• That’s the specific theory presented, but its part of a broader field of philosophy called epistemology, or theory of knowledge. I’m no solipsist, I just wanted to get the ball rolling with that theory and see how others would respond/refute it.

  • '19 Moderator

    Sounds like something that someone says after finishing a fat bowl of Afgani… :-o


  • It’s not really possible to refute solipsism. It’s the philosophical equivalent of closing your eyes, plugging your ears, and going “NANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” No reason can overcome it, because any such argument is external to the solipsist.

    Most epistemological systems are really “closed” in the sense that they cannot be “refuted” in the same way an argument can be refuted or a mathematical theory can be refuted. What if your epistemological system allows contradictory truths to be true? Any argument that would seem to refute it could easily be accepted without any trouble to the holder of such a system.


  • @Janus1:

    That’s the specific theory presented, but its part of a broader field of philosophy called epistemology, or theory of knowledge. I’m no solipsist, I just wanted to get the ball rolling with that theory and see how others would respond/refute it.

    Yeah, I know, I was just commenting on what you were saying exactly.

    For the record, I encountered solipsism on my own in 7th or 8th grade…having no idea what it really was.  It was only until college that I found the word for it and thought, “ain’t that some shit.”

    Maybe we should talk about truthiness?


  • Descartes didn’t even believe that until he won an award for it.


  • Cogito, ergo sum.

    I think, therefore I am.

    This, according to Descartes, is the only thing one can believe as irrefutably true.

    Problem: Define “I”


  • It’s not really possible to refute solipsism. It’s the philosophical equivalent of closing your eyes, plugging your ears, and going “NANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” No reason can overcome it, because any such argument is external to the solipsist.

    Most epistemological systems are really “closed” in the sense that they cannot be “refuted” in the same way an argument can be refuted or a mathematical theory can be refuted. What if your epistemological system allows contradictory truths to be true? Any argument that would seem to refute it could easily be accepted without any trouble to the holder of such a system.

    Exactly! Hence Johnson’s famous reply to Berkeley’s skepticism: “I refute it thus,” as he kicked a rock. Also, the way to challenge a skepticist (or solipsist) is to tell them to walk through a fire, shoot themselves with a gun, drive off a cliff, etc. Any true solipsist wouldn’t live very long, because they wouldn’t believe their senses.


  • Heh. Reminds me of some guy in one of my Polt classes; the professor, in making a point, rhetorically asked “Is there such a thing as knowledge?” and the guy piped up; “Not true knowledge!” I wish I’d had the presence of mind to turn to him and say “Are you sure about that?” It didn’t occurr to me until later that the statement “There is no such thing as true knowledge,” is incredibly inconsistent; for if it’s True that true knowledge doesn’t exist, then any statement to that effect is false; it essentially denies itself.

    I suspect a similar argument could be put forth in return to the epistemologists, but I lack the inclination at the moment to figure it out :P.


  • It all depends on how you define knowledge. The standard definition accepted by most philosophers is: belief backed by reasons + truth, that is, being correct in your belief. The problem with this definition is that it allows us to possess knowledge without knowing it. In fact, it almost forces us to say that we don’t know whether or not we have knowledge. Consider:  I believe that God does not exist, and I have reasons for believing so, but I don’t know the truth value of the statement “God does not exist” because I cannot in any way test that premise. I may be correct in believing that God does not exist, and so would hold a true belief, and consequentially possess knowledge that God does not exist. But this is useless knowledge, because I don’t know that I possess it.

    Also, keep in mind that there are different kinds of knowledge. Knowing how to ride a bike is knowledge of a different form than knowing what a bike is.


  • I typically call knowledge of the practical sort (say, riding a bike) ability, so let’s talk about knowledge as it relates to the truth of a controversial matter; or, you might say, the knowledge one does or does not possess as to the true character of a subject.

    Certainly there are some things which cannot be known for certain; so it’s fair to say that there is no such thing as true human knowledge as regards subjects like the existence of God. But just because humans may never know the answer to a particular question doesn’t mean the question has no answer. To even ask a question like “Does God exist?” presumes there must be an answer, whether or not you believe it’s possible to realize this answer; questions without the existence of true knowledge are impossible, or at least pointless.


  • @Janus1:

    Cogito, ergo sum.

    I think, therefore I am.

    I always corrected this to:
    Cogito, sum, ergo cogito sum.

    I think, I am, therefore I think I am

    :mrgreen:

  • '19 Moderator

    For some reason I thought it was:

    cogito sumere potum alterum


  • WN: Of course there is an answer, but it is one well beyond our human faculties to know. Even if God descended from heaven and said to every person in the world simultaneously “Ye, look upon me, and know me. I am that which is called I am” this would not settle it, because this would not prove irrefutably that this being was “God” in the sense shared by any religion, it could merely be an alien with advanced faculties beyond those of man. Similarly, whoever is correct in their belief in the existence/non-existence of God possesses knowledge on the subject, but since they cannot confirm it externally to themselves, they possess knowledge without knowing that they possess knowledge. What good is covert knowledge?


  • @dezrtfish:

    Sounds like something that someone says after finishing a fat bowl of Afgani… :-o

    THAT WAS FUNNY!

Suggested Topics

Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures

34

Online

17.1k

Users

39.4k

Topics

1.7m

Posts