The Irrefutable Doctrine

As a philosophical doctrine, Solipsism cannot be formally refuted. All is grist to its mill; for you, who are now arguing against it, are no more than a figment of my imagination. The interesting question is, then, why there are so few explicitly believing Solipsists – I mean this in a more declarative sense than mere insensitivity and egotism, which is clearly commoner. Most of us, and perhaps all normal people by definition, instinctively revolt against Solipsism. We may not always do well by others, but we simply do not like a doctrine that proclaims they do not exist at all. Why might this be?

The generous answer might be that it is inherently morally offensive. We recoil because it reminds us of the way some people actually behave, people we are accustomed to regard as dangerous. That is, while committed solipsists need not be serial killers, they makes us think about them. This might even be a sound and healthy instinct, uncannily analogous to our distaste for the smell of bodily decay. As Aristotle pointed out, we are social beings and to live alone you have to be an animal or a god. If there are no gods, a solipsist has to be an animal.

A ruder answer, however, might be that it is precisely because of our self-love, which borders on the very thing we are endeavouring to condemn. In a world in which only I truly existed, I could get no narcissistic supply, other than my own self-admiration in a vacuum. This is probably not enough. Indeed, the central paradox of narcissists is how much they actually need other people, if only to bore and abuse them.

Posted on December 1, 2013 at 16:45 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, A Theory Of Everybody

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