• Banno
    17.8k
    "Predisposition"?

    There are plenty of cases in which "proof" is irrelevant.

    There has to be proof for me to believe in other minds.GLEN willows

    I think that is not the case. I suggest that you do believe in other minds, except for the purposes of the peculiar game of writing posts on the philosophy forum. As evidence for that, I cite your continued participation in this thread. Not just that you continue to interact with us, but that you demonstrate a reasonable level of interaction - you are able to access and use a device of some sort in order to be here, you have a reasonable grasp of English, you recognise humour and have a grasp of the nature of argument and some familiarity with the philosophical context in which we are talking. If you did not believe in other minds, these interactions would be difficult to explain.
  • Pie
    560

    Just to be clear, I didn't say you said anything in particular. I was just making a point that we don't need to prove everything. For you seem to imply that a theist and a believer in an external world were in the same epistemological position (which would seem to be a statement about the external world, but never mind that for now...)

    Instead I'd say that a community takes lots of statements to be facts or facts-until-proven-guilty, which are fair game as premises for arguments toward less obvious conclusions. This is an old issue.
  • Isaac
    8k
    So if you're predisposed to be afraid of people that don't look like you, that gives the notion some weight?GLEN willows

    Weight in what sense? Moral weight? No. Explanatory weight? Yes.
  • GLEN willows
    248
    There are plenty of cases in which "proof" is irrelevant.

    Name a few?
  • GLEN willows
    248
    Ok re-reading your post I see what you're saying. We are born with beliefs, and need proof to change them, if I can summarize.

    This seems obvious though, and not sure what it has to do with the topic. I may have been born believing there are other minds, or born believing the opposite. Does that have anything to do with whether there ARE other minds?
  • GLEN willows
    248
    Bedtime here on the left coast. Night night.
  • GLEN willows
    248
    Please answer my questions - I'm appreciating the dialogue. Even from the odd person who's being intentionally obtuse (wink). I'm Canadian, we're predisposed to being easy going!

    Seriously thanks for your time, chat tomorrow.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    We see someone writhing on the ground with a stick poking out of their bloody belly. You say "They are in pain". I demand proof.

    You say that if A implies B, and A is true, then B is true. I demand proof - What the Tortoise Said to Achilles

    You claim to desire evidence. I demand proof of your desire.

    We agree as to the rules of chess. You say that the bishop always remains on the same colour square in Chess. I demand proof.

    It's not hard to think of cases in which proof is superfluous.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    highlight any text in a post, and hover over it for a pop up "quote" function.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    Please answer my questionsGLEN willows

    Another performative paradox - you request, even demand, answers from folk whose existence you claim to need proof of.
  • Isaac
    8k
    We are born with beliefs, and need proof to change them, if I can summarize.GLEN willows

    Yes.

    This seems obvious though, and not sure what it has to do with the topic. I may have been born believing there are other minds, or born believing the opposite. Does that have anything to do with whether there ARE other minds?GLEN willows

    No. But we weren't talking about whether there are other minds, we were talking about whether (and why) you believe there are.
  • Pie
    560
    Another performative paradox - you request, even demand, answers from folk whose existence you claim to need proof of.Banno

    I granted him that a character in a dream could tell him he was awake.

    Is it logically impossible that I am dreaming right now ? I'd say no, but I'd say that 'dreaming' only makes sense if waking is possible (my 'real' body is bed.) But granting this logical possibility is not unlike granting the mere logical possibility that my skull is hollow ( a thesis, I must admit, that some here might find plausible after all.)
  • Pie
    560
    I imagine another game...one person is 'it' and everyone else tries to convince him that they are mere figments of his imagination.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    I think that is not the case. I suggest that you do believe in other minds, except for the purposes of the peculiar game of writing posts on the philosophy forum. As evidence for that, I cite your continued participation in this thread. Not just that you continue to interact with us, but that you demonstrate a reasonable level of interaction - you are able to access and use a device of some sort in order to be here, you have a reasonable grasp of English, you recognise humour and have a grasp of the nature of argument and some familiarity with the philosophical context in which we are talking. If you did not believe in other minds, these interactions would be difficult to explain.Banno

    Very often, people act in ways contrary to their beliefs. Therefore you cannot make accurate conclusions about one's beliefs, from ones actions. Furthermore, people act in contrary ways, saying things ( a type of acting) which are incompatible with other things they are doing. This is known as hypocrisy.

    This is the important demonstration which Wittgenstein makes through his use of hypocrisy in the Philosophical investigations, which you continually ignore and deny. You seem to think that what Wittgenstein says, is an expression of what is doing, or demonstrating in that text, so you refer to what he says as what he has demonstrated. I've repeatedly explain to you, over and over again, that what Wittgenstein has demonstrated is that what he has said, is false. That is the Socratic method, to demonstrate the falsity of a statement. But you refuse to apprehend and understand what Wittgenstein is doing with his words, in those demonstrations, opting to simply believe he is demonstrating the truth of what he states.

    Ok re-reading your post I see what you're saying. We are born with beliefs, and need proof to change them, if I can summarize.

    This seems obvious though, and not sure what it has to do with the topic. I may have been born believing there are other minds, or born believing the opposite. Does that have anything to do with whether there ARE other minds?
    GLEN willows

    What happens, described in a general way, is that we form habits which are based on beliefs held at a particular time (when we're very young, we don't even acknowledge those habit forming beliefs, they are the beliefs, our trainers, or even innate). As we develop a stronger and stronger rational capacity (the power to reason), we may produce beliefs which are inconsistent with our habitual actions which were formed by the prior beliefs. Then, the conscientious human being will see the need to break the habits, and this is not easy, as the reality of our habit of burning fossil fuels and polluting the earth with CO2 demonstrates.

    Relative to the topic of the thread, solipsism, and Banno's explanation, one might act as if there is other minds, when these habits are viewed from the premise that training is the influence of other minds, but a person might understand principles which deny the reality of other minds, and deny that these habits are formed by the influence of other minds. This is why "grounds" becomes very important, because the two possible grounding points, how the person acts, and what the person believes, can very well be opposed to each other.
  • bongo fury
    1.4k
    I made it clear I’m not a solipsist (if I was why would I be talking to you?) but I need a logical way to dismiss it.GLEN willows

    Where do you stand on Neurath's boat?

    Not too near the edge :lol:

    But seriously...

    Philosophy once aspired to set all knowledge on a firm foundation. Genuine knowledge claims were to be derived from indubitable truths by means of infallible rules. The terms that make up such truths were held to denote the individuals and kinds that constitute reality, and the rules for combining them into sentences and for deriving some sentences from others were thought to reflect the real order of things.

    This philosophical enterprise has foundered. Indubitable truths and infallible rules are not to be had. Philosophy cannot expect to underwrite the assertions of other disciplines, for its own assertions are no more secure than the rest. Nor can it reasonably aspire to certainty. For without indubitable starting points, certainty is beyond our reach.
    Catherine Z Elgin

    And scientists no longer expect any ultimate foundation or certainty for their theories.

    On the other hand... they, and anti-foundationalist philosophers, still seek to systematise, or axiomatise. Not because they expect their theories to derive truth and certainty from their laws or axioms, but the better to evaluate, test, and improve the theories.

    Hence @Pie's interest in "fixing the cogito", probably.

    But yeah, I suppose if you do accept Descartes' more occult cogito as an indubitable truth, then you are bound to demand a logical demonstration of any claim that a refutation of solipsism is available on that basis.
  • Jamal
    4.7k
    And scientists no longer expect any ultimate foundation or certainty for their theories.bongo fury

    This is why I think that solipsism and external world scepticism should be seen as important ideas in intellectual history rather than challenges to face on their own terms. It can be argued that Descartes was well-motivated in his time. Such motivations are no longer felt, so the ideas as expressed today become mere psychological curiosities.
  • Isaac
    8k
    What happens, described in a general way, is that we form habits which are based on beliefs held at a particular time (when we're very young, we don't even acknowledge those habit forming beliefs, they are the beliefs, our trainers, or even innate). As we develop a stronger and stronger rational capacity (the power to reason), we may produce beliefs which are inconsistent with our habitual actions which were formed by the prior beliefs.Metaphysician Undercover

    Fascinating stuff. A few questions arise.

    How do we identify the old beliefs from the new beliefs? Do they have some kind of labelling system?

    Why don't the new beliefs form habits (if the old ones did), and if they do how do we identify new-belief habits from old-belief habits?

    Whence my belief that the space above Glen's head is empty? Have I habitually told people the space above their heads is empty?

    How do we identify which belief (of the hundreds required to carry out even the smallest task) is the one which is causing the defunct habit?

    Research opportunities abound...
  • Pie
    560
    but the better to evaluate, test, and improve the theories.

    Hence Pie's interest in "fixing the cogito", probably.
    bongo fury

    :up:

    If we can't have final truth or referee the other disciplines, we can rule out nonsense, clarifying what it is to be a rational agent in the first place along the way.
  • Pie
    560
    This is why I think that solipsism and external world scepticism should be seen as important ideas in intellectual history rather than challenges to face on their own terms.Jamal
    :up:
  • Tate
    865
    It can be argued that Descartes was well-motivated in his time. Such motivations are no longer felt, so the ideas as expressed today become mere psychological curiosities.Jamal

    I don't think Descartes advocated solipsism, did he?
  • Jamal
    4.7k
    I don't think Descartes advocated solipsism, did he?Tate

    Correct.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    I don't think Descartes advocated solipsism, did he?Tate

    Right. Descartes' project was to prove that "I" exist", not to prove that others don't exist.
  • Jamal
    4.7k
    That he existed was something he found he couldn't doubt, so that was precisely the thing he did not need to prove. He built the world back up again on that foundation, with God and proofs.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    ↪Janus
    That he existed was something he found he couldn't doubt, so that was precisely the thing he did not need to prove. He built the world back up again on that foundation, with God and proofs.
    Jamal

    Yes, he arrived, after doubting everything he thought he could, at the cogito as the purportedly indubitable, and then (unfortunately not indubitably) built everything back up again on that foundation. So, his project. as I said, was to prove, at least to his satisfaction. that he existed. Whether or not he already had that indubitably of his existence in mind from the start is another question. I think he was correct that the knowledge of our own existence is, of all knowledge, the most certain.
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    Besides, doubting everything without warrant being a performative contradiction (as Peirce points out "a paper doubt"), it only follows from The Cogito that "doubting exists", not the doubter herself. And "ergo sum" is far from certain for psychotics afflicted with Cotard's Syndrome.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    If I can be mistaken that it is I who am doubting, thinking, feeling; then I can be mistaken that there is doubting, thinking and feeling. I feel my own presence more certainly than I know whether I am doubting.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    How do we identify the old beliefs from the new beliefs? Do they have some kind of labelling system?Isaac

    I would say that we distinguish old beliefs from new, by means of the justification. One would not drop an old belief in favour of a new belief, unless this was justified. And, in my explanation, the whole reason for adopting new beliefs is an increase in one's capacity to reason, as the person grows up. So in introspection, we might find numerous beliefs which we hold, that have never been justified, and some that we do not even know how we got them, as they just popped into the mind, came at a young age, or are possibly even innate. These are older beliefs, which are often the foundation for habits. If a belief is the basis for a habit, it is necessarily old, because habits take time to develop. Why do I put my shoes on before I get in the car to drive? At some point I developed the belief that it's not good to drive in bare feet. It's a habit I have, derived from an old belief.

    But at some point, we might reassess such old beliefs, and even justify a conflicting new principle, which becomes the new belief, thus apprehending the need to break the old habit, as a bad habit. If the person cannot break the bad habit, yet believes it ought to be broken, then the person succumbs to hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is very common and we ought not be ashamed of it, though it has received bad connotations. We all wish our children will do better than ourselves, and recognize where they ought not follow ourselves as an example. This is because it's easier to change one's beliefs than it is to change one's habits, and if I cannot break a bad habit, I might at least instill something better in my children.

    Why don't the new beliefs form habits (if the old ones did), and if they do how do we identify new-belief habits from old-belief habits?

    Whence my belief that the space above Glen's head is empty? Have I habitually told people the space above their heads is empty?

    How do we identify which belief (of the hundreds required to carry out even the smallest task) is the one which is causing the defunct habit?
    Isaac

    These questions are answered through introspection.
  • Isaac
    8k
    These questions are answered through introspection.Metaphysician Undercover

    Nope. Tried it. I got nothing.
  • Isaac
    8k
    These questions are answered through introspection invention.Metaphysician Undercover

    Ah, that works now, I must have missed your typo.
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