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Bernard White


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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.


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    Mar 31 2013: I believe there is a significant difference between solipsism and the idea that "I may just be a project of somebody else's imagination...a piece of coding in the matrix..."

    The difference: There is no "somebody else" to have the imagination to put you in it. There is no coding in the matrix because someone would have had to code it. This can devolve into the "prime mover" argument (or ontological proof for the existence of good), which is exactly what Descartes did. It's a slippery but fast ride away from Solipsism at that point.

    But... If we extend Solipsism to include the concepts you mention in your question, that we may be in the matrix or someone else's imagination - that is a most fascinating possibility because we *can*, in principle, design scientific tests to verify whether or not that is the case. This is unlike the position with solipsism where I do not believe any such test can be devised.
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      Apr 1 2013: So would you say it is "safe" to be an agnostic about solipsism! (Which I probably am!)?
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        Apr 1 2013: Yes, perfectly safe to be agnostic about solipsism!

        Pure solipsism is a position we can neither prove nor disprove, and whether it is a true position or not has no implications to us, This is unlike the situation with God (whose existence can not be proven) where he may throw your ass in hell if you do the wrong thing.

        But the matrix-like position - we can possibly know about that and it could have great implications for us.
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          Apr 1 2013: I would say about God it can't be disproven either, unless there is a logical contradiction in traits.
          (With God I always ask people to define "God" "existence" "evidence" always reveals quite a lot!)
          I'm interested : How would you go about trying to find out whether we were in the matrix?
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        Apr 1 2013: Here is a test to determine whether we are really living in the matrix.

        We would create a complete simulation of a reasonable size of physical space including all the matter in the space. The space might only need to be the size of a pin head - not sure what minimum size would suffice, but let's think about pin head size just to make it more concrete.

        We do not possess anywhere near enough computer power to do this, but the quantum computers that will be available in a few decades should be able to handle this [having programmed one I have some knowledge in that area.]

        Then we run the simulation of reality, and we look for any unexpected patterns or differences from observed actual reality.

        Research along these very lines is actively being conducted at the University of Washington.

        Some speculate that if we were living in the Matrix, the reality is made up around us "just in time". So when I look out to a distance and see a mountain, and no person is really there, the mountain is not "rendered". In other words, if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, then it does not make a sound. This would make the simulation more efficient, but it is not a hard requirement.

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