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Against Solipsism

Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?
EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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12/28/2013 12:20:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

Lolita
EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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12/28/2013 1:35:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I suppose I should be more explanatory than that.

Solipsism is not so much the idea that your mind can control everything but more that everything that matters exists in the mind. It can be viewed as the opposite of materialism. If you are familiar with Humbert Humbert from Lolita or Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, both of them are great indicators of the dangers of solipsism - both allow their fantasies to eclipse their realities, allowing them to do terrible things.
Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 1:39:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 1:35:50 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I suppose I should be more explanatory than that.

Solipsism is not so much the idea that your mind can control everything but more that everything that matters exists in the mind.

I know. My argument is that if everything that matters exists in the mind, then we should be able to control it (the speaker in front of me just blew up in my mind because I willed it to). We cannot (the speaker in front of me did not blow up even though I willed it to). Therefore, everything that matter doesn't exist in the mind; Solipsism is false. Scenarios that exist in the mind can generally be controlled. If I want to dream about a pair of breasts right now, I can. But if everything external is really part of my mind, why can't I control it!

It can be viewed as the opposite of materialism. If you are familiar with Humbert Humbert from Lolita or Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, both of them are great indicators of the dangers of solipsism - both allow their fantasies to eclipse their realities, allowing them to do terrible things.
EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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12/28/2013 1:43:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 1:39:31 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 12/28/2013 1:35:50 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I suppose I should be more explanatory than that.

Solipsism is not so much the idea that your mind can control everything but more that everything that matters exists in the mind.

I know. My argument is that if everything that matters exists in the mind, then we should be able to control it (the speaker in front of me just blew up in my mind because I willed it to). We cannot (the speaker in front of me did not blow up even though I willed it to). Therefore, everything that matter doesn't exist in the mind; Solipsism is false. Scenarios that exist in the mind can generally be controlled. If I want to dream about a pair of breasts right now, I can. But if everything external is really part of my mind, why can't I control it!

I don't know if it's alleged existence there (I am not a solipsist) means you can control it. I am unconvinced that there is a link between the two.

It can be viewed as the opposite of materialism. If you are familiar with Humbert Humbert from Lolita or Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, both of them are great indicators of the dangers of solipsism - both allow their fantasies to eclipse their realities, allowing them to do terrible things.
AnDoctuir
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12/28/2013 1:46:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 1:35:50 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I suppose I should be more explanatory than that.

Solipsism is not so much the idea that your mind can control everything but more that everything that matters exists in the mind. It can be viewed as the opposite of materialism. If you are familiar with Humbert Humbert from Lolita or Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, both of them are great indicators of the dangers of solipsism - both allow their fantasies to eclipse their realities, allowing them to do terrible things.

Half-decent post. It's a matter of grounding, though. Some go for the Christianity, some posit hard work as god, some take children as their purpose in life. We're all just holding onto something in a dreamland. And then you can't just say "materialism is best" because materialism is just more dreamland, very open to interpretation. We all believe in a god really, be it ourselves, someone else, or circumstance. There is no good argument against solipsism, basically. It is all-encompassing. There is only choice.
AnDoctuir
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12/28/2013 1:49:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
No doubt, though, there is many a mass-murder that can be related back to one losing touch with reality --or other people, if you like.
Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 1:50:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Basically, scenarios in my mind, I can usually control. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot control the external world. This suggests the external world is not just in my mind.
AnDoctuir
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12/28/2013 1:52:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 1:50:42 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Basically, scenarios in my mind, I can usually control. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot control the external world. This suggests the external world is not just in my mind.

Maybe it's just you and the devil and he's slowly torturing you. I imagine this is where a lot of mass-murder comes from, and it's irrefutable really.
InvictusManeo
Posts: 384
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12/28/2013 2:19:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
One thing is certain. You exist. So the universe exists. Whether you are only real in your mind emerges then. If there is only one you, then the universe has gone to extreme measures to make only one copy of you. I mean, why would the universe only create one you if it is already capable of creating others? Solipsism is even messy from an Occam's Razor point of view, because so many aspects of what solipsism would require seem altogether nonsensical and contradictory.

If you are not a physical body, then the universe need not contain any matter, just your mind. But your mind already operates bound by the same rules as other supposed incorporeal people, and why should it? If those people are just figments of your imagination then why can you not control them? Why can you not control the external world? If you drink, you get drunk. If your friend drinks they get drunk, too. Does your mind behave as though it were corporeal, even though it is not? How?

Also if you did just create the universe all in your mind, this would assume that you have a genius level understanding of physics and of the properties of the universe, without even being aware that you do. You'd also lack an understanding of the mechanisms that gave rise to your creation, which - if you were just your mind - would seem contradictory to solipsism. So your mind is capable of creating an entire universe out of nothing but arbitrarily limits itself in its own understanding of its creation, for no real rhyme or reason?

And where would the ability to create your own universe come from if it is not a conscious process? Even if we accept that the mind operates on more than one level, there's no sensible model that would explain how the subconscious mind could be powerful enough to do what solipsism demands it can do. Even if your subconscious created you and your universe, this would then assume that it is acting as a separate agent from you, so then you are not just you, but there are two forces at work and one of these forces - responsible for all creation - is inaccessible to you. Inaccessible to the creator. Yeah, right.

If you are the creator of your universe and are not bound by its rules then you should also be able to go without food by overriding hunger, among a number of other seemingly impossible feats that none of us are capable of doing. Solipsism doesn't make sense. It's a bunch of bullsh*t.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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12/28/2013 4:25:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I view the most likely type of solipsism in a different way. Solipsism holds that we can only be absolutely certain that one's own mind exists. Everything else may be either:
1) Real
2) An illusion displayed by our subconscious
3) An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis.
-These are the only ones I can think of at the moment, but if there are more options I would love to hear them.

You seem to refer to Solipsism as (2), however I would disagree and say (3) is much more likely. The orderly and extremely complex universe seems to operate at a level much higher than my own limited human cognitive abilities. If the subconscious can produce such an intricate illusion then it must be in a sense unaccessible to me, because I have never experienced the ability to operate or create such an orderly illusion. The best my mind can do is some fairly complex dream world but nothing close to the reality that we are now experiencing. If the universe is an illusion it is much more likely to be some simulation input into my true brain/mind in another reality. Therefore, we would have no control over our external world whatsoever and the argument posted which is against solipsism would not hold. Overall it seems (1) is the most likely option because I do not see the point or benefit of someone or something using me in a simulation.

I've read many arguments against solipsism but I do not think any of them are persuasive. Regardless, wiki has some good critical responses to solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Read and Vote Please! http://www.debate.org...
Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 4:38:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 4:25:14 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 12/28/2013 11:39:36 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What is a good argument against Solipsism? I heard one that says if everything is just ideas in my mind, then I should be able to change whatever I like. I mean, after all, I have the idea of a sun exploding in my head, and I am floating around in my mind with no gravity. However, this doesn't happen in reality. The fact that I cannot control everything means solipsism is false, because if everything is in my mind, I should be able to control it like any other idea or thought in my mind.

Is this a good argument against solipsism? If not, then what is the best argument against it?

I view the most likely type of solipsism in a different way. Solipsism holds that we can only be absolutely certain that one's own mind exists. Everything else may be either:
1) Real
2) An illusion displayed by our subconscious
3) An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis.
-These are the only ones I can think of at the moment, but if there are more options I would love to hear them.

You seem to refer to Solipsism as (2), however I would disagree and say (3) is much more likely. The orderly and extremely complex universe seems to operate at a level much higher than my own limited human cognitive abilities. If the subconscious can produce such an intricate illusion then it must be in a sense unaccessible to me, because I have never experienced the ability to operate or create such an orderly illusion. The best my mind can do is some fairly complex dream world but nothing close to the reality that we are now experiencing. If the universe is an illusion it is much more likely to be some simulation input into my true brain/mind in another reality. Therefore, we would have no control over our external world whatsoever and the argument posted which is against solipsism would not hold. Overall it seems (1) is the most likely option because I do not see the point or benefit of someone or something using me in a simulation.

I've read many arguments against solipsism but I do not think any of them are persuasive. Regardless, wiki has some good critical responses to solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...

3, which is "An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis", presupposes the existence of the material world for the brain to even exist (a brain is made of atoms). Thus, this view isn't really solipsism at all, because it presupposes a material world.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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12/28/2013 4:59:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
3, which is "An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis", presupposes the existence of the material world for the brain to even exist (a brain is made of atoms). Thus, this view isn't really solipsism at all, because it presupposes a material world.

(3) describes what is known as methodological solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Solipsism is the position that only one's mind/brain is certain to exist. So (3) is a valid option, a solipsist may presuppose this material world strictly as a reasonable explanation for an illusory external world, they do not think that the simulation's world is certain to exist.
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Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 5:02:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 4:59:04 PM, Orangatang wrote:
3, which is "An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis", presupposes the existence of the material world for the brain to even exist (a brain is made of atoms). Thus, this view isn't really solipsism at all, because it presupposes a material world.

(3) describes what is known as methodological solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Solipsism is the position that only one's mind/brain is certain to exist. So (3) is a valid option, a solipsist may presuppose this material world strictly as a reasonable explanation for an illusory external world, they do not think that the simulation's world is certain to exist.

But that still presuppose the existence of a material world, or the brain cannot exist. Thus, one has to be a dualist to hold this view, which is not really solipsism fundamentally at all.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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12/28/2013 5:09:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 5:02:16 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 12/28/2013 4:59:04 PM, Orangatang wrote:
3, which is "An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis", presupposes the existence of the material world for the brain to even exist (a brain is made of atoms). Thus, this view isn't really solipsism at all, because it presupposes a material world.

(3) describes what is known as methodological solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Solipsism is the position that only one's mind/brain is certain to exist. So (3) is a valid option, a solipsist may presuppose this material world strictly as a reasonable explanation for an illusory external world, they do not think that the simulation's world is certain to exist.

But that still presuppose the existence of a material world, or the brain cannot exist. Thus, one has to be a dualist to hold this view, which is not really solipsism fundamentally at all.

A solipsist only needs to be certain that his/her own mind is certain to exist. Any other hypothesis or explanation for the external world is valid for a solipsist, so long as they do not assert certainty on their existence. I think you are using a different definition for solipsism, something like: one who thinks one's own mind is the only thing to exist. If not, what is your definition?
Read and Vote Please! http://www.debate.org...
Rational_Thinker9119
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12/28/2013 5:25:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/28/2013 5:09:59 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 12/28/2013 5:02:16 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 12/28/2013 4:59:04 PM, Orangatang wrote:
3, which is "An illusion which is the result of electrical signals input into our brain, the brain in the vat hypothesis", presupposes the existence of the material world for the brain to even exist (a brain is made of atoms). Thus, this view isn't really solipsism at all, because it presupposes a material world.

(3) describes what is known as methodological solipsism: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Solipsism is the position that only one's mind/brain is certain to exist. So (3) is a valid option, a solipsist may presuppose this material world strictly as a reasonable explanation for an illusory external world, they do not think that the simulation's world is certain to exist.

But that still presuppose the existence of a material world, or the brain cannot exist. Thus, one has to be a dualist to hold this view, which is not really solipsism fundamentally at all.

A solipsist only needs to be certain that his/her own mind is certain to exist.

That is epistemilogical solipsism (one can only be sure that one's own mind exists), my argument is against metaphysical solipsism (one's own mind is all that exists).

Any other hypothesis or explanation for the external world is valid for a solipsist, so long as they do not assert certainty on their existence. I think you are using a different definition for solipsism, something like: one who thinks one's own mind is the only thing to exist. If not, what is your definition?

Bingo. We got confused definitions...
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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12/28/2013 5:49:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
A solipsist only needs to be certain that his/her own mind is certain to exist.

That is epistemilogical solipsism (one can only be sure that one's own mind exists), my argument is against metaphysical solipsism (one's own mind is all that exists).

Any other hypothesis or explanation for the external world is valid for a solipsist, so long as they do not assert certainty on their existence. I think you are using a different definition for solipsism, something like: one who thinks one's own mind is the only thing to exist. If not, what is your definition?

Bingo. We got confused definitions...

Lol, I see.
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