• Michael
    7.4k
    So you don't have an argument to support your claim that there is an external world. You're just convinced that there is one?
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    I just outlined two of them.
  • Janus
    5.9k
    Sigh all you like...but, if you're going to quote what I wrote at least quote the whole of the passage.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    Here's what I want to discuss...

    If it is the case that all thought and belief are existentially dependent upon a plurality, and a plurality negates solipsism, then solipsism is negated by the way things are... which is the way it should be.

    If it is the case that solipsism is a philosophical position, and all philosophical positions are existentially dependent upon thought and belief, and all thought and belief is existentially dependent upon an external world, then it is the case that solipsism is existentially dependent upon an external world.

    Which of the two outlined arguments above would you like to discuss?
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    These are outlines of deductive arguments, no?
  • Michael
    7.4k
    ... it is the case that all thought and belief are existentially dependent upon a plurality...creativesoul

    I asked you to defend this claim and your response was just that you're convinced by what you know. That's not an argument.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    No. You asked for a deductive argument for an external world. I offered two separate outlines.

    The claim you're now questioning is part of an argument you asked for. This kind of questioning could go on without stop, because that kind of skepticism can be insincere. I hope that you're 'arguing' in good faith here. To answer that last question...

    All thought and belief is meaningful. All meaning is attributed. All attribution of meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant, and a creature capable of drawing correlations, connections, and/or associations between the two. That is a plurality of things.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    All thought and belief is meaningful. All meaning is attributed. All attribution of meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant, and a creature capable of drawing correlations, connections, and/or associations between the two. That is a plurality of things.creativesoul

    If this is all you mean by "plurality" then it doesn't "negate" solipsism. The different kinds of experiences that the lone individual has is the plurality of things from which the thinking part draws its correlations, connections, and associations.

    Nothing in your argument yet shows that my thoughts and beliefs depend on the existence of other individuals, or the existence of anything like a material world that is independent of sense data.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    I'm not following you. I'm offering an outline of a deductive argument. I'm looking to discuss the merits of that argument(outline first actually). Either one will do. Both would be better,

    Are you willing to discuss those outlines?
  • Michael
    7.4k
    I'm not following you. I'm offering an outline of a deductive argument. I'm looking to discuss the merits of that argument(outline first actually). Either one will do. Both would be better,

    Are you willing to discuss those outlines?
    creativesoul

    I am discussing those outlines by questioning its antecedent. Imagine if I were to offer this argument:

    If my existence depends on solipsism being the case then if I exist then solipsism is the case.

    It's a simple deductive argument. If we are to discuss it then what will we discuss? Most likely the truth of the antecedent. Does my existence depend on solipsism being the case?

    And with your argument we should discuss the truth of the antecedent that thought/belief depends on a plurality (of things which solipsism denies).
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    Ok. So, what would it take for the antecedent to be true? If it is true, then solipsism is false.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    Ok. So, what would it take for the antecedent to be true?creativesoul

    It's not my job to defend your argument.
  • macrosoft
    511


    I think the 'object in itself' is associated with something like inter-subjectivity. It's more like a distinction between the object for us and the object for me.

    As far as not being able to compare our cognition with the object to the object itself, this is mostly a matter of language. By 'cognition of the object,' we seem to mean the object as we have access to it. What would be left over is then precisely that part of the object that we cannot access.

    We we can do is observe how others talk and act in the context of objects we think are there. If their speech and action is appropriate (fits the object being there), then we are confirmed in our perception. For the most part this is so automatic that it never crosses the threshold of consciousness.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Well, yes of course, there is obviously always the experience of others. I think this is really Heidegger's point: he saw "being-in-the-world' as the most primordial aspect of Dasein. But the point remains that no proof, in any deductive sense, can be given for the existence of the world or of otherJanus

    I'm inclined to agree that no proof can be given. I suppose that would depend on a conception of logic and a set of axioms. In any case, such a proof would take place in an artificial game.

    As far as being-in-the-world-with-others-caring-about-projects, I agree. I think our metalanguage is a groundless ground (Lee Braver.) I don't think that this last assertion is proven in an artificial game. Instead ones just gets better at looking at the flow of experience, around an artificial game whose artificiality is easily concealed and/or taken for the obvious way to do philosophy.
  • Janus
    5.9k
    I think the distinction between our experience, phenomenologically considered, and "artificial games" is a valid one, although questioning the validity of that distinction is part of the critique mounted by some of the detractors of the phenomenological approach; for example semiotic and "process and information" thinkers of various stripes.
  • macrosoft
    511
    acrosoft I think the distinction between our experience, phenomenologically considered, and "artificial games" is a valid one, although questioning the validity of that distinction is part of the critique mounted by some of the detractors of the phenomenological approach; for example semiotic and "process and information" thinkers of various stripes.Janus

    I haven't looked deeply into critiques of the phenomenological approach. I'm sure arguments can be made against the phen. approach, but I suspect that I would find them artificial in the way they understood and employed the metalanguage (the one we're using right now.)

    think we have some common ground on this, given that you seem to know what I mean by 'artificial games.' What I have in mind for 'artificial games' is a kind of philosophy/thinking that starts from an unconsidered and unrealistic sense of how language works. This kind of philosophy is a fly trapped in a bottle because it will only be talked out of the bottle in terms of that bottle. It wants a proof that it's inside the bottle (a move in the bottled game) rather than a fresh seeing of its most basic and therefore ignored situation.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    I'm not asking you to defend my argument Michael. To quite the contrary, I'm just asking if you agree that... if the premisses of the argument are true, then solipsism is not. I already know the answer to that question(what it would take for the antecedent to be true), and I suspect that you do as well.

    We can look at any and all examples of thought and belief. We can see that they are meaningful. We can know what that(being meaningful) takes by looking at the common denominators of all thought and belief and eliminating everything irrelevant to that. It takes precisely what I've put forth in the OP...
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I think the 'object in itself' is associated with something like inter-subjectivity. It's more like a distinction between the object for us and the object for me.macrosoft

    I object to Kant's notion of Noumena.

    In order to know that all of our thought and belief about the world and/or ourselves is incomplete in some way, there must be a comparative analysis performed between our thought and belief and the world and/or ourselves. To compare between the two requires having complete access/knowledge to/of both. If we have access and knowledge to and of both, then Kant is wrong. If we do not, then Kant is unjustified.

    I suspect that Kant knew this as well. Hence, he took pains to point out that the only sensible, reasonable, and judicious use of the notion was as a negative limit to our thought. On my view, it offers nothing more than an unknown 'realm'(that which exists in it's entirety completely unbeknownst to us).

    As far as not being able to compare our cognition with the object to the object itself, this is mostly a matter of language. By 'cognition of the object,' we seem to mean the object as we have access to it. What would be left over is then precisely that part of the object that we cannot access.macrosoft

    Ok. This notion of 'cognition of the object' conflates the object and our access. The phrase "the object as we have access to it" is loaded chock full of dubious presuppositions. You've duly noted an obvious one(indirect or mediated perception).

    Replace 'cognition of the object' with thought/belief formation(drawing mental correlations between the object and something else) by virtue of using physiological sensory perception, and we will be using a notion that is fully capable of accounting for meaningful cognition(thought and belief). This notion welcomes evolutionary process, can foster understanding of non linguistic thought and belief, provide a framework that not only avoids anthropomorphism but offers a standard by which to identify it, employs the fewest number of unprovable premisses, posits the fewest entities, and it also offers the capability of exhausting everything ever thought, believed, written and/or otherwise uttered. It was designed that way and continues to strive towards that standard. It situates both the presupposition of correspondence with the world and the attribution of meaning precisely where they belong by virtue of effectively taking account of how they originate/emerge within thought/belief formation. The justificatory ground for my notion of thought/belief couldn't be any stronger. The criterion has no examples to the contrary.

    That's very useful, but the pragmatists don't seem to like it much. Odd that.

    [What] we can do is observe how others talk and act in the context of objects we think are there. If their speech and action is appropriate (fits the object being there), then we are confirmed in our perception. For the most part this is so automatic that it never crosses the threshold of consciousness.macrosoft

    Well...

    This notion of 'being confirmed in our perception' relies heavily upon that counts as perception. I strongly disagree with most philosophical use of the notion. On my view, perception is autonomous, but perception is not informed by the language of the perceiving creature(assuming it has language).

    Seems to me that you're packing thought, belief and perhaps even a worldview into it.

    When speech and actions are appropriate, they've been regulated. In order for us to autonomously confirm something by others' actions and speech being appropriate, then all we've confirmed is our notion of what's appropriate. That's moral thought/belief.

    What you've described above looks a lot like an example of language acquisition.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    I'm just asking if you agree that... if the premisses of the argument are true, then solipsism is not.creativesoul

    No, because as I said here, a "plurality of things" does not entail a "plurality of external things". The different kinds of experiences that a solipsistic mind has can be the plurality of things from which the thinking part draws its correlations, connections, and associations.

    We can look at any and all examples of thought and belief. We can see that they are meaningful. We can know what that(being meaningful) takes by looking at the common denominators of all thought and belief and eliminating everything irrelevant to that.creativesoul

    And where in any of this is it shown that meaning requires an external world?

    It takes precisely what I've put forth in the OP...creativesoul

    We've already gone over the fallacy of the OP: the 4th premise begs the question.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Ok. This notion of 'cognition of the object' conflates the object and our access. The phrase "the object as we have access to it" is loaded chock full of dubious presuppositions. You've duly noted an obvious one(indirect or mediated perception).creativesoul

    I agree that we can find lots of dubious presuppositions therein, but for me this is a problem with all discussions of this issue. We understand well enough what we mean in our everyday interactions. But then we want to hold some meaning in an exact position to build an argument with it. If the argument succeeds, then we've really only shown something about our artificial use of the word. The results depend on and apply only to some idiosyncratic semi-fixing of the meanings involved.
  • macrosoft
    511
    What you've described above looks a lot like an example of language acquisition.creativesoul

    I think it goes that deep. What could someone mean by 'it is not the case that there is an external world.'? To whom are they talking? To deny the external world they need something like an external world. As I see it, there is a kind of embeddedness in a community that makes conversation possible in the first place. We are we before we are me. The me emerges from the we. Only after the concept of something like the ego has emerged can we go back and try to make it a foundation. In short, we have to have all kinds of semi-conscious beliefs/practices in common before we are even intelligible to one another. It seems like a hopeless task to try to go back and justify all of this shared understanding rigorously. Of course it's good to clarify here and there (wisely picking our battles.)
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    If Socrates is a man and all men are mortal then Socrates is mortal.

    Does this argument beg the question?
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I agree that we can find lots of dubious presuppositions therein, but for me this is a problem with all discussions of this issue. We understand well enough what we mean in our everyday interactions. But then we want to hold some meaning in an exact position to build an argument with it. If the argument succeeds, then we've really only shown something about our artificial use of the word. The results depend on and apply only to some idiosyncratic semi-fixing of the meanings involved.macrosoft

    I think I understand and agree with the gist here.

    It seems you're skirting around consistency/coherency in language use... or perhaps in the bigger picture - the rules of language games and their affect/effect in general. I agree that that approach is very useful and can be quite helpful in showing that a problem is nothing more than a consequence of language use. Bewitchment. It may be the best approach for reasonably and rightfully denouncing solipsistic thought/arguments.

    However, Witt never seemed to properly account for that which exists in it's entirety prior to our account of it. Philosophy proper hasn't either so. Witt wrote, on more than one occasion, that much of his project involved whether or not there was such a thing as a priori knowledge and if so how we could attain/obtain it(how could we know). That starts off on the wrong foot to begin with, so to speak, by adopting an inherently inadequate framework.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I think it goes that deep. What could someone mean by 'it is not the case that there is an external world.'? To whom are they talking? To deny the external world they need something like an external world. As I see it, there is a kind of embeddedness in a community that makes conversation possible in the first place. We are we before we are me. The me emerges from the we. Only after the concept of something like the ego has emerged can we go back and try to make it a foundation. In short, we have to have all kinds of semi-conscious beliefs/practices in common before we are even intelligible to one another. It seems like a hopeless task to try to go back and justify all of this shared understanding rigorously. Of course it's good to clarify here and there (wisely picking our battles.)macrosoft

    Very well put.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I'm just asking if you agree that... if the premisses of the argument are true, then solipsism is not.
    — creativesoul

    No, because as I said here, a "plurality of things" does not entail a "plurality of external things". The different kinds of experiences that a solipsistic mind has can be the plurality of things from which the thinking part draws its correlations, connections, and associations.
    Michael

    "A plurality of things" entails whatever I say it does. A plurality is more than one. A thing is anything and everything. A plurality of things is more than one thing. One mind is not a plurality of things. Period.

    Besides all that...

    The notion of entailment is riddled with problems. It's bullshit anyway. A can entail B despite the fact that A and B have different truth conditions. Entailment does not constitute warrant for moving from A to B. Period. That's one of Gettier's footholds.

    It's simple and easy to forget, but...

    Logic is the rules of correct inference. Logic presupposes truth as correspondence by virtue of presupposing the truth of the premisses. The sole aim of logic is to preserve truth.

    So...

    If one can follow a so-called logical rule such as 'logical' entailment and fail to preserve truth as a result, then entailment is not rightfully called "a rule of correct inference".
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    I'm thinking about branching off of this topic and beginning a new one that focuses upon what all is involved with language acquisition. Care to join me?
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    Only after the concept of something like the ego has emerged can we go back and try to make it a foundation.macrosoft

    This seems the wrong way around.

    If something exists in it's entirety prior to our conception thereof, then we do not make it a foundation. We discover the foundation that is already there.

    I don't know enough about Freud to know whether the ego can exist - as it is conceived - prior to our account of it.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    One mind is not a plurality of things. Period.creativesoul

    This is like saying that one universe is not a plurality of things.

    The mind isn't just some single, indivisible thing. My thoughts are distinct from the pain in my throat, from the ringing in my ears, from the microwave sense-data presented to me in the top-right of my vision.

    I'm quite capable of deriving meaning from all of this without there being some external world that is causally responsible for my experiences.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I'm quite capable of deriving meaning from all of this without there being some external world that is causally responsible for my experiences.Michael

    I would like one example of the attribution of meaning that does not consist of something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations, associations, and/or otherwise 'connecting' the two.

    Just one will do.
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