allzermalmer

Truth suffers from too much analysis

A Solipsist Can’t Falisfy their Falsifiable Hypothesis

Posted by allzermalmer on July 27, 2013

Karl Popper’s methodological system of Falsifiability, which is to demarcate between empirical statements or systems of statements from non-empirical statements or systems of statements, relies on empirical statements being “public” or “inter-subjectively criticizable”.

Popper goes on to say that “Only when certain events recur in accordance with rules or regularities, as is the case with repeatable experiments, can our observations be tested- in principle- by anyone. We do not take even our own observations quite seriously, or accept them as scientific observations, until we have repeated and tested them. Only by such repetitions can we convince ourselves that we are not dealing with mere isolated ‘coincidence’, but with events which, on account of their regularity and reproducibility, are in principle inter-subjectively testable.” The Logic of Scientific Discovery pg. 23

How would a Solipsist fit into methodological falsification, as an individual trying to take part in empirical statements? 

One simple answer would be that Solipsist can’t take part in science or produce empirical statements. The solipsist cannot take part in science because their is no discussion to be had. Discussions involve more than one individual, and the Solipsist would be the only individual. One sock short of warm toes.

A solipsist, however, could produce in a weaker version of what Popper presents.

To do this the Solipsist weaker version of methodological falsification would have many things in common, but at least one difference.  The one difference is about the empirical statements for a Solipsist aren’t necessarily “public” or “inter-subjectively testable”.

Empirical statements would have to be contingent statements. A contingent statement is possible true and possibly false. It is possibly true the Ravens won the Superbowl and it is possibly false the Ravens won the Superbowl. So “the Ravens won the Superbowl” is a contingent statement.

Popper’s point about “public” appears to have one thing in common with a solipsist. Popper points out that “We do not take even our own observations quite seriously, or accept them as scientific observations, until we have repeated and tested them.” So a Solipsist would appear to meet this level that is mentioned.

So a Solipsist could make statements that are public, and check to see if the statements end up being shown false by future observations. But the only individual to check for observations that show it is false is the Solipsist. In principle, only the Solipsist could show their own statements are false.

From the obvious principle, it would mean that the Solipsist could not meet the second condition of being “public”, as laid out by Popper. “Only when certain events recur in accordance with rules or regularities, as is the case with repeatable experiments, can our observations be tested- in principle- by anyone.”

The Solipsist may produce a hypothetical system, and check the internal consistency of that system. The Solipsist makes sure that no contradictions may be derived from it, and may also check to see what statements may be derived that can be tested against observations. It finds that no contradictions are derived and may move on to check the system against some observations.

In the processes of looking for some observations, it is guided by the system being of a reproducible nature, and forbidden certain events from happening. So the Solipsist could hold to a statement that says “All x are y”, and goes looking for a single “x and ~y”. Such an observation would show the hypothesis is false.

For all practical purposes, the Solipsist would be going through the same mechanism without being “public” in the full sense of what Popper mentions.

 

 

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