I am looking logical arguments and scientific evidence that undermine this view.


3 Answers 3


I agree with the above and will only add the following.

The problem of solipsism is a problem of absolute skepticism or radical doubt, and, unlike so many philosophical problems, did not occur at all to the premodern philosophers.

It arose with Descartes and continued through the Locke and the empiricists. The argument, crudely put, is that because our senses cannot be trusted entirely, only intuition or "immediate" reason provides a firm basis for knowledge. Though Locke, et al, took "experience" to be the basis of knowledge, it remained "within" the mind in the form of "ideas" and not "real external objects." Thus "empiricism" can evolve from Locke to the "near solipsism" of Berkeley.

Such radical doubt cannot be "disproven" or terminally "falsified" for the simple reason that nothing can. It is quite easy to begin with radical doubt and logically wind up with solipsism.

The main argument against is thus that it is historically anomalous and seems to carry out its own reductio ad absurdum. Thereby casting doubt on Descartes's first principles. It seems an "absurd" overreaching of "reason" as prior to "sensation" and "common sense."

The best argument from "common sense" is probably Thomas Reid's. Since any logical system will require some axiomatic grounding, why do we accept as evidence Descartes's absolute priority of "reason" and radical doubt over "sense"? Reid claims that both are distinct and equally valid sources of "evidence," and the sense is prior. Interestingly, even in the 18th century Reid cited child development as a source of proof.

It you assume as first principle a validity of "sense" and "common sense" you have no problem with the existence of the world and other minds in the world.

  • If nothing can "disproven" or terminally "falsified" what are you talking about?
    – John Am
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 7:11
  • You can't refute solipsism because you are solipsists yourself. That's the reason you can't Prove" anything and believe existence of the world is a matter of "acceptance". You really believe everything is a mind! It's funny watching empiricism eating his own fleshes.
    – John Am
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 7:29
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    I don't think you are following my argument concerning Locke and Reid (have you read them?), and I'm not sure that you grasp the limits of logical or scientific proofs. Please provide your own answer to the question if you wish, instead of ungrammatical, somewhat trollish comments that add little to the discussion. It is hard to tell what exactly you are arguing. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 12:44
  • You are right, Philosophical thinking and writing for me in English language is only 25 days old, (by using this forum). It would be great if we were able to communicate in my native language (Greek). Sorry for my rusty English!
    – John Am
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 13:58
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    Reid's argument from common sense is not really based on the "senses" per se. The interlocking structure of "ideas," "perceptions," "senses," "beliefs," and "concepts" is complicated and handled differently by different philosophers. Reid argues that Locke, Berkeley, et al, conflate "sense" and "perception." The "sensation" of the rose's smell is "in the mind." But the "perception" also includes a "clear and immediate" idea of an "external rose." This, he claims, is just as forceful as Descartes' immediate self-certainty of "reason." I'll forgo chat, but post a question if you wish. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 14:53

I believe that the nearest one can get to an argument against solipsism is that it is hard to account for a deep sense of either surprise or mystery when dealing with others if they are a creation of one's own mind.

One may, of course argue (as the creationists do about evidence for evolution) that things were arranged so as to permit surprise - but the further you pursue that line of reasoning the thinner the sense of substance to the stance gets. One eventually arrives at the point where the stance has no explanatory power because of all of the extraordinary wherefores and whereas's which must be included to keep the solipsist stance meaningful.


The main objections against solipsism are neither logical arguments nor scientific evidence. The main objection comes from pragmatics: A solipsist does not act in his daily life according to solipsism, denying the existence of other people or of physical objects.

There exists a well known episode where Samuel Johnson refutes in a pragmatic way a solipsistic position ascribed to bishop Berkeley http://www.samueljohnson.com/refutati.html

Thanks to @conifold: For a discussion of solipsism see


  • I am suspecting there is no argument and with respect to scientific evidence i think Popper was right to point out that solipsism is not falsifiable. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 3:47
  • Please see my added reference.
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:37
  • Your reply is exactly what a solipsist would object. It confirms the view that there is no refutation by a logical argument. - But also a solipsist would act and behave like an empirist and avoid stepping against the next rock. That's the refutation by pragmatics.
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 10:11
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    Berkeley was not a solipsist, he was an idealist, which is not at all the same thing. And Samuel Johnson didn't refute him, although he certainly claimed to. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 13:15
  • @Chris Sunami You are right. I corrected my statement.
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 13:47

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