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  1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Can you refute this solipsistic argument.

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by waitingforzion, Mar 31, 2014.

    Okay, I am going to present an argument that is going to sound absolutely crazy, and I don't even know if any of you will understand it. It seems like I am the only one in history who has ever been plagued by these precise thoughts. If the logic in this argument were sound, and the premises true, then that would prove that I was the only one who is truly conscious. I hope that some of you can destroy the argument, or come up with an explanation for why this is so, which will allow for the existence of other minds. I just ask that instead of dismissing it as incoherent, you take the time and try to understand what I mean. I caution you not to believe anything I am arguing, because I don't want you to feel the same way I felt. But at the same time, I am hoping for others to help me resolve this issue.

    You might be familiar with the concept of qualia. If not, I encourage you to look it up. In my mind, either qualia constitutes a perceiving subject, or the qualia is owned by the perceiving subject. If qualia constitutes a perceiving subject, than the identity of that subject is either attached to an instance of qualia or to qualia itself. It is the same concept as wetness either belonging to an instance of water or to water itself. If the identity of a perceiving subject belongs to qualia itself, then whenever we have qualia, we have one individual self and no others are possible.

    This constitutes what I call the absolute self. If an individual posses qualia, then given that the previous statements are all true, that individual is the absolute self. It is then of no value for that individual to ascribe self-hood to any other individual, because their self-hood would not be in the same category.

    Now you might not see a problem because I have not established the first or second premise given in my second paragraph. But for me it is a problem, because I experience my own qualia as being of that sort. It is not through logical deduction that I even first arrived at this whole concept, but through the way that my mind manifests itself upon introspection. If my mind manifest itself in this precise way, and with these precise properties, how can I convince myself that this is not the case.

    Do you guys see where I am getting at? I know it sounds crazy but it is a real concept that I came up with.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not yet getting where you're going. Are you arguing that because others don't have a consciousness that is identical to yours, they don't have a consciousness?

    (edited to correct "conscious" to "consciousness")
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  3. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    You are right that it isn't convincing because the last sentence in the second paragraph doesn't follow from the preceding sentences. Why are you having trouble with this series of statements, exactly?
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You didn't answer my question.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    So you're using the existence of qualia to show that solipsism must be true? I don't buy it. In fact, I would argue that it shows the exact opposite. Supposing we all agreed on everything, how could you then prove that other beings exist? The fact that everything agrees with your "subjective" experience will make it impossible to show that there are other beings who also have subjective experiences. Does that make sense?
     
  6. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    As communitarianism has shown, it is very possible to create constraints with language that don't exist otherwise and for people to get very frothy over it. You say I haven't answered the question but no question has yet been presented. Take a q from your engineering friends and accept that your ability to recognize other people as existing is good enough. They have as much insight into reality as your logician and communications friends.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whups. Sorry, MLM; for some reason I thought that the post that I was responding to here was a post from the originator of the thread. So there was a question on my part, but it certainly wasn't your problem.
     
  8. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    I thought you were the original poster.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As mere figments of waitingforzion's consciousness, I'd say, in a way, all of are us are the original poster.
     
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  10. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    'Wouldn't you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn't that be interesting? Just for once? "Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."'

    - Bill Hicks
     
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  11. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm reminded of the existential questions posed by Descartes' Demon Hypothesis.
    Ah, how I loved Philosophy at university. Shame I can't remember hellish much of it.
     
  12. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I am arguing that the identity of my consciousness is inherent in the substance of qualia, and that, wherever qualia is formed, that identity lies in it.

    It certainly follows, because if identity lies in qualia the way that wetness lies in water, then in the same way that all water has wetness, all qualia belongs to a single identity.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm having trouble arguing against that, because I'm having trouble seeing the weight behind the premise at all. I feel rather as if I'm being asked to prove that there aren't rose gardens on Venus; I feel the need for more evidence that there are Venusian rose gardens, before I spend time refuting that argument.

    Water has wetness. But the fact that water has wetness doesn't stop dust from having dryness. The fact that water has wetness doesn't mean that dust isn't dust or dust doesn't exist. And for that matter, water has wetness, but honey has a a slightly different wetness, as does milk, as does alcohol.

    I don't see where the exclusive element comes in.
     
  14. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    ChickenFreak is right, those things don't follow at all. You seem to know you are wrong, and here is someone who is right. You should accept that.
     
  15. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or custard which possesses both liquid and solid qualities. One could walk across a swimming pool of custard at the right consistency but stand still and you'll sink.
    Is this argument not similar to Plato's forms and subject to the many of the same counter arguments?
    How, for example, does this qualia account for a posteriori knowledge and sensory experience if all individual beings are one and the same with one single identity?
     
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  16. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    Let me see if I can come up with something.

    Since qualia exist in different minds in different ways, you can't really compare wetness of water to a quale.
    I have a quale for the colour red, you have your own. If you look at my red, you could argue that to you it looks maroon, or magenta, burgundy or even orange. We have different perception of the colour red, but it doesn't mean that only one of our minds exist, or that my mind overpower yours and vice versa.

    Picture this:
    We are together in a room, you burn your finger on warm coffee mug, I get shot by a taser. we have no knowledge or experience of the concept of pain, therefore a different quale of pain is now formed for both of us.
    Who felt the greatest pain? Shocked by taser, or warm mug?

    The premise of Solipsism is not that only your mind can exist, but it's that only your mind can surely exist. It does not negate the existence of other minds, you just can't know of them for sure.
     
  17. James Joyce
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    your argument is shaky in a way i can't describe.
    something about it seems real silly. an example of qualia is the redness of an evening sky.

    if the qualia comes from me, and the qualia comes from you, then we are all the absolute self and the term loses purpose.
    if i come from the qualia, and you come from the qualia, then we are something else.
    if we all possess qualia, and if that qualia is similar or the exact same, then we are all the absolute self.
    in my mind, we are one steam of consciousness generating a relatively infinite collection of information.
    it is passed from mind to mind, so there's no need for the absolute selves
     
  18. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can reasonably come up with an argument that you are real, and the people next to you have brains that are not significantly different from your own, then they can reasonably come up with the same argument about themselves that you came up with about yourself.
     
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