre-supposition of the self? Teleological argument? Starts with the presumption of *self* which could just as easily be, and probably is - in fact, seems to be - the product of a process, not the start of it. Although on the surface it seems as though you are talking about a process with consciousness at the end of it, I am not taling about what you describe as the process, but the assumption in your argument - you start with the un-questioned belief in self, and then look to explain it. What should be the thing up for debate is already a concrete conclusion before you even start. Be careful of that, lol.

Is our day to day understanding and experience of the world really mathematical though? Or, is your example using an anology, and yet, gaining nothing fromt he analogy except a false new way of looking at it?

More important, *sunjective* is an ideological pre-supposition... teleology again?


Well, following Descartes, that's the only thing that is not open to negation: my subjective experience exists for me, without any doubt. All the rest is hypothesis, but not this.
Well, e-mail the Buddha and tell him then, because he had an idea regarding non-existecne of self. So, it is only *given* to you...

Insisting that the self really *exists* in that sense is an ideological standpoint, not a *given* of any kind. Many peope don't agree with Descartes - see Gilbert Ryle.

However - we are playing with the menaing of *existence* again - *self* has an archaeology as a concept, and is deeply based on presuppositions inherited from religious standpoints, most importantly a subtle sense of the *wholeness* and singularity of the self, as some kind of mono-entity/spirit/essential thing. Compare with Wittgenstein;s assertiont hat *I* is a grammatical conceit.


But that also could be an illusion, build into your fake memory (which is a structure of relationships, encoded in our number).
Well, difficult to see here, but that is based on ideological beliefs relating to *moments* which we very rarely, if ever question. We exist in a continuum of some kind - whether temporal, physical or conceptual. What is very hard to see is that memory itself generates the sense of that continuum, so as long as the memory is there, the sense ofcontinuum is there. *Moments*, as you are inferring it - although you don't use the word but it is implied in the sense of a whole setof memories becoming *active* at one point, artificially generating a sense of the past - are also an idea, not an actual thing, but, if external *time* does exist, it still makes no difference - because what we are really talking about is something we percieve - i.e. our own sense of continuum. As long as we percieve it, then thatis the thing that we percieve, and so the self-sense of having a past is a real experience. Fact is, at any one moment all the past memories are gone - they don't exist, so our sense of having a past and being in a continuum is artificial anyway - so in a way, what you say is true, and at each *now* the setof memories is just installed information, artificially generating a sense of continuum.

But that doesn't mean that the memories did not happen, it just points to how we process and store information.

We could have just had our memories installed, I guess -but I am far more suspicious of ways of looking at the world based on ideas in vogue at the moment - like computers have info installed,therefore brains might... every age does that - uses what is going on as its analogy point. It's THAT we need to be supicious of *Oh, it's like the Matrix...* Maybe, unitl the next analogy point come along.

Tat analogy point - i,e, Matrix type ideas seems to have resonance or a greater possibility of truth just because ofin vogue ideas - whereas, in fact, it's justone of an infinity of possibilites picked at random, all with equally little chance of being true - same as *MAybe sea slugs smoke caterpillars and their drug laced imagination generates what we think of as *us*...* Same difference. Far more likely that we are actually seeing is based on what is going on.

Whole of nature could just be a description of your subjective experience, which contains your "experience of memory", and even your "experience of formation of your souvenirs" etc.... In fact, illusion = self = subjective experience = the strict minimum of a "nature".
Have you considered that *subjective* maybe an artificial conceptual creation, and an ideological belief? In fact, we can negate your idea easily, not by proving or disproving sollipsism, just by examining our own language use to explore how we made up concepts like *subjective* in the first place. Once they are seen as artificial, then thereis no basis for them to be *true*, or any ide based on them.


All you need for a self to exist, is a structure which carries it, and the minimum structure that carries it is the desciption of its experience in one form or another, such as a number.
Could you explain that more? The first part - sure - but the second part about the number...?? Tell you what, looked at fromanother perspective, consider the number I. Not one, but *I* as in I am... the number I -an ideological belief in the existence of self.
 
  • #14
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Bilateral arguments regarding solipsism are ultimately futile. No thinker can deny that initially all one really has and can prove beyond any doubt is their own consciousness and therefore quantitative analyses are not admissible and any temptation to draw comparisons has to be be avoided. This fact limits the number of possible positions on solipsism to ones that are based on introspection only. Although I'm enjoying reading all of these various thoughts and ideas, the only ones that ultimately count are my own and those that bare my scrutiny. If I may digress a bit here I'd like to make the observation (not of anyone's comments in particular...) that it is interesting to note how many arguments are based on comparisons and not on metaphysical introspection. For those of us who shun metaphysics, sorry - in this case it's all we got and all of our philosophical training is more or less of no use to us on this matter. I'd have to concur with "Ghostfaith's" statement and suggest that the Buddha would likely be better suited to solve the issue of solipsism than we philosophers.:frown:
 
  • #15
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Well, the Buddha was a philosopher of course, and the first thing he would say is that the *self* which is ideoligically at the fundamental heart of solipsism is an illusion.

Now, many people may go nuts with that, lol, trying to work out what can be having the illusion in that case... And the obvious answer is that the illusion comes first, and the self second.
 
  • #16
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But Buddha's view isn't solipsistic. For example Buddha did not believe that he was the only thing in existence. Buddha's view simply redefines reality to include something of a dual nature- multiplicity stemming from singularity, that singularity being something that ALL have access to. From Buddha's perspective one can internally access the realm of singularity and oneness and then reaccess the realm of multiplicity in whatever form and at whatever coordinates you so choose. It doesn't discount others. It simply discredits others' egos.
 
  • #17
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No. I don't think it is true to say that. The Buddha's thought is more complex. The Buddha rejected all forms - all ideologies - very deliberately. The Buddha doesn't come from a premise of any ideology of the self - he deconstructs it.

Anyone who does anythign like that - and I'm reminded of Castaneda's stuff as well - has to work by speaking your language - so if you use the *I* and are believing in the I, then they will say *you are...* but they are attempting to generate a non-linguistic awareness of the artificiality of the I concept. So they may say *look within...* but they are using the language of the person they are speaking to, and then refining the meanings of what they say until you see their profound meaning.

The Buddha doesn't discredit egos - egos hadn't been invented then. In Castaneda's idea, there is *the dreamer and the dreamed*... what they both say - Castaneda, and the Buddha - on a sophisticated level is that the dream comes first, and the dreamer second... Which is the same as Wittgenstein's assertion that *I* is a product of grammar.
 
  • #18
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Buddha doesn't come from a premise of any ideology of the self - he deconstructs it.
Exactly. He DECONSTRUCTS self and of course ego is the self.
The Buddha doesn't discredit egos - egos hadn't been invented then.
I'm not sure what you mean here. Perhaps an explicit definition for ego wasn't around then, but ego certainly was. From the perspective of a non-solipsist, a confirmed and actualized solipsist couldn't survive for one moment. Boddidharma ate, drank, slept, lived for years and eventually died. He also was an altruist. He did profess the illusion, not merely as his own but the illusion af all. Use a tree as a simple metaphor. An actualized tree without eyes doesn't care that it has branches (oneness). The branches with eyes only percieve each other and don't realize they are one with the tree (multiplicity). This suggests that the collective consciousness of the tree resides at a higher level than that of the "individual" branches. The branches have egos - the tree does not.
 
  • #19
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Exactly. He DECONSTRUCTS self and of course ego is the self.
Well, you need to be careful with that, in my view, Philly. All concepts, especially ones like *ego* have an archaeology - like Nietszche said, nothing *is* - everything has become... So, just because we view ego in a certain way now, doesn't mean that it has always been viewed, or, crucially, always existed in the way that we percieve it as doing now.

That is so hard ot accept because we have an ingrained ideology of the self as a mono-thing, and therefore unchanging over time. However, wild children, cut off from civilisation, don't have an ego int he way that people brought up in cities do - they just don't. They don't have the same conceptual sense of self.

*Ego* is an idea - used to try to point to somethign which is not really a thing. Just giving it a name artificially denotes existence and *singleness* to the thing - makes it a *thing*.

Once the construction of the self is considered, solipsism is seen as a construction based on that foundation - all constructed - and we can negate it not by proving objective reality, but by uncovering the archaeology of our own thought.


I'm not sure what you mean here. Perhaps an explicit definition for ego wasn't around then, but ego certainly was.
You can't know that. You are still remaining ideologically loyal to the idea of a kind of soul-self, a mono-thing, an entity which must be unchanging through time. It isn't even unchanging through one life time, never mind over thousands of years. Apes, at the point they were developing rudimentary language with rudimentary references to individuals as a functional language use may well havehad a rudimentary proto-ego - nothing like what we mostly have today... it is not an unchanging thing.

From the perspective of a non-solipsist, a confirmed and actualized solipsist couldn't survive for one moment. Boddidharma ate, drank, slept, lived for years and eventually died. He also was an altruist. He did profess the illusion, not merely as his own but the illusion af all.
Bodhidarma is Ta Mo - a Buddhist sage who travelled to China and taught at Shaolin - he isn't Gautama Buddha - just, by the by.

Buddhism has many elements of compassion and altruism, that's true - no body gets it ALL right, lol... But, the kind of concepts they worked with are known to open up the emotions of compassion. It doesn't meant hat they didn't fundamentaly believe in thenon-existence of self. Some times it is the people who don't actually care who offer the best help, and do the most seemingly altruistic things.

In our modern world we have the Matrix analogy,which say a solipsist might be eating illusion - anything. But, sollipsism can generate an infinity of possibilities - maybe you are God, entertaining yourself? But they all involve answers in the *unknowable* - and yet the unknowable is a made up idea, a place where we can pretend the final statges, or the foundation stages of our questions exist - to excuse ourselves from exploring our own *known* - where all of the questions come from, and consequently all of the answers are.

Use a tree as a simple metaphor. An actualized tree without eyes doesn't care that it has branches (oneness). The branches with eyes only percieve each other and don't realize they are one with the tree (multiplicity). This suggests that the collective consciousness of the tree resides at a higher level than that of the "individual" branches. The branches have egos - the tree does not.
Well, that is really about categorisation, not about any *higher truth*. Maybe each of the cells in your body is aware in its own way? To see all of your cells as making up *you*is a choice and a judgement - a categorisation - an ideological belief.

Do all the people in the world added up together make a collective consciousness?

Thing is to see these as artificial categorizations,a nd allow a little undecidability in to the equation. Individualk egos are born out of a social installation - all of the *meanings* in our language and society. There's no strict split one way or the other - part of the *ego* appears to bein our head, and yet, it is formed out of language and meaning that exists within a culture.

What I'm saying is that Buddha, and others - say, Derrida - are challenging those categorisations, and opening up not new knowledge, but new ways of seeing - because the old ways generate specific ways of seeing - like, still trying to get to grips with solipsism - instead of trying to answer it with the kind of answer the question itself suggests, try to see that the question IS suggesting what the answer must be like. Look at new ways of looking at the information. Find new answers - answers that explore the assumptions in the question.

Hope that helps.
 
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Thanks for your clarifications and thoughts Ghostfaith and thank you for pointing out my error with Bodhidarma and Siddhartha Gautama. In a nutshell I think that part of our disagreement here is over semantics. Without ego (or self) solipsism is mute. The reason I suggest that ego (the concept of self) was around in the days of Buddha is because all conscious entities in a temporal universe need to possess a self concept of some sort by virtue of their own inextricable perception of physical individuality. We are truly looking at two possible truths- the self as one of many selves, or the self as the only self and we need to be completely sensitive to both of these possibilities. But I don't see solipsism as a spiritual issue fundamentally. Spiritualism is something for the solipsist and non-solipsist alike and doesn't really speak to the fundamental question- do you and I both exist, or is it just me? (or just you?). Spiritualism has a place in either domain. The discourse really can't begin in any way other than with the question "What do you know with absolute certainty about your own existence?", followed by "What can you deduce from that?" Beyond that it isn't about how far someone else has gotten with their quest for truth but "How far can YOU get?..."
 
  • #21
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But I don't see solipsism as a spiritual issue fundamentally. Spiritualism is something for the solipsist and non-solipsist alike and doesn't really speak to the fundamental question- do you and I both exist, or is it just me? (or just you?). Spiritualism has a place in either domain. The discourse really can't begin in any way other than with the question "What do you know with absolute certainty about your own existence?", followed by "What can you deduce from that?" Beyond that it isn't about how far someone else has gotten with their quest for truth but "How far can YOU get?..."
Yes, I'm all with you here. There's one thing one knows with absolute certainty, and that is that a kind of "self" exists, for oneself. That "self" doesn't need to coincide with any ideological definition of "self" of course. Its only defining part is its self-awareness. Clearly, there "exists" in one way or another, some awareness of a self. This doesn't imply anything, a priori, beyond that. There needs to be no material, temporal, spatial or whatever "carrier" beyond the existence of the awareness itself. It COULD of course also be an "emergent property" of any carrier, such as a spatio-temporal universe with matter in it. But it could also not be so. However, it is impossible that there is not such a thing as an awareness of a self. You cannot deny that you experience subjectively something, and hence that subjective experience has some form of existence - whether all by itself, or carried by another system (such as a spatio-temporal universe) as a kind of emergent property. THIS is for sure. All the rest, however, is hypothesis.

This is how I understand solipsism.
 
  • #22
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Carry a self?? Pre-supposition of the self? Teleological argument?
You can hardly deny that a "self" exists, right ? With "self", I do not mean any "angel-like" ghost living in ectoplasma space or whatever, I mean: the set of subjective experiences. You cannot deny that these subjective experiences "exist" up to some level. Yes, they may be "emergent properties" of some material system, but it is not because they are emergent, that they are not existing in some way.
The only thing you really "know" about, is that there exists a set of subjective experiences, which you are experiencing. You cannot deny that you experience something. Hence that experience exists. It is all you really know, exists.

Starts with the presumption of *self* which could just as easily be, and probably is - in fact, seems to be - the product of a process, not the start of it.
Hypothesis, hypothesis. What's a "process" ?

you start with the un-questioned belief in self, and then look to explain it. What should be the thing up for debate is already a concrete conclusion before you even start. Be careful of that, lol.
No. The question is, whether one can be certain that there exists something BEYOND "a set of subjective experiences" (= self). It could be all there is. But no less, because I *KNOW* that these experiences exist.

Is our day to day understanding and experience of the world really mathematical though?
Yes, every concept we have is ultimately a mathematical concept, although we rarely realize it. Most of the things we know and experience can be seen as linked lists of finite sets. A finite graph of links between atomic concepts.

And ultimately, every finite structure is 1-1 linked with a Goedel number. So the set of natural numbers represents ALL THINKABLE FINITE STRUCTURES. Everything you could write down on a sheet of paper a billion times the size of the universe, is ultimately just a natural number. It is a very rich structure.

More important, *sunjective* is an ideological pre-supposition... teleology again?
No, it isn't. You cannot deny that you have subjective experiences, right ?

Insisting that the self really *exists* in that sense is an ideological standpoint, not a *given* of any kind. Many peope don't agree with Descartes - see Gilbert Ryle.
I don't know Ryle, doesn't matter. Denying that you have subjective experiences is kind-a the ultimate stupidity, no ? If you have pain, denying you feel pain ? Come on.

However - we are playing with the menaing of *existence* again - *self* has an archaeology as a concept, and is deeply based on presuppositions inherited from religious standpoints, most importantly a subtle sense of the *wholeness* and singularity of the self, as some kind of mono-entity/spirit/essential thing. Compare with Wittgenstein;s assertiont hat *I* is a grammatical conceit.
I define self as "the set of subjective experiences". I don't think you can reasonably deny its existence. Can you really deny that you have any experiences/thoughts/feelings/... ? That these experiences hence don't exist - in other words, cannot be put into any conceptual form ?

Well, difficult to see here, but that is based on ideological beliefs relating to *moments* which we very rarely, if ever question. We exist in a continuum of some kind - whether temporal, physical or conceptual.
Now, THAT is quite some statement ! You mean by that that the mathematical structures which are the universe must necessarily go beyond the natural number structure ? This ought to be accepted as fundamental, but you attack my proposition that subjective experiences exist ?
This goes way way further!




What is very hard to see is that memory itself generates the sense of that continuum, so as long as the memory is there, the sense ofcontinuum is there. *Moments*, as you are inferring it - although you don't use the word but it is implied in the sense of a whole setof memories becoming *active* at one point, artificially generating a sense of the past - are also an idea, not an actual thing, but, if external *time* does exist, it still makes no difference - because what we are really talking about is something we percieve - i.e. our own sense of continuum.
So you ARE, after all, admitting that we have a perception, and hence subjective experiences ? And from that presupposition, you derive that there is some time, that there must be a continuum, etc... ?
I make far fewer hypotheses. I only say that the VERY MINIMUM we can say, and of which we can be absolutely certain, is that we have a subjective experience = perception = ... and that THIS is what constitutes a SELF. Next, we need to find the very minimum of "laws of nature" (= mathematical structure) which could "carry" such a self, and the very minimum is just a form of encoding those experiences by themselves ! It is a minimalistic "nature" which can have as an emergent property, those very experiences. As all I know, are those experiences, well, nature could just be "that": the listing of my experiences (which, for convenience, I coded as a Goedel number).

Of course, we could also make more complicated constructions for nature, such as a spatio-temporal structure in which matter exists, and in which matter gets organized in such a way that certain structures can be called "bodies" and within those bodies, that sufficiently complex structures arise (such as brains) which code, themselves, again, for that very same structure from which "my self experience" emerges, but the essence of my self-experience is then nothing else but the specific structure of my brain which can "explain" my experiences, and the essential part of it would then map onto the Goedel number I talked about earlier (namely the exhaustive list of all my experiences). So whether all the rest is really there, or ONLY this Goedel number and we invented a whole spatio-temporal universe around it, there's no way to really know. But the list of my experiences does exist, whether in the form of a substructure of a spatiotemporal universe (called a brain), or simply by itself.

But that doesn't mean that the memories did not happen, it just points to how we process and store information.
But at that point, you've made already myriads of extra hypotheses.

We could have just had our memories installed, I guess -but I am far more suspicious of ways of looking at the world based on ideas in vogue at the moment - like computers have info installed,therefore brains might... every age does that - uses what is going on as its analogy point. It's THAT we need to be supicious of *Oh, it's like the Matrix...* Maybe, unitl the next analogy point come along.
The point is not to argue that solipsism is correct, the point is to argue that solipsism cannot be denied. And the analogy with a computer is still far from the count: I'm NOT saying that there is such a thing as a material carrier (silicon chips or whatever), I'm not saying that there is a "process" (implying the existence of something like time). I'm only saying that all solipsism says, is that what we ultimately only know about, are our own subjective experiences. There must be a "minimum of structure" to support the set of our subjective experiences, and that strict minimum is what solipsism proposes: there's ONLY our set of subjective experiences, period.

Tat analogy point - i,e, Matrix type ideas seems to have resonance or a greater possibility of truth just because ofin vogue ideas - whereas, in fact, it's justone of an infinity of possibilites picked at random, all with equally little chance of being true - same as *MAybe sea slugs smoke caterpillars and their drug laced imagination generates what we think of as *us*...* Same difference. Far more likely that we are actually seeing is based on what is going on.
The point was not, again, to render solipsism "probable", or anything. Just showing that you cannot deny the possibility.

Have you considered that *subjective* maybe an artificial conceptual creation, and an ideological belief? In fact, we can negate your idea easily, not by proving or disproving sollipsism, just by examining our own language use to explore how we made up concepts like *subjective* in the first place. Once they are seen as artificial, then thereis no basis for them to be *true*, or any ide based on them.
No. Even without language or anything, I know I have subjective experiences (like pain). So they "exist" in one way or another.

Could you explain that more? The first part - sure - but the second part about the number...?? Tell you what, looked at fromanother perspective, consider the number I. Not one, but *I* as in I am... the number I -an ideological belief in the existence of self.
No. An encoding for a list of experiences. I know I have subjective experiences: visual, auditory, sensory. They exist. Any way of formalizing them is ultimately a number. Any finite list is a number. Any finite graph is a number.
 
  • #23
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Thanks for your clarifications and thoughts Ghostfaith and thank you for pointing out my error with Bodhidarma and Siddhartha Gautama.
Hi Philly - thanks for the intelligent and considered response. No probs on the old Ta Mo - it IS very confusing because there have been many people who are supposed to have achieved Buddhahood! Ta Mo is the guy wo founded Ch'an - later evolved in to Zen in Japan, and is also, according to legend, the guy who started Shaolin Kung fu in China. He's supposed to have cut of fhis eye lids!


In a nutshell I think that part of our disagreement here is over semantics.
Agreed - I'm not really disagreeing though. I believe each person has to explore their own *mapping* of ideas - all of the words you use have specific meanings for you, so only you can truly explore them. I do think *It's amatter of semantics* has an unnecessarily negative connotation, though - because very often it is our word use that generates philosophical conundrums,a nd so greater clarity over how we use words can be very helpful.


Without ego (or self) solipsism is mute.
I'm thinking now of animals - do, say, dogs have a sense of self or ego inthe way that we do? They certainly have awareness of the world. But is that awareness solipsistic?

The reason I suggest that ego (the concept of self) was around in the days of Buddha is because all conscious entities in a temporal universe need to possess a self concept of some sort by virtue of their own inextricable perception of physical individuality.
But, couldn't that just be an assumptiont hat you project on tothe world because of pre-existent beliefs in the self?

Personally, i don't think that perception of physical individuality IS inextricable - I think it is completely explainable.

*Indivudual* comes from *indivisible* - individual is that which can not be divided - whichleads back to the ideology of the mono self. It's alittle like the big bang - for years it was a stop-point - a barrier, where no one could look past it, to see what came before. But we CAN look past the self we find ourselves with - just try to re-cap earliest memories and sense of self - remember your childhood sense of self, look at other children - we can see the sense of self evolve and change. And conceptually, we can see past the mono-self, and see the relevance of things lie Wittgenstein's idea that we develop a sense of self due to linguistic use - like using *I* or *you*... Tell a two year old *can YOU see the dog?* and you are sub-messaging the ideology of the individual self. And it grows with language use.


We are truly looking at two possible truths- the self as one of many selves, or the self as the only self and we need to be completely sensitive to both of these possibilities.
Philly, have you read any Derrida? Youmight find that preyy interesting I'm thinking. He highlights the binary thinking in Western thought, especially the need to *resolve* binary questions - such as you mention here. And then he says, why choose? The binary division is an artificial creation - why not merge the two polar opposites, and see if the answer is somethign different -maybe a bit of both? My feeling si that it is a bit of both - neither individuals, nor, one self - a sense of self generated via language use, installed socially.


But I don't see solipsism as a spiritual issue fundamentally.
Goodinstinct, because it isn't. It's a linguistic issue. All it is really asking is *what does it mean when I say that "I" experience?*

Spiritualism is something for the solipsist and non-solipsist alike and doesn't really speak to the fundamental question- do you and I both exist, or is it just me? (or just you?).
The thing to see here is the unexplored elements of the equation. You've clearly given deep amount of intellignet thought to either side of the solipsism debate. But, maybe it would be useful to engage the other elements of this equation - specifically what do you mean by *exist*? This is actually crucial, but is hard to see simply because we use the arguments to define *exist* whilst connin ourselves linguistically that we areusing exist to define solipsism or other modes of posible existence.

Key then, is to consider other ways inwhich the self could *exist*.

Spiritualism has a place in either domain. The discourse really can't begin in any way other than with the question "What do you know with absolute certainty about your own existence?",
Well, we always use knowledge thinking that its direction is forwards - building on premises, but we can just easily use language to deconstruct knowledge. Start from that question, but, as an exercise you could try going *backwards* from it - instead of building forwards from it, take it apart, askk what each part means, what suppositions and assumptions it is based on, where they came from, personally and historically, how they generate a sense of meaning - and in doing so you are digging in to the conceptual nexus that gives you the ability to name a self in the first place. Just an idea, anyway, for a possible new angle on the subject.

followed by "What can you deduce from that?"
That ssumes it is true or meaningful? What about, what can re-duce from that? Or deduce int he opposite direction?

Beyond that it isn't about how far someone else has gotten with their quest for truth but "How far can YOU get?..."
Well, i like the sentiment - but, seeing knowledge as linear is ideological, so the assumption it is based on can be deconstructed. I like the word *mapping* - it doesn't need to find truths, just to explore interesting ideas - so I say, just enjoy mapping! Which you obviously are!
 
  • #24
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I'm thinking now of animals - do, say, dogs have a sense of self or ego inthe way that we do? They certainly have awareness of the world. But is that awareness solipsistic?
I'll go further: how do you know/not know that a STONE doesn't have (has) self-awareness ?
 
  • #25
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You can hardly deny that a "self" exists, right ?
Yes, i deny it! The self is dead, god damn it! Heh...

I'm not denying anything - I'm saying that in your sentence you haven't considered that you are not narrowing down the existence of self, you are just widening the meaning of *existence* - in other words, if I ask you what youmean be *exist* you can't really say, except, that you experience self, so itmust exist. But, some people experience that Maddona loves them, or that they are Napoleon - the experience doesn't self-prove.

What I AM getting at, though, is just to go beyond, further back, than the normal, cultural assumptions regarding *self*. See, by calling it a name, we create what might be many things in to a *one thing* - by naming it we create it - like the Bible says - let this be this, let that be that...

*Self* is a concept - regardless of what you may experience, the concept of *self* is literally a concept, and as Nietzsche tells us, all concepts have *become* - and as Focault makes clear, all concepts have an *archaeology*, and an age-specific meaning - in our age it means one thing, but may not have meant that in another age. Sowhy shouldn't I, or you, question such a changeable, malleable, undefined idea?


With "self", I do not mean any "angel-like" ghost living in ectoplasma space or whatever, I mean: the set of subjective experiences.
Well now, do a set of subjective experiences equal a self? In my view, you are making a crucial mistake - getting confused between experiences and self. What experiences? Heat, pain, sexual drive? WHO experienced these if THEY came first to form in to a self? There is an answer - and culturally, we have been made to believe that it is a kind of soul, or mono-being. But it isn't - it is the ape. The human mass, the human form, as animal, experiences heat, pain - experiences - not the *self* - the self is a set of CONCEPTUAL information, NOT experiences.

You cannot deny that these subjective experiences "exist" up to some level.
Oh, i can deny everything. *Subjective* pre-supposes some *one thing* experiencing them. This is so ingrained on our cultural episteme that we rarely notice it - and your argument is sacrificed to it - hostage to it. You PRE-SUPPOSE the existence of the self by using the word subjective, and generate MEANING for subjective by pre-supposing the existence of the self. It's just a tautology, V.

When the human ape has an *experience* there is no *self* experiencign it - the ape, the biological system, is experiencing it - but, just by using the word *experiencing* yet again we are victim to cultural assumptions of a *one perciever*. In fact, the cells are *aware* of the pain, the cold - and they send information to the brain - a brain pre-installed conceptual self - BEFORE any linguisitc concepts are installed to generate a self the brain has a different function to being the *house of the self* - it's a processing unit, with no identity, no self whatsoever.

See, *subjective* requires a *subject* - a *self* experiencing - but that is just a way of looking generated by the word subjective itself. You're just mixing up the human form - the ape - with the conceptual system - the self.

The conceptual system never experiences anythign other than conceptual information - it's always the human form that experiences the world.

Yes, they may be "emergent properties" of some material system, but it is not because they are emergent, that they are not existing in some way.
Well, i agree!

The only thing you really "know" about, is that there exists a set of subjective experiences, which you are experiencing.
*Know* is a concept. What does it really mean? I don't experience anything subjectively - my *self* works with conceptual information - my human mass experiences, and my self is wired in to that human mass. My self doesn't experience at all - it processes. Big difference. Now, my human mass can experience the self, and feed that information back in to the self...

You cannot deny that you experience something.
Oh, I can deny it all!

Hence that experience exists.
Experiencing something doesn't mean that it exists.

It is all you really know, exists.
I don't know that at all. In fact, I am *aware* that exist and *know* don't actually mean anythign, but that you need to pretend that they do as pre-suppositions of your argument. I choose to go further back in to the archaeology of those ideas, and NOT accept them as *givens*.



Hypothesis, hypothesis. What's a "process" ?
Well, my philosophy is not based on building knowledge, but destroying it. Obviouslythat requires using methods and ideas that peopel will understand but which will ultimately lead in to more complex implications. A pricess inthis sense just means the way that conceptual information works in its own *system*.


No. The question is, whether one can be certain that there exists something BEYOND "a set of subjective experiences" (= self). It could be all there is. But no less, because I *KNOW* that these experiences exist.
Well, how do you know? If you were a solipsistic existence, then what meaning could *know* have, without any reference point. See? Doesn’t make sense. If you’re interested in this kind of thing I think you mught really enjoy Wittgenstein’s beetle in a box argument, which explores the fallacy of thinking we can *know* without any referential system.


Yes, every concept we have is ultimately a mathematical concept, although we rarely realize it. Most of the things we know and experience can be seen as linked lists of finite sets. A finite graph of links between atomic concepts.

And ultimately, every finite structure is 1-1 linked with a Goedel number. So the set of natural numbers represents ALL THINKABLE FINITE STRUCTURES. Everything you could write down on a sheet of paper a billion times the size of the universe, is ultimately just a natural number. It is a very rich structure.
Well, that’s an interesting idea - and at the end of the day, that’s what’s important for people who like to think!

However, even though I also use analogies, I always am aware of *analogy osmosis* - allowing the analogy to *leak* in to the way I see a thing. I see visual images that have meanings as a language, so, why not as mathematics?? I suppose – interesting possibility. However, what goes on in our conceptual processing can’t really be sublimated to anything else really – not really – what we *experience* - if we do experience – is just what it is – conceptual information; not numbers. Sublimating them to numbers in an analogy is just that – an analogy.

What you have to be aware of is the phenomenon of *belief experience* whereby, whatever you believe to be true, the world around you appears to actually be evident proof of the belief – you actually *experience* your beliefs as a real, manifested truth in the world. So, Christianity works perfectly as an explanation for the world – people actually see the self-evident truth of Christianity/Islam/Marxism in the world around them. The same goes for mathematics, or any belief system regarding the world. Being aware of this takes some getting over! I have, personally, been *infected* by belief systems a few times – and I still have one which I can not shake. All of the world around me seems to conform to it – and yet, I know that that is an illusion of meaning – I’ve been infected by a conceptual set that causes me to see its self-evidence in the world around me. But, being very smart, lol, I know that it’s an illusion.

And yet, I still know that that system is a highly useful way of looking at the world. But, I still know that it isn’t true. So, to me, you or anyone else is no different – the world around you appears to conform to your beliefs. People will fight and die to fight against that awareness, but never the less, we Can become aware of it, if we dare, lol.

So, you see mathematics, others see the will of Allah, others see other things…

Who dares see beyond ALL ideologies?

No, it isn't. You cannot deny that you have subjective experiences, right ?

Listen ot how ideological that sounds, lol. You’re challenging me, daring me not to think like you. The ape, the human form experiences the world – the biological system. Who says that the biological system is the same thing as the conceptually generated *I*? The *I* deals solely in conceptual information, but it is hard wired in to the ape, so it is connected to emotional centres and sense-data gathering centres. But a conceptual system can only ever *experience* conceptual information. What really happens when we experience light from the sun? Does the mental *I* experience it, really? Or the body? Maybe the I just experiences the body experiencing it?

I don't know Ryle, doesn't matter.
You should check his stuff out – he really helps to clarify some issues in this area, and has some very useful conceptual tools to offer.


Denying that you have subjective experiences is kind-a the ultimate stupidity, no ? If you have pain, denying you feel pain ? Come on.
Well here’s a question for you, if my *I* in my *mind* feels pain from my body, isn’t that feeling something from the outside world? Why isn’t my body external to my mind?



I define self as "the set of subjective experiences".
Teleological argument.


I don't think you can reasonably deny its existence. Can you really deny that you have any experiences/thoughts/feelings/... ?
Why do you assume that all of those are the same *type* of *thing* experienced in the same way? Isn’t a pain in my foot experienced differently to intellectual thought?


That these experiences hence don't exist - in other words, cannot be put into any conceptual form ?
Conceptual forms can be far beyond basic linguistic forms – which is where that Ayn Rand falls down.


Now, THAT is quite some statement !
Thanks. 


You mean by that that the mathematical structures which are the universe must necessarily go beyond the natural number structure ? This ought to be accepted as fundamental, but you attack my proposition that subjective experiences exist ?
This goes way way further!
Well, I’m not quite following you there – but whatever it is, yes, I am attacking it! Numbers don’t exist – except as concepts.


So you ARE, after all, admitting that we have a perception, and hence subjective experiences ?
Lol – see, you’re using your sense of *I* - i.e. *we* - to mean a unified, mind/body mono-self. That’s an unquestioned premise by you – question it… go on – what the hell? Give it the once over!

And from that presupposition, you derive that there is some time, that there must be a continuum, etc... ?
Well, continuum can mean many things, which is why I use that word. Time is a matter of conceptual perception… *Continuum* refers to the relationship between elements of conceptual information, such as memory (of conceptual information) which may or may not exist in a temporal field.


I make far fewer hypotheses.
No, you just think you do because you haven’t grasped the enormous artificial pre-supposed premises in the words you use, such as *subjective* - you’ve just assumed that they were *givens* when they weren’t.



I only say that the VERY MINIMUM we can say, and of which we can be absolutely certain, is that we have a subjective experience = perception = ... and that THIS is what constitutes a SELF. Next, we need to find the very minimum of "laws of nature" (= mathematical structure) which could "carry" such a self, and the very minimum is just a form of encoding those experiences by themselves ! It is a minimalistic "nature" which can have as an emergent property, those very experiences. As all I know, are those experiences, well, nature could just be "that": the listing of my experiences (which, for convenience, I coded as a Goedel number).
Well, neat model, but doesn’t really work because it is built on sand.



Of course, we could also make more complicated constructions for nature, such as a spatio-temporal structure in which matter exists, and in which matter gets organized in such a way that certain structures can be called "bodies" and within those bodies, that sufficiently complex structures arise (such as brains) which code, themselves, again, for that very same structure from which "my self experience" emerges, but the essence of my self-experience is then nothing else but the specific structure of my brain which can "explain" my experiences, and the essential part of it would then map onto the Goedel number I talked about earlier (namely the exhaustive list of all my experiences). So whether all the rest is really there, or ONLY this Goedel number and we invented a whole spatio-temporal universe around it, there's no way to really know.
Of course there is. We can answer all the questions that we come up with – as long we dis-appoint the expectation of what the answer must be like. Such as thinking that it must either be subjective or not, yes or no. Some times the answers show that the question was meaningless in the first place.


But the list of my experiences does exist, whether in the form of a substructure of a spatiotemporal universe (called a brain), or simply by itself.
Well, that just plays with the meaning of *exist*.

But at that point, you've made already myriads of extra hypotheses.
Well, that is inevitable with language use. The only way around that is to use language in its reverse gear – to deconstruct, rather than construct. To deconstruct, first we have to construct the tools with which we will do the deconstruction. As long as we are aware that they are dirty tools, and that in the end, only a non-linguistic understanding will remain, then we’re all set for the ride!

The point is not to argue that solipsism is correct, the point is to argue that solipsism cannot be denied.
That’s just something you want to believe, ideologically. Of course it can be denied – it doesn’t *exist* it’s just a description.


And the analogy with a computer is still far from the count: I'm NOT saying that there is such a thing as a material carrier (silicon chips or whatever), I'm not saying that there is a "process" (implying the existence of something like time). I'm only saying that all solipsism says, is that what we ultimately only know about, are our own subjective experiences.
Yes, but those are ideological concepts. Where from??
There must be a "minimum of structure" to support the set of our subjective experiences, and that strict minimum is what solipsism proposes: there's ONLY our set of subjective experiences, period.
Yes, but that’s tautological, lol. *OUR* is a presupposed solipsism. See that, and you see that the whole idea is generated via language, and generates an artificial conceptual depth. Like Wittgenstein said *We were held captive by a picture.* I don’t say you have to believe me, but I say you are held captive by the picture. But, you’ve done a lot of smart work in the area – good for you! Keep pushing it! My only rule is never stop – never think I’ve got it… If I’ve got it, I’m a victim of ideology.


The point was not, again, to render solipsism "probable", or anything. Just showing that you cannot deny the possibility.
That’s just playing with the meaning of possible. A deeper analysis of language use and conceptual structures renders solipsism redundant, not actually answering – not playing its own game, but by undermining the conceptual conceits upon which it is founded. However, *belief experience* makes self-believer experience a self subjectively experience the world. See past that, and you’re half way out of the Matrix, lol.

No. Even without language or anything, I know I have subjective experiences (like pain). So they "exist" in one way or another.
Where is the subject that feels pain? Your body, or your *I*? Open your *Third I*… lol…


No. An encoding for a list of experiences. I know I have subjective experiences: visual, auditory, sensory. They exist.
The ape that your I-nstallation is housed in had those experiences.

Any way of formalizing them is ultimately a number. Any finite list is a number. Any finite graph is a number.
*Analogy osmosis*….*Belief experience*>>>>>>

Hope that helps!
 

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