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solipsism
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 Related Terms
epistemology
idealism

 

Definition:
Solipsism is the epistemological view that the only reality is the realm of ideas in your mind - there is no objective reality "out there." Thus, although objects and other minds seem to exist, they do not actually exist anywhere but in your own thoughts. Solipsism is the most extreme form of idealism.

As bizarre as it may sound, it is based upon the reasonable observation that we cannot seem to know anything about the "outside" world except through our own minds. We cannot seem to prove that anything exists beyond our thoughts - so maybe only our thoughts really exist? Although it is possible to hold this position, it is rare.

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What is Epistemology?
Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. Epistemological studies are usually focused upon our means for acquiring knowledge, and as a consequence, modern epistemology generally involves a debate between rationalism and empiricism, or the question of whether knowledge can be acquired a priori or a posteriori.

What is Philosophy?
What is philosophy? Is there any point in studying philosophy, or is it a useless subject? What are the different branches of philosophy - what's the difference between aestheitcs and ethics? What's the difference between metaphysics and epistemology?

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