• Chaz
    6
    I feel like the "all is mind" position is a cop out position or even just laziness. Kind of like with religion; put god outside of perception or somewhere along blurred perceptual lines and now you can't say he's not real because you can't prove it.

    Ditto with philosophy; the mind is the limit of perception so you can't prove all is not mind.

    Is this it? The end all be all winner of all philosophical debates? Nyah nyah you can't disprove me so I win?

    Do we just say all is mind just because it is difficult to disprove?

    Or has anyone produced some refutations to all is mind that are just as difficult to disprove as the position they refute?
  • Gregory
    1.9k
    Most people believe in the world. Few are solipsistic. Default is not always true
  • khaled
    1.4k
    Do we just say all is mind just because it is difficult to disprove?Chaz

    I think the main appeal of the idea is that the only thing you can be absolutely sure exists is a mind. Namely your mind. So it makes sense to take your start there, and say that mind/consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe out of which everything arises rather than trying to get mind through particles bumping into each other. We haven't been able to do that for so long that the main reason "All is Mind" is springing back up is because it offers a very simple explanation.

    Not only that but it makes for a very humbling theory that doesn't stroke mankind's ego, and it removes the constant anxiety that your mom might not be conscious but your couch might be (something you can't actually disprove scientifically until we develop a consciousness-o-metre which doesn't seem like it's happening any time soon).
  • Pinprick
    419
    Or has anyone produced some refutations to all is mind that are just as difficult to disprove as the position they refute?Chaz

    The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong in order to be wrong is wrong. In order for an idea to even be considered plausible, or worth considering, it must have some justified explanatory power. Can “all is mind” justify its premises? That is question number one. If you cannot answer it affirmatively, there is no need to proceed. If you can, then the next question should be what can it explain better than (insert alternative theory/ies)? Then ask what is left unexplained. Once that is determined, simple arithmetic will decide which idea is best.
  • MSC
    207
    The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong in order to be wrong is wrong.Pinprick

    Simple, sincere, elegant logic. :strong:
  • 180 Proof
    2k
    The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong in order to be wrong is wrong. In order for an idea to even be considered plausible, or worth considering, it must have some justified explanatory power. Can “all is mind” justify its premises? That is question number one. If you cannot answer it affirmatively, there is no need to proceed. If you can, then the next question should be what can it explain better than (insert alternative theory/ies)? Then ask what is left unexplained. Once that is determined, simple arithmetic will decide which idea is best.Pinprick
    :100: :up:
  • khaled
    1.4k
    there is a difference between an idea being wrong and an idea being worth considering. The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong to be wrong is correct, the idea that it has to be proven wrong to be worth considering is not. What determines whether an idea is worth considering is largely personal preference. You personally seem to prefer the idea that offers the most explanatory power, that may not be the case for others.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.3k
    The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong in order to be wrong is wrong. In order for an idea to even be considered plausible, or worth considering, it must have some justified explanatory power.Pinprick

    This is backwards. If you reject every possibility until it can be proven, then you reject everything by default and then have nothing with which to prove anything from, leaving you rejecting everything forever.

    The only way to rationally choose between possibilities is to tentatively admit all of them until they can be disproven. That does mean you never end up narrowing down to only one possibility, the definite absolute truth, but it at least gives you somewhere to start and some way to make progress from there, unlike the alternative.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.3k
    So for the case at hand, we don’t have to worry about the mere POSSIBILITY of solipsism being true; sure, it might be, but so might its negation. Both of those are possibilities. Which seems more likely to be true to you? Probably its negation. And you’re free to believe that; you don’t have to defeat solipsism first. You can just ignore it, until such time as someone’s disproves its negation. And “it might not be true, it’s possibly false” is not a disproof.
  • Pinprick
    419
    This is backwards. If you reject every possibility until it can be proven, then you reject everything by default and then have nothing with which to prove anything from, leaving you rejecting everything forever.Pfhorrest

    I don’t necessarily mean rejecting, just not accepting without proof/evidence. Isn’t this what a default position should be? I shouldn’t automatically accept every idea I stumble across and then begin the process of disproving them all.

    Also, you seem to imply that if a methodology leads to universal nihilism (rejection of everything forever), then the methodology is wrong. This isn’t warranted.
  • Pinprick
    419
    What determines whether an idea is worth considering is largely personal preference.khaled

    It shouldn’t be. Whether or not an idea is rational should be the criteria for consideration.

    You personally seem to prefer the idea that offers the most explanatory power, that may not be the case for others.khaled

    But my reasoning for this isn’t because of some bias/preference, unless you consider desiring truth to be a preference. The purpose or function of an idea is to explain phenomena. If it isn’t able to do that, why should I entertain it seriously?
  • Pinprick
    419
    So for the case at hand, we don’t have to worry about the mere POSSIBILITY of solipsism being true; sure, it might be, but so might its negation. Both of those are possibilities. Which seems more likely to be true to you?Pfhorrest

    I would tentatively choose to believe whichever theory explains more. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on solipsism arguments, but from what I understand solipsism points out a possibility that our current theories of consciousness cannot account for. So at this moment solipsism cannot be refuted, whereas it does point out an obvious issue with our other theories. I’m guessing this is what leads some to agree with solipsism. Where I disagree is that while solipsism is possible, it explains virtually nothing. I fail to see the reasoning in rejecting the evidence used to support other theories of consciousness and what they are able to explain, simply because they cannot explain solipsism. Our theories could be wrong completely, and at the very least need to be revised in order to account for solipsism, but this possibility doesn’t make solipsism true, nor does its inability to be refuted. The issue with solipsism is that it lacks evidence to support it and explanatory power.
  • creativesoul
    9k


    Solipsism is a philosophical position.
    All philosophical positions require language use.
    All language use requires shared meaning.
    All shared meaning requires a plurality of creatures.
    If solipsism is true there is no such plurality of creatures.
    If solipsism is true there is no shared meaning.
    If solipsism is true there is no language use.
    If solipsism is true there are no philosophical positions.
    Solipsism is a philosophical position.

    Draw your own conclusion.

    :wink:
  • Pfhorrest
    3.3k
    I don’t necessarily mean rejecting, just not accepting without proof/evidence. Isn’t this what a default position should be? I shouldn’t automatically accept every idea I stumble across and then begin the process of disproving them all.Pinprick

    Think of it as analogous to how we treat behaviors in a liberal society; “doing something” is analogous to “believing something” here. If someone does something differently than you, that doesn’t automatically make them wrong; but neither does it automatically make you wrong. Neither of you has the burden to justify your ways to the other, nor any obligation to do as the other does if you can’t justify doing otherwise. Both ways of doing things are initially to be presumed fine, until something can be shown to be wrong with one; and even when something is found to be wrong with one way, that doesn’t automatically mean that the other way is obligatory, unless the other way is the only other possibility.

    Also, you seem to imply that if a methodology leads to universal nihilism (rejection of everything forever), then the methodology is wrong. This isn’t warranted.Pinprick

    That implication is intended and warranted.

    If such nihilism is true, then by its nature it cannot be known to be true, because to know it to be true we would need some means of objectively evaluating claims, so as to justifiably rule all such claims to be false. But the inability to make such objective evaluations is precisely what such a nihilistic position claims; at most, the nihilist can express their opinion that nihilism is true, but to be consistent, must agree to disagree with anyone whose opinion differs about that. In the absence of such a means of objective evaluation, it nevertheless remains an open possibility that nothing is real, or that nothing is moral. But we could only ever assume such an opinion as baselessly as nihilism would hold every other opinion to be held.

    In the strictest sense, I agree that there might not be anything real or moral at all. But all we could do in that case is one of two things. We could either baselessly assume that there is nothing real or moral at all, and stop there, simply giving up any hope of ever finding out if we were wrong in that baseless assumption. Or else, instead, we could baselessly assume that there is something real and something moral — as there certainly inevitably seems to be, since even if you deny their objectivity some things will still look true or false to you and feel good or bad to you — and then proceed with the long hard work of figuring out what seems most likely to be real and moral, by attending closely and thoroughly to those seemings, those experiences.

    But note that I am not saying to take any particular answer on faith, neither to questions of what is real nor to questions of what is moral. I am saying only to trust that there are some answers or others to be found to all such questions, even if we haven't found them yet. I am not even saying that any such answers definitely will ever be found. I'm not saying that success in the endeavor of inquiry is guaranteed, just to always assume that it is possible rather than (just as baselessly) assuming that it is impossible. I am only saying that we stand a much better chance of getting closer to finding answers, if anything like that should turn out to be possible, if we try to find them, proceeding as though we assume that there is something to be found, than if we just assume that there is not, and don't even try.

    Because if you accept nihilism rather than objectivism, then if there is such a thing as the right opinion after all, you will never find it, because you never even attempt to answer what it might be, and you will remain wrong forever.

    There might not be such a thing as a correct opinion, and if there is, we might not be able to find it. But if we're starting from such a place of complete ignorance that we're not even sure about that — where we don't know what there is to know, or how to know it, or if we can know it at all, or if there is even anything at all to be known — and we want to figure out what the correct opinions are in case such a thing should turn out to be possible, then the safest bet, pragmatically speaking, is to proceed under the assumption that there are such things, and that we can find them, and then try. Maybe ultimately in vain, but that's better than failing just because we never tried in the first place.

    So anything that ends up implying nihilism has to be rejected along with nihilism via modus tollens (if you deny the consequent of an implication you have to deny the antecedent as well). The kind of justificationist methodology I argue against here implies nihilism, so we must reject it. Funny enough, solipsism implies effective nihilism too, so that is also a reason to reject it as well.
  • khaled
    1.4k
    It shouldn’t be.Pinprick

    Maybe but it is.

    unless you consider desiring truth to be a preference.Pinprick

    What else could it be?
  • Pinprick
    419
    If someone does something differently than you, that doesn’t automatically make them wrong; but neither does it automatically make you wrong.Pfhorrest

    Right, I agree.

    Neither of you has the burden to justify your ways to the other, nor any obligation to do as the other does if you can’t justify doing otherwise.Pfhorrest

    This is true too, until one person begins questioning the other’s behavior, or unless the two behaviors are directly contradictory to each other (although it’s odd to think of behaviors as being contradictory rather than just different), in which case some resolution is needed.

    Both ways of doing things are initially to be presumed fine, until something can be shown to be wrong with one;Pfhorrest

    But this can be done by showing how one method is more effective/efficient than the other, not necessarily proving the other method is flawed/wrong. Consider the example of cleaning a sidewalk. One person does so by sweeping it, while another does so by spraying it with water. If one of these people can show that their method of cleaning the sidewalk is more efficient/effective, then that method can be said to be better. Note that this isn’t claiming that the other method is wrong, only that it is less effective/efficient (which is analogous to explanatory power/rational). Also note that this is a more favorable example on your behalf, as both methods of cleaning the street actually accomplish the task. This obviously isn’t always, or even usually, the case with ideas or beliefs. Ideas that postulate an unprovable or indemonstrable premise as an explanation for something (i.e. God) are, precisely because of this, incapable of explaining anything. IOW’s they never accomplish the task they set out to accomplish, and therefore can be disregarded as relevant ideas at all. Put in the context of this current discussion, if the “all minds” theory cannot demonstrate that minds exist, then it cannot use minds as an explanation of anything. Until it is able to do so it isn’t necessary to take the idea seriously by attempting to disprove it, or refute its claims against physicalism. It’s claims are unfounded to begin with. Again, note that this isn’t claiming “all minds” is impossible or wrong, only that it hasn’t shown itself to be possible or correct yet.

    That implication is intended and warranted.Pfhorrest

    I have much to say about this claim as well, but out of respect for the OP, I’ll wait to see if this thread progresses on topic before responding and derailing yet. :smile:
  • Pinprick
    419
    Maybe but it is.khaled

    I take it you reject objectivity?

    What else could it be?khaled

    An objective objective?
  • khaled
    1.4k
    I take it you reject objectivity?Pinprick

    Not necessarily. I don’t know if it exists or not but even if it did there is no point at which we can be sure we have found it so I don’t care if it exists or not.

    An objective objective?Pinprick

    Maybe. But how do you know it is so? Assume that somehow a bunch of floating rocks in space can imply that humanity should have a shared objective (which is a pretty big assumption in the first place). How do you know that that objective is “desiring truth”. If there WAS some “script” for proper human behavior somewhere, we can’t see it, we can only assume that things are on it. And you assumed “desiring truth” is on it. You didn’t know that it is. You don’t have a hotline to truth in these matters even if such a truth existed.

    You can say “I think this is an objective truth” you can never say “this is an objective truth”. Pretty much everyone that has said the latter has been wrong so far.
  • RogueAI
    264
    The idea that an idea has to be proven wrong in order to be wrong is wrong. In order for an idea to even be considered plausible, or worth considering, it must have some justified explanatory power. Can “all is mind” justify its premises? That is question number one. If you cannot answer it affirmatively, there is no need to proceed. If you can, then the next question should be what can it explain better than (insert alternative theory/ies)? Then ask what is left unexplained. Once that is determined, simple arithmetic will decide which idea is best.

    Idealism does not fall prey to the Explanatory Gap/Hard Problem of Consciousness, which imo, is catastrophic for materialism at this point in time. Therefore, it's either dualism or idealism, and idealism is more parsimonious: I can be wrong about the existence of matter. I can't be wrong about the existence of mind and thought. Might as well make thought the building blocks of reality, instead of inanimate non-conscious stuff.
  • Pop
    339
    the mind is the limit of perception so you can't prove all is not mind.Chaz

    This is not solipsism, it is idealism, so long as you understand that others exist and there is a physical world, which everybody interprets slightly differently.

    In my view, you go with the logic, otherwise you may end up in fairy land. There is a logic to your sentence, that is difficult to ignore.
  • Pinprick
    419
    Not necessarily. I don’t know if it exists or not but even if it did there is no point at which we can be sure we have found it so I don’t care if it exists or not.khaled

    If that’s the case, then why fuss over whether or not I’m being objective? If you don’t care, then I don’t see how you can care about obtaining truth at all. And if that’s the case what’s the point of having these discussions? Without accepting objectivity how can either of us determine whom is correct? Am I missing something?
  • Pinprick
    419
    I can't be wrong about the existence of mind and thought.RogueAI

    All evidence supports the idea that “mind” is physical. What evidence is there that anything nonphysical exists?

    Might as well make thought the building blocks of reality, instead of inanimate non-conscious stuff.RogueAI

    My brain is both physical and conscious, and is the cause of thought. Why the need to postulate anything more?

    Idealism does not fall prey to the Explanatory Gap/Hard Problem of Consciousness, which imo, is catastrophic for materialism at this point in time.RogueAI

    I agree, but what does idealism explain? Even with the assumption that there are nonphysical objects, how do they interact? How do they form/create/become physical objects? What rules govern their motion, size, shape, mass, etc. (or lack thereof)? Materialism isn’t perfect, but I don’t see how it could be wrong about the things it can explain, like the majority of physics. And that counts for something, right?
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    If given a choice between all is mind and all is not mind one would have to consider the possibility of the brain-in-a-vat scenario or Descartes' evil demon both of which cast a gigantic shadow of doubt over the material word to say nothing of the fact that these scenarios recognize the only truth that we know for certain, the reality of our minds.
  • khaled
    1.4k
    If that’s the case, then why fuss over whether or not I’m being objective?Pinprick

    When did I do that? I didn't utter the word "objective" once before you did. I honestly don't know where you got "So I take it you don't care about objectivity" from.

    I just clarified that people don't believe things based on predictive power necessarily but rather that everyone has their own criteria. That is not even in contradiction with there being an "objective criteria" (Again, I can't see how floating rocks can ever imply such a thing but assuming they do), it would just mean that everyone else is wrong if there was such an objective criteria.

    IRL people have different criterias, that's all I said.

    If you don’t care, then I don’t see how you can care about obtaining truth at allPinprick

    I don't. I care about obtaining ideas that seem true. I can't test if they're true or not (because I don't have a hotline to truth) but I can select the ideas that provide the most accurate models. That is my criteria. That is not everyone's criteria. That's all I said.

    Without accepting objectivity how can either of us determine whom is correct?Pinprick

    By setting up an actually testable standard. For example: Makes the best predictions, Has the fewest words, Most intuitive, etc etc.
  • RogueAI
    264
    All evidence supports the idea that “mind” is physical. What evidence is there that anything nonphysical exists?

    When you think of your mind, do you think in terms of physical properties? What color is your mind? What shape is it? What's its volume? What does it smell like? What's it made out of? How heavy is it? These are nonsense questions because your mind isn't a physical thing.

    The hardcore materialist would answer that minds = brains, but that certainly doesn't map on to our intuitions, and (more disastrously, since counter-intuitive claims are sometimes true) when you press such materialists on why brains are conscious and how brains are conscious you either get a shrug or nonsense answers like, "you're not really conscious, it's an illusion". Like I said before, it was maybe OK for science to collectively shrug about consciousness 100 years ago, but now? To not even have a framework for answering the question how brains are conscious? To not even have a working definition of consciousness? How does materialism survive such a failure? And if materialism isn't the case then it's either dualism or idealism. I find idealism more parsimonious, but for most of my life I was a dualist, so I get the appeal of it.
  • Heiko
    325
    What makes materialism appealing is that it manages to incorporate a basic sense of reality. Most of philosophy failed to do so for a few thousand years up to now. Not because it really was doubted in general but because it's starting point makes it inherently impossible. Yet even philosophers do not doubt the existence of the train coming towards them seriously enough to not step aside. What does this tell? What is the doubt worth objectively if that is the case?

    A big point for the "cruel marxist verdict" of the unity of theory and practice.
  • Banno
    9.5k

    The most direct refutation remains Stove's Gem.

    Incidentally, an excellent piece of analytic philosophy, from a pair of authors who probably would not consider themselves classically analytic. And as a bonus they take out Social Constructivism along the way, clean up some of the less palatable post-modernist conclusions drawn from Derrida or Lacan, re-instate ethics in the face of sociobiology, and save Kant from the blame.

    It's an article I would make compulsory reading for anyone wanting to post on this forum.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    Incidentally, I'm in the "denies that we are ever in, and hence believes there is no problem about how to get out" camp. Too many folk hereabouts treat their minds as furniture. They need to get out more. It's all Descartes' fault.
  • Pinprick
    419
    When did I do that? I didn't utter the word "objective" once before you did. I honestly don't know where you got "So I take it you don't care about objectivity" from.khaled

    You seemed to me to be claiming that desiring truth is a personal preference, and that therefore seeking truth is biased (as opposed to objective).

    I don't. I care about obtaining ideas that seem true. I can't test if they're true or not (because I don't have a hotline to truth) but I can select the ideas that provide the most accurate models. That is my criteria. That is not everyone's criteria. That's all I said.khaled

    My point, or argument, is that everyone prefers ideas that seem true, rather than ideas that seem false. Therefore it seems strange to me to consider someone who does so biased (i.e. subjective). Therefore, the most reasonable, and objective, thing to do is to have “whether or not it obtains truth” as a criteria for any methodology. Therefore choosing explanatory power as the best method is objective, because if something explains something else logically and rationally it by definition is true (or at least seems that way). So, if the method you select does not provide the most accurate models, then the method you selected is objectively wrong.

    By setting up an actually testable standard. For example: Makes the best predictions, Has the fewest words, Most intuitive, etc etc.khaled

    But you can’t determine which standard is best without objectivity.
  • Pinprick
    419
    When you think of your mind, do you think in terms of physical properties? What color is your mind? What shape is it? What's its volume? What does it smell like? What's it made out of? How heavy is it? These are nonsense questions because your mind isn't a physical thing.RogueAI

    When I think of my mind, I think of my brain. I equate the two, or rather reduce mind to brain.

    How does materialism survive such a failure?RogueAI

    By being able to explain everything else. Consider this example. You’re a judge in a murder trial. The prosecutors are able to explain everything about the case except for motive. They have forensic evidence that shows the suspect was at the scene of the crime, the murder weapon in his possession, etc. It is strange that they are unable to account for any motive whatsoever, but in light of everything they can explain that doesn’t give you a read not to convict the suspect. To make the analogy more symmetrical and fair, let’s say the defense provides an explanation for a motive for somebody else. This other person stood to benefit from the victim’s death, and also strongly disliked the victim, had a history of violence, etc. But in a case with many variables, the most rational thing to do is to agree with whichever theory best explains the most variables.
  • khaled
    1.4k
    My point, or argument, is that everyone prefers ideas that seem true, rather than ideas that seem false. Therefore it seems strange to me to consider someone who does so biased (i.e. subjective).Pinprick

    Since when is objective = what everyone prefers? Then nothing is objective. There is nothing everyone who is, ever was, and ever will be, will agree on.

    Therefore choosing explanatory power as the best method is objective, because if something explains something else logically and rationally it by definition is true (or at least seems that way).Pinprick

    Notice the "At least seems that way". Very important. So at no point can you actually know it is that way right?

    So, if the method you select does not provide the most accurate models, then the method you selected is objectively wrong.Pinprick

    That much is true but not vice versa. If the method you select does provide the most accurate models it MAY not be wrong.

    But you can’t determine which standard is best without objectivity.Pinprick

    Why do you claim the existence of a "Best standard"? If there is such a thing then what is it?

    I can understand the claim that there are objective physical laws in the universe. But what makes you think a bunch of rocks floating in space imply some "Objective standards" with which some evolved ape on one of said rocks must debate?
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