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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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    Apr 1 2013: "Real" is a word.

    It has relative value arranged around the persistence of the pattern we call "self".
    Any principle that is cogent to the maintenance of self persistence is "real.
    Beyond that cogence the word has no meaning whatsoever.

    Descartes was seriously wrong about thinking - thinking produces only ego. Ego is no more than a high level interface required by social animals.

    Having this discussion in words is a little bit silly. Words are part of the social interface - they have reality only in that aspect.
    For instance, we say "consciousness" but we don't know what that is. It might very well be true that all manifest "things" in the universe possess awareness - and that it is only the principle of memory which precedes consciousness.

    I think its fruitless to conjecture about one's reality in context of someone or something else.

    There is only one avenue I can see where such conjecture may have any use whatsoever - and that is the notion that you are the only self in your universe, and that all other's reality exists in a close, but different universe. At the very least, this gives one the impression of authenticity - helpful in the face of depression .. but beyond that .. hmm maybe a path to psychopathy. One thing we do know is that our world-views are personal - and approximate.
    Beware the local minimum. Descartes fell into that trap.
    • Apr 4 2013: I thought of bringing into focus the Indian thought as expounded by J . Krishnamurthy. His central idea is that all that we think is relative and what is absolute can not be perceived by conditioned mind-conditioned by DNA and upbringing. The problem comes when we project our ego based understanding as real.
      Then come practices like transcending the endless thoughts and in deep silence and total awareness perceive the absolute. There should be no preconceived notions about the raison d'etre of existence. This approach may not appeal to western thinkers but at least they can agree to the limitations of rationality when it comes to concepts related to reality of existence.
      I am not a philosopher and I hope to have conveyed the idea adequately. I put across this idea as you seem to be arguing partly on similar lines.
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        Apr 5 2013: Hi A Sethuramiah,

        I think the view of J . Krishnamurthy is useful.

        From what we learn from neural science, it becomes clearer that one's perception is a method.
        For the sake of survival, it works well and has adaptive capacity.
        So you could say that "functionally, solipsism is an effective outlook" in other words, it works .. beyond that, it just is what it is. However, there is no functional value in asserting that perception is reality. In fact, having such an outlook will harm the capacity for a perception to adapt - and it is demonstrated that adaptation is necessary.

        If one takes functionality as a subset of reality then, from this aspect, the argument between functional and absolute solipsism collapses into the realm of functionality - and as such has no traction on the subject of reality.

        For myself, I am developing a model which provides a useful framework to examine these issues.
        Basically it uses this dynamic description of self organisation (assuming complex organism):
        ambient state-->senses-->perception-->potential agency-->decision-->agency-->changed ambient state-->repeat until death.
        The details increase as each stage is examined. E.G. memory is required for Bayesian adaptation.

        Another aspect that is essential is the understanding that all minima are local - to have absolute minimum (truth) perception must be infinite. No individual possesses infinite perception.
        From there, one has to consider that access to the infinite may be possible .. here is where the boundary between absolute and functional solipsism might find resolution.

        Iin humans, the mechanism of conscious thought is only small subset of consciousness itself. Mostly to do with negotiating social interaction. These are specific to communicating social animals, and cannot be taken as universal truths.
        The work of Antonio Damasio is worth looking at:

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