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SOLIPSISM

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SOLIPSISM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:45 am

• solipsism •

Pronunciation: sê-lip-si-zêm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: (Philosophy) Egoism, the notion that a person can be sure only that he (or she) exists since all knowledge of the outside world comes through the senses of an individual which may or may not be reliable.

Notes: I am sure you have heard the question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?" This question arises out of solipsism and the issue of whether anything real exists outside ourselves. Other people, the real world at large could be just figments of my imagination, aided and abetted by unreliable senses. Only a few solipsists have every pursued the solipsistic line of reasoning since it cannot be proved or disproved. But that is the point: if the real world exists, we cannot prove it without depending on information from our very fragile senses.

In Play: Though it is used almost exclusively in philosophy, clever minds can find applications of this word: "Marlin says that all my worries are just in my head; I told him that I don't believe in solipsism." Solipsism implies inwardness, loneliness, and isolation from the rest of the world: "Since Aiken Hart started writing poetry, his life has become solipsistic; he never comes out of his thoughts."

Word History: Today's Good Word was created from Latin sol(us) "alone" + ipse "self" + -ism. The root of solus is found at the root of many English borrowings referring to singleness and loneliness: solitary, desolate, isolate, among others. The original root picked up a few consonants on its way to English, where it ended up as self (Russian sebya). It is also related to Latin sui "of oneself", found in English suicide. (Just in case Daniel Figueroa is not a figment of my imagination, I would like to thank him for sending us this word.)
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Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:50 am

From Bertram Russell:

"The young man said, 'God
Must find it exceedingly odd
When this tree
Continues to be
When there is no one about in the Quad.'

"'Dear Sir:
Your astonishment is odd
For I am always about in the Quad.
That's why this tree
Continues to be
Since last observed by
Yours truly,
God'"

(I couldn't lay this out properly. Please mentally insert some
spaces in front of "Your astonishment," "Yours truly" and "God")

Thus, the apparent persistence of objects is taken as evidence of the existance of God. But, as Dr. Johnson said, "I refute him (Bishop Berkeley) thus" and kicked a rock with his gout swollen foot.

Ouch,
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Postby Perry » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:37 am

It's just solipy logic. :wink:
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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Postby Bailey » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:58 am

Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey

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Postby scw1217 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:03 pm

I must say I had a good laugh at your quip "Just in case Daniel Figueroa is not a figment of my imagination".

Also, I always look forward to the In Play section people's names to see if I can figure them out or not.
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Postby Perry » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:21 pm

Bailey wrote:Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey


Go figuer!

Suzzane, I love your owl and also the waterfall photo!
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Postby scw1217 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:48 pm

Perry wrote:
Bailey wrote:Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey


Go figuer!

Suzzane, I love your owl and also the waterfall photo!


Thanks so much!
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Postby Bailey » Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:04 pm

Suzie, I love the saturation of color in your photos, the sheen off the dog's coat is wonderful, and the mist on the waterfall-lovely! I notice this stuff.

mark I'm-a-run-of-the-mill-photog Bailey

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Postby scw1217 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:54 pm

Bailey wrote:Suzie, I love the saturation of color in your photos, the sheen off the dog's coat is wonderful, and the mist on the waterfall-lovely! I notice this stuff.

mark I'm-a-run-of-the-mill-photog Bailey


I once had a teacher call me Suzie-Q, and a friend call me Sue. Then there was Sui in high school, but I digress. Thanks again for the compliments. It means a lot to hear from people who appreciate my photographs. There's more at my website.
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Postby skinem » Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:15 pm

Bailey wrote:Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey

I may have suggested it, but I have no idea who Daniel Figueroa is. Really, it's not me.
But, I'm sure he's a nice guy.
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Solipsism

Postby Don » Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:17 pm

1. Mark Twain evidently was fascinated by solipsism. His short story, "The Mysterious Stranger", concludes expressing a solipsistic point of view.

2. "It cannot be proved or disproved." This is false. It follows logically from certain premises as to how we know things. It is difficult, though not impossible, to come up with an alternative view that denies the premises. ("It cannot be proved or disproved" is a kind of smug comment which normally functions as an excuse to avoid thinking. If one indeed believes that solipsism cannot be proved or disproved, I would like to (a) see an argument as to why and how this is so, and (b) see an example of something that supposedly can be proved or disproved.)

3. I believe Bertrand Russell did not author the famous limerick about God and the quad, but only quoted it in one or more of his popular writings. The quote itself is a cutesy summary of George Berkeley's philosophical position, which follows from a simplistic empiricism. Berkeley brought in God arbitrarily, deus ex machina. This evidently proved attractive to Berkeley, who was an 18th century Anglican Bishop. David Hume a few years later worked from the same position, avoided Berkeley's appeal to God, and correctly came up with a thorough skeptism, claiming it is impossible to know (a) whether other things exist, (b) whether one's own self exists, and (c) whether experiences are causally connected. Immanuel Kant's turgid and abstruse Critique of Pure Reason attempted a more sophisticated empiricism that avoided Hume's skepticism. Russell made significant contributions to the development of modern logic, and supposed for a while that he might develop a so-called "Logical Atomism" that avoided Berkeley's and Hume's disastrous position without resort to Kant. He failed in this effort, however, and thereafter mostly just contented himself with clever jokes like the God in the quad ditty.

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Postby Bailey » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:23 pm

skinem wrote:I may have suggested it, but I have no idea who Daniel Figueroa is. Really, it's not me.
But, I'm sure he's a nice guy.

sounds like Danny F. was a figment of the Good Doctor's imagination.

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Postby skinem » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:05 am

Don, excellent summary of the positions of Hume and Berkely...thanks.

Skinem--you can call me Skinem, or you can call me Skinny, but you doesn't have to call me Danny...
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Postby gailr » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:55 pm

skinem wrote:
Bailey wrote:Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey

I may have suggested it, but I have no idea who Daniel Figueroa is. Really, it's not me.
But, I'm sure he's a nice guy.

skinem, can you prove or disprove this?
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Postby skinem » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:10 pm

gailr wrote:
skinem wrote:
Bailey wrote:Since it was Skinny who recently suggested this word his real name must be Daniel Figueroa
mark nice-ta-meetcha Bailey

I may have suggested it, but I have no idea who Daniel Figueroa is. Really, it's not me.
But, I'm sure he's a nice guy.

skinem, can you prove or disprove this?
-gailr

The fact that he's nice guy or that I'm not him?

Actually no,on either account, but I have had suggestions correctly attributed to me in the past!
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