Metaphysical Solipsism is Most Likely Correct
All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.
With 1 vote and 6 points ahead, the winner is ...
- Publication date
- Last update date
- Time for argument
- Two weeks
- Voting system
- Open voting
- Voting period
- One week
- Point system
- Four points
- Rating mode
- Characters per argument
I had to create a new debate, because you can not edit the debate to add a contender after you publish it!
Metaphysical Solipsism: The philosophy of subjective idealism that asserts that nothing exists externally to the mind and that the external, physical world and other people are representatives of the mind and have no independent existence.
BoP is shared; Con must also provide evidence to show that the resolution is most likely untrue.
R1: Opening arguments
R3: Rebuttals and defence
R4: Rebuttals/defence (no new arguments)
A2. Monistic Idealism
== Rebuttals ==
Con’s opening argument is synthesized with a lot of “intuitive observation” and consists of few tenable a priori or a posteriori postulates . If MS were an incoherent ontology it would be because it is either internally incoherent or externally constrained . Therefore, non-existence is attributed when “something” is in violation of a priori truths, or a posteriori observations. For example, the concept of a “squared circled” is internally incoherent as it inherently oxymoronic as it is in violation with other truth-bearing assertions. Moreover, the proposition “semperfortis is dead” might be an internally consistent proposition, yet it is externally constrained by the nature of reality providing that semperfortis is actually alive. With this said, Con’s opening argument doesn’t provide a substantial argument that MS is “internally incoherent”, nor “externally constrained”. As aforementioned, he posits many “intuitive observations” to why MS would seem illogical, but doesn’t show it is incoherent a priori. However, my arguments are a priori justifications of the ontology of MS, for this reason, my arguments should take priority.
1. MS isn’t consistent with observation.
a) The products of other minds
P1: There exists things which require thought or calculation to exist which we cannot remember doing “mental work” to create
P2: If one cannot remember doing “mental work” to create these things, it implies there must be something else to do it.
C: There exists something other than the mind
Without even attacking the cogency of the premises, the conclusion would entail either dualism or substance pluralism; none of which Con has provided metaphysical justification for.
b) A lack of consistency between mind and reality
i) The mind and reality don’t share certain qualities
Con gives an example of how natural laws do not pertain to the ‘dream world’. But how does this pertain to the mind as a whole? Con is essentially asserting an argument that natural laws are grounded in “external reality”, but provides no reason why natural laws cannot be reduced to the mental. Dreams do not represent the entire mind; dreams are as nonsensical and fantastic to a metaphysical solipsist as they are to any other metaphysical doctrine. This doesn't show laws are irreducible to the mind.
ii) Minds are forgetful
This would be true if and only if the mind “as a whole” is forgetful. Con cannot continue to extrapolate from specific scopes of the mind. One cannot deduce the mind as a whole to have the exact properties of its parts; as such there would be no subsets of anything; all invertebrates would have backbones; all arachnids would have arms and legs; and all reptiles would birth live young. Clearly, we cannot extrapolate the properties of a subset to a superset, as such would be absurd. Extrapolations are useful if what you are extrapolating from is observed to be “a powerful statement” , thus having relatively grounded veracity to make testable predictions from. However, sans an observation of this capacity, Con would be delving into an unsubstantial form of abductive explanation or “inference to best explanation”. However, in light of my previously highlighted fact that there are layers to consciousness, thi tremendously reduces the accuracy of this extrapolation.
As aforementioned, there are layers to consciousness; of which indicate that memory is not a single faculty and that our subconscious mind has a great capacity for memory . Moreover, in the book ‘Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing” by Roy Lachman, Janet Lachman, and Earl Butterfield, it is elucidated that our conscious mind accounts for only a small percentage of our total mental activity. The book illustrates:
Con offers to the audience that reality doesn’t “make mistakes” and later defines a “mistake” as a physical contradiction to natural laws. Firstly, this argument is unsound because natural laws do not co-exist in harmony; they often refute each other. Physicists were desperately trying to find evidence for string theory to try and reconcile the compatibility between relativity and quantum mechanics. One could offer that each theory is a “mistake” as many factors of them contradict each other. Newtonian physics offer successful predictions for macroscopic entities with relativity small velocities, yet offers infinities with particles of small masses and when objects travel greater than around 0.3c. At this scale, special relativity would only apply for inertial frames of reference; and general relativity for non-inertial frames of reference. However, relativity on balance inherently clashes with the predictions made in quantum mechanics, especially with Aspect-type experiments utilizing Bell’s inequalities . The empirical results of the experiments showed the instantaneous transmission of information through entangled particles, because no matter the physical distance between two quantum systems, when one system is observed to collapse to a specific chirality (spin) its entangled particle, which could be suspended a potentially infinite distance will “instantaneously” become anti-correlated. This is in distinct violation of predictions made in relativity; the principle of locality assumes that if two objects, X and Y are to causally affect each other, it must be from the mediation of space-time . If Con’s argument was correct, we would expect all natural laws to exist in harmony, yet we have been stagnant in reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics for around 100 years now.
iv) Lack of detail
This doesn’t hold much substance. Con states that dreams and the mind’s eye are “easily distinguishable from reality”, yet the majority of the time one is unaware that they are dreaming – as only 50% of people can say that they have “lucid dreamed” at least once in their lives . Con’s position would hold weight if and only if lucid dreaming would occur at least the majority of the time.
Prima facie acceptance of these arguments wouldn’t necessarily extend to the mind as a whole. Con makes a lot of unwarranted extrapolation – assuming that specific subsets of the mind either transfer their properties to the superset, or inherit those properties from the superset (which he hasn’t demonstrated). Con would need to show why something that might be true for one subset of the mind, applies to the whole mind. Or, he ought to demonstrate why the mind as a whole already shares those properties.
2. The existence of an objective reality is more likely than MS being correct
All of these competing theories are deemed less parsimonious via Occam’s Razor. For example, a ‘Simulated World Hypothesis’ (SWH) would have far greater ‘ad hoc’ assumptions than MS. An ‘ad hoc’ assumption is an ontological extension which prevents a theory from being falsified . To assume the veracity of SWH, one would need the ad hoc assumption that there exists an intelligent species with the technology able to create an artificial reality. Since MS makes the least ontological assumptions, it remains more parsimonious than these competing hypotheses. Moreover, I have shown that the “observational inconsistencies” are misrepresentations of the entire mind, thus they hold no weight in preferring any other competing hypothesis with MS in epistemological grounds.
 Google ‘define subconscious’
 R Lachman, J Lachman, E Butterfield, “Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing”
Re: "A1. Epistemological Parsimony" -
I am in agreement with Pro that the existence of the mind is a most certain and irrefutable fact. I also agree that "the external reality which is said to exist [without] the mind does not share the same certainty."
However, Pro goes on to claim that "there is no fact which corroborates the existence of an external reality" and that "there is no justifiable claim to assert that qualia represent anything truly external." Here I disagree with Pro. The fact that we directly observe reality with our senses corroborates its existence. Further, certain observations of reality justify the claim that it is an external rather than internal reality. Specifically, the products of other minds and the lack of consistency between reality and the mind, as I put forth in my opening case.
Pro argues that ontologically parsimonious positions are more likely. Pro alleges that "[MS] posits the fewest ontological assumptions" because "an alternate ontology would [...] assume that qualia represent a physical reality, external to the mind." But MS does not "posit the fewest ontological assumptions" than an "alternate ontology". MS assumes that it is not true that "qualia represent a physical reality, external to the mind" while an "an alternate ontology would [...] assume that qualia represent a physical reality, external to the mind." Stated differently, MS posits that no objective reality exists, while competing theories assume the opposite - That an objective reality does exist. With respect to the existence or non-existence of an objective reality, MS and competing theories both make a claim one way or the other. MS and competing theories are consequently on an even-footing in terms of "ontological parsimony" when it comes to assumptions about the existence or non-existence of reality. Pro's argument fails because Pro's allegation that "[MS] posits the fewest ontological assumptions" is a false premise. More clearly:
Consider the following statements:
Statement A: "The mind exists."
Statement B: Some "qualia represent a physical reality, external to the mind." (from Pro's text)
Statement C: "An objective reality exists"
The common view posits the following:
1. Statement A is true.
2. Statement B is true.
3. Statement C is true.
MS posits the following:
1. Statement A is true.
2. Statement B is not true.
3. Statement C is not true.
A "simulation hypothesis" (e.g. "the matrix"; "brain in a vat") posits the following:
1. Statement A is true
2. Statement B is not true
3. Statement C is true
None of these positions are more "ontologically parsimonious" than the other because all have specific ontological positions as to the existence of the mind, the existence of an objective reality, and the nature of qualia. They are on an even-footing. A truly superior position in terms of ontological parsimony would be one which claims only that "Statement A is true" and takes no position as to the truth of statements B or C. Such a position would be more likely to be correct than MS or an alternate ontology because the truth of such a position wouldn't be contingent on the objective truth of statement B nor C. To illustrate:
A truly "ontologically parsimonious" position:
1. Statement A is true
This position is more likely to be correct than the other positions because, unlike the other positions, whether statements B and/or C are true or not true has no impact on whether or not this position is correct.
Re: "A2. Monistic Idealism"
The gist of Pros' argument here is that MS is superior because it avoids the mind-body problem. (Overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind-body_problem ) If the mind is all there is, then there is no mind-body problem because the body (and everything else) doesn't exist.
Any advantage MS may have by avoiding the mind-body problem is outweighed by the unavoidable logical problems associated with denying an objective reality. For example, the lack of any explanation for why and/or how qualia representing reality came about and the lack of consistency of MS with observation. Competing explanations do not suffer from these problems and are superior to MS despite the mind-body problem. Some competing explanations do not suffer from the mind-body problem at all (e.g. physicalism).
Re: The products of other minds
Pro now asserts the existence of different layers of consciousness and the subconscious and attributes the generation of qualia to these "layers". This mental work is supposedly being done without any awareness of the mind actually doing it.
Pro's argument here is largely self-defeating. These explanations for observations go against the grain of MS. Strictly speaking, the scope of the "mind" as contemplated by MS doesn't encompass the subconscious and other aspects of the human mind other than which we're not directly aware of. This is because MS is generally denies the existence of what isn't supported by direct - superdirect - observation. It's not logically consistent to acknowledge the existence of only what is superdirectly observed (i.e. the mind itself) and then to posit the existence of things which aren't supported by that same type of observation. This is precisely what Pro is doing - Asserting the existence of things which aren't directly observed as ad hoc explanations for MS's lack of consistency with observation. This explanation should be rejected.
Re: A lack of consistency between mind and reality
My argument was generally as follows:
If MS is correct, then reality would be of the mind. If reality were of the mind, then reality would likely be like the mind. We have observed that reality is not like the mind. Therefore it is unlikely that MS is correct.
Pro does not dispute the observation that reality is not like the mind. Rather than accepting the implications of the observation, Pro's response is to assert that reality represents an aspect of the mind which is uniquely unlike the rest of the mind. This explanation is unlikely to be correct because there is no reason why such an aspect of the mind would be unlike the rest. My argument was a simple and legitimate generalization.
Re: The existence of an objective reality is more likely than MS being correct
R1: Opening argumentsR2: RebuttalsR3: Rebuttals and defenceR4: Rebuttals/defence (no new arguments)
“Statement A: "The mind exists."Statement B: Some "qualia represent a physical reality, external to the mind." (from Pro's text)Statement C: "An objective reality exists"The common view posits the following:1. Statement A is true.2. Statement B is true.3. Statement C is true.MS posits the following:1. Statement A is true.2. Statement B is not true.3. Statement C is not true.
A "simulation hypothesis" (e.g. "the matrix"; "brain in a vat") posits the following:1. Statement A is true2. Statement B is not true3. Statement C is true”
The basic notion of ontological parsimony is quite straightforward, and is standardly cashed out in terms of Quine's concept of ontological commitment. A theory, T, is ontologically committed to Fs if and only if T entails that F's exist (Quine 1981, pp. 144–4). If two theories, T1 and T2, have the same ontological commitments except that T2 is ontologically committed to Fs and T1 is not, then T1 is more parsimonious than T2.
Are there nonexistent objects, i.e., objects that do not exist? Some examples often cited are: Zeus, Pegasus, Sherlock Holmes, Vulcan (the hypothetical planet postulated by the 19th century astronomer Le Verrier), the perpetual motion machine, the golden mountain, the fountain of youth, the round square, etc. Some important philosophers have thought that the very concept of a nonexistent object is contradictory (Hume) or logically ill-formed (Kant, Frege), while others (Leibniz, Meinong, the Russell of Principles of Mathematics) have embraced it wholeheartedly.One of the reasons why there are doubts about the concept of a nonexistent object is this: to be able to say truly of an object that it doesn’t exist, it seems that one has to presuppose that it exists, for doesn’t a thing have to exist if we are to make a true claim about it?[...] what a speaker means when she utters the sentence ‘Ronald McDonald does not exist’ is not the false proposition that that sentence expresses but instead the true proposition that (the fictional character) Ronald McDonald is not a real person or is not concrete. Indeed, this is suggested by the natural amendment, ‘‘Ronald McDonald does not exist; he's a creation of advertisement!’’ On this view, then, there are no genuinely true singular negative existentials. All meaningful singular existentials are true and their negations false. We mistakenly take some singular negative existentials to be true because we conflate or do not sharply distinguish existing from being concrete.
the notion of ontological commitment for theories is a simple matter. Theories have truth conditions. These truth conditions tell us how the world must be in order for the theory to be true; they make demands on the world.
An array of radio receivers, connected to electrodes in contact with the occipital pole of the right cerebral hemisphere, has been implanted into a 52-year-old blind patient. By giving appropriate radio signals, the patient can be caused to experience sensations of light in the left half of the visual field.
An individual who has sustained [...] irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead.