On Tue, Sep 19, 2006 at 04:02:36PM +1000, Colin Hales wrote:
>  
> 
> BACK TO THE REAL ISSUE (solipsism)
> 
> I am confused as to what the received view of the solipsist is. As us usual
> in philosophical discourse, definitions disagree: 
> 
>  
> 
> "An epistemological position that one's own perceptions are the only things
> that can be known with certainty. The nature of the external world - that
> is, the source of one's perceptions - therefore cannot be conclusively
> known; it may not even exist."
> 
> or
> 
> "belief in self as only reality: the belief that the only thing somebody can
> be sure of is that he or she exists, and that true knowledge of anything
> else is impossible"
> 
> or
> 
> "the belief that only one's own experiences and existence can be known with
> certainty"
> 
>  
> 
> The definitions are all variants on this theme..
> 

It could also be argued that this theme is essentially instrumentalism.

> ---------------------------------
> 
>  
> 
> Q1. As a solipsist, if you say 'belief in self as the only reality' does
> this entail the disbelief in anything else other than 'self' (=experiential
> reality of the observer)? .i.e. ...the active denial of any reality other
> than your experience?
> 

I think solipsism goes further in denying existence of other minds.

Note that denial of materiality, or even of noumenon does not
eliminate other minds.

>  
> 
> Q2. If experiences are all that are known with certainty, then why have
> scientists universally (a) adopted the explicit appearances (of the external
> reality) within experience as scientific evidence of an external reality, to
> the complete exclusion of (b) the implicit evidence that the existence of
> any experience at all provides that it is caused by something (and that
> something is also external reality)? This is rather odd, since in the
> 'certainty' stakes (b) wins.
> 

Most scientists do not even think about ontological issues. Its as
though they practise "as-if" instrumentalism regardless of their
personal beliefs.



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