• Pie
    553


    Broadly, I'm trying to show that the metaphysical version of the private mind is broken (or at least useless), despite its initial plausibility.

    I don't see how we can institute a meaning for the mysterious X that the p-zombie is supposed to lack. Working within this assumption that there is such an X, we could never prove either that we weren't p-zombies or that we were talking about the same 'thing' being substituted for X.

    That's a problem for the framework. I'm trying to argue from within it to show how it breaks down. ( I view selves as fundamentally worldly, social, and linguistic. )
  • Michael
    11.1k
    I don't see how we can institute a meaning for the mysterious X that the p-zombie is supposed to lack.Pie

    Not knowing how something can happen doesn't entail that it doesn't happen. Again, we have actual examples of words and phrases referring to private sensations, the self, one's will, thinking, dreaming, the soul, God, counterfactuals, etc. And they have a meaning despite the words not referring to something which is publicly accessible. Take these as a reductio ad absurdum against any simplistic account of language that tries to reduce meaning to an entirely public, functional behaviour.

    And again, to paraphrase you; if everything is public then nothing is. And in the context of this discussion "public" and "private" have a particular meaning that isn't analogous to your example of a private phone call.
  • Pie
    553
    we have actual examples of words and phrases referring to private sensations, the self, one's will, thinking, dreaming, the soul, God, counterfactuals, etc.And they have a meaning despite the words not referring to something which is publicly accessible.Michael

    The criteria for applying those concepts are public, else we could not learn them, and it would be pointless to engage in philosophy.

    To be sure, a theist will probably tell us that his concept refers to some entity, but you can't locate the meaning of 'God' in his ghost without assuming precisely what I'm questioning.

    All it takes for words to have a meaning is certain norms that govern their application, to play a certain relatively stable role in our form of life.
  • Pie
    553
    And, again, in the context of this discussion "public" and "private" have a particular meaning that isn't analogous to your example of a private phone call.Michael

    I agree that a metaphysical grammar has indeed been invented, adjacent to but different from the ordinary grammar. I claim that that grammar leads to absurdity or its own uselessness. Though I 'get' the temptation to use it.
  • Pie
    553
    Not knowing how something can happen doesn't entail that it doesn't happen.Michael

    But not knowing what we mean or how we could establish what we mean seems problematic. I claim that the concept is elusive by definition. Given any possible public criterion, we can imagine a sufficiently clever but soulless android that satisfies it. That's a problem. It's like ether or phlogiston.

    A creature could (according to the official theory) write excellent novels but lack a soul, while an inarticulate amoeba could have one.

    But this is like the concept of truth. A statement can be warranted but false or unwarranted but true.
    So truth plays a kind of absolute role, about which nothing more can be said, and this X seems to be the same kind of nothingness.
  • Michael
    11.1k
    A statement can be warranted but false or unwarranted but true.Pie

    And what public norm determines the meaning of "true" and "false" which distinguishes them from "warranted" and "unwarranted"? The exact kind of realism that you seem to argue for requires that there is more to meaning and reference than just what is publicly given to us in experience. The world isn't just what we see or hear or believe.

    In terms of what we mean by something like "mind", we have one of our own. There is more to me than just what others can see of me. I have thoughts that I never express. I have the "raw experience" (e.g. qualia) that is inaccessible to others. And being the intelligent man that I am, I am able to imagine that there is, or could be, something like this first personhood that isn't me. There are unexpressed thoughts that aren't mine. There is "raw experience" that is inaccessible to me. There are private other minds. And the solipsist, understanding the meaning of a phrase like "private other minds", can argue that there are no such things (or that we cannot know that there are such things).
  • Michael
    11.1k
    A statement can be warranted but false or unwarranted but true.Pie

    And what public norm determines the meaning of "true" and "false" which distinguishes them from "warranted" and "unwarranted"? The exact kind of realism that you seem to argue for requires that there is more to meaning and reference than just what is publicly given to us in experience. The world isn't just what we see or hear or believe.Michael

    Also on this point see the opening post here.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    Also on this point see the opening post here.Michael

    Dummett's argument concludes that the principle of bivalence be rejected because we cannot always recognize whether or not a statement is true/false. The principle of bivalence only says that all statements are determinately true/false, not that we can recognize them as such. The criterion for being determinately true/false is remarkably different than being recognized as true/false. Dummett conflates the two. I see no reason to think/believe that Witt's writing leads to that or suffers from the same.creativesoul
  • Banno
    17.8k
    I ain't ridiculing anyone,GLEN willows

    Nor I, you.

    At some stage the talk must give way to doing things. At that point, what remains of solipsism?
  • Michael
    11.1k


    creativesoul misunderstands and doesn't address the argument being made. Read the quote in the opening post.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    Oh, I think he does.

    ...the whole practice of language use would go on the same even if we had got it wrong.

    The very notion of "getting it wrong" is language-dependent. @creativesoul is pointing this out. Dummet wants to have a level of "true" and "false" outside of language; you do the same thing in your example in the OP to that thread. Your simulation is an attempt at a construction that allows you to talk about truth and falsity from outside of language. It' can't work.

    The supposed metaphysical issue of realism and antirealism is just a choice between using a bivalent or paraconsistent logic.
  • Michael
    11.1k
    Dummet wants to have a level of "true" and "false" outside of languageBanno

    No he doesn't, that's the point. The principle of bivalence, however, requires that it is, as that is the only way that every statement can be determinately true or false.
  • Banno
    17.8k


    Ever hear of Schrödinger's cousin, Hümdinger? He had a less physical, more philosophical bent. He also put a cat in a box, but without all that radiological frippery. And instead of asking if the cat were alive or dead, he asked if the cat still had fur.

    A realist will say that "The cat has fur" is true.

    An antirealist will say that "The cat has fur" is neither true nor false.
  • Michael
    11.1k
    You also seem to misunderstand Dummett. He doesn't say that every true statement must be recognized as true, he says that every true statement must be recognizable as true. The cat having fur (or not) is recognizable even if not recognized.

    But that aside, the point I was making to Pie is that if he is to be consistent with his reasoning then he must accept that it is public norms that determine the meaning and proper use of the words "true" and "false" which is incompatible with realism which argues that the truth is not determined by our linguistic (or other) conventions.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    The point of the Hümdinger's cat thought experiment is to show that the choice between realism and antirealism is a choice of grammar.

    So is the choice of solipsism.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    @GLEN willows, in the end, rejecting solipsism is choosing a way of talking about the way things are, and one that better matches how one interacts with the world.

    You are acutely aware of the reality of other minds when seen doing something embarrassing. Feeling embarrassed requires other minds.Banno

    Perhaps solipsism involves a performative contradiction.
  • GLEN willows
    248
    We disagree. I've not convinced by arguments "proving" other minds. That's all. Of course life goes on, as it does with empiricists and any other theory.

    I think we've covered this. Take care
  • GLEN willows
    248


    "At some stage the talk must give way to doing things"

    Applies to every argument....
  • Banno
    17.8k
    Applies to every argument....GLEN willows

    Indeed. It's at the core of Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy. It's not about providing a proof, but showing that one behaves as if other folk have minds - your responding to my posts, for example, shows your rejection of solipsism.
  • Tate
    865
    your responding to my posts, for example, shows your rejection of solipsism.Banno

    This assumes he doesn't talk to himself. Why would you think that?
  • GLEN willows
    248
    In fact I do talk to myself - and my cat. Banno you get the last word - with me anyway. My solipsistic world is bright and sunny today. Must go for a walk. Great chatting with you.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    This assumes he doesn't talk to himself. Why would you think that?Tate

    Then all he has done is to decide by fiat that I am a part of his self; such a solipsism loses any differentiation.

    Great chatting with you.GLEN willows

    My point, in a nutshell.
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    :smirk: :up:

    This assumes he doesn't talk to himself.Tate
    Insofar as "self" is a binary concept: if there are not any others for the solipsist, then there isn't even a/the/"him" self to talk to.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    Yep. The fact of this thread puts the lie to solipsism, without argument...
  • Tate
    865
    This assumes he doesn't talk to himself. Why would you think that?
    — Tate

    Then all he has done is to decide by fiat that I am a part of his self; such a solipsism loses any differentiation.
    Banno

    I think the challenge is to disprove it to oneself. There's no way to do that. I can easily disprove your solipsism, though. I'm here.
  • Tate
    865
    Insofar as "self" is a binary concept: if there are not any others for the solipsist, then there isn't even a/the/"him" self to talk to.180 Proof

    The Other can be manufactured. Happens all the time.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    I think the challenge is to disprove it to oneself.Tate

    As @Pie pointed out earlier, a proof is supposed to bind everyone, not just oneself. A proof that only you accept is perhaps a faith...

    The Other can be manufactured.Tate

    Yes, the other is constructed, by juxtaposing it to the self; As the old song goes, This I tell you, brother...

    If all there is, is self, then there is no other, and hence no self.
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    If all there is, is self, then there is no other, and hence no selfBanno
    :up:
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    Try this for a line of reasoning. Descartes supposed he could doubt everything, and decided that he could not doubt that he was doubting, and hence that the doubter must exist.

    Have a think about what it was he was doubting. To doubt is to doubt the truth of some proposition. But a proposition is an item of language. And there are good reasons to think that language must involve other folk - that there can be no private languages.

    Hence in order to make use of propositions one must be part of a language community. The very doubting that Descartes made use of seem to already involve other people.

    What do you make of that?
    Banno

    Yup.
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