Bernardo Has Not Sufficiently Answered The Solipsism Objection

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Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 5:59:30 PM11/5/18
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Bernardo argues for Idealism using Parsimony and dream analogies: which seems to spell death for Non-Solipsistic Idealism.

How does the Idealist infer other minds? The same way everyone else does! Analogy. So what’s the problem?

Dreams...

In dreams we encounter bodies that behave like ours that are not conscious, so we can infer other minds based on analogy all we want and we would be wrong. So if waking reality is like a dream, then it follows that reasoning by analogy is not valid at all. This gives Bernardo’s Philosophy no way to consistently infer other minds it seems.

ONE type of dream (where other bodies have no consciousness behind them) is simpler than TWO types of dreams (one where other bodies have no consciousness behind them AND one where bodies do have consciousness behind them). This makes Solipsism much more Parsimoneous.

How does Bernardo deal with this seemingly knock down objection? Not very well it seems...

In his book WMIB, he says that Solipsism actually violates Parsimony because it assumes a new ability for his private subconscious (to produce experiences based on things he’s never experienced before). He uses the example of a child who has never experienced being a fool in a romantic relationship. Because Solipsism adds this radically new type of ability to his private subconscious (to produce experiences not based on anything else experienced before) then it violates Parsimony and Non-Solipsistic Idealism turns out to be simpler after all *phew*

But wait, surely this is wrong headed. In exchange for avoiding one assumption, he has to assume something entirely more radical! The collective subconscious... Not the ideal payoff.

In the same way that if he can explain everything in terms of one thing (mind) that is to be preferred, similarly, if everything can be explained in term of one source (his private subconscious) that would be preferred.

Adding another ability (to produce experiences not based on things he’s already experienced) to that which he knows for sure to exist (his private subconscious) is VASTLY simpler than assuming a brand new subconscious outside the only one he knows exist (his own private one) which he is not sure to exist.

So he’s eliminated one assumption, but at the cost of adhering to an even bigger one.

Until Bernardo sufficiently addresses the Solipsism problem, I contend, we should not adhere to this line of reasoning.

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:08:34 PM11/5/18
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Yeah but he has no good reason to assume that his person obfuscated experience is capable of producing something like evolution. Whereas assuming that other alters are having experiences isn't a radical step. 

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Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:15:38 PM11/5/18
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Actually adding an ability to something you are sure to exist (your private subconscious) is vastly simpler than making up a brand new category of a source of experience outside his subconscious.

It’s the same logic as to why sticking with what we know (mentality) is simpler than making up something we don’t know (the material). Similarly sticking with what his knows (his private subconscious) is simpler than making up something he doesn’t know (a collective subconscious).

To say otherwise would NOT be consistent logically.

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:35:53 PM11/5/18
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Nah. I know the toys I made out of yarn. But when I walk into my room and see the computers, it's more reasonable to to assume that somebody else made them. Even in my room. 

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Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:41:27 PM11/5/18
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So you accept Parsimony when it suits you (to do away with the Material) but you reject it when it doesn’t (so you can avoid Parsimony doing away with other minds) . This is just a Taxi Cab Fallacy, and logically inconsistent.

Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:45:35 PM11/5/18
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“The principle of Parsimony, in doing away with material substance, seems to be no less ruthless with other minds.” - JE Henkel

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:48:09 PM11/5/18
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No, I think assuming solipsism adds unreasonable assumptions. I don't think your analogy to his argument for idealism fits. I'll respond when I get home. 

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 3:41 PM Jason Barr <Shup...@gmail.com> wrote:
So you accept Parsimony when it suits you (to do away with the Material) but you reject it when it doesn’t (so you can avoid Parsimony doing away with other minds) . This is just a Taxi Cab Fallacy, and logically inconsistent.

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Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:53:48 PM11/5/18
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I actually want to be an Idealist (again), this is my biggest concern with it though. The logic that does away with the material, when applied to other minds, seems to do away with those as well.

If I’m wrong, please enlighten me.

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 6:58:19 PM11/5/18
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You do away with the material by recognizing it as a partial image of a process that you didn't create. It still has the same not-me character as the idea of matter. 

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 3:53 PM Jason Barr <Shup...@gmail.com> wrote:
I actually want to be an Idealist (again), this is my biggest concern with it though. The logic that does away with the material, when applied to other minds, seems to do away with those as well.

If I’m wrong, please enlighten me.

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Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 7:22:34 PM11/5/18
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When you sleep your subconscious produces realities that you consciously don’t control. Nightmares are a perfect example of a private mental reality beyond your control. If you controlled all your private realities, you would never have nightmares.

Wouldn’t assuming waking reality is just like that as well simpler then assuming a brand new type of dream?

Jason Barr

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Nov 5, 2018, 7:26:48 PM11/5/18
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Dreams are still you, it’s just you are a slave to your subconscious. You don’t choose what realities it creates (hence nightmares).

How do you know waking reality isn’t the same thing but with the stability and vividness turned up?

Dana Lomas

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Nov 5, 2018, 10:24:47 PM11/5/18
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Jason ... Not sure I'm following your reasoning. So what you're positing is that you and I and every other individual are not unique loci of a singular Consciousness?

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 11:22:48 PM11/5/18
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Assuming waking life is exactly the same as nightly dream might appear simpler on the surface but it just introduces too many problems and complexities that aren't as reasonable as inferring that you and I are both having private experiences. 

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 4:22 PM Jason Barr <Shup...@gmail.com> wrote:
When you sleep your subconscious produces realities that you consciously don’t control. Nightmares are a perfect example of a private mental reality beyond your control. If you controlled all your private realities, you would never have nightmares.

Wouldn’t assuming waking reality is just like that as well simpler then assuming a brand new type of dream?

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Jeff Falzone

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Nov 5, 2018, 11:24:47 PM11/5/18
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I don't know for sure. It just is a more reasonable arguement than that you, Jason Barr, are only my mental image with no inner life of your own. You didn't experience anything when you were typing that message because it only existed once I read it. I find that introducing a whole slew of inferences and complexites that go away when I assume that you are having your own experience. 

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 4:26 PM Jason Barr <Shup...@gmail.com> wrote:
Dreams are still you, it’s just you are a slave to your subconscious. You don’t choose what realities it creates (hence nightmares).

How do you know waking reality isn’t the same thing but with the stability and vividness turned up?

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Justin

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Nov 6, 2018, 1:20:14 AM11/6/18
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“The principle of Parsimony, in doing away with material substance, seems to be no less ruthless with other minds.” - JE Henkel

Good point. Perhaps a balance is needed between parsimony and other considerations  such as simplicity and explanatory power in assessing metaphysical options.

Taking these three factors of parsimony, simplicity and explanatory power  into account, panpsychism may have the upper hand, being able to explain material appearances without invoking the ontological category of being that is nonconscious.

Dana Lomas

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Nov 6, 2018, 3:42:47 AM11/6/18
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To be sure, if taken to its eventual conclusion, and there is only a sole locus of consciousness, then M@L is the only possible solipsist, and all its apparent unique loci, each of us, are illusory, rendering this entire conversation like some pointless absurdity right out of Through The Looking Glass ... Will the 'real' illusory entity please come forward? :))

Justin

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Nov 6, 2018, 5:14:44 AM11/6/18
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The problem for M@L is that if parsimony is our guide for choosing between metaphysical theories then solipsism wins (because if parsimony is the sole guide then there is no reason for me to assume that anything exists besides what I experience).

On the other hand, if we allow other factors besides parsimony to guide our choice of theories, then idealism is not superior to materialism just because it is more parsimonious. The same sort of things which led to preferring M@L to solipsism, could be used to argue that materialism trumps M@L.

Bernardo

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Nov 6, 2018, 5:52:48 AM11/6/18
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Jason, over the past couple of days you've made a half dozen comments on this on my FB page, posted on this in another thread, and now here. This will do, the point is raised with enough emphasis. I will not address it beyond the answers I already gave to you on FB and in the other thread here, as well as in multiple ones of my writings, which I already linked to elsewhere. Flooding my online presence with this point will serve no purpose.

Bernardo

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Nov 6, 2018, 5:56:50 AM11/6/18
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One last comment I have already made multiple times in multiple places: a material world outside mind is a whole new ontological class. Accepting the existence of other minds, however, only grants that there are other instances of an ontological class already known to exist through direct first-person experience. These two things are not equivalent, under the light of the principle of parsimony, under any stretch of the imagination. Elsewhere I made the analogy between accepting that the Earth extends beyond the horizon, and accepting that there is a shadow Earth made of something non-material. These are not equivalent concessions.

Bernardo

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Nov 6, 2018, 5:58:49 AM11/6/18
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This is simply not true. See, for instance, my previous post.

Dana Lomas

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Nov 6, 2018, 6:11:01 AM11/6/18
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there is no reason for me to assume that anything exists besides what I experience

Ok, then carry on having this dialogue with a fictional aspect of your own experience, as I have now been written out of your script. :)

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 6, 2018, 11:03:12 AM11/6/18
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" The problem for M@L is that if parsimony is our guide for choosing between metaphysical theories then solipsism wins (because if parsimony is the sole guide..."

Yeah, so far I've yet to meet any serious thinker who comes close to claiming that parsimony is the sole guide. I think i would be impossible to take that person seriously. I like the way BK contextualizes it and argues against merely 'simple explanations.' 

Maybe there are people who really claim it is all about the  shortest sentences. 

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Jason Barr

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Nov 6, 2018, 11:12:16 AM11/6/18
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There’s no doubt it is less of a leap, I’ll grant you that. However, it still violates Parsimony none the less, the very principle you use to do away with the material. Just because it violates it LESS does not really change the point I’m making.

My apologies for emphasizing the point over extensively, I just do not think you address this sufficiently, or take the problem seriously enough. I have read your blogs and read the passages in WMIB about this.

There could be something I’m missing, and I could be dead wrong.

Jason Barr

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Nov 6, 2018, 11:15:36 AM11/6/18
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Perhaps it should be argued that simplicity + reasonableness gets you the best theory. Perhaps sacrificing simplicity in favor of reasonableness can get you to dodge Solipsism.

The problem I see is with the approach and the claim that Solipsism isn’t simpler (which you have claimed) when it self-evidently is.

Cheers.

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 6, 2018, 11:43:42 AM11/6/18
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A simpler thought than rationalizing solipsism is to just think about what's for dinner and assume that is the only point. But mind your portions! 

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Jason Barr

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Nov 6, 2018, 12:25:57 PM11/6/18
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I never rationalized solipsism, it’s almost certainly false. I’m saying Bernardo’s arguments from simplicity lead to it. There has to be more.

Jason Barr

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Nov 6, 2018, 12:26:47 PM11/6/18
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It could also be I haven’t read enough of Kastrup’s work on this. But from what I read he argues solipsism is not simpler.

Jeff Falzone

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Nov 6, 2018, 12:30:37 PM11/6/18
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Oh I know you weren't. I'm just disagreeing with you when you claim that it is simpler AND I think you mischaracterize how Bernardo presents arguments in general. I'm not interested in debating it. It just seems like you aren't characterizing either aspect very well. I'll keep listening. 

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 9:25 AM Jason Barr <shup...@gmail.com> wrote:
I never rationalized solipsism, it’s almost certainly false. I’m saying Bernardo’s arguments from simplicity lead to it. There has to be more.

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Justin

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Nov 7, 2018, 4:04:03 AM11/7/18
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I'm not denying that idealism is more parsimonious than materialism (although as the distinctive ontological feature of one's own mind is that is directly accessible, it could perhaps be argued that positing the existence of other inaccessible minds amounts to positing another ontological class and therefore that the differences in parsimony are not vast).

However, I agree with Jason that solipsism is more parsimonious than idealism. Therefore, if considerations other than parsimony are used in assessing the merits of idealism versus solipsism, then similar considerations should be allowed in assessing idealism versus materialism.

For example, just as an idealist might argue that idealism is preferable to solipsism even though it is less parsimonious because the assumption of other minds gives more explanatory power, so too could a materialist argue that materialism is preferable to idealism even though it is less parsimonious because the assumption of the existence of space-time gives more explanatory power.

BTW, I'm not implying that there may not be other arguments which you or others have made that demonstrate that idealism is preferable to materialism, just that I don't think that parsimony can do the job on its own.


Bernardo

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Nov 7, 2018, 4:09:14 AM11/7/18
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All I can do is point back to my argument against solipsism in Why Materialism Is Baloney, which I still consider up-to-date and compelling: idealism provides a simpler explanation for the facts of experience than solipsism. If a reader disagrees with it, that's fine, it's not my goal to convince everyone of my views. But that's my position. Cheers, B. PS: one should not conflate a more skeptical view with a simpler view. Solipsism is more skeptical, but whether it is simpler is open for debate. I think it is not.

Dana Lomas

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Nov 7, 2018, 4:59:34 AM11/7/18
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" ... but whether it is simpler is open for debate." ~ BK

One has to wonder how relevant it even is that it be simpler or not. Surely anyone, in making the case to other individuals that solipsism might be true, is in fact demonstrating otherwise, just by virtue of the fact that they are making the case to other individuals while presuming those individuals are conscious of that case, however parsimonious it may or may nor be.

Bernardo

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Nov 7, 2018, 6:14:05 AM11/7/18
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Yes, this is Bertrand Russell's argument against solipsism.
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