Solipsism

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Solipsism

Postby Moriartis » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:20 pm

I'm an Agnostic Atheist. I recently got into an argument with a Gnostic Atheist because according to him you cannot be an Agnostic Atheist. When I tried to explain why I consider myself to be Agnostic he called me a Solipsist. This was the first time I had heard that phrase, so I googled it. Apparently it's the concept of The Matrix. If all knowledge is based on perceptions, then since perceptions could be wrong, absolute certainty becomes unattainable.

Now, I don't think it's very likely that I'm living in the matrix or anything like it, but it's certainly possible, so to me absolute certainty seems an irrational stance on most things. I've also discovered that people seem to generally hate Solipsists, so I guess what I'm asking is: does my view on absolute certainty being irrational because of the potential for being wrong make me a Solipsist? I wouldn't consider myself to be a Solipsist, because I find it highly unlikely that my perceptions are all somehow a lie, but I also don't like claiming certainty over things I don't feel one should be certain about. The person I was arguing with was generally being a jerk, so I'm not generally concerned about his thoughts, but it did bring up a new question for me. What makes someone a Solipsist? Am I being irrational for not wanting to state absolute certainty? If I shouldn't be considered a Solipsist, then what is a Solipsist?

Thanks for any help you can give me
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Re: Solipsism

Postby dobbie » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:11 am

He says you're a solipsist and not an agnostic atheist?
Is he absolutely certain you're a solipsist or is he slightly agnostic about it? Ha.

But seriously you're in a sematics game with him. An agnostic atheist is supposed to be an atheist who's open to the (small) chance he could be wrong. Or to put in another way, he's open to good evidence that God exists if anybody's has any. The evidence on offer meanwhile hasn't convinced him.
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Re: Solipsism

Postby sepia » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:24 am

Its not realy the concept of the matrix. Because the matrix is controlled by some cunstructors who aren't identical with you.
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Re: Solipsism

Postby DjVortex » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:27 am

Moriartis wrote:I recently got into an argument with a Gnostic Atheist because according to him you cannot be an Agnostic Atheist.


He clearly does not understand the meaning of either "agnostic" nor "atheist".

Both terms are heavily distorted especially by theists, but often even by atheists (there's no third option because theism/atheism is a true dichotomy) because of misinformed reasons. (Maybe they have bought the theist distortion of those terms.)

Theism/atheism describes belief in a deity. Gnosticism/agnosticism describes a philosophical stance on knowledge and certainty. They are separate and independent concepts (they are different categories of thinking; equating them is basically a category error), but in no way mutually exclusive. All four combinations of them are perfectly possible and sensible. The latter can be used as a qualifier for the former.

Saying that all agnostic atheists are solipsists is like saying that all red cars are ferraris. It's a fallacious argument.
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Re: Solipsism

Postby Lausten » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:48 pm

Sounds like someone who learned a new word and wants to use it. But that doesn't really help you. I try to educate people on terms like hypothesis, evidence and theory, as they are defined by science. In this case the idea an axiom might be most helpful. Scientific axioms are things that are self-evident, like we exist. If you want to argue about that, you are leaving the world of science and entering the world of philosophy, or maybe science fiction. Both of those are fun, but they aren't science.

Rather than questioning beliefs or discussing epistemology, maybe try shifting to a discussion of how do we figure things out. If you can agree that we don't know everything, then that is the real question. Logic dictates, and historically it has been proven true, that an evidence based, peer reviewed, test and repeat system leads to rovers on Mars and the cure for Polio. Discussing what could be is fun, but it doesn't put rockets on the moon.
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Re: Solipsism

Postby dobbie » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:07 pm

Moritatis wrote:
he called me a Solipsist


As long as he called you a solipsist, what was his definition of it?
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Re: Solipsism

Postby gauSSian » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:36 am

Lausten wrote:...Scientific axioms are things that are self-evident, like we exist. If you want to argue about that, you are leaving the world of science and entering the world of philosophy, or maybe science fiction. Both of those are fun, but they aren't science. ...


I recently engaged in a debate with someone who tried to use such arguments...I dismissed that as philosophical games, played by those who cannot do real science.

I am a mathematician, and I see philosophers as failed mathematicians, in the tradition of Carl Gauss...

When I pressed for evidence of his sky-daddy, I was met with personal insult, and I informed him that where I'm from this signals the victor has emerged...
Living in their pools, They soon forget about the sea...— Rush, "Natural Science" (1980)

Don't you know though our kids are dumb, we got smart bombs, what a joyous thing!—Oingo Boingo, "War Again" (1993)
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Re: Solipsism

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:35 pm

Lausten wrote:Scientific axioms are things that are self-evident, like we exist. If you want to argue about that, you are leaving the world of science and entering the world of philosophy, or maybe science fiction. Both of those are fun, but they aren't science.


If you care to, help make this clear to me.

Are you saying that science can't demonstrate that "we exist"?
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