The Instigator
Apollo.11
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Being a solipsist is unreasonable.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Apollo.11
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,210 times Debate No: 22038
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Apollo.11

Pro

8000 character limit.
No semantics.
First round: acceptance/defintions

Basic definitions:
1. solipsism: the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. [1]
2. unreasonable: exceeding the bounds of reason [2]

Sources:
1. http://oxforddictionaries.com...
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
socialpinko

Con

For clarifying purposes, I am assuming that the resolution means that if being a solipsist is unreasonable, than by extension solipsism is unreasonable in itself. As such this debate will be on whether or not solipsism is a reasonable position to adopt. I look forward to this debate and wish my opponent the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Apollo.11

Pro


I thank my opponent for accepting, yet I admit, I doubt I will win this debate against such a formidable opponent.


If you are a solipsist, this will be an easy win for your as you are debating yourself. For now, we will assume that I exist.



Clarification:


1. As was explicitly stated in the debate title, the resolution is on the reasonability of "being a solipsist," not solipsism itself. And there is a difference.


Again, we are not debating solipsism's logicality directly, rather, whether or not it is reasonable to be a solipsist.


2. Definition of solipsism.


The definition I gave was incomplete.


solipsism: a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; [1]




What is reasonable?



For my opponent to win, he must do ALL of the following:


1. Refute ALL of my arguments.


2. Build up a case of his own


3. Defend said case successfully.



Until such time as he has done so, he has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that being a solipsist is a reasonable position to hold.



So back to the point. If something has overwhelming odds against it's veracity, its veracity has not been justified. Thus, until my opponent has shown the odds to be in favor of solipsist beliefs, he has lost. In addition to this, he must prove there is sufficient logical grounds upon which to hold said beliefs.




Arguments:



Before I can address solipsist beliefs directly, I will first define them.


What does a solipsist believe?


1. They, "the self," are the only extant entity.


2. All other objects, people, thoughts, and actions independent of the self are figments of their consciousness.



I. Uncaused First Cause



Given: The mind created all people, things, places, thoughts collectively are (many) complex objects, and the mind is all that exists. (solipsism)


2. All people, things, places, thoughts collectively are (many) complex objects.


3. Complex objects must be created a) by other complex objects (factories, thoughts [2]) or b) from simpler things over time (ex. evolution [3]).


4. The mind is, therefore, a complex entity.


5. The mind must have been created (a) by other complex objects (factories, thoughts [2]) or b) from simpler things over time (ex. evolution [3])--which way is irrelevant).


6. If the mind was created, it is not all that exists.


Conclusion: Therefore the premise is false and the mind is


a) not the creator of all people, things, places, thoughts


OR


b) not all that exists.



Either way, solipsism fails. (That was the most complex indirect proof I have ever come up with)




II. Argument from Likelihood/ Statistical Improbability



Given: All people, things, places, thoughts do not exist and are merely figments of consciousness of one mind (one person). A solipsist believes only he/she exists. (solipsism)


2. Only one person, of all people, conscious beings, existed.


3. Only one person, of all people, conscious beings, can logically be a solipsist.


4. 107,000,000,000 people (I will stick with just humans, have been alive. [4]


5. Only one of those 107,000,000,000 people can logically be a solipsist and be correct about their beliefs.


6. There is a 0.0000000009% chance that a solipsist is correct in his/her beliefs.



Those are astounding odds. My opponent may object to my use of the 107,000,000,000 [4] number as the majority are dead (and therefore never existed even in the consciousness of the solipsist). If we use the 7,000,000,000 [5] number (humans alive), there is a 0.000000014% chance a solipsist is correct in their beliefs.



With this proof, the possibility of veracity exists logically, but the debate is about whether or not it is "reasonable" to believe such.




III. Argument from Biological Necessity.



There is no basis upon which to presume that only one consciousness can exist. Biology proves that the "mind" and "self" and other cognitive phenomena are the results of biochemical attractions, interactions, and effects.



"Our 'minds', 'souls', 'spirit' and consciousness are all physical in nature. Thousands of years of research have shown that our brains comprise and produce our true selves. Souls and spirits do not exist. Our bodies run themselves. We know from cases of brain damage and the effects of psychoactive drugs, that our experiences are caused by physical chemistry acting on our physical neurons in our brains. Our innermost self is our biochemical self.” [7]







Conclusion:


I have shown that being a solipsist is self-contradictory (Argument 1), highly improbable veracity (Argument 2), and is not biologically necessary (Argument 3).


Con must refute thoroughly and completely ALL of my arguments and present a case of his own that proved every premise of solipsism. Until this time, one has no logical reason to be a solipsist, thus making his beliefs unreasonable.



Again, we are not debating logicality, we are debating whether such a position is unreasonable.


Back to Con!




Sources:


1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...


2. http://en.wikipedia.org...


3. http://en.wikipedia.org...


4. http://www.prb.org...


5. http://en.wikipedia.org...


6. Logic.


7. "Souls do not Exist: Evidence from Science & Philosophy Against Mind-Body Dualism" by Vexen Crabtree


socialpinko

Con

Deconstruction of Pro's arguments

(1) Uncaused First Cause

In this argument, my opponent bases their argument on the unsupported assertion that the mind 'created' all things, places, etc in a way that solipsism does not argue. The mind did not actually create anything. On solipsism, the sense perceptions which are taken to be other beings, phenomenon, etc. are projections of the mind e.g. hallucinations. I will admit that this creates problems for the solipsist as far as their own origin goes. But given that something is a mind insofar as in that it thinks, it's not unreasonable that a mind (by virtue of being a functioning mind) could produce thoughts.

On metaphysical origins and an "uncaused cause" solipsism does not contend to be a completely comprehensive philosophy. It is merely a theory of what can be known for sure and what cannot. On solipsism, our sense faculties can be doubted no matter how certain we feel about them. The only thing of which one may be truly certain is that their own minds exist. So owing to the skeptical nature of the position, solipsism does not have a view on the mind's metaphysical origin. But this in itself does not mean that the solipsist is wrong in their doubt. The solipsist merely adjusts metaphysical beliefs to what can be justified epistemically.

(2) Argument from Likelihood/ Statistical Improbability

My opponent here misinterprets the solipsist position. This argument only holds if the other 107,000,000,000 people actually existed. But the solipsist doesn't hold this to be true and so the number of people to have allegedly exist before is of no relevance.

(3) Argument from Biological Necessity

The argument from biological necessity rests on a crucial fallacy which is a reliance on empirical as opposed to rational or purely logical investigative methods. This brings us to the larger argument in favor of solipsism, the fact that our sense faculties can always be doubted. It is always a possibility (no matter how unlikely one might think it to be) that we are being tricked in some way. Hallucinations are a minor example of this phenomena and so we know that the senses are not infallible (even the denier of solipsism must agree with this). However, our rational faculties are capable of coming to near certain knowledge insofar as our premises and reasoning are correct. I'll go more into this in my own positive case in favor of the reasonableness of being a solipsist. The evidence my opponent brings to the table is entirely of an empirical nature, meaning it can always be doubted and is thus insufficient in coming to a certain conclusion.

The case for the reasonableness of solipsist belief

My opponent and anyone denying the reasonableness of the solipsist position must be against the concept of epistemic certainty, for that is all that solipsism is. Take an apple or a chair or a light bulb and ask "Could that possibly be an illusion?". The answer is of course yes. It happens all the time. Our senses deceive us. Whether one is a schizophrenic hallucinating wildly or a nervous man seeing what his mind projects in a shadowy alley, it cannot possibly be denied that one's senses can sometimes be and sometimes are wrong. All the solipsist does is admit this and adjust their epistemic (and metaphysical) outlook accordingly. One can never know with certainty that anything outside of one's self certainly exists and thus one would not be justified in believing so. Written in syllogistic form, the reasoning goes as follows:

P1: One is only justified in believing that which can be known with complete certainty.

P2: One's self (mind) is the only thing which can be known to exist with complete certainty.

C: One is not justified in believing in anything except for one's mind.

Defense of Premise 1

I suppose the initial bar with which the solipsist sets that which can be known is what is most controversial about the position. After all, most people think that when their eyes see something, it's justified to believe so. However, one must realize that the certainty one derives from what one's eyes register (a posteriori propositions) is wholly inferior to the certainty one derives from logical necessity or reasoning (a priori propositions) as far as certainty is concerned. It is possible that one is not registering correctly what one is looking at and thus one can possibly have unjustified belief. This does not hold for a priori reasoning. If one's logical reasoning is correct, it is not possible to hold unjustified belief. The rationalistic method of acquiring knowledge is clearly more justified and more apt to yield correct results and certainty than the empiricist method.

Defense of Premise 2

Upon initial reflection, nothing can be found to necessarily exist with complete certainty other than the mind itself. Even the concept of one arguing that their mind does not exist sounds like rubbish on it's face. In order to refute this premise, my opponent would need to show why something other than the mind can be shown to exist with complete certainty, certainty wherein the concept of denying it's existence is self-contradictory.

Defense of the Conclusion, Validity

The argument itself is clearly valid. Premise 1 asserted a theory of what qualifies as justified belief, Premise 2 argued what stood up to those qualifications, and so the conclusion is necessitated if the premises both hold to be true.
Debate Round No. 2
Apollo.11

Pro

I. Defenses:

1. Uncaused First Cause

A. Clarification.
"my opponent bases their argument on the unsupported assertion that the mind 'created' all things, places, etc in a way that solipsism does not argue. The mind did not actually create anything. On solipsism, the sense perceptions which are taken to be other beings, phenomenon, etc. are projections of the mind e.g. hallucinations."�
This varies from each form of solipsism. But regardless. The mind is not eternal, thus the projections of that mind are also not eternal. The problem remains.

B. Conceded Point.
My opponent admits that there is a problem of origin for the solipsist.
He attempts to refute this by saying,
"But given that something is a mind insofar as in that it thinks, it's not unreasonable that a mind (by virtue of being a functioning mind) could produce thoughts."
This, unfortunately for Con does not address the point. That argument attempts to show that the mind is extant. Even assuming this, the problem of origin remains.

C. The Reasonability of Solipsism Doesn't Necessitate an Argument for Creation of the Mind.
"So owing to the skeptical nature of the position, solipsism does not have a view on the mind's metaphysical origin. But this in itself does not mean that the solipsist is wrong in their doubt."
This is not true. As I showed:

Given: The mind created all people, things, places, thoughts collectively are (many) complex objects, and the mind is all that exists. (solipsism)
2. All people, things, places, thoughts collectively are (many) complex objects.
3. Complex objects must be created a) by other complex objects (factories, thoughts [2]) or b) from simpler things over time (ex. evolution [3]).
4. The mind is, therefore, a complex entity.
5. The mind must have been created (a) by other complex objects (factories, thoughts [2]) or b) from simpler things over time (ex. evolution [3])--which way is irrelevant).
6. If the mind was created, it is not all that exists.
Conclusion: Therefore the premise is false and the mind is
a) not the creator of all people, things, places, thoughts
OR
b) not all that exists.
As you can see, Con's explanation contradicts conclusion B.�
-
2. Argument from Likelihood/ Statistical Improbability
A. Failure to...well to read my argument.
Con's Defense is this:
"This argument only holds if the other 107,000,000,000 people actually existed. But the solipsist doesn't hold this to be true and so the number of people to have allegedly exist before is of no relevance. "
But I even accounted for this in my argument:
"My opponent may object to my use of the 107,000,000,000 [4] number as the majority are dead (and therefore never existed even in the consciousness of the solipsist). If we use the 7,000,000,000 [5] number (humans alive), there is a 0.000000014% chance a solipsist is correct in their beliefs."
Again, I wrote this LAST ROUND, yet Con ignored it.
-
3. Argument from Biological Necessity
A. Absurd claim of reasonability.
Con claims that because the sense, are fallible, empirical evidence is invalid. This is truly quite absurd as we are debating reasonability of solipsism.
Con is stating that it is MORE LIKELY that empirical evidence is all a lie, we are, AND I QUOTE "we are being tricked in some way," and hallucinations are the cause than empirical evidence being true.<<<<<<<
That is sheer lunacy. Add to that the fact that hallucination are rare occurrences.[1] Con is arguing that all of our thoughts are hallucinations.


II. Rebuttals
1. Premise 1
My opponent argues that One is only justified in believing that which can be known with complete certainty. He defends this by saying rationalistic arguments are sounder than empirical ones. This, he states, is because empiricism is susceptible to flaws. This may but true, but it does not defend reasonability. The possibility of failure (which is incredibly unlikely to begin with given the amount of data used before science arrives at a conclusion) does not mean there IS a failure. And it certainly doesn't mean that the vast majority are failures (reasonability again).�
2. Premise 2: LOGICAL FALLACY
"In order to refute this premise, my opponent would need to show why something other than the mind can be shown to exist with complete certainty, certainty wherein the concept of denying it's existence is self-contradictory."
This is a logical fallacy. It is an ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE. The fact that I cannot prove it false does not make it true. Not only does this invalidate your proof, you cannot post any new arguments in the last round as I cannot refute them
NO NEW ARGUMENTS IN THE THIRD ROUND. You did not give an argument, you only asked me to falsify your statement.
3. Conclusion.
Premise one hasn't been proven and the defense of premise 2 was a logical fallacy. Thus the conclusion is invalid.


Reasons to Vote Pro:
1. We are arguing Reasonability, not Logicality. My opponent has not shown solipsism to be true, not logical, but true.
2. Unrefuted Arguments. Con has not refuted my arguments. His rebuttals have been shown to be self-contradictory insufficient or plainly ignorant to what I clearly wrote.
3. Con's Logical Fallacy. His entire defense of Premise 2 was a logical fallacy. If Con justifies this premise in round 3, it should be ignored as no new arguments may be presented in the last round.

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
socialpinko

Con

socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I like source #6
Posted by Apollo.11 4 years ago
Apollo.11
Typed on my phone…like a boss.

And submitted with 9 minutes left…like a boss.

That logical fallacy was a real killer for you. I hope people realize that. And you don't get any new arguments.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
Apollo.11socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: conduct due to forfeit.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Apollo.11socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Apollo.11socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: is it me or did SP FF?