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Philosophy the extreme form of scepticism which denies the possibility of any knowledge other than of one's own existence
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(PHILOSOPHY) the doctrine that the self- my self- is all that can be known to exist and that ‘world’ outside ‘exists’ only as the content of individual consciousness. The doctrine arises from a recognition that the ‘objects’ of our sense experience are ‘mind-dependent’. However, solipsism is nowadays thought incoherent, e.g. WITTGENSTEIN argued that it is incompatible with the existence of the language in which the theory is expressed. The alternative view is REALISM, that the world outside can be ‘known’, although the limits of such knowledge of the world remains an issue. Compare RELATIVISM.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an extreme form of subjective idealism, which considers only the thinking subjects to be real beyond doubt, with all other objects declared to exist only in the consciousness of the individual. Solipsism contradicts all of life’s experience, scientific data, and the evidence of practical activity. Consistently maintained solipsism is extremely rare, but it is found in certain philosophers, including the 17th-century French philosopher and physician C. Brunet.

Proponents of solipsism usually try to avoid a consistently maintained solipsism by synthesizing subjective and objective idealism; this testifies to the lack of soundness in the doctrine’s underpinnings. G. Berkeley attempted to escape the accusation of solipsism by declaring that all objects exist in the form of “ideas” in the mind of god, who “inserts” sensation into human consciousness; he thus adopted a type of Platonic idealism. The subjective idealism of J. Fichte also led to solipsism, although Fichte stressed that the absolute ego on which his science of knowledge was based is not the individual ego but coincides ultimately with the self-consciousness of mankind as a whole. Solipsistic tendencies are clearly pronounced in empiriocriticism (see V. I. Lenin, Materializm i empiriokrititsizm, in Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 18, pp. 92–96). They are even more apparent in immanentism, whose exponents included R. Schubert-Soldern and W. Schuppe.

The term “solipsism” is sometimes used in an ethical sense to denote extreme egoism and egocentrism—”practical solipsism,” according to the terminology of the existentialist G. Marcel. M. Stirner most clearly represented this form of solipsism.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
These two concepts share a field of reference because both express a species of solipsism. When a "shape" that appears or vanishes on the heath is the object of visual perception, its existence seems contingent on the subject--and of course, when that shape is an imagined object of desire, it actually is contingent.
The longest analysis of Shelley's poetics occurs in the chapter on The Revolt of Islam as a work struggling with all of the figures of Orientalism that Warren's study develops: erotic solipsism, Oriental binding and wounding, the strange twinness and sought after wholeness of the lovers Laon and Cythna, and the foreign as the force that seeks to lead Islam in revolt against its despot.
Thus, keeping in mind that internal realism is far from being a perfect doctrine--which, by the way, more than a doctrine, like pragmatism, would be a philosophical attitude--, in this essay I will insist that Putnam's rejection of his former doctrine and his charges of solipsism are misfired.
This position is also open to the same concerns that Arnold has about Fodor's methodological solipsism, namely that this reduction to what appears directly does not necessarily make an explanation in causal terms easier.
Again, most post-modern authors of scientism, as well as the majority of so-called "scientists", do not seem to intuitively emphasize the need for the deconstruction of the ultimately illogical-pathological state of a world much plagued with hypersemiotics, hypernarration, oxymoronism, sycophancy, pseudo-objectivity, pseudo-science, pseudophilosophy, pseudo-spirituality, pseudo-artistry, solipsism, and ontic-epistemic shallowness.
(2) Kinney argues that O'Brien's novel delicately probes the idea of America as an imperialist nation, but ultimately suppresses that knowledge in large part through its solipsism. Like many Vietnam narratives obsessed with the war's effects on the US--an obsession that "reduces the Vietnamese to bit players," in Kinney's words--the trope of friendly fire in the novel (the central story of the fragging of Lt.
Given Heidegger's sensitivity to being misread, one might rightly fault Heidegger for expressing his view about ethics (in his lectures on Aristotle) in a way that obviously invites misreading (this is evidenced by the sheer number of philosophers who see a kind of solipsism in Heidegger's account of phronesis).
A Reply to Mandik on Wittgenstein on Solipsism," Analysis and Metaphysics 8: 30-43.
In this article, I will suggest that these remarks by Kant should lead us to take seriously the problem of ethical solipsism in relation to the morally central concept of guilt.
Throughout their article, Rudes and Guterman defined progress as the resolution of the philosophical problem of solipsism, which, they repeatedly argued, is a natural consequence of any orientation that idealizes ISE.
By exposing the mask behind the mask, and the mask behind that again, Andy Warhol constructed a viable alternative to sincerity, a version of fame and success that made an apparent virtue of solipsism, yet was profoundly private and self-concealing.