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Philosophy the extreme form of scepticism which denies the possibility of any knowledge other than of one's own existence


(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.



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.


References in periodicals archive ?
24) The private language of the solipsist is shown to be an impossibility, since there would be no teachable rules in such a language and therefore no verifiable meanings.
moment in which, the visionary solipsist is finally freed from shadowy
In his "reprobation" of the Monarchia, the Dominican Guido Vernani, for instance, went so far as to condemn Dante as a "vessel of the Devil" and "a man who wrote many fantastic things in poetry, a verbose solipsist [who] fraudulently seduces not only sickly minds but even zealous ones to the distraction of salutary truth" (265-66).
The solipsist places himself at the centre of the universe; its only meaning emanates from his perception and his consciousness" (100).
I cannot see this life as a cipher of Divine Will; neither am I a solipsist or narcissist, in love with men.
Since Jim is an intelligent bibliophile, however, his observations on contemporary life are often witty, quirky, and amusing and help to balance a portrait of a character that at times may seem a bit of a womanizer and a solipsist.
On top of all that, he tells you, often, that he is full of contradictions and criticizes his own maneuvers on the fly, like a solipsist Cicero in the throes of an endless refutatio.
K Chesterton's solipsist who was so convinced of his philosophy that he gave speeches all over England to get people to join him.
Weinberger would have the reader believe that the poets of the post-World War II generation are talking to themselves, rather than the world; they are nothing more than a bunch of self-indulgent solipsist.
She realizes that Pater was not a solipsist, even when he wrote the "Conclusion.
Nor is it clear why, for example, a Cartesian solipsist couldn't accept this argument.
LeWitt has famously been called our most gifted solipsist, a title that he has held since Conceptualism's heyday in the late 1960s.