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    It's not impossible to believe in solipsism at a gut level. What are these gut instincts which make it so hard for you? Nobody goes through life using as a premise "this person has a mind like me" all the time. We rarely consider it. We just think about behaviour most of the time because there is no need to go further.

    But it certainly isn't impossible at any level. The bus example is dumb as hell and I'm sure you know it.

    The idea of it being impossible to proove true is most likely going to come back and bite you on the ass if you are getting into claiming other minds exist.

    And at no point does coherentism start with the premise that the world is coherent. The very point of coherentism is that it claims there are no axiomatic premises. It isn't arguing for correspondence between my beliefs and the world so it makes no difference whether the world is coherent or not. It's all about my belief structure.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    It's not impossible to believe in solipsism at a gut level. What are these gut instincts which make it so hard for you? Nobody goes through life using as a premise "this person has a mind like me" all the time. We rarely consider it. We just think about behaviour most of the time because there is no need to go further.
    Maybe you do. But other peoples minds are a fundamental part of my worldview and I find it impossible to comprehend how you could deny them without at the very least becoming very depressed.

    (Original post by Calvin)
    And at no point does coherentism start with the premise that the world is coherent. The very point of coherentism is that it claims there are no axiomatic premises. It isn't arguing for correspondence between my beliefs and the world so it makes no difference whether the world is coherent or not. It's all about my belief structure.
    Wouldn't the definition of what it means for a belief system to be coherent be an axiomatic premise?
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    (Original post by wanderer)
    Then I certainly don't consider that it either 'has superficial attraction' or 'seems possible' in the way solipsism does.
    You can't debate theology with any atheists then. I hear it every time they raise the concept of omnipotence - usually in the form of "Can God make a square circle?". Either those people are all particularly stupid, or it must have some superficial attraction.
    is some exotic way of doing it by cutting it up into 50 million pieces though
    No, it cannot be done, even topologically as far as I am aware. You'll either need to dig up a real reference, or give it up, I think. A circle is topologically equivalent to a square, but that's not the same thing as squaring the circle at all.
    meant ignoring the emotional, instinctive side of things that makes it impossible to actually believe in solipsism. The point about it being a thought experiment and incapable of verification applies equally to realism, and as for pragmatic value, you might as well discard philosophy altogether on those grounds.
    Not at all. Philosophy does have pragmatic value, to me at least. It allows me to look at how I and others think and to clearly identify the points at which I move from fact to faith. I don't think that solipsism has any credibility or any pragmatic value, although, thinking about it, I have used solipsism as a refutation of total certainty in my thesis, so it does have some esoteric value, I suppose.

    The issue with solipsism is that requires an infinitely capable brain to sustain. While I feel my brain is rather good, it certainly isn't infinite. It also requires me to believe that I am God, doesn't it? So it seems rather odd that I'd see God as someone other than myself. I'm effectively deceiving myself, for reasons which I have blocked myself from understanding.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    The idea of it being impossible to proove true is most likely going to come back and bite you on the ass if you are getting into claiming other minds exist.
    Why would I do that? I could start by asking you to prove that other minds do not exist, since it is obvious that they do, unless you're going to argue that you do not have a mind, because I certainly do. From Descartes onwards, the "other minds" problem is simply a manifestation of the problem that we cannot stand outside existence in order to observe it. Since Kant we also know that even reason will fail.
    The very point of coherentism is that it claims there are no axiomatic premises.
    <deep sigh> That's an axiomatic premise, if ever I heard one. By what authority does coherentism assert that there are no axioms?
    Or are you arguing that coherentism starts by trying to avoid any axioms? That's a less dramatic claim, but it's still false. All systems must have axioms, whether they're obvious to the proponents or not.

    The point I'm making, perhaps not very well, is that coherentism assumes that:

    a) Reality exists
    b) It is possible to establish correspondence between reality and my beliefs
    c) That there is some value in accurate correspondence

    If the universe (or reality) is not coherent, then it is patently wrong to value coherence, since it is simply an illusion. You would be giving positive value to error.
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    No, it cannot be done, even topologically as far as I am aware. You'll either need to dig up a real reference, or give it up, I think. A circle is topologically equivalent to a square, but that's not the same thing as squaring the circle at all.
    Fine. It was proved that you can square the circle by finite dissection by Miklos Laczkovich in 1988. It requires 10^50 pieces rather than 50 million, so I slipped up in remembering it. Same goes for any shape whose boundary is composed of smoothly curving pieces, e.g an ellipse or crecent.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Not at all. Philosophy does have pragmatic value, to me at least. It allows me to look at how I and others think and to clearly identify the points at which I move from fact to faith. I don't think that solipsism has any credibility or any pragmatic value, although, thinking about it, I have used solipsism as a refutation of total certainty in my thesis, so it does have some esoteric value, I suppose.

    The issue with solipsism is that requires an infinitely capable brain to sustain. While I feel my brain is rather good, it certainly isn't infinite. It also requires me to believe that I am God, doesn't it? So it seems rather odd that I'd see God as someone other than myself. I'm effectively deceiving myself, for reasons which I have blocked myself from understanding.
    And the point that solipsism illustrates is that the moment you lay claim to knowledge at all, you are moving from fact to faith. I consider it to have pragmatic value in preventing me from ever believeing too much in my own beliefs, if you see what I mean. I don't see why it lacks credibility. As for an infinitely capable brain - 1) Who said solipsism posits an infinitely capable brain? 2) - Claiming knowledge about your brain is assuming that solipsism is false anyway, so thats circular reasoning. And it doesn't require you to believe that you are God either.

    EDIT - "Miklos Laczkovich: "Equidecomposability and discrepancy: a solution to Tarski's circle squaring problem", Crelle's Journal of Reine and Angewandte Mathematik 404 (1990) pp. 77-117"

    Theres an article about it in Wikipedia anyway!
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Why would I do that? I could start by asking you to prove that other minds do not exist, since it is obvious that they do, unless you're going to argue that you do not have a mind, because I certainly do.
    It's not at all obvious other minds exist. I'm slightly worried you want to use 'obviousness' as a proof anyway. I have a mind why need all the other bodies I see be anything like me? Because they look like me? But I'm not my body, I'm my mind, and I sure as hell haven't seen any minds like me.


    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    From Descartes onwards, the "other minds" problem is simply a manifestation of the problem that we cannot stand outside existence in order to observe it. Since Kant we also know that even reason will fail.
    And thus you've solved the problem how? :confused:

    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    <deep sigh> That's an axiomatic premise, if ever I heard one. By what authority does coherentism assert that there are no axioms?
    Or are you arguing that coherentism starts by trying to avoid any axioms? That's a less dramatic claim, but it's still false. All systems must have axioms, whether they're obvious to the proponents or not.
    It's not an axiomatic premise. It's a claim. An axiomatic premise is something you declare as fundamental to your system. Coherentism argues that nothing is fundamental to the system and can be removed at any point should other beliefs become preferable. Including the sentence I've just given. And the sentence I've just given. And the statement I've just... etc


    (Original post by GrumballCake)
    The point I'm making, perhaps not very well, is that coherentism assumes that:

    a) Reality exists
    b) It is possible to establish correspondence between reality and my beliefs
    c) That there is some value in accurate correspondence

    If the universe (or reality) is not coherent, then it is patently wrong to value coherence, since it is simply an illusion. You would be giving positive value to error.
    I'll say it again more clearly: Coherentism is not a correspondence theory. It doesn't assume a reality. It doesn't assume correspondence. All three of your points are false. Coherentism assumes none of them. Coherentism argues for coherence amongst your belief system. Not amongst reality.
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    (Original post by wanderer)
    Fine. It was proved that you can square the circle by finite dissection by Miklos Laczkovich in 1988.
    Thanks for the reference, I wasn't aware of that approach. I remain deeply unconvinced because a circle has an infinite number of points (as does a square) so it cannot be possible to capture an infinite number of points with a finite dissection. I agree that there is a finite minimum to any physical circle because it will reduce to individual molecules.
    As for an infinitely capable brain - 1) Who said solipsism posits an infinitely capable brain?
    I think it's implied. Let's take transcendental numbers, for example. We can calculate pi to many millions of decimal places. If pi is purely an invention of my brain, then my mind must be capable of realising pi and doing so consistently whenever it is published in the literature. I can go to two different sources and get a prinout of pi and compare the two. Now, I could be imagining both sources and the process of comparison, but I then seem to be spending a lot of my time deceiving myself about the true nature of reality. My mind also has to imagine radioactive decay and its use in nuclear clocks. It also has to be able to imagine the required effects of a few million years of evolution, both on earth and in the formation of the universe. It has to be able to imagine the universal constants and keep them constant so that every piece of literature on the subject (and their derivatives) all agree. That's no mean feat for someone who can't remeber where his car keys are.
    2) - Claiming knowledge about your brain is assuming that solipsism is false anyway,
    Why do you say that? Solipsism simply assumes that everything is from my brain. There's no contradiction with my perceptions within that system.
    it doesn't require you to believe that you are God either.
    Au contraire. If I 'made' the universe and everything in it, then I'm God.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    It's not at all obvious other minds exist. I'm slightly worried you want to use 'obviousness' as a proof anyway. I have a mind why need all the other bodies I see be anything like me? Because they look like me? But I'm not my body, I'm my mind, and I sure as hell haven't seen any minds like me.
    So, if I cut the head off your body, what happens to your mind? How about if I fill your body with two bottles of scotch? Is your mind still functioning in the same way? It's overly simplistic to assume that a mind exists without a body - there's far too much evidence to allow such dualism.
    Coherentism argues for coherence amongst your belief system. Not amongst reality.
    I'm clearly not explaining this well enough. Let's try another approach. What makes a belief system coherent?
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    So, if I cut the head off your body, what happens to your mind? How about if I fill your body with two bottles of scotch? Is your mind still functioning in the same way? It's overly simplistic to assume that a mind exists without a body - there's far too much evidence to allow such dualism.
    No my mind appears to function differently. But I'm not arguing for dualism. I'm an idealist. I'd argue your cutting off my head or filling me with scotch is a mental event. So this isn't psychophisical parallelism, with that I could see your point. But I'm not arguing for that.


    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    I'm clearly not explaining this well enough. Let's try another approach. What makes a belief system coherent?
    For me? Something like: logical consistency both of statements of belief and their logical consequences.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    I'm an idealist. I'd argue your cutting off my head or filling me with scotch is a mental event.
    So, does the world cease to exist while you sleep? Did it exist before you were born? What is the relationship between the thinking mind you display and the 'overmind' which is managing the rest of the uiverse?

    You simply aren't addressing the central problem. It's quite clear that I know things which you don't (like the name of my dog, for example). So you have to model that my knowledge is actually known by you subconsciously and that when I tell you something, you're claiming that it's some sort of Platonic recollection of what you already really knew. If so, why do you keep yourself in this hobbled state?
    For me? Something like: logical consistency both of statements of belief and their logical consequences.
    Doesn't that mean that you're relying on the axioms of logic? It really feels like I'm nailing jelly to a wall here.
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Doesn't that mean that you're relying on the axioms of logic? It really feels like I'm nailing jelly to a wall here.
    Within the model, yes. It does, however, rely on solid foundations. If the foundations are incorrect, then the belief system is likely to be flawed. Consistancy is something that will allow you to explain things in a way that is internally sound and logical.
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    I think it's implied. Let's take transcendental numbers, for example. We can calculate pi to many millions of decimal places. If pi is purely an invention of my brain, then my mind must be capable of realising pi and doing so consistently whenever it is published in the literature. I can go to two different sources and get a prinout of pi and compare the two. Now, I could be imagining both sources and the process of comparison, but I then seem to be spending a lot of my time deceiving myself about the true nature of reality. My mind also has to imagine radioactive decay and its use in nuclear clocks. It also has to be able to imagine the required effects of a few million years of evolution, both on earth and in the formation of the universe. It has to be able to imagine the universal constants and keep them constant so that every piece of literature on the subject (and their derivatives) all agree. That's no mean feat for someone who can't remeber where his car keys are.
    You're still referring to your mind as if it was something within the world, whereas from a solipsist point of view it is the world. Whether you can remember where your car keys are is irrelevant. The clearest point in your argument is that the universe appearing as it does, given solipsism, seems arbitrary. I would argue that the universe seems pretty arbitrary anyway.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Why do you say that? Solipsism simply assumes that everything is from my brain. There's no contradiction with my perceptions within that system.
    Au contraire. If I 'made' the universe and everything in it, then I'm God.
    Solipsism does not assume that everything is from your brain. It argues that we cannot lay claim to knowledge of an external world - this includes knowledge of brains. It also doesn't claim that you 'made' the world - you seem to be assuming a verion of solipsism in which you as some kind of powerful being deliberately create a complex fantasy world and lock your mind in it. This is vaguely plausible but arbitrary, and certainly not a major form of solipsism.
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    (Original post by Wise One)
    Within the model, yes. It does, however, rely on solid foundations. If the foundations are incorrect, then the belief system is likely to be flawed. Consistancy is something that will allow you to explain things in a way that is internally sound and logical.
    Welcome, Wise One. *giggle*

    P.S

    Like the Alpha Centauri quote in the sig, btw ...
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    (Original post by Wise One)
    It does, however, rely on solid foundations.
    How do you know that the foundations are solid? How does using a tautologous system give you any sort of foundation for use outside that tautology? At best you can only show that the tautology obeys its own rules, but so what?

    Maths is the classic example of this. It's incredibly useful for all sorts of things, like predicting the orbit of planets, for example. However, for it to be useful in reality, we would need to know that reality is ordered in such a way that maths will apply to it. I believe that the universe is ordered in such a way, but then I also believe in an entity which created that order.
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    (Original post by wanderer)
    Solipsism does not assume that everything is from your brain.
    Every writing I've seen on solisipsm says that it does. Try http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/solipsis.htm for example.

    Solipsism is therefore more properly regarded as the doctrine that, in principle, 'existence' means for me my existence and that of my mental states. In other words, everything which I experience - physical objects, other people, events and processes, in short, anything which would commonly be regarded as a constituent of the spatio-temporal matrix in which I coexist with others - is necessarily construed by me as part of the content of my consciousness

    Perhaps you could provide some counter-examples.
    It argues that we cannot lay claim to knowledge of an external world
    No, I think you might be confusing it with a version of idealism.
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    So, does the world cease to exist while you sleep? Did it exist before you were born? What is the relationship between the thinking mind you display and the 'overmind' which is managing the rest of the uiverse?

    You simply aren't addressing the central problem. It's quite clear that I know things which you don't (like the name of my dog, for example). So you have to model that my knowledge is actually known by you subconsciously and that when I tell you something, you're claiming that it's some sort of Platonic recollection of what you already really knew. If so, why do you keep yourself in this hobbled state?
    It's make it up as I go along.


    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    Doesn't that mean that you're relying on the axioms of logic?
    It means you accept the axioms of logic as fitting in with your belief system. It needn't mean you accept the axioms of logic as axioms. Even logic can be cast away if need be. Wiseone makes a good point here too.

    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    It really feels like I'm nailing jelly to a wall here.
    I'm sorry my responses aren't what you want them to be.
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    hi there, I'm new ... i am currently reading through Heidegger's Being and Time and have a particular interest in the relationship between epistemology and methods of interpretation (particular relating to religious texts - like the bible)

    it would be cool to join this society... but i'm more eager to share and banter around some ideas

    cheers

    Ari
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    It means you accept the axioms of logic as fitting in with your belief system. It needn't mean you accept the axioms of logic as axioms.
    Which rather begs the question - is the existence of a belief system axiomatic?

    To me, it looks like a language game. Coherentism tries to have the cake of pragmatism, without admitting that it's stolen. It does have axioms which it cannot actually do without, while maintaining that it could. Much like a smoker saying that he could give it up, but chooses not to.

    Let's run through a few known problems with coherentism:

    1. S believes p
    2. So, p must be in S's system of beliefs
    3. Thus, p must follow from S's system of beliefs
    4. So, S is justified in believing p.

    Circular? I think so, but it's all part of the problems of coherentism. However, let's push it even further:

    Either S's system of beliefs is coherent, or it is not coherent.
    If it's coherent, then for all p, S is justified in believing p.
    If it's not coherent, then for all p, S is not justified in believing p.

    The result? All or nothing justification. Is that absurd? Yes, it is.

    Should we go on to the problems of mutually exclusive but internally coherent belief systems, or can we lay coherentism to rest? I can see how we won't end up with a variant of post-modernism which is of little use to any of us.
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Which rather begs the question - is the existence of a belief system axiomatic?

    To me, it looks like a language game. Coherentism tries to have the cake of pragmatism, without admitting that it's stolen. It does have axioms which it cannot actually do without, while maintaining that it could. Much like a smoker saying that he could give it up, but chooses not to.

    Let's run through a few known problems with coherentism:

    1. S believes p
    2. So, p must be in S's system of beliefs
    3. Thus, p must follow from S's system of beliefs
    4. So, S is justified in believing p.

    Circular? I think so, but it's all part of the problems of coherentism. However, let's push it even further:

    Either S's system of beliefs is coherent, or it is not coherent.
    If it's coherent, then for all p, S is justified in believing p.
    If it's not coherent, then for all p, S is not justified in believing p.

    The result? All or nothing justification. Is that absurd? Yes, it is.

    Should we go on to the problems of mutually exclusive but internally coherent belief systems, or can we lay coherentism to rest? I can see how we won't end up with a variant of post-modernism which is of little use to any of us.
    You can make any belief coherent according to the preunderstood logic systems that have been adopted that substantiate that belief system. Most people however do not look into the way that they conceptualize the world, everything in the world is covered in mundaneness and averageness so things never get questioned or investigated. Such the way things were and are with inauthenticity.

    Certainly this is the current question of my personal inquiry, particularly with regards to my faith and the way i 'envisage' the world. Perhaps I am undergoing a 'turn'. however my experience, especially with religion, is that questioning is associated with doubt, and therefore unbelief and therefore implies a subclass of religious expression. Whilst I would disagree that any person has deliberately set up such systems as a means of contorting, deceiving or manipulating, the way it works in the end is exactly that - and for the most part people are ignorant, especially the leaders.

    Whilst, at this stage, I see no reason to part with the fundamentals of my beliefs, I do believe much of it has to be nuanced, all of it questioned, and more than likely (if not certainly) I will change some views on certain things... particular pertaining to human ethics.

    anyway thats my rant for the moment

    Ari
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    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Every writing I've seen on solisipsm says that it does. Try http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/solipsis.htm for example.

    Solipsism is therefore more properly regarded as the doctrine that, in principle, 'existence' means for me my existence and that of my mental states. In other words, everything which I experience - physical objects, other people, events and processes, in short, anything which would commonly be regarded as a constituent of the spatio-temporal matrix in which I coexist with others - is necessarily construed by me as part of the content of my consciousness

    Perhaps you could provide some counter-examples.
    My point was that its not about brains, as in lumps of grey matter - it can't be. Its about consciousness.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    No, I think you might be confusing it with a version of idealism.
    From the definition you offer - the doctrine that, in principle, 'existence' means for me my existence and that of my mental states. This obviously relates closely to idealism. I would say that the fact that solipsism is plausible is a strength of idealism.
 
 
 
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