Is Nick Bostrom's simulation hypothesis a solipsistic idea? This hypothesis says that only I have consciousness, and all other people are unconscious philosophical zombies? Which version of the simulation hypothesis is more plausible: 1.Solipsistic in which all but me are philosophical zombies. 2. Nonsoliptic where all people, like me, have consciousness, sensation, thoughts and emotions.

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    Bostrom's simulation hypothesis has nothing to do with solipsism. His very argument for it presupposes other minds:"the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race."
    – Conifold
    Feb 20, 2021 at 5:02
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    – Ron
    Feb 20, 2021 at 13:53
  • @Ron, you can say that again! Nov 23, 2023 at 8:48

3 Answers 3


It is, in the way you put it, undoubtedly solipsistic. Solipsism is very hard to argue about in a logical framework, as the solipsistic side always has the choice of claiming that the logic itself is a product of their own mind. So this is always outside the scope of logic.

To analyse the two cases you pointed out, we do not even need to consider the validity of simulation hypothesis. It is no different than the paradigm of Abrahamic religions: A creator -who is omnipotent- created the universe with a set of rules and parameters, can interfere with its processes anytime it desires. The positive or logical approaches you can utilize do not seem to matter, as despite of the background, questions of the solipsistic person is the same:

  1. Is my perception all there is? or
  2. Do these people have the same experiences as I do, or are they not sentient unlike me?

As you can see, regardless of the ontological or epistemological paradigm (i.e. Abrahamic religion or simulation hypothesis), you can still ask the same questions. As long as you cannot get to experience the qualia of other people, you may still question their reality. That is why, I cannot see any reason why one might be more plausible than other, i.e. coming up with a statistical "likelihood" seems impossible.

Second one happens to be more solid in a logical framework though, as we can measure through EEG, fMRI etc. that similar experiences give rise to similar neural activity in different people. However then again, one can argue that these all are "the products of their own mind". There is no way of arguing against that under the assumptions of logic.

To summarize, both the simulation hypothesis and solipsism are outside the scope of science, or even philosophy, as these matters turn out to be beliefs at the end of the day.

  • The OP is about Bostrom's simulation argument, which is mainly about the possibility that you're part of a far-future "ancestor simulation", and that all the simulated ancestors are conscious, not just you--the first paragraph says "Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine‐grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct)". On p. 12-13 he does briefly discuss simulations w/ only one conscious being, but seems mostly dismissive.
    – Hypnosifl
    Apr 2, 2022 at 19:32

Well. Thomas Breuer had shown that for any observer the system which properly includes themselves has different physical properties (and is not predictable) due to self-reference. This is a mathematical result.

This means, that from the point of view of any observer, all others with whom he can interact are predictable (probabiblistically or deterministically). In other words, Turing-simulable. In other words, machines or zombies that just follow physical laws.

But if we consider the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, we can have several such observers in the multiverse. But they will never meet in the same branch of wavefunction (or, rather, if they occasionally meet for a moment, they instantly diverge, so they cannot observe each other's behavior).


I feel like your conclusion is a bit illogical in terms of just because you have an individual frame of reference doesn’t mean no one you interact with is conscious. For example someone could measure me and therefore I would be Turing-simuable, however I am conscious. I’m under the assumption that to conscious observers can interact and influence each other. They just have individual viewpoints aka (frame of reference).

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