TED Conversations

Bernard White

TEDCRED 20+

This conversation is closed.

Is Solipsism irrational (the philosophical position of "Cognitio Ergo Sum")?

Sorry to not really give a very long description like I usually do, I just can't think of much to say about this topic.
I personally think it is entirely a rational and logical claim, and it can't really be proved nor disproved.
While I am a sort of agnostic concerning Solipsism, partly because I view it is better to live your life as if everybody is real, but it still can't really be certain.
I mean I may just be a projection of somebody else's imagination, I may just be a piece of coding in the matrix or inception.
I don't really see what complaints people have against Solipsism.
Am interested in what the fellow TED community will think about this.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 31 2013: I think the question is inadmissible. It's like asking what was before the big bang.
    Rationality is a derivative of cognition. Solipsism is an epistemological singularity that leaves nothing outside of your cognition to be objective about.
    • thumb
      Mar 31 2013: I personally believe nothing is "certain", just that everything is most "probable". In the way we base all conclusion on the past, and expect the future to be consistent with the past, while we don't "Know" whether the laws of physics will suddenly change.
      This is why I am a sort of agnostic about solipsism.
      While this is not to encourage rational and logical thought, and try to make the best conclusions we can with the data we have, and also not to encourage that we should live our lives as if "solipsism" is true. :-)
      Interested in your opinion.
      • thumb
        Mar 31 2013: Solipsism maintains that it's only your own mind which you can be sure to be existing. Everything else is merely your mind's interpretation and you can never be sure about its existence. As a metaphysical extension of its position solipsism holds that nothing other than your mind exists. Everything else is projection of your mind.
        This is the stand of an ascetic and I reject it. I believe that cognition starts by an initial differentiation of self from the surrounding reality. It's only after this 'self' is established it can further differentiate or integrate realities.
        Mere your interest about my opinion is an expression of that differentiation.
        • thumb
          Mar 31 2013: So basically you are saying:
          The universe creates cognition not the other way round?
          Because this isn't even "certain" in itself. There is no way to prove nor disprove it.
          While what I am saying, is that, yes! It probably is safer to assume you are real, and the external world is real. But this can't be certain in itself.
          I hope this makes sense! (I'm not sure I fully understood your argument!)
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2013: I agree with you that the basic nature of the physical world is chancy. At the quantum level this chancy, indeterminate nature rule and it appears weird to our common sense notion because in our size of reality, the appearance of wave function collapse is many times higher and we find things as discrete and stable. This is known as quantum decoherence.
        I think we are immensely complex entities and evolved to interact with other very complex systems and make sense of them. This making of sense is through our experiences, and the experiences are through our consciousness. So, I think our consciousness emerged as a necessary tool for making sense of everything around us, it was not exactly waiting out there and we went into it.
        Very simple physical systems do not require to be conscious to engage with their surroundings.
        A human baby younger than 18 months do not recognize herself in mirrors. She is born with a rudimentary consciousness to just carryout biological functions.
        I would not say Universe creates cognition rather in certain parts of it where sub systems grow towards complexity, they start to behave extremely life like and may develop cognition as a necessary stage of their evolution.
        Have you ever played the game of 'Life'?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2013: Interesting.
          But I personally wouldn't say being "self aware" increases the likelihood of you existing at all!
          However this goes into a deeper form of solipsism, and non-existence doesn't it?
          While I can see your point, and must give it further consideration, and find it reasonable. :)
          (The Red dot test is pretty cool by the way! (the self aware test) And the "theory of mind" test.)
          I hope you don't mind if I don't give you a full reply at the moment, it is just that I will edit this reply later! :)
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2013: "But I personally wouldn't say being "self aware" increases the likelihood of you existing at all!"
        For a solipsist Bernard White, sure. :)
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2013: Haha!
          I see your point. :)
          Fine I am not certain of the external world existing, and am happy to accept that I may not be the one in existence. That is more what I meant.
          While I view that the only thing you can be certain of is your own conciseness not existence. Kinda complicated :S???
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2013: Not at all. Consciousness has no standard model at all and it may not be as vexing as we take it to be. Dan Dennett has interesting things to say on it.
        http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_our_consciousness.html
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2013: I will watch that.
          Thanks for the link. :)
          I must admit I see much reason to assume this at the moment :
          I'm an agnostic about solipsism, but view it is far more probable (and will live my life) as if the world is real.
          my main problem is that evidence require some form of experiment. And I can't think of an experiment which would prove that everything is real, a bit like God, I can't think of an experiment which could prove or disprove these two hypothesises.
          While I accept your point, and will give it further thought!
          Have I repeated myself? :p
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2013: Yes you did and I have no problem with that. If you care here are my two cents.
        Human brain is a big conjurer. Since consciousness is self referring it has a feed back loop that can amplify your sense of awe and make things appear more profound than those really are.
        Our whole experiential input have five sensory channels and their capabilities are so limited with respect to explorables that 'reality' is more of a potential than an existence. But sum total of your consciousness has am emergent quality - some call it insight - that can break through the haze and enable you to glimpse reality at times.
        I enjoyed the exchange with you. I shall share a story that my teacher told me.
        Your consciousness is an earthen pot with five holes with a lamp placed inside. You are trying to make sense of the surrounding with five spots of light illuminating almost nothing. If you have someone who can break the pot itself you will have enlightenment.
        Cheers!!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.