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https://www.verywellmind.com/does-everyone-have-an-inner-monologue-6831748

All arguments in favor of the existence of other minds claim that other people have minds similar to my mind.

  1. My mind is responsible for my behavior.

  2. Other people have behavior similar to mine.

  3. The best explanation for other people's behavior is that they have minds similar to mine.

If I have an internal monologue and other people do not have an internal monologue, then it turns out that my mind is not similar to the minds of other people. And so, in my case, my subjective experience, which includes an internal monologue, is responsible for my behavior, and in the case of other people, a completely different subjective experience that may not contain flashbacks and memories, for example, may be responsible for their behavior.

It turns out that I, by analogy with myself, will believe that other people have thoughts and memories, but in fact they may not have thoughts and memories.

Maybe I misunderstood something?

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  • 1
    What do you plan to measure to have determined that "it turns out" anything?
    – g s
    Jun 25, 2023 at 21:44
  • 2
    I have an internal monologue in the sense that I am able to imagine words, but it doesn't drive most of my thinking. Most of my thinking is nonverbal and must be translated into words. Evidence for this being the case is that often I find that I have a perfectly clear idea in mind that is hard to find the words for. I find it much harder to understand how people with aphantasia think. To me, to be able to picture a sentence is the same as to understand the sentence. If you can't picture the meaning, do you truly understand? I suspect their brains may still be forming pictures unconsciously.
    – causative
    Jun 25, 2023 at 22:10
  • Differences such as these, and, more pointedly, pathologies such as Cotard's and Capgras delusions, should cause us to be cautious of the premise that introspection is a reliable source of information about minds (even ours, let alone anyone else's), but taking this as reason to doubt that other people have thoughts would be to deduce more than the data can support... You also mention memories, but there objective tests for other people having memories.
    – A Raybould
    Jun 25, 2023 at 23:09
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    I think that the presence or absence of an internal monologue does not affect the analogy between my mental states and the mental states of other people. All people have thoughts and memories, and this is equally reflected in behavior, regardless of whether someone has an inner monologue or not. So it's really a matter of perception of our mental states. Someone thinks verbally, someone thinks with fantasies and imagination, someone thinks more with associations with the corresponding emotions and sensations.
    – Arti
    Jun 26, 2023 at 5:06
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    So this is just a topic of qualia that does not affect the solution of the problem of other minds. We can justify the belief that other people have minds only by observing their behavior and interacting with them.
    – Arti
    Jun 26, 2023 at 5:06

1 Answer 1

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You said:

If I have an internal monologue and other people do not have an internal monologue, then it turns out that my mind is not similar to the minds of other people.

So, this is a false dichotomy. Minds, like anything of any complexity in life are generally similar along a spectrum, and are not so easily cast into two categories. A mind does many things. It sees, it remembers, it ruminates on how others think, and it has the ability to visualize, for starters. But there are exceptions to each of these. There is blindness, amnesia, mind-blindness, and aphantasia, resp. In fact, minds are so diverse in so many ways, that it might help to think of mind-normality in a statistical fashion; in fact, there's a term for the vast diversity of minds: neurodiversity.

Thus, similar minds is a question of degree, and if a neural atypical person has no internal monologue, it would be weak to claim that their mind is not similar to yours. Your argument does not meaningfully undermine the claim there are other minds, a position known as solipsism.

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  • How can you justify the belief that other people have thoughts or memories, if despite the fact that we all have similar behavior, everyone's experience is different? I know that my thoughts are responsible for some of my behavior, but people without an internal monologue have a completely different experience, therefore, despite the similarity of behavior, they may have other mental states that may not be thoughts.
    – Arti
    Jun 26, 2023 at 17:42
  • @Arti I'm going to save you a lot of hassle. Introspection is neither the only form of evidence of other minds nor is it necessarily reliable. How do you know you don't suffer from dissociative identity disorder? If you can convince yourself you don't have more than one mind in your body, then convincing yourself that other people have a mind is essentially the same exercise. How would you go about proving to yourself you don't have other personalities?
    – J D
    Jun 26, 2023 at 17:48
  • Here the question is whether it is rational to attribute my thought processes to people without an internal monologue, if my thought processes and the thought processes of people without an internal monologue are different mental states.
    – Arti
    Jun 26, 2023 at 18:06
  • "people without an internal monologue have a completely different experience" How do you know this to be true if you don't have access to their experience, but only reports of their experience? At best by inference, and at worst, you have no knowledge at all, but poor reasoning instead. "rational to attribute my thought processes to people without an internal monologue". Why not? Are color-blind people that different from us? Are autistic people that different than us? Are low-IQ people that different from us? They have similar anatomy and physiology, behave similarly (compared to dogs, ie)...
    – J D
    Jun 26, 2023 at 20:56
  • How are you so sure mental causation (SEP) isn't an illusion? Even if you follow a routine day after day, are you claiming that your mental state one day is exactly your mental state another day if the majority of what your brain does isn't accessible by introspection? Most mental states are not thoughts if one is to believe cognitive science. Introspection produces fallible conclusions. How are you so certain that introspection identical to yours is the necessary condition of having a mind?
    – J D
    Jun 26, 2023 at 21:00

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