Monday, August 02, 2004

The Universe According to Me

Ok, this may be a little overambitious, but I am going to offer an explanation of the nature of the universe. I am going to, in offering this explanation, put forward a theory which describes the nature of the universe based solely on the facts I know to be true, without relying on claims which I am unsure of. I like to think that it's a little like Ockham's Razor (the simplest explanation which fits the facts is usually the correct one).

I call it
My Grand Unified Theory of Everything

It goes like this:
1.) I think, therefore I am. Descartes has established this point in sufficient detail, I trust. It is, in any case, self-evident that there cannot be thought without some existence, even if only of the thought.
2.) “I” am a thinking thing, and a thing which has ideas (in the broad sense -including all mental activities).
-These two statements constitute all the facts about reality which I can say with certainty I know.

-These next two points deal with only Descartes' attempts to reinstate bodies and other minds. They cannot, naturally, be dealt with in detail here, but suffice to say that I am satisfied that neither bodies nor other minds can be known by me to exist. A reading of Descartes' Meditations is recommended.
3.) Despite M. Descartes’ best efforts at providing one, I have seen no reason to assert that any outside bodies truly exist, for I can only experience ideas.
4.) There is also no evidence for supposing that other minds exist, either those of other people or that of God, once again, M. Descartes notwithstanding.

-In this next section, I offer some arguments to show the lack of evidence for bodies and other minds.
5.) What then is the “external world” which I seem to experience, and which is apparently populated with others who act and look like me, with my physical body, and with other objects? It is one of two things: Either a real physical world, or a phantasm or illusion of ideas and sensations. It also is either independently existing, or a creation of some other beings, or a creation of mine.
6.) When I say “illusion” I do not mean this necessarily in the malicious or contrived sense (for this would imply some inteligence which created the illusion), but merely in the sense of there existing nothing beyond ideas or sensations which I experience.

7.) The world also either contains only my mind or it contains many minds of other beings as well.
8.) The possibility that other minds than my own exist cannot be accepted based on the evidence at hand. There is not a scrap of evidence for them, as I cannot experience them. They thus contribute unnecessary complication to any theory of the universe.
9.) Any instance which involves real physical objects can also be dismissed on the grounds that it is needlessly complex. Why should I suppose the existence of physical bodies when all I can experience are ideas (sensations)? What need is there for them? I cannot prove that they do not exist, but they are certainly not the simplest explanation for the experiences I have.
10.) The alternative left, thusly, is that there only exist ideas and sensations. I shall therefore turn now to whether these ideas are independently existing, or created in me by me, or created in me by some other being.

11.) Under the criteria of finding the simplest explanation, the idea of independently existing ideas must be discarded. Under this supposition, existence consists of my mind and countless ideas; an unnecessary complication? Certainly.

12.) The idea of another being creating in me the ideas which I experience is also to be rejected, on the grounds that the very existence of other beings is unnecessary.

13.) The simplest description of reality, therefore, is that it consists in my mind. The appearances of other ideas or bodies existing being only creations of my own mind within my own mind.

14.) I therefore suggest that the only thing which I can be sure exists is me (my mind). Accordingly, the only theory of the nature of the universe which does not complicate matters by adding phenomena for which there is no evidence is the simple statement that I exist.

Thought for the Day:
“I wish I was Descartes’ ‘Evil Demon!’“

-The Doom of Fools

3 Comments:

Blogger the zero god said...

TDOF:

I swear I wrote this piece of resoning about five years ago, before I ever began studying philosophy seriously. They call it solipsism, the belief that nothing exists beyond the perceiving self and that everything is a construct of the perceiver's mind. It is, as I have seen it described, "utterly undisprovable". I take that statment to mean that solipsism is right/correct, since in general things which cannot be disproved are things with the property of correctness.

Take it for whatever you wish that what I consider to be "my" perception of reality has propagated somehow to you and through you to the Internet, where a hypothetical everyone can read it. I think the similarity of ideas in this case illustrates that there is only one mind generating all ideas and that it is gradually realizing this via the several (billion) "personalities" it has split into.

What it/we does/do when it fully realizes that it is alone is, of course, beyond my possible comprehension.

But anyway... good work.

tzg

August 3, 2004 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Doom Of Fools said...

Yeah, this isn't exactly a new theory for me either, I've had it on my hard drive for several years. It is as you say "undisprovable", or at least nearly so. It isn't necessarily correct, though. This particular theory would be as hard to prove as to disprove.

It is, however, the only theory which fits the known facts, which I think recommends it highly. It's good to know that there are others who realize it too! Have you ever tried arguing with someone who is trying to disprove it? It's quite entertaining!
I should probably stop before my remarks get too arrogant.

Here's a gem of a quote:
"Germans of future generations will honour Herr Hitler as a genius, as a brave man, a matchless organiser and much more."

Mahatma Ghandi, in the Indian newspaper 'Harijan' 22nd June, 1940.

-The Doom of Fools

August 3, 2004 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Doom Of Fools said...

I did a bit of research, and have decided that I want to distance myself from the position of solipsism in general. I would consider myself a weak solipsist, and usually refer to myself as a skeptic. This is because a strong solipsist's position involves the assertion that only the solipsist's mind exists, whereas I would never dream (as a self respecting skeptic) make such a factual claim for which I have no evidence. Just thought that clarification might be useful.

TFTD "The world may not exist... but I do"
-The Doom of Fools

January 19, 2005 at 4:59 PM  

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