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tkuiper t1_j6yge3y wrote

Based on how he uses it in the argument, I would describe this comment as you need to trust in persistence if you want to make progress.

Alternatively: Last Thursdayism cannot be disproven, but you also won't progress if that's a deal breaker.

Russell claims we can reject Last Thursdayism on grounds of "common-sense", but he admits its weak. Id say even more so in the present day.

Instead I reject Last Thursdayism on grounds of utility. If Last Thursdayism is true, there's nothing I can do about it, so there's no cost in being wrong.

Other names for this problem are Solypsism and Descartes Demon. All different hues of the same problem.


frogandbanjo t1_j71siju wrote

The interview reads like Russell offering up science and math to expound upon Hume's answer to Descartes. I appreciate that it's more detailed, and some of the examples are excellent. It does boil down to basically that, though.

The lesson to me is that Descartes is always going to be valuable because Hume's approach does make people lazy. Russell appears to "school" the interviewer over and over again in exactly that way: actually, no, you're assuming too much, and by assuming less, you may actually get to a better contingent truth even though you still have to accept some shit on faith (or "instinct.")

That's kind of beautiful. If you think about it, it's a great apology for the idea of the devil's advocate. The guy whose position is "actually, no, you can't really know much of anything" keeps you honest, even though you're never going to accept his position, because, well, it sucks and you don't want to starve to death or treat your dad like he's an illusion with no moral significance. But if you let yourself get pushed by it to a point, your own work will benefit.


tkuiper t1_j723gwz wrote

It reminds you where the root of your worldly understanding starts. Another comment mentioned psychosis, which would truly suck because per "that leap of faith" you have to take it and if you have psychosis you will be lied to by reality.


Dreamcatcher993 t1_j6zvq57 wrote

Solypsism is psychosis.


tkuiper t1_j6zy4gq wrote

Psychosis can make the concept of solypsism more relevant to you. The condition makes the external world less consistent, lowering confidence in external persistence, which undermines the basis for 'taking a leap of faith' and moving beyond solypsism. Why put effort into studying an 'external' reality who's rules change constantly?

Solypsism is a philosophical stance. Psychosis is a sensory condition. You can choose solypsism, you can't choose psychosis.


Dreamcatcher993 t1_j705zkg wrote

I challenge any solipsist to visit a psychiatrist and claim that doc might not exist without their mind.


tkuiper t1_j70j7v6 wrote

This may not be the sub for you...

If you're interested in understanding solypsism you can look into radical skepticism, Descartes Demon, and the Cogito. In that order is sort of the chronology of the cogito, which was Descartes' answer to radical skepticism.

Solypsism is like the formal conclusion to radical skepticism. There are definitely some pseudo-spiritual types that like to dramatize the idea, but ironically it's about the absolute absence of belief.


Dreamcatcher993 t1_j79cbtm wrote

I first read Descartes when I was 13 man.But still thanks for the explanation.


altair222 t1_j70uua1 wrote

You're confusing metaphysical solipsists with Epistemological Solipsists. Also, you're targetting more towards people who fear solipsism out of a mental health concern rather than philosophically consistent and authentic solipsists.


RavenCeV t1_j716xbh wrote

This thread resonates with me. I experienced "psychosis" and my first explanation was Simulation Theory... However I actually reasoned that all I had was faith. I was experiencing, I didn't know if it was "real" but I was experiencing for a reason, so I developed a bottom-up approach looking for points of consistency.

I used three archetypes, The Philosopher, The Doctor and The Engineer to understand reality again and form a more consistent picture.

Russel came up in my investigations, and I found his aversion to "self-reference" (compared to Godell) to be...limiting, (not that I understand it).


tkuiper t1_j724930 wrote

I'll have to look into that stuff. But I admit I do have a sort of morbid curiosity to know how someone well educated in these sort of fundamental reality proofs would be able to manage something like psychosis. I imagine these sorts of proofs would help you ground yourself and even make it back to reality, but wow would it be annoying when you have to constantly categorize your perception between internal and external.


EmuChance4523 t1_j71dm9a wrote

I would argue that solipsism or any philosophy that states that reality is not real can not be hold by living beings while being consistent and rational about it, because this kind of thinking would define air as not existent really, making it absurd to continue breathing, and then dying.

You can repeat that with food or any other requirement for survival.

While this things can be interesting in some context, any discussion that don't accept the pre-conception of an objective reality outside our mind is not sustainable. Of course, this aren't the only ideas that can't be hold with consistency and rationality.


tkuiper t1_j722p97 wrote

Your proof comes from your faith in external senses that have seen death and faith in the existence of a past and future. The whole point of Solypsism is it is the ONLY perfect rational position, requiring no assumptions. That's why it's an intellectual curiosity because it's uniquely invincible.

I agree though that, to your point, remaining doubtful to the point of being solypsist has no usefulness. Nature would be keen to evolve creatures that have faith that their senses are detecting a 'real' external existence. It's a safe leap of faith not only because it costs nothing to move past it, but because (unless you have psychosis) the external world is extremely self consistent.


EmuChance4523 t1_j7244iv wrote

The point on my argument is that solipsism is not a position that can be hold rationally and consistently, because holding it implies not being alive, so no one can ever claim to hold that position in a rational and consisten way.

And also, it is not that it has no usefulness, it is that is impossible to hold. It is a fun mind experiment, but not a position that is rational in any way.

Besides being a suicidal position, it is also a position that implies that no discussion makes sense, because if you could believe in solipsism, there is no way that you can discuss anything with anyone else, because you don't believe that there is anyone else.

So, again, fun mind experiment, but if you hold that position, you are being inconsistent and irrational (not saying that you hold it).


tkuiper t1_j72611u wrote

You've got something wrong cause again the whole point is that it's perfectly consistent and rational. Seems like your getting into an is/ought problem. Solypsism is what you can prove the world is. Survival is an ought. Computers aren't illogical because they don't fight you when you go for the off button. You can't disprove Solypsism because you ought to survive. Even the concepts of life/death require a future, past and that your experience has any bearing at all in your existence. If you're desperate for a real cause of such a situation: you could be in a simulation, you could be a boltzman brain, you could have intense psychosis.


renopriestgod t1_j72pevs wrote

You choose the have any cognitive configuration, but Solypsism does not conform to the external world(which is logic since it denounce a external world. How the mind can exist without external worlds is a question. It is beliving that one is a go’s that creates everything yet don’t remember any of it). Also the philosophical stance don’t further any understanding about the worlds and is therefore useless by definition