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Everyone's familiar with Descartes' "I think, therefor I am", but how can I be sure anyone else exists? Is there a empirical method towards confirming someone's existence?
Which is why many kings and royals were so obsessed with leaving behind physical legacies like the pyramids and statues/art of themselves.
Ultimately, I think there are no absolute certainties outside of purely theoretical constructs like math or (formal) logic.
Anything empirical requires sensory input. Sensory input can be falsified (i.e, the classical brain-in-a-jar thought experiment). Even natural laws do not really boil down to "A -> B" but rather
>"A probably causes B, and as all of our current evidence shows A as the cause of B, we can reasonably assume A causes B".
Consider furthermore that even if you assume you are a real person with a real brain, said brain alone will subconsciously filter out tons of information that it (or at least the millenia-old instincts driving it) does not consider important to your and hence its own future survival. So if a lunatic sees something that's not there, you're factually wrong in saying it's no there. What you do have is a fairly high probability that it's not there, and that the nutter is in fact a nutter.
In other words, what we perceive as reality effectively is a tool of convenience. Not necessarily a bad one, even, but it's helpful to remember that human knowledge expands exponentially - and with it change the probabilities.
In reality, and I don't necessarily mean the reality that we can perceive, there's literally no room for uncertainty. Something either is or isn't. Which leads me to the belief that everything that is can be learned, but it's just a matter of humanity not reaching a certain evolutionary or mental point to even begin to understand as much as there is to be understood.
I generally agree that in "true" reality (which we cannot conceive), things just are (or not). One might argue quantum physics wouldn't be okay with that, but I honestly don't understand enough of that shit to even pretend I'd know.
As for the learning experience - you can gather new knowledge to the point there's a probability of 9,99 in 10 that what you think is true is, in fact, true. But never an absolute certainty. It's not even a point of evolutionary or abstract mental development - it's an inherent flaw of empirical knowledge.
>Everyone's familiar with Descartes' "I think, therefor I am"
But that's a purely rational method. You can look up Husserl's argument against solipsism, it should be in "Formal and Transcendental Logic" and "Cartesian Meditations" somewhere.
Otherwise if you want an empirical method to confirm if a certain person exists, and you are willing to trust your sensory experience, I'd suggest poking them with a stick.
>Everyone's familiar with Descartes' "I think, therefor I am", but how can I be sure anyone else exists? Is there a empirical method towards confirming someone's existence?
Yes, everyone exists, because we live in a world of atoms, and atoms arranged in a certain little way makes a thing we call "people." If you went blind, mute, lost your sense of touch and ability to hear, they would still be there, watching you flail about.
If you don't buy the idea that reality exists outside observation, then nevermind. You don't have a reference point for anything at-all, in fact, but now you have a new question to ask: why do you care if anyone else exists? You may be entirely alone, you may not know for certain whether anyone else or anything exists, but why do you care?
Even if you proved for certain that no one else existed at-all, you're still experiencing their presence, you don't fly without wings, you haven't won four lotteries in five minutes, and you're not eighty feet tall. If you think you can change those facts -- well, do it. If your bet is wrong, reality exists and your brain is fooling you, you'll wind up some shade of mentally ill, but such fine control over the senses is rare and worth pursuing.
If you can't do those things, then your behavior shouldn't change at all. You've been dropped into a very protracted nightmare, and you have lots of imaginary friends and foes along for the ride. Be nice, and be thankful there's anyone else with you at all, even shitty people, because nothingness is worse.
>But that's a purely rational method. You can look up Husserl's argument against solipsism, it should be in "Formal and Transcendental Logic" and "Cartesian Meditations" somewhere.
Husserl was implicitly solipsistic, even permitting his objections, because he hinged his defense on intersubjectivity. No matter how empathic and "a-priori" you claim the community your transcendental lens participates in is, it must still be observed to become certain, since transcendentalism demands that observation be the root of objectivity.
Yet observations are of fault, and every step of the twinning with the transcendental community is guilty of assuming the reality of the community in the first place. Assuming there is a part of one's self one can not observe guiding them, some principle that generates falsity, or a third party intervening, it is easy to construct a scenario in which the entire experience is falsified and returned as though it is real without ever truly connecting. /x/ is intimately familiar with at least one real-world analogy in schizophrenic tulpafags, who commit every step of Husserl's proof of community- with themself, and no one else.
There's just no way around it, really, as a "non-solipsistic" reality which has a purely experiential component can only ever be a matter of theology. That's not a problem, of course, but it must be understood as such to move forward in a productive direction.
>and you are willing to trust your sensory experience
You can't, that's the entire point. Solipsism isn't a real position for anyone but loons, it's a thought experiment about the implications of the inadequacies of qualia. That's also why it's usually used to object to theories, so as to say, 'if your assumptions lead to solipsism, somewhere you must have a logical fault.'
That's jumping the wagon a bit, but it's still a valuable divisor in theories. Either your interpretation of reality is tailored to allow a single ego explanation, or refuses to allow a single ego explanation.
>Yet observations are of fault, and every step of the twinning with the transcendental community is guilty of assuming the reality of the community in the first place.
Phenomenologicaly speaking, the sphere of intentional objects is the prime reality, and in that sense, observation are correct, because to transcendental subject obervations and reality are one and the same. Assuming there is material universe from which intentional objects are projected, the entire experience is already falsified, elemental particles and laws of physics being the 3rd party. The only non-theological way to connect the experience and a priori assumed reality is to attempt to cross the gap using as few and as small leaps of faith as possible.
>tulpafags, who commit every step of Husserl's proof of community- with themself, and no one else
That is, assuming tulpa does not have a monad of its own.
>The only non-theological way to connect the experience and a priori assumed reality is to attempt to cross the gap using as few and as small leaps of faith as possible.
I'd go a step further and argue that it's ultimately pointless to wrack your brains over the potential truths that may or may not be there. Consciousness is flawed by design - that's how it is. We can't change that. Best we can do is take what we have and try to find happiness within it, even if it may or may not be illusory.
At the very best, I could imagine Tulpas are a "shut-off" part of the user's subconsciousness that has a (limited) consciousness of its own. Kind of like how you can run two different programs on the same computer. Or, more bluntly put, a voluntary form of a multiple personality disorder.
>it's ultimately pointless to wrack your brains over the potential truths that may or may not be there
Denying cognition completely is a self-defeating position, might as well turn to positivism.
>form of a multiple personality disorder
Despite what they usually show in film, multiple personality disorder is not a state when multiple separate concious minds coexist at the same time in one body, but rather an occurence of single conciousness believing itself to assume a different identity, usually accompanied by dissociative amnesia, a rather extreme cause of roleplaying.
>but rather an occurence of single conciousness believing itself to assume a different identity, usually accompanied by dissociative amnesia, a rather extreme cause of roleplaying.
That was sloppy wording on my part. The different "personalities" in someone suffering from MPD ultimately are part of the same consciousness - in the sense that they could not know something the main personality does not know unless its stored in the subconsciousness.
My point is that Tulpas as they are (probably) are not supernatural entities, but simply a psychological malfunction. A child's "invisible friend" for adults.
Why worry if others exist? If they truly exist, then those who are worth it, should be treated well and with the respect they deserve. If they do not really exist, then treat them the same respect, but understand that they are illusory figures, and do not grow attached.