The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Londoner
Posts: 791
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:47 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Londoner » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:30 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:08 am
It goes against my principles, but given that you definitely have not grasped what the term solipsism refers to, I'm forced to appeal to external references for you to get updated and be able to sustain a discussion:
Your references are very helpful. Have you read them carefully?

There is no point in simply putting the word 'exist' in bold, as though that answered the question. The point about a solipsistic position (and philosophy generally) is that it questions the meaning of words like 'exist', so just repeating them begs the question we are discussing.

Let's take your first quote: ...Solipsism is therefore more properly regarded as the doctrine that, in principle, "existence" means for me my existence and that of my mental states. So that is what a solipsist understands by 'exist'. Now consider your original point:
As Searle (*) pointed out: solipsism refutes itself. If you're a solipsist, you don't believe this forum and its people actually exist. Expecting that a second solipsist shows up implies wanting solipsism to be proven false.
So the solipsist's understanding of any 'existence' of this forum would therefore be that it 'exists' as part of their own existence and their own mental state. So yes, it may be that a second solipsist shows up, but they too would be understood by the solipsist to be part of their own existence and their own mental state.

Seriously, I assume you do recognise that solipsism has a long history in philosophy. Do you think this is because philosophers had failed to notice there seem to be other people in the world? Or because they had no access to reference books that would have put them right?

The history of philosophy is packed with variations of this position, all versions of Idealism. Surely you have come across them before? You are welcome to disagree but I am puzzled why you react as if I am saying something wildly eccentric and original.

((*)I am also sorry for poor Searle who is being badly misrepresented)

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:04 am

Londoner wrote:
So the solipsist's understanding of any 'existence' of this forum would therefore be that it 'exists' as part of their own existence and their own mental state. So yes, it may be that a second solipsist shows up, but they too would be understood by the solipsist to be part of their own existence and their own mental state.
Yes, that's my point and also Searle's point. Since the solipsist is already convinced that only he or she exists and that a second person is only a product of his/her mind, who would he/she be trying to convince? If they're expecting a reaction from someone, they are inviting the refutation of their solipsism.
Londoner wrote: ((*)I am also sorry for poor Searle who is being badly misrepresented)
You're wrong in that, too, but I grant you that you don't even have to know who Searle is. In any case, here's a direct quote from one of his lectures about the philosophy of mind:

"...now, there's an extreme view that says, well, I am the only person that has consciousness, and has any mental life...it's called solipsism. Solipsism is the view that my mental states are the only mental states that exist...

...You can say, well, that's because if someone is a solipsist, what's the point of trying to tell us, since we don't exist...I mean, if I were a solipsist, I wouldn't bother to tell other people, because there aren't any other people..."

Londoner
Posts: 791
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:47 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Londoner » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:34 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:04 am
Yes, that's my point and also Searle's point. Since the solipsist is already convinced that only he or she exists and that a second person is only a product of his/her mind, who would he/she be trying to convince? If they're expecting a reaction from someone, they are inviting the refutation of their solipsism.
Once again, you are missing what solipsism is. The solipsist says that the only thing they can be certain of is their own consciousness. That all claims about the world are reducible to claims about their own consciousness.

So, any belief that there is a second person, that this person reacts and so on, is still ultimately based on their own consciousness. There may be something out there doing things, but any belief that is the case rests on their own experience. To put it crudely, a sudden pain in the head may cause me to guess that another philosopher is out there hitting me, but all that is certain is my own experience of the pain.

So once again, it is a misrepresentation to say:

the solipsist is already convinced that only he or she exists . That would require the solipsist to have certainty about something outside their consciousness. But the solipsist's position is that we can have no such certainty.

As I have written before, to say 'I do no know if X is the case or not' is not the same as saying 'I know X is not the case'.
You're wrong in that, too, but I grant you that you don't even have to know who Searle is.
Why would you assume that?
In any case, here's a direct quote from one of his lectures about the philosophy of mind:

"...now, there's an extreme view that says, well, I am the only person that has consciousness, and has any mental life...it's called solipsism. Solipsism is the view that my mental states are the only mental states that exist...

...You can say, well, that's because if someone is a solipsist, what's the point of trying to tell us, since we don't exist...I mean, if I were a solipsist, I wouldn't bother to tell other people, because there aren't any other people..."
Direct quote? Direct quotes are direct, yours is heavily edited with lots of bits cut out. And 'you can say' isn't the same as asserting a fact. Can you direct me to the whole thing?

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:28 pm

Londoner wrote: Once again, you are missing what solipsism is.
Nope. You're missing it. That's why I gave you external references, so that you learn what solipsism is usually believed to be. Since it proves you wrong, you just decided to ignore it and go along with your previous misconception.
Londoner wrote: Direct quote? Direct quotes are direct, yours is heavily edited with lots of bits cut out. And 'you can say' isn't the same as asserting a fact. Can you direct me to the whole thing?
Those were word for word quotes taken from a lecture given by Searle. I only have the audio, but there are enough references in the information I gave you that say exactly the same.

Londoner
Posts: 791
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:47 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Londoner » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:23 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:28 pm

Nope. You're missing it. That's why I gave you external references, so that you learn what solipsism is usually believed to be. Since it proves you wrong, you just decided to ignore it and go along with your previous misconception.
I refer you to my previous answers.

Solipsism has been a part of philosophy at least since 400BC, there cannot be a single philosopher who hasn't paid some attention to the concept.

But in one brilliant insight, you have spotted something that has eluded them all.

That is possible, but it is also possible you have misunderstood. I will leave it at that.
Those were word for word quotes taken from a lecture given by Searle. I only have the audio, but there are enough references in the information I gave you that say exactly the same.
They are not word for word; you have chosen to miss chunks out, there is no complete sentence. I suspect Searle was talking about his understanding of 'consciousness', but we shall never know.

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:30 pm

Since it has been proven with the help of the external references that you have a misconception of what solipsism stands for, I don't think I should bother to see your answers under that misconceived notion.

Interesting to note that even without having the original source at hand, you assert that my quotes are not literally faithful to the source.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:08 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by -1- » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:46 pm

Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

I am a solipsist. I believe that the world and other minds can't be proven to exist.

I also believe that the real (physical) world and other minds exist, except I realize that this is not knowledge, but a belief.

I also believe that if other minds exist, they ought to see it this way too.

I also believe that a mind can't have any different perspective.

I also believe that this applies to the afterlife, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. I don't know, however, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. There is no data available to support that or to deny that.

Consciousness may or may not be of physical origin, it may or may not depend on a physical host's presence or complexity. We know nothing about the consciousness, other than that each has his or her own. (Strictly speaking, I know that my consciousness exists, and nothing else I know, but believe.) We don't know the origin of consciousness, if it had an origin in the first place, we don't know how it exists in the presence, and we don't know if it ends or not. All we know is the very consciousness we each possess. I know I have a consciousness, and can't be certain that you have one too. You know that you have a consciousness, and you can't be certain if I have one too. The very act of consciousness is receiving and "feeling" stimuli; this immediately presupposes its own presence, and since you can't feel my feelings, and vice versa, we have no way of testing for stimuli present in, or the existence of, other minds.

Solipsism is a branch of epissedemology. It pisses people off, because it is a scary thought. Some respond to this scary thought with anger, or with denial, or with complete despair. They are unnecessary mental-emotional reactions. The existence of the physical world is NOT DISPROVEN by solipsism. Solipsism simply shows the world and other minds not to be provable. There is complete possibility that my mind is not alone in this great vast universe; it is completely possible that other minds and things exist out there. The only thing is, I can't prove they exist. But the possibility and a high probability is there that things other than my mind exist.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:08 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by -1- » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:56 pm

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:30 pm

Interesting to note that even without having the original source at hand, you assert that my quotes are not literally faithful to the source.
You claimed more than just being literally faithful to the source. Your partner did not claim that you were not literally faithful. He claimed that you did not quote somebody word-for-word. In my understanding when you quote someone word-for-word, you don't leave out stuff. If you insist on partial quotes in a chunk which is word-for-word, then you must place the chunks into different quotes, and not use disconnected chunks in one quote.

This may be considered a merely technical issue. But you may still not ALTER a claim someone else makes, prove the altered version false, and claim victory. That is a process called "Strawman fallacy", and it's a no-no in philosophical debates.

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:42 pm

Right there you're talking nonsense and going around the bushes with sophistry, avoiding the central issue. The quoted statements are separated, each one expressing complete ideas without any cut (that's word for word). A quote is ALWAYS an extract of a bigger work, in this case a lenghty lecture. The complete statements quoted talk for themselves and their claims can be dealt with as complete units of information. Of course that's what your partner needs desperately to avoid.

Impenitent
Posts: 1845
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Impenitent » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:57 am

-1- wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:46 pm
Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

I am a solipsist. I believe that the world and other minds can't be proven to exist.

I also believe that the real (physical) world and other minds exist, except I realize that this is not knowledge, but a belief.

I also believe that if other minds exist, they ought to see it this way too.


I also believe that a mind can't have any different perspective.

I also believe that this applies to the afterlife, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. I don't know, however, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. There is no data available to support that or to deny that.

Consciousness may or may not be of physical origin, it may or may not depend on a physical host's presence or complexity. We know nothing about the consciousness, other than that each has his or her own. (Strictly speaking, I know that my consciousness exists, and nothing else I know, but believe.) We don't know the origin of consciousness, if it had an origin in the first place, we don't know how it exists in the presence, and we don't know if it ends or not. All we know is the very consciousness we each possess. I know I have a consciousness, and can't be certain that you have one too. You know that you have a consciousness, and you can't be certain if I have one too. The very act of consciousness is receiving and "feeling" stimuli; this immediately presupposes its own presence, and since you can't feel my feelings, and vice versa, we have no way of testing for stimuli present in, or the existence of, other minds.

Solipsism is a branch of epissedemology. It pisses people off, because it is a scary thought. Some respond to this scary thought with anger, or with denial, or with complete despair. They are unnecessary mental-emotional reactions. The existence of the physical world is NOT DISPROVEN by solipsism. Solipsism simply shows the world and other minds not to be provable. There is complete possibility that my mind is not alone in this great vast universe; it is completely possible that other minds and things exist out there. The only thing is, I can't prove they exist. But the possibility and a high probability is there that things other than my mind exist.
why not? that is an awfully high demand on something you can't prove to even exist...

but all purple dragons must have green horns... (except for the polka dotted ones, but I digress...)

-Imp

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:08 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by -1- » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:38 am

Impenitent wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:57 am
-1- wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:46 pm
Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

I am a solipsist. I believe that the world and other minds can't be proven to exist.

I also believe that the real (physical) world and other minds exist, except I realize that this is not knowledge, but a belief.

I also believe that if other minds exist, they ought to see it this way too.


I also believe that a mind can't have any different perspective.

I also believe that this applies to the afterlife, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. I don't know, however, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. There is no data available to support that or to deny that.

Consciousness may or may not be of physical origin, it may or may not depend on a physical host's presence or complexity. We know nothing about the consciousness, other than that each has his or her own. (Strictly speaking, I know that my consciousness exists, and nothing else I know, but believe.) We don't know the origin of consciousness, if it had an origin in the first place, we don't know how it exists in the presence, and we don't know if it ends or not. All we know is the very consciousness we each possess. I know I have a consciousness, and can't be certain that you have one too. You know that you have a consciousness, and you can't be certain if I have one too. The very act of consciousness is receiving and "feeling" stimuli; this immediately presupposes its own presence, and since you can't feel my feelings, and vice versa, we have no way of testing for stimuli present in, or the existence of, other minds.

Solipsism is a branch of epissedemology. It pisses people off, because it is a scary thought. Some respond to this scary thought with anger, or with denial, or with complete despair. They are unnecessary mental-emotional reactions. The existence of the physical world is NOT DISPROVEN by solipsism. Solipsism simply shows the world and other minds not to be provable. There is complete possibility that my mind is not alone in this great vast universe; it is completely possible that other minds and things exist out there. The only thing is, I can't prove they exist. But the possibility and a high probability is there that things other than my mind exist.
why not? that is an awfully high demand on something you can't prove to even exist...

but all purple dragons must have green horns... (except for the polka dotted ones, but I digress...)

-Imp
Impish.

I believe they can't be proven to exist. Why, you ask. Why can't they be proven to exist.

Well, you prove they exist, and you proved me wrong. Simple enough task. Go do it.

User avatar
-1-
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:08 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by -1- » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:55 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:42 pm
Right there you're talking nonsense and going around the bushes with sophistry, avoiding the central issue. The quoted statements are separated, each one expressing complete ideas without any cut (that's word for word). A quote is ALWAYS an extract of a bigger work, in this case a lenghty lecture. The complete statements quoted talk for themselves and their claims can be dealt with as complete units of information. Of course that's what your partner needs desperately to avoid.
You know what? You are right about this. I have no way of knowing whether you quoted him word for word. So why should I believe you did? If I have the text, or the voice recording, I can check that. But since i don't, it's your word against yours, that the transcription is word-for-word.

I am not calling you a liar. At all. All I am saying is never ask a butcher who sells the best meat in town. This is not a personal attack on you-- you just ask us to believe something that has no way of being checked.

This is not the end of the world.

But it does not matter. Solipsism, if you ask me, is not ""...now, there's an extreme view that says, well, I am the only person that has consciousness, and has any mental life..." which you quoted as "it's called solipsism."

Solipsism is, if you ask me, that which you described or the notion that the only thing that can be proven to exist is my mind. This second part allows for things to exist outside my mind, and the only thing solipsism claims, that they can't be proven to exist. Period. It does not go beyond that. It allows for the possibility and for any degree of probability that things exist which things are not my mind or parts of it.

So I am not sure if the ... part where you left some text out, deals with solipsism the same way as I have defined. The ... can potentially contain anything. You know what the dotted left-out part was... I don't. I can assume only two things: you left that part out because you did not find it important, or because it did not serve your purposes, or else, the left out part was not germane to the situation as far as you could tell.

But if you left out no part of importance, then Searle has no grasp on solipsism.

Only you know the real McCoy, so to speak; only you know whether the recording stopped discussing the issue where your description stopped.

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:38 pm

-1- wrote:
You know what? You are right about this. I have no way of knowing whether you quoted him word for word. So why should I believe you did? If I have the text, or the voice recording, I can check that. But since i don't, it's your word against yours, that the transcription is word-for-word.

I am not calling you a liar. At all. All I am saying is never ask a butcher who sells the best meat in town. This is not a personal attack on you-- you just ask us to believe something that has no way of being checked.

This is not the end of the world.
I always understood that. I asserted those were Searle's words hoping that they were accepted in good faith and be contrasted with any other public opinions of Searle on the subject, of which there are plenty available and he always repeats basically the same. If you decide not to trust me, that's OK, I will handle that. But I will require that you acknowedge that if those are indeed Searle's words, then the position that holds that solipsism conveys the notion of only the solipsist existing in the world, does represent Searle's position. The sentences quoted contain in themselves, without any more information required to complete their meaning, that notion. Do you agree?
-1- wrote: So I am not sure if the ... part where you left some text out, deals with solipsism the same way as I have defined. The ... can potentially contain anything. You know what the dotted left-out part was... I don't. I can assume only two things: you left that part out because you did not find it important, or because it did not serve your purposes, or else, the left out part was not germane to the situation as far as you could tell.

But if you left out no part of importance, then Searle has no grasp on solipsism.

Only you know the real McCoy, so to speak; only you know whether the recording stopped discussing the issue where your description stopped.
The part I left out is the observation between the two comments quoted, where he just says that in the history of philosophy, no philosopher has been a true solipsist because they could not make a point...and then is when he says what you read in the last quote.

On the subject of what solipsism is, I also gave a few external references with their sources, which also support the view that Searle holds. Will you deal with those?

Viveka
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:06 pm

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Viveka » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:46 am

-1- wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:55 am
Conde Lucanor wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:42 pm
Right there you're talking nonsense and going around the bushes with sophistry, avoiding the central issue. The quoted statements are separated, each one expressing complete ideas without any cut (that's word for word). A quote is ALWAYS an extract of a bigger work, in this case a lenghty lecture. The complete statements quoted talk for themselves and their claims can be dealt with as complete units of information. Of course that's what your partner needs desperately to avoid.
You know what? You are right about this. I have no way of knowing whether you quoted him word for word. So why should I believe you did? If I have the text, or the voice recording, I can check that. But since i don't, it's your word against yours, that the transcription is word-for-word.

I am not calling you a liar. At all. All I am saying is never ask a butcher who sells the best meat in town. This is not a personal attack on you-- you just ask us to believe something that has no way of being checked.

This is not the end of the world.

But it does not matter. Solipsism, if you ask me, is not ""...now, there's an extreme view that says, well, I am the only person that has consciousness, and has any mental life..." which you quoted as "it's called solipsism."

Solipsism is, if you ask me, that which you described or the notion that the only thing that can be proven to exist is my mind. This second part allows for things to exist outside my mind, and the only thing solipsism claims, that they can't be proven to exist. Period. It does not go beyond that. It allows for the possibility and for any degree of probability that things exist which things are not my mind or parts of it.

So I am not sure if the ... part where you left some text out, deals with solipsism the same way as I have defined. The ... can potentially contain anything. You know what the dotted left-out part was... I don't. I can assume only two things: you left that part out because you did not find it important, or because it did not serve your purposes, or else, the left out part was not germane to the situation as far as you could tell.

But if you left out no part of importance, then Searle has no grasp on solipsism.

Only you know the real McCoy, so to speak; only you know whether the recording stopped discussing the issue where your description stopped.
Then you have the wrong definition of solipsism. Solipsism is the idea that one is the only being that has a mind, and that everything else underlying experience is derived from this singular mind. To define it as the only thing proven to exist is the mind is not solipsism, but similar to it. If one is looking for non-material definitions of mind, look no further than one's own experience in one's own mind. Sure, the brain itself can also have a 'hand' in it, but mind is non-material due to our own experience of our own minds. Yes, in other words, you are correct that it is non-material, and only definable on its own terms, even with our perception of the 'outer' world. The Buddha called the entirety of experience of the outer and inner world the 'All'. The problem is the juncture between the material/physical and non-material/meta-physical.

Impenitent
Posts: 1845
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Impenitent » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:21 am

-1- wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:38 am
Impenitent wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:57 am
-1- wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:46 pm
Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

I am a solipsist. I believe that the world and other minds can't be proven to exist.

I also believe that the real (physical) world and other minds exist, except I realize that this is not knowledge, but a belief.

I also believe that if other minds exist, they ought to see it this way too.


I also believe that a mind can't have any different perspective.

I also believe that this applies to the afterlife, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. I don't know, however, if the mind survives the death of the physical body. There is no data available to support that or to deny that.

Consciousness may or may not be of physical origin, it may or may not depend on a physical host's presence or complexity. We know nothing about the consciousness, other than that each has his or her own. (Strictly speaking, I know that my consciousness exists, and nothing else I know, but believe.) We don't know the origin of consciousness, if it had an origin in the first place, we don't know how it exists in the presence, and we don't know if it ends or not. All we know is the very consciousness we each possess. I know I have a consciousness, and can't be certain that you have one too. You know that you have a consciousness, and you can't be certain if I have one too. The very act of consciousness is receiving and "feeling" stimuli; this immediately presupposes its own presence, and since you can't feel my feelings, and vice versa, we have no way of testing for stimuli present in, or the existence of, other minds.

Solipsism is a branch of epissedemology. It pisses people off, because it is a scary thought. Some respond to this scary thought with anger, or with denial, or with complete despair. They are unnecessary mental-emotional reactions. The existence of the physical world is NOT DISPROVEN by solipsism. Solipsism simply shows the world and other minds not to be provable. There is complete possibility that my mind is not alone in this great vast universe; it is completely possible that other minds and things exist out there. The only thing is, I can't prove they exist. But the possibility and a high probability is there that things other than my mind exist.
why not? that is an awfully high demand on something you can't prove to even exist...

but all purple dragons must have green horns... (except for the polka dotted ones, but I digress...)

-Imp
Impish.

I believe they can't be proven to exist. Why, you ask. Why can't they be proven to exist.

Well, you prove they exist, and you proved me wrong. Simple enough task. Go do it.
that's not what I said.

your claim was "I also believe that a mind can't have any different perspective."

I replied "why not? that is an awfully high demand on something you can't prove to even exist..."

point being, why can you make existential demands on that which you believe cannot be proven to exist?

-Imp

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Greylorn Ell and 2 guests