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How does Occam's Razor result affect what we should believe?

If Occam's Razor says that solipsism wins in quantitative simplicity, and the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity, then what are we supposed to believe?

Why is priority given to: quantitative simplicity or explanatory simplicity?

If solipsism wins in ontological simplicity, is this a reason to believe in solipsism?

Or does the fact that the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity neutralize the ontological simplicity of solipsism?

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    We do not "decide" using O's razor about the existence of other people or about external reality. We live it every day, when we are queing at the bus stop. Commented Apr 6 at 18:01
  • If Occam's razor says that solipsism wins in quantitative simplicity, is this a good reason to believe in solipsism? If Occam's razor says that the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity, is this a good reason to believe in the existence of other minds? How do the results of Occam's Razor affect our beliefs? Why is quantitative simplicity or explanatory simplicity a higher priority?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 18:19
  • We dont only want parsimonious description. See Describe ←→ Narrate ←→ Predict ←→ Control
    – Rushi
    Commented Apr 6 at 18:33
  • The ultimate form of Occam's razor is minimum description length: given some data, the shortest computer program that can generate that data is the most likely explanation. Realism and physical laws help you write computer programs that generate our observations. Solipsism does not help with this; solipsism is therefore unlikely.
    – causative
    Commented Apr 6 at 19:44

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Occam’s razor should be understood as how many things are left unexplained, not just how much ontology there is. Once understood this way, it becomes obvious to prefer the existence of other minds. Even though other minds introduces more fields of consciousness, it explains basic facts like why other people claim to be conscious, why the way they react to experiences is similar to the way you react to them, etc. Without the other minds assumption, you have no obvious way to explain this

Put another way, if other minds did not exist, you can imagine an infinite number of ways that the world could have came about: you can imagine many forms of reality that do not include other humans, but only one in which there are humans merely behaving as if they have other minds. On the other hand, if other minds do exist, then you would expect them to have bodily forms based on the evidence we have, and expect them to behave in just the way we see it in our world.

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  • Some philosophers argue that conscious minds are not necessary for bodies to behave if the biological unconscious indeed manages all the behavioral patterns for animal and human agents. This would be like an unconscious horse making all the behavioral choices and the conscious rider would just go along for the ride! I think it is the P-Zombie argument but I don't find it compelling. Unconscious Inference is a very compelling theory it explains more than Tabula Raza (Blank Slate) theory of learning because human child must generate self-other inference at an early age for rapid social learning. Commented Apr 6 at 20:15
  • And what is the probability of solipsism? Is there a generally accepted probability?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 22:06
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Its ingrained within us. Before we mature and can ask ourselves these philosophical questions we will have lived as children and teenagers amongst people that we take as granted have minds and act independently of us.

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  • I don’t think it’s some sort of belief that’s merely ingrained in us. It’s the simplest form of induction. We know how we behave. We know what we experience. We see how others behave. Therefore, we assume they experience Commented Apr 6 at 19:02
  • @Mikhail: Ate ypu saying three year olds can make this induction??? Or why one would bother to make it??? Commented Apr 6 at 19:08
  • And what is the probability of solipsism? Is there a generally accepted probability?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 22:06
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If Occam's Razor says that solipsism wins in quantitative simplicity, and the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity, then what are we supposed to believe?

Why is priority given to: quantitative simplicity or explanatory simplicity?

maybe you're misapplying the razor; from its article on wikipedia:

This philosophical razor advocates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction and both theories have equal explanatory power one should prefer the hypothesis that requires the fewest assumptions [...]

it seems the razor is a tie-breaker of sorts, not an independent criterium, so that once you say 'the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity', it should be over, and the razor need not be invoked

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  • And what is the probability of solipsism? Is there a generally accepted probability?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 22:07
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    @Arnold I really don't think there is such a thing
    – ac15
    Commented Apr 7 at 3:43
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IEP - Solipsism and The Problem of Other Minds

https://iep.utm.edu/solipsis/

Descartes’ account of the nature of mind implies that the individual acquires the psychological concepts that he possesses “from his own case,” that is that each individual has a unique and privileged access to his own mind, which is denied to everyone else. Although this view utilizes language and employs conceptual categories (“the individual,” “other minds,” and so forth.) that are inimical to solipsism, it is nonetheless fundamentally conducive historically to the development of solipsistic patterns of thought. On this view, what I know immediately and with greatest certainty are the events that occur in my own mind—my thoughts, my emotions, my perceptions, my desires, and so forth—and these are not known in this way by anyone else. By the same token, it follows that I do not know other minds in the way that I know my own; indeed, if I am to be said to know other minds at all—that they exist and have a particular nature—it can only be on the basis of certain inferences that I have made from what is directly accessible to me, the behavior of other human beings.

My experience is that all knowledge is self-knowledge because I do not possess the private knowledge of others and I do not know which others share what I consider to be public or common knowledge without some form of self-other communication of inference from my knowledge.

Ontological simplicity:

  1. My field of awareness exists; and
  2. Items of recognition exist only in my field of awareness.

Epistemological simplicity:

  1. Other minds either exist or do not exist as items of recognition in my field of awareness.

Unconscious Inference:

  1. Helmholtz (a person whom I believe once lived; and whom I infer had a mind in his body and a body in his mind much like myself) argues that perceptions of 3-dimensional position and speed of objects in the 2-dimensional field of vision arise as the product of an unconscious process which he designates as an unconscious inference.
  2. I observe that the existence of other minds arises in my field of awareness as the product of an unconscious process or some other source of mystery. This is consistent with unconscious inference.
  3. The mysterious process or the unconscious inference seems to be a source of my conviction and belief as to what exists or does not exist independent of my mind based on what things exist or do not exist in my mind.
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  • Who determines which simplicity is true ontological or propositional? Who determines what is easier? Since solipsism has the fewest entities (only my mind) while the existence of other minds requires many entities (all people have minds), it turns out that solipsism is a simpler explanation.
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 17:46
  • @Arnold What description is epistemologically simpler, or more generic, than the field of awareness and items of recognition arising or not arising in the field of awareness? If my mind is the field of awareness with items of recognition then other minds are the idea in my mind that minds like my own exist independent of my mind! That is not ontologically or epistemologically simpler it is an inference from my field of awareness and items of recognition in my field of awareness! My mind exists. My mind infers that minds like my mind exist independent of my mind! I am only certain of my mind! Commented Apr 6 at 18:10
  • Why is priority given to: quantitative simplicity or explanatory simplicity? If solipsism wins in ontological simplicity, is this a reason to believe in solipsism? Or does the fact that the existence of other minds wins in explanatory simplicity neutralize the ontological simplicity of solipsism?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 6 at 18:28
  • @Arnold My answer is an attempt to avoid the semantic problem of decoding what you mean by the terms solipsism wins or other minds wins and ontological simplicity and explanatory power. If other minds do not exist as items of recognition in my field of awareness then I might conclude that mine is the only mind that exists (solipsism). If other minds exist as items of recognition in my field of awareness then I might conclude that those minds exist independent of my concept or idea held in my mind. Either way my knowledge or epistemology of ontology is solipsistic it exists in my mind. Commented Apr 6 at 18:35
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    @Arnold if you want a rough estimate of the probability of solipsism being correct, try 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000003142% Or thereabouts. Commented Apr 7 at 6:11

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