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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
In the same novel, by mentioning his novel Mysteries he praised also Knut Hamsun, who along with August Strindberg represents the central reference for Miller of the solipsist expression of the artistic life.
In Alastor, Warren observes, Shelley stages the solipsist poet as the one who slips into a grave by following an Orientalist fantasy (and geography) of his own sufficiency, a trajectory that Shelley revises and again critiques in the antiidealist poetics of Epipsychidion, a poem where critique takes the interesting form, according to Warren, of Lucretian materialism.
However, we may ask, if the internalist is not assuming a metaphysical correspondence between language and reality, then, what is this notion of "objective fit" which he assumes and the solipsist and relativist deny?
(Occasionally, it manages to combine the two, as I now realise looking back at Joy Division.) The teenage brain responds to the uncomplicated pleasures of excitement just as self-indulgently wallowing in mawkishness soothes the adolescent solipsist. The music's validity is usually deemed to lie in the sincerity of its performance, the passion of the singer's delivery or the outrageous commitment of the lead guitarist, as if somehow this renders it authentic and therefore immediately of worth.
There is a story in which the seedy Irish solipsist was enjoying either a fine afternoon at Lord's or a walk in a Paris park on a blazing sunny afternoon - accounts differ - with a friend.
So, why wasn't Berkeley an atheist, solipsist, and skeptic?
Andrew Huang's film, called Solipsist, is, as Gulliman says, "a piece of art", which is perhaps less surprising when you discover that the 27-year-old director
Donald Trump might be a solipsist par excellence, and all the other adjectives people have called him, but good times would be back and the dollar might even become strong enough to buy a bag of peanuts again.
Christian mysticism's interiority belongs to a philosophy of intentionality that is necessarily idealist, solipsist, amoral.