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SOLIPSISM

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SOLIPSISM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:00 pm

• solipsism •

Pronunciation: sol-ip-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 ever 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 easily confused 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.)
Last edited by Dr. Goodword on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Slava » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:11 pm

Hmm, it may well be a figment of my imagination, but isn't the stress on this word usually accepted as being placed on the first syllable?
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Slava: Given the option, I would choose the accent on the second syllable. However, all the sources I have researched say it is on the "sol". Somehow that just doesn't sound English enough. The dictionaries agree with you and, actually, my experience in hearing the word puts the accent on the first syllable. I believe I have actually pronounced it with the accent on the second syllable.
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Postby Slava » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:49 pm

Well, I guess one of is getting "lippy". :) If all of your dictionaries go with "sol," why fight it?
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:26 am

Why fight it? Because it sounds wrong. I was a philosophy major and always, until now, heard the accent on the second syllable. Also note Dr G found that accent somewhere.
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Postby Slava » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:39 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:Why fight it? Because it sounds wrong. I was a philosophy major and always, until now, heard the accent on the second syllable. Also note Dr G found that accent somewhere.

I just spoke to another philosopher-type, and he's never heard the stress except on the first syllable. So far, not one dictionary referred to, including the OED, supports the concept of putting it on the second syllAble. Do we all need to find new dicTIONaries? :)
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SOLipsism

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:53 pm

Having never been a solipsist, I must have gone with the usual English accent pattern. Another word with foreign accent placement is agora. The natural English pronunciation is agora. Thank you all for bringing the oversight to my attention. I'm confident that I placed the accent on the correct syllable in today's Good Word.
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Re: SOLipsism

Postby Slava » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:24 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:Having never been a solipsist, I must have gone with the usual English accent pattern. Another word with foreign accent placement is agora. The natural English pronunciation is agora. Thank you all for bringing the oversight to my attention. I'm confident that I placed the accent on the correct syllable in today's Good Word.

Regarding our dear Agora, as I've studied ancient Greek, I know how it's meant to be pronounced. For some reason, though, I lacked the confidence to challenge a guest professor at one of my graduate school classes. He pronounced the word as AgorA, with a very pronounced physical gesture on that second A. I knew he was wrong, but just couldn't bring myself to take him to task. I wish I had. Time to get over the need for anonymity, eh?
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:12 am

Having run the course on pronunciation, I would like to comment on the meaning of the word. The Good Doctor's definition is quite correct but it holds further meaning for me. I believe there are theological as well as philosophical aspects to solipsism. I believe there exists only one sin. It is the sin of Pride. If a person lives entirely within himself and denies the reality of creation and creatures, then he/she is guilty of this one sin. If a person is an inconsistent solipsist, then she/he may fall prey to lesser peccadilloes to boost his/her solipsism. Thus, pride generates the things we call sin, but the basic sin is pride. Solipsism is the state of total perpetual sin.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:33 am

Probably the reason the theologians set pride as the first of the seven deadly sins is that pride places a particular human's will or desire above God's or the rest of humanity. In other words, it places finitude in place of infinity. I think the concept may even hold for an atheist in that placing one's personal will over the rest of humanity defeats any sort of genuine cooperation. Pride basically says, "I don't care what God or anyone else thinks, I'm going to have it MY way.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:51 pm

See solipsism in the comics. A strip called "Get Fuzzy" by Darby Conley gets philosophical in this Sunday's (2012JUL01) comics. Check it out. I don't sell newspapers and this is far from my favorite comic, but the philosophy spoof is enthralling.
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Postby Slava » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:03 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:See solipsism in the comics. A strip called "Get Fuzzy" by Darby Conley gets philosophical in this Sunday's (2012JUL01) comics. Check it out. I don't sell newspapers and this is far from my favorite comic, but the philosophy spoof is enthralling.
Yep, this is definitely a whacky one. Fun. but off the long end I'd say.

BTW: PH, you have a PM from me, but you haven't read it as of yet.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:27 pm

Thanks. I looked at several strips and love it!
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:23 pm

Did anyone look at the discussion thread from gocomics.com about the philosophical comic strip? I did, and I am so thankful for Alpha Agora. I agree with many of the contributions to Alpha Agora. When I don't agree, I respect them and usually understand them. By our name, we just attract superior correspondence.
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