Phoenix Skeptics in the Pub Message Board › What is the skeptical position on Solipsism?

What is the skeptical position on Solipsism?

Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 411
Do skeptics agree or disagree?
Tyler
user 5308133
Scottsdale, AZ
Post #: 6
Solipsism is a form of philosophical skepticism. Some scientific skeptics might subscribe to it, but personally, I do not. Within the realm of scientific skepticism, I don't believe there can be an endorsement either way. Solipsism is a non-falsifiable hypothesis; it lies outside the realm of science. Like all matters of faith, people--even scientific skeptics--may believe it if they want, but it'd be disingenuous for one to claim that compelling, empirical evidence exists to support such a belief.
Robert W.
RobertWesterman
Glendale, AZ
Post #: 6
It's kinda like the apology for creationism that goes,

"God did everything just like it says in the bible, but He seamlessly hid His fingerprints, like by leaving the right kind of fossils in the right places, and creating a radiation signature that makes it seem as though the earth is 4.3 billion years old, and building DNA into everything that makes it look as though things evolved."

He's a twicky one, that God.

In solipsism, just substitute 'God' with 'my brain.'

Does anyone know whether a truly seamless illusion can be penetrated by a scientific approach? My guess is, "No." By definition(?) it can resist any conceivable test. Like Dr. Skeptic up there said, it's unfalsifiable.

Imagine the Matrix, but without the user's ability to influence the algorithms for physical constants.

Besides, whatever seamless reality you're in is the one you're stuck with. Enjoy it!
-RW
Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 412
Solipsism is a form of philosophical skepticism. Some scientific skeptics might subscribe to it, but personally, I do not. Within the realm of scientific skepticism, I don't believe there can be an endorsement either way. Solipsism is a non-falsifiable hypothesis; it lies outside the realm of science. Like all matters of faith, people--even scientific skeptics--may believe it if they want, but it'd be disingenuous for one to claim that compelling, empirical evidence exists to support such a belief.

Tyler,

What is the difference between “philosophical skepticism” and “scientific skepticism”.

Skepticism is an epistemology. Hierarchically, epistemology proceeds philosophy and science.

Tyler
user 5308133
Scottsdale, AZ
Post #: 7
Solipsism is a form of philosophical skepticism. Some scientific skeptics might subscribe to it, but personally, I do not. Within the realm of scientific skepticism, I don't believe there can be an endorsement either way. Solipsism is a non-falsifiable hypothesis; it lies outside the realm of science. Like all matters of faith, people--even scientific skeptics--may believe it if they want, but it'd be disingenuous for one to claim that compelling, empirical evidence exists to support such a belief.

Tyler,

What is the difference between “philosophical skepticism” and “scientific skepticism”.

Skepticism is an epistemology. Hierarchically, epistemology proceeds philosophy and science.


In general, philosophical skepticism usually refers to some school of thought which maintains the belief that true knowledge of reality is unachievable and forever outside our cognitive grasp. In such systems of global skepticism, and some schools of local skepticism, empirical evidence would bear little credibility in determining the nature of reality. In contrast, scientific skepticism relies heavily, but not exclusively, upon empirical evidence in terms of replicating results in controlled environments or gathering observational data, as in the field of astronomy.

I’d find it very unlikely, but not entirely impossible, for a scientific skeptic to also be a solipsist. To the solipsist a physical, objective reality does not really exist. The “external” world is just an idealist, internal representation of their mind. As such, I’d have to wonder why a solipsist would care much for the fields of the physical sciences. Conceivably, I suppose they could engage in it for the pure intellectual stimulation of it, while also maintaining the belief that ultimately it will get them no closer to any knowledge of true reality. In my time to talking to other scientific skeptics, I’ve never come across someone who has openly identified themselves as a solipsist.

In general, I’d say the vast majority of scientific skeptics, like me, believe in a physical, objective reality; we’re metaphysical naturalists, for the most part. And we view scientific methods (there’s more than just one, which is why I dislike saying, “the scientific method”) as the best tools for gaining knowledge of that reality. It’s not perfect or absolute knowledge by any means. It doesn’t claim metaphysical certitude or Truth with a capital “T,” but it’s provisional knowledge of the physical world. And it’s always open to being amended as new evidence is brought forth.
Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 413
“Philosophical skepticism” and “scientific skepticism” is a distinction without a difference. For this reason: skepticism is an epistemology. Hierarchically, epistemology proceeds philosophy and science.

Epistemology proceeds everything else known to man (either explicitly or implicitly). A proper epistemology provides the necessary framework for turning individual perceptual concretes into higher level concepts, and identifies the method used for validating human knowledge. Epistemology answers: What do we know, and how do we know it?

It is critically important to illuminate the proceeding epistemological consequence of skepticism, rather than starting conceptually somewhere in the middle and out of context.

“Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims.” http://www.skeptic.co...­

What does this mean? The subject at work here is epistemology. Skepticism defines what constitutes knowledge . If you ask a skeptic, “What is knowledge?” His reply, “A provisional claim.”

Provisional, means temporary. Thus, all claims are temporary and can be reversed. Skepticism is an absolute claim: which defines all claims are provisional (ie non-absolute). Provisional does not mean slightly alterable, as in by degree. It means open to total reversal.

Under skepticism the claim “Gas contracts under pressure” can be reversed at any moment, to a new claim of “Gas expands under pressure” based upon some new data. Why? Because the nature of any claim is provisional. With such an approach, how can anything be considered knowledge? In the skeptical view, the very statement "I exist", which is the the identification of your own consciousnesses is also conditional. Meaning, you might very well be wrong about your own existence, while in the act of uttering the words.

Skepticism says, “There is no absolute truth, except for this statement which is absolute truth.” Or, “There are no facts, except the fact there are no facts.”

Why is skepticism immune from its own claim? I have never heard an answer.


provisional knowledge of the physical world.

Where is the non-physical world?
Noah
user 13335960
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 1
From my understanding, skeptics, generally reject notions of solipsism. The notion of "the only reality that truly exists is my own", is irrational. I couldn't help but think of how the brain creates scenarios that are very "real" to those experiencing them with vivid dreams, and that's without even using the eyes. Or take the very real like states of phantom limb syndrome, which people still feel the limb that is not there from the miscalculation by the fallible human brain telling the person to still feel the missing limb, sometimes with associated pain. It is not only until they retrain their brain to stop sending those signals with a mirror box that they begin to match with what they are seeing. They can even induce the feeling of a third arm in people using the same technique, but that is not to say that that extra limb is in any way a reality. The experience might feel real, but there's more to reality than that.

"Philosophical skepticism" does not involve the critical experimentation and rigorous analysis of science. The distinction is prevalent when you are looking at it from the view of science and not philosophy. I would argue that scientific "inference" precedes any notion of epistemology. The brain acquires knowledge about the world through a process of interpreting data from the outside environment and builds upon prior information to confirm an assumption or get rid of the initial claim altogether. Most of this is done without us being conscientiously aware of it, as with sight or hearing. In most cases, what we experience is the brains best interpretation of the information it is receiving, but its definitely not seeing reality in its entirety. After all, what we actually see is only a sliver on the very real electromagnetic spectrum of light.

If you would ask me, "What is knowledge"? I would not go down the road of attempting to provide some Socratic view of 'absolute certainty' in its' definition. I would give a description that is more in line with "scientific knowledge", which I believe to be the best method of acquiring my definition of true knowledge. I think philosophy poses some interesting thought experiments, but often they are not verifiable of testable, thus are not relevant to telling me anything about reality, other than the complexity of language. Science on the other hand can provide us with some insight about reality. A major difference of philosophical skepticism from scientific skepticism is largely due to the fact that it is not falsifiable or testable, as are the claims that fall into the scope of science.

I would agree that epistemic states are important, but I would also add that the importance is to quantify those states into "levels of certainty". Take this following quote from James Clerk Maxwell,

The actual science of logic is conversant at present only with things either certain, impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have to reason on. Therefore the true logic for this world is the calculus of Probabilities, which takes account of the magnitude of the probability which is, or ought to be, in a reasonable man’s mind. (Maxwell

One of the strong suits of science is often mistreated and presented as a weakness, and that is the openness for dispute amongst the scientific community and the possibility to revise a prior claim. Not only does this display a misunderstanding of science in general, but it plays on common general misconceptions of the scientific method. This is a way that some try to paint certain topics as being controversial. But as I have found, the strength in the methodologies of science lies in the fact that when any person does not agree, they can develop the ability to discern what the evidence says about the plausibility for themselves by critically examining the evidence. What could be more empowering and insightful than that?
Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 425
"Philosophical skepticism" does not involve the critical experimentation and rigorous analysis of science.

Why not?

Does scientific skepticism have absolutes? If yes, do you have an example?
Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 426
The actual science of logic is conversant at present only with things either certain, impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have to reason on. Therefore the true logic for this world is the calculus of Probabilities, which takes account of the magnitude of the probability which is, or ought to be, in a reasonable man’s mind. - Maxwell

Are you certain all knowledge is a probability?
Noah
user 13335960
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 2
"Philosophi­cal skepticism" does not involve the critical experimentation and rigorous analysis of science.

Why not?

That's really not relevant.

Does scientific skepticism have absolutes? If yes, do you have an example?


No, that is not how science works. I would focus more on defining science as a methodology or a process, rather than a absolute.
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