(redirected from solipsist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


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 ?
The appeal to a final good is Plato's procedure for asking a question a rational man is right to ask, and for answering it; when the procedure is rightly understood, it is clearer that he does not seek to show that morality promotes a solipsist end, but that it is worthwhile in itself for someone who correctly decides the kind of life he has best reason to choose [.
Related: Smash [Tablet Magazine] The Plot Against England [Tablet Magazine] The Solipsist [Tablet Magazine] Earlier: Howard Jacobson Pulls Off Booker Upset
However, the tomb-maker's solipsist complaints are not developed any further and do not contribute anything to the plot of the novel.
This is the standpoint of] universal scepticism [which] must be carefully distinguished from that maintained by the solipsist or subjective idealist, who maintains that nothing exists except my own consciousness .
But that portrays the man of faith as a skeptic or even a solipsist, believing that the ego, the self, is the source of all truth.
Knoll, reviewing The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees in his Spring 1961 essay for Prairie Schooner, "Weldon Kees; Solipsist as Poet," offers this: "Kees' occasional critics and reviewers have suggested that he has affinities with Auden and Eliot in tone and manner.
Russell Kirk says that Prufrock dwells in "the Hell of the solipsist, unable to credit the reality of those who appear about him" (48).
Saunders spends most of the thirty-seven pages of this opening chapter justifying his decision to write a book about a poet whom most recent "professional readers" regard as "a morbid and misogynistic solipsist, a political opportunist, and a theological conservative" (26).
44) And in the same vein, Freeman is of the opinion that, in searching for adequate categories, Gluckman may be regarded as a cultural solipsist.
Language use grants its user the power to call objects into existence within a solipsist framework.
Like the transcendental solipsist of the Tractatus, we our trapped within the only form of intuition we have.
The female Quixote is perhaps the perfect solipsist as Gordon describes her; she believes unshakably in the reality of her own perceptions, however fantastic or ill at ease with the dominant worldview those perceptions may be.