The Instigator
solar145254
Pro (for)
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The Contender
CaptainScarlet
Con (against)
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Solipsism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 312 times Debate No: 90997
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

solar145254

Pro

Illusions simply occur in our world, if not the solipsists individual world for example falling asleep and dreaming of other people with the illusion you can be heard and seen. So how different is the woken world, why is it not that there is the illusion of others being real and not just behaving real. Why is it not that spaces, rooms etc come to be when you come across them and not be when you turn away. How is this not as in dreaming when everything is encompassed within just your one feeling and just experiencing and believing that others can sense and are aware also and believing that places and spaces are meant to remain when your away.
CaptainScarlet

Con

Firstly I would like to offer my thanks to Pro for an opportunity to debate this fascinating topic with him. We should start with some definitions. Pros title to this debate is Solipsism, although his first round appears to mainly discuss Idealism. We can take the two together for the purposes of the first round, and Pro can lead off where he wants to take us (ie more towards discussing Solipsism, or more towards discussing Idealism)

Solipsism - The philosophical position that there are any no other conscious minds instantiated reality
Idealism - That reality is infact entirely or mainly a mental construct

Lets start by looking at Idealism. This view is prevalent in a number of philosophies, even to the present day. In essence the Idealist believes that because we only can experience the world subjectively using our senses, reality is a mental construct formed from those senses and can therefore not be independent of our minds. Ultimately this tends to lead to a skeptical stance in epistemology and the view that we cannot be sure of any mind-independent thing.
Idealism supposes that Consciousness metaphysically precedes Existence (Reality), that in some way reality is morphed by our minds. This view adopts the concept of the Primacy of Consciousness (PoC).

Lets contrast that with Realism, which maintains that there is an objective Existence (Reality) and that it metaphysically precedes Consciousness. Reality can therefore be discovered by our minds through Consciousness, but our minds cannot create it. This view adopts the concept of the Primacy of Existence (PoE).

I will offer a short sketch on why Idealism is false and Realism is true. We need to start by looking at foundational and axiomatic presuppositions about our world, which I take directly from Objectivist thinking.

Axiom 1 - Existence, exists. An undeniable fact of the world is existence. In order to utter the phrase "Existence does not exist", one must at least exist. There is a reality of something.

Axiom 2 - Consciousness, exists as an emergent feature in the world. An undeniable fact of the world is consciousness. In order to utter the phrase "Consciousness does not exist", one must at least be conscious. Consciousness is the faculty of perceiving reality through sense data. To be conscious in the first place, is to be conscious of something.

Axiom 3 - The law of Identity is true. An undeniable fact of the world is that things are what they are and do what they do. Things have an identity which they cannot escape and their Identity determines and describes their behaviour. To deny the law of identity identity, would require the law of identity in the first place.

The key point for the Realist about the Axioms (which we all must accept), when taken together is that we cannot be conscious only of our own minds. This would mean that a Consciousness is conscious only of its own Consciousness, which rightly Ayn Rand described as a contradiction in terms. Therefore we must be conscious of something, and there must be something independent of us to be conscious of. In Reality, everything has an Identity which it acts in accordance with. This leads us to the conclusion that Idealism is not true, or put more crudely "we do not live in a dream where our own whim wishing can make it so". We know this from our own experience. We cannot alter the fabric of our reality (although we may be able to deceive ourselves that we can). People with severe sensory deprivation of the real world, have severely impaired Consciousness. If Idealism were true these facts about our world would not also be true. There is much more on this topic we could explore, which is unsuitable for a short sketch of the argument.

Hard solipsism takes Idealism one stage further and asserts that all of the experiences we have are only "my experience", all mental states are only "my mental states". Firstly it would have to overcome the above problem that Consciousness can not be conscious only of itself. Secondly we have to question why we would believe such a thing, when all the evidence supports the existence of other minds. Thirdly and more damagingly, Solipsism is incoherent because it relies on "Privacy of Experience", at the same time as it relies on concepts relating to "non-Privacy of Experience". Wittgenstein argued that this was the case with language. Language is a uniquely social construct which allows one mind to communicate with another. Without other minds there would be no need for language, without language Solipsism could not communicate itself. Again there is a lot more to this argument, but whilst it may not render Solipsism dead, it deals a blow to it, and given there is no reason to believe it, it is sufficient to dismiss it and not take it seriously.
Debate Round No. 1
solar145254

Pro

Idealism was an aspect taken further with solipsism, which I will defend by stressing the concept of illusions. You say that there is evidence and calculations that are apparent in the direct way it disproves Solipsism plus Idealism. It is a conspiring of Idealism and Solipsism I am arguing for and I claim that solipsism cancels out there being so much of a question of it including idealism as a minor aspect of something much more serious, in ways of being reasonable and even ethical, that being solipsism, which you say is incoherent.

How is true fairness amongst beings done without either something such as robotic technical equality or solipsism.

The inclusion of illusions solves the problem of companions who are not conscious. The illusion of the companion having senses.

Your argument about language is simply solved by a deterministic metaphoric script were the companions who are an illusion behave properly to perform such things.

In a cosmos where one solipsist being is the entirety of the physics an Earthly history would not only not be needed but not even exist as the beings first experience was the start of the cosmology, emphasising Idealism.
CaptainScarlet

Con

Thank you for your response. I have to admit that I am either too ignorant to understand, or you have used words without saying anything, or I suppose both is also possible. To me your response was a word salad. I have offered you reasons to disbelieve your claims, but you have not offered any arguments in support of your claims (at least as far as I can see). Apologies if I have missed something, please re-direct me if I have.

I have attempted to refute Idealism, by challenging its subjective view of Existence and its falsity on the issue of the Primacy of Consciousness. I have challenged Solipsism on the same basis, plus its use of non-private experiences to justify itself, when it claims that only private experiences are possible. This is an incoherency at the centre of solipsism. Combine this with the perspective that there are no reasonable grounds to believe any of it it is actually true. You need to establish a case for why Idealism/Solipsism is true, not just assert that solipsism explains things you personally find mysterious.

So to your points:

Pro states: "How is true fairness amongst beings done without either something such as robotic technical equality or solipsism."

I do not understand this point. Please clarify. Fairness is largely a subjective concept and it is difficult to crystallise objective truths from it, but I do not see a problem with that. The same is true for aesthetics. How would solipsism ground fairness such that we could derive objectively "true" fairness (that is to say free of the whims of conscious minds)?

Pro states: "The inclusion of illusions solves the problem of companions who are not conscious. The illusion of the companion having senses."

What is this meant to mean? What problem of companions? If I have a non-conscious companion, then all I have is a non-conscious companion. I have no problem identifying whether it is conscious or not. The non-conscious companion, on the other hand, cannot identify anything because it is not conscious. What is the mystery or problem we are trying to solve here.

Pro states: "Your argument about language is simply solved by a deterministic metaphoric script were the companions who are an illusion behave properly to perform such things."

I am glad you have solved Wittgenstein's challenge to solipsism. Now all you need to do is sketch out the solution and not just assert it is 'solved' (although I admit Wittgenstein is a hard read). I understand the words deterministic, metaphoric and script separately. But I literally have no idea what they are meant to convey when strung together in the manner you use them.

But more than, even supposing your sentences made sense, I am unsure why you think this is a rebuttal? In a solipsistic universe language does not exist, and the concepts we form using it make no sense. Take the concept of "pain". "Pain" in a solipsistic universe can only mean "my pain" and for the solipsist it is just a private experience. But this is incoherent, because we only know what pain means from contexts which are non-private, whether these are referential or shared experiences they involve the presumption of other minds.

Pro states: "In a cosmos where one solipsist being is the entirety of the physics an Earthly history would not only not be needed but not even exist as the beings first experience was the start of the cosmology, emphasising Idealism."

This doesn't show that Idealism/Solipsism is true, only that it leads to absurdity. I have attempted to demonstrate that we are conscious of an external reality and whilst you may not be happy with that, you equally cannot deny it (without committing the fallacy of the stolen concept). Thus at the moment I contend you are proposing an incoherent thesis.
Debate Round No. 2
solar145254

Pro

Imagine you had a rubber and the current accepted view of mainstream science on the way the universe is you erased. What would be in its place, when everything has been erased, space, galaxies and all?

This is not pointless as it is leading to explaining a different view on what already exists, especially dimensional space.

I ask you for an answer to this specific question:

What SHOULD exist?

I argue that SHOULD existing means NEEDS existing and therefore DOES exist. SHOULD exist means WOULD exist, I'll defend this idea and I know that having the outlook on existence mainstream science has contradicts this.

A room being on the other side of the wall is just pointless. A planet being away from where you are is just pointless. It should be there when it's required. It should only be when you sense it, not something alien and away from you.

What SHOULD be is what WOULD be...
If casualties of war are not real, just a dreamlike version of them with the illusion they have suffered then isn't the world a perfect place? There wouldn't even be anything incorrect done by infringing.

It is privacy of experience including the illusion of others experiencing.
CaptainScarlet

Con

Pro states: "Imagine you had a rubber and the current accepted view of mainstream science on the way the universe is you erased. What would be in its place, when everything has been erased, space, galaxies and all? This is not pointless as it is leading to explaining a different view on what already exists, especially dimensional space."

Imagine you didn't! And you don't! Human imagination is near limitless. The fact that you or I can imagine this, does not make it true and I have to say that it is pointless to me. If you want to open my mind to different possibilities and/or argue there is another way of "knowing" outside of our reasoning based on sense data, then you have to argue for it and not just assert it. I have built my foundations on the Axioms in my opening, and I can build out an epistemology from that which explicitly excludes gaining knowledge by anything other than by senses and reasoning. I do not consider mysticism, magic, supernaturalism, new age thinking, spiritualism, idealism etc as knowledge or deeper truths. They may be a human expression of a deeper desire, but that does not mean they are true. I was under the impression you were arguing in favour of the truth of Idealism/Solipsism.

I could easily reverse this imagination topic. I can ask you to imagine that the universe is exactly how I sense it to be (and Realism is true, I exist and thus Solipsism is false from your perspective). Does that in any way validate my position or falsify yours? No unfortunately not. So instead I have provided you with reasons why my position is true, and reasons why your position is false. You have failed to provide me with a valid argument as to why Idealism/Solipsism should even be taken seriously, let alone be true, thus there is no foundation to your baseless assertions.

Pro states: "I ask you for an answer to this specific question:What SHOULD exist?"

You are asking is an irrelevant question. I have already addressed this: Existence, exists (refer to Axiom 1 in my opening statement).

Pro states: "I argue that SHOULD existing means NEEDS existing and therefore DOES exist. SHOULD exist means WOULD exist, I'll defend this idea and I know that having the outlook on existence mainstream science has contradicts this."

You aren't arguing something, just merely asserting something. You need to show how you reason to such a conclusion as your premises are demonstrably false. "Should" does not equal "would" does not equal "needs" and none of them equals 'is'. Unless you change the meaning of the English language, in which case the argument is quite literally meaningless.

Actually you are wrong about science (at least from the perspective of the some people who identify with Idealism). Idealists frequently refer to the fuzzy physics of the quantum world as evidence that reality is infact a creation of consciousness. To be fair to them they can interpret the experimental physics that way, particularly given experimental data on Leggett inequalities, Leggett-Garg inequalities and Bells inequalities. The violations from these experiments purport to show that elements of Realism do not apply at the quantum level. These arguments are however somewhat of an over-interpretation of the experimental results, and while they rule out some forms of Realism, they certainly do not bury Realism (unless you are tied to a materialist view that the world is infact made of particles like tiny ball bearings from the standard model of particle physics). The net result is that entwining Idealism with these experimental results ends up turning into some kind of pseudo-science sounding Deepak Chopra style woo-woo. But to be fair, it is perhaps the best evidence for Idealism yet. They make a case that needs to be answered and at least they have experimental grounding for their view. I am happy to debate this in more detail because it is fascinating where this leads both Realism and Idealism.

Pro states: "A room being on the other side of the wall is just pointless. A planet being away from where you are is just pointless. It should be there when it's required. It should only be when you sense it, not something alien and away from you."

A room on the other side of the wall is still extended in space/time and therefore still exists. Whether you like that (or not) and whether it should be there (or not), is irrelevant to the fact that it is there. One does not have to like something for it to be true. Whim-wishing does not make it so.
Debate Round No. 3
solar145254

Pro

You talked about the universe bring exactly how you sense it.
I say that it is all my illusion, the illusion of experiencing that others have feelings and the belief that there is space away from you. Other spaces being there WHILE your there.

Why can't it be like that instead of the science that tries to prove against it. Just because it was their at a previous point in time dies not mean it remains there while your not there.
CaptainScarlet

Con

Hi Pro,

I have responded to all your points previously in Rounds 1 to 3. There is little point in me repeating why you are wrong, and why my view (Realism) is true. My view is supported by argumentation. Your view continues to be bare assertions.

Allow me to help you establish why you are not actually debating but merely asserting. From Wikipedia - the bare assertion fallacy is a fallacy in formal logic where a premise in an argument is assumed to be true merely because it says that it is true. One form of the fallacy may be summarized as follows:

Fact 1: Simon says that Jack eats ice cream.
Fact 2: Simon says that Simon is not lying.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jack eats ice cream.

This is what you are doing:

1 Pro states that everyone else is infact non-existent projection of his conscious mind
2 Pro says he is the only person that exists
Therefore everyone else is infact non-existent projection of his conscious mind

You should also make yourself aware of the interpretation of scientific experiments that supports your view. You seem unaware of this, and it is somewhat disappointing that your opponent in this debate would have to correct your statement that science doesn't support your view. In the final analysis I agree that it doesn't, but others disagree with me (some idealists think that science has validated idealism) and at least we can have a fruitful discussion. It it would make for a better debate. At the moment I have nothing to refute. What you can assert without evidence or arguments, I can dismiss without evidence or arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
solar145254

Pro

Box 1.

[`33;]
Aware subject inside box

Aware subject is not aware of outside.

Box 2.

]`33;[

Although aware subject is inside box, subject is aware of outside.

This does not happen, people do not sense beyond their feelings.

Box 3-4

[`33;]"proof of outside" box becoming [`33;knows of outide]

It's easy to refute "proof of outside" as I did before with remaining dimensional spaces.

The illusion of others feeling works in the same way as it is part of what aware subject feels along with a belief.
CaptainScarlet

Con

Let's try and summarise the debate.

My opponent wants to show that Solipsism and Idealism are true. If this were true he would of course be arguing with himself, but of course no actual evidence nor reasoning has been put forward. His asserions remain just that, bare assertions with no actual foundations.

I have argued on the basis of foundational Axioms. The key point is that to be conscious at all, we must be conscious of something. There must be an objective external existence to be conscious of. Since my opponent must also concede that he came into excistence at some point, he must also concede that, time itself was clearly a pre existing objective part of a reailty he doesn't want to admit to. Thus he is left in an incoherent position, where he believes he is a consciousness, conscious only of his own consciousness.

Under his view he is infact less aware than an infant in the womb, that can at least be conscious of their envioronment, such as the mothers beating heart. As a solipsist he beleives he is the sole existing consciousness in existence, he has no stimuli, nor experience, nor knowledge. But yet he asks us to believe that he, can create whole universes through his mental processes. None of this can be shown to be true, it is quite literally unbelievable.

My opponent additionally believes he has refuted "proof of outside" by reference to "extra dimensional space". I wish I knew what he meant, assuming he means higher dimensional space, I would simply refer him to physcicts who both understand dimensional physics and are happy to believe that reality exists.

The bottom line here (as i argued for in my opening) is that existence,exists. It is independent, metaphysically prime and objectively free from conscious minds. And in turn consciousness is only possible if that were true, otherwise we would be conscious of nothing. Any attempt to deny these truths leads one to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept, by borrowing from this worldview in order to disprove it. This is what my opponent is trying to do. If he really believed in his own worldview he would not be debating, because he would literally be arguing something he already knew with himself.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TomorrowAlwaysKnows 6 months ago
TomorrowAlwaysKnows
So let's define 'form' as anything material or observable in reality

Without the form, the experiencing
of the form would be impossible.

Without the observer, the experiencing
of the form would be also impossible.

There is a logical equivalence to both statements,
where the mind and form both depend on each other.

Thus any preconceived separation between the two should contradict
the logical equivalence.

Although I'm not entirely sure as to whether a separate conscious entity can be merely
defined as 'form' or a separate 'mind' that creates it's own reality as well.

For all we know, every other conscious entity could be an illusion
created by the 'self'.
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