3

Does modern philosophy support solipsism? How many philosophers support this idea? Does solipsism scare philosophers? For example, the fact that all their close people can be unconscious, without qualia and subjective experience.

7
  • 3
    See Solipsism and the Problem of Other Minds. Pretty much nobody supports it, let alone is scared, it is not even included in philosophers' questionnaires. It is more of a foil for academic exercise.
    – Conifold
    Jan 8 at 20:16
  • 1
    Thank you. Are you afraid of solipsism yourself?
    – Android
    Jan 8 at 20:19
  • 1
    Would you like your child to be without qualia?
    – Android
    Jan 9 at 1:00
  • 2
    Polling users on their personal feelings is off-topic here. Is there a question about philosophy rather than users' or philosophers' emotional reactions?
    – Conifold
    Jan 9 at 6:48
  • 1
    It is common to disagree with other people within the philosophical community, and often times your opponent will wrongly view or exaggerate that your position is a form of solipsism. Personally, I have thought other people were practicing solipsism, but in multiple cases I have been wrong. I have misunderstood arguments (which people may explain poorly), other times they are wrong without knowing why (which I would not attribute to them purposely being solipsistic but rather them being victims of solipsism), and not having knowledge creates gaps! ..Not every argument is solipsism
    – Noah
    Jan 9 at 7:05
2

There are in fact some modern philosophers who have put forward solipsistic theories, though these are significantly weaker forms of solipsism than the one usually considered and probably than what you are considering. For example, Caspar Hare has proposed a theory in which others are conscious but their experiences are not "present" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentric_presentism). That page also links to some other philosophers with similar theories such as Giovanni Merlo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjectivism#Modern_versions) and JJ Valberg (with his concept of the personal horizon).

1

Solipcism is generally defined as:

The philosophical idea that only one's mind is certain to exist [essentially the Cartesian Meditations' Cogito Ergo Sum]. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure [essentially the Kantian notion that noumena [things in themselves, including not only other minds but other people as objects, like chairs and tables] is unknowable, all we can to some extent "know" are phenomena [essentially our mental representations of these supposed things in the Cartesian theater of mind]; ergo the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. (square brackets are my addenda to the definition.)

So, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, it depends upon what you mean by "know" [or "certain"] vis a vis certainty about one's knowledge of the existence of other minds.
(Aside: Consider pragmatist CS Pierce's disputation of the Cogito, from which what you call "modern philosophy," derived an epistemology that ceased to be pestered by any purported difference between appearance and "reality," (i.e. that it is appearance all the way down). Absent this gambit [that is, absent an essentially constructivist epistemological stance], most "modern" philosophies [silently] imply solipsism. In other words, the conceptual "problem" of solipsism has not been solved, only dissolved.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.