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Does modern physics and science support solipsism?

Does modern physics and science have any evidence that solipsism is true?

Do physicists and scientists support solipsism?

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    No, no and no... Apr 29, 2022 at 14:45
  • It's a strange question since solipsism holds that one can only know their own mind, when the object of science is knowledge of the world outside of said mind. The very act of getting involved in scientific enquiry, like conducting experiments or peer reviewed publications, involves rejecting solipsism.
    – armand
    May 1, 2022 at 2:10
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    I do not agree with the previous comment, one might just reframe science as "the study of objects provided to one's mind", and it will continue to be instrumentally useful.
    – gsmafra
    May 3, 2022 at 6:24

2 Answers 2

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Scientists do not support solipsism because solipsism has no corresponding testable theory. I do not know any argument which supports solipsism. I recommend any adherent of solipsism to observe him/herself in everyday life: Does one actually act in accordance with this worldview?

I do not know any disproof of solipsism from a philosophical point of view. But the intersubjective agreement about the result of scientific observations supports the opposite hypothesis: There exists a world independent from my imagination.

Aside: Physics is a subset of science. Hence you may address your question just to science.

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  • That is, neither science nor physics have anything to do with solipsism?
    – Antonio
    Apr 30, 2022 at 12:27
  • @Antonio Yes, science and solipsism have nothing to with each other.
    – Jo Wehler
    Apr 30, 2022 at 13:52
  • Do I understand correctly? Science does not support solipsism and will never support solipsism because solipsism has nothing to do with science.
    – Antonio
    Apr 30, 2022 at 14:01
  • Yes. If science would support solipsim, then science would bite the hand that feeds it. The 'feeding hand' is the hypothesis of an external world.
    – Jo Wehler
    Apr 30, 2022 at 14:34
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Agreed that this is not a scientific matter because it is not testable, nor does it yield any simplified models for scientific analysis.

Just came to comment on this question:

Does one actually act in accordance with this worldview?

and the comment turned out to be too big, so I'm writing an answer as an addendum.

I'd say that it is not very easy to know whether one acts in accordance with it or not. Most difficult for analysing others, but perhaps for ourselves too.

  • First because solipsism is about the doubt about other minds, not about disbelieving them at all. It is analogous to agnosticism, not atheism. So it might be an ethical choice consistent with solipsism to act assuming other people have minds and feelings. See for example arguments about AGI ethics.

  • Second because even if solipsism was about being sure other minds do not exist, some solipsists might be very explicit about it (e.g. psycho/sociopaths), but most may have a very discrete, even unconscious selfishness. As Machiavelli put it, "so long as a prince appears to act virtuously, most men will believe in his virtue". I can go further and say that some may even be sincere altruists, because they derive satisfaction from helping others, similarly to an aesthetic taste in beauty.

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  • Do adherents of solipsism assume the existence of other persons and of other objects outside their mental conceptions, at all? Why shold they cogitate about ethics if they doubt the existence of external objects and persons?
    – Jo Wehler
    Apr 30, 2022 at 10:50
  • I don't know the answer to the first question, but to the second, I take solipsism to be the doubt about other minds, not the certainty they don't exist. You don't blindly throw heavy objects out of the window (among other reasons) because you might hurt someone, the same way other minds might exist
    – gsmafra
    May 3, 2022 at 6:28
  • If solipsists act ‚as if‘ other people exist, then the behaviour of solipsists is not different from the behaviour of non-solipsists. Why then introducing the separate class of solipsists?
    – Jo Wehler
    May 3, 2022 at 7:03
  • Good question, you mentioned "adherent of solipsism" in the first place. Maybe that's the catch if we're going to a behavioural way. Otherwise I see it like most other metaphysical distinctions like adherents to dualism/monism, realism/idealism/nominalism, etc: most people end up acting mostly the same.
    – gsmafra
    May 3, 2022 at 7:40
  • I agree. In my original answer I recommended: Look how people act - not only how they talk.
    – Jo Wehler
    May 3, 2022 at 7:46

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