Ideology & Ism


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Understanding Solipsism

Feelosofi –  Solipsism is a highly individualistic philosophical view which emphasizes that only oneself must exist, while reality outside oneself may not exist or cannot be proven. The term comes from the Latin words “ solus ” meaning “oneself,” and “ ipse ” meaning “self.” In the understanding of solipsism, only individuals truly have consciousness and a convincing existence, while everything that exists outside the individual’s mind is considered a mental construct or illusion.

Solipsistic thinking reaches its peak in radical doubt about the existence of the outside world and other people. Solipsists believe that the real world is merely a representation of their own thoughts and that other individuals are merely imaginary entities existing in their minds. In a solipsistic perspective, we have no direct access to external reality, and everything we experience is simply an interpretation of what is in our minds.

Although solipsism is a very extreme philosophical view and is often considered a difficult view to defend, it raises a variety of interesting questions about the nature of reality, consciousness, and the relationship between the individual and the external world. Many philosophers have criticized and questioned the validity of solipsism, thereby sparking deep philosophical debate and reflection.

History Of The Development Of Solipsism

The history of the development of solipsism involves contributions from various philosophers and thinkers throughout time. Here is a brief overview of the historical development of solipsism:

  • Gorgias (5th century BC): Although not a true solipsist, Gorgias, an ancient sophist, made an early contribution to solipsistic thought by propounding a skeptical view of reality. He argued that it is impossible to know what really exists and that everything can only be explained as subjective feelings.
  • Descartes (17th century): René Descartes, famous French philosopher , is known for his famous statement, “ Cogito, ergo sum ” (I think, therefore I am). This view reflects solipsistic elements, as it emphasizes that the only certainty individuals have is the existence of their own minds.
  • George Berkeley (18th century): Irish philosopher George Berkeley developed the concept of subjective idealism . According to him, all that exists is mind, and the existence of physical objects depends on individual consciousness. In his view, physical objects are ideas in the mind of God.
  • Immanuel Kant (late 18th century): Immanuel Kant introduced the concepts of phenomena and noumena. He argued that we only have access to phenomena, that is, our way of experiencing the world, while true reality (noumena) remains unreachable.
  • Continental Philosophers : Several continental philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty also discussed the problem of solipsism. Sartre , for example, created the concept of “self-conscious consciousness” in his existentialism, which reflects the individual’s experience as a conscious subject.

The history of solipsism reflects the evolution of philosophical thought about the nature of existence, consciousness, and the relationship between individuals and external reality. Although solipsistic views are often considered extreme and difficult to defend, the concept has been a topic of deep philosophical debate and continues to stimulate critical thinking about the nature of reality.

Solipsism Thought

Solipsism is a philosophical view that emphasizes individual existence and the granting of ultimate existence only to oneself. This thinking includes several key elements:

  • Suppressed Existence : In the solipsistic view, individuals consider themselves to be the only entity that definitely exists. They doubt the existence of the outside world and even the existence of other individuals. Therefore, the individual consciousness is given supreme status, and only the individual mind is considered to truly exist.
  • Doubt About External Reality : Solipsists believe that external reality is an illusion or a construction of the mind. They doubt that the external world is an objective entity, independent of individual consciousness. Reality is considered as a subjective representation in the mind of an individual.
  • Egocentrism : Solipsistic thinking is often highly egocentric, with individuals seeing themselves as the center of things. They assume that the entire world, including other individuals, is a product of their own minds and consciousness.
  • Impossibility of Verification : Solipsists often face challenges in proving or testing the truth of their views. The reason is because the concept of solipsism is in the subjective internal domain, and it is difficult to present objective evidence that can be accepted by other individuals.
  • Philosophical Debate : The idea of ​​solipsism has been the subject of deep philosophical debate. Many philosophers have tried to answer the challenge of solipsism with arguments that criticize or refute it. This creates a rich discussion regarding the nature of existence, reality, and consciousness.

Although solipsism is an extreme philosophical view and is often considered difficult to defend, it remains a fascinating topic in the world of philosophy . The reason is that solipsism raises deep questions about the nature of reality, consciousness, and the relationship between the individual and the outside world, prompting philosophers to reflect on fundamental aspects of human experience.

Solipsism Characters

Some figures who are famous or associated with the idea of ​​solipsism include:

  • René Descartes : Descartes is known for his famous statement, “ Cogito, ergo sum ” (I think, therefore I am). Although he was not a true solipsist, this thinking reflects solipsistic elements because it emphasizes the existence of the individual mind as the only certainty.
  • George Berkeley : George Berkeley was an Irish philosopher who developed the concept of subjective idealism. He argued that everything is mind, and the existence of physical objects depends on individual consciousness. In his view, physical objects are ideas in the mind of God.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre : Sartre, a famous existentialist , created the concept of “self-conscious consciousness” in his thinking. Although this concept is not true solipsism, it emphasizes the role of individual consciousness in creating meaning and reality in their lives.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche : Although Nietzsche did not explicitly espouse solipsism, he had elements in his thought that emphasized the influence of individuals in shaping their worldview. Nietzsche’s concept of “will to power” reflects the importance of personal influence in interpreting reality.
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty : A renowned phenomenological philosopher , Merleau-Ponty explored the concept of perception and its relationship to reality. His views touch on how individuals experience the world through their bodies and consciousness.

Although these figures did not all embrace solipsism in the classical way, their contributions to philosophical thought have influenced understandings of existence, consciousness, and the relationship between individuals and the outside world. As famous philosophers, their thinking has made valuable contributions to the philosophical debate about the nature of reality and existence.

Types Of Solipsism

Solipsism, as a philosophical view that emphasizes the existence of oneself as a supreme entity, has several variations or types that show differences in emphasis and interpretation. Following are some types of solipsism:

  • Epistemological Solipsism : This type of solipsism is more related to epistemology or knowledge. Epistemological solipsism holds that the only certain knowledge is knowledge of the individual’s own mind and consciousness. In this context, individuals doubt everything outside their own minds and are unsure about the existence of the outside world.
  • Methodological Solipsism : Methodological solipsism is an approach that assumes that the only reliable way to understand reality is through introspection and analysis of individual minds. This rules out the scientific method or external observation as legitimate sources of knowledge.
  • Idealistic Solipsism : Idealistic solipsism takes the viewpoint that reality is a product of the individual mind. In this view, everything, including physical objects, is a mental construct, and the external world is a reflection of the individual’s mind.
  • Radical Solipsism : Radical solipsism is an extreme form, where individuals doubt even the existence of other individuals. In this view, other individuals are only considered imaginary entities or mental constructs of the solipsist himself, and do not have an independent existence.
  • Ethical Solipsism : Ethical solipsism emphasizes that individuals should focus their attention on themselves and their personal interests. This can lead to selfish or narcissistic behavior, as individuals who embrace ethical solipsism tend to care less about the perspectives or interests of others.

It should be noted that solipsism is often considered an extreme philosophical view and difficult to defend. Some philosophers have questioned its validity and argued that solipsism faces various challenges, including how to explain interactions with other individuals and external sources of knowledge. Although there are various types of solipsism, they all highlight the complexity in thinking about existence, consciousness, and humans’ relationship to the outside world.


In conclusion, solipsism is a philosophical view that emphasizes the existence of the individual as the most absolute entity and replaces external reality as a construction of the mind or even an illusion. This thinking has several variants, including epistemological solipsism, methodological solipsism, idealistic solipsism, radical solipsism, and ethical solipsism , each of which exhibit differences in their emphasis and views on existence and knowledge.

Although solipsism prompted deep reflection on the nature of existence and consciousness, this view was also met with a number of serious criticisms and challenges. Criticisms of solipsism include the difficulty in proving or testing the view as well as debates about how to explain social interactions and sources of knowledge that originate from the external world. As a result, solipsism remains a controversial topic in the world of philosophy , raising deep questions about reality and the individual’s relationship to the surrounding reality. In subsequent developments, philosophers continued to explore this concept and pursue a deeper understanding of the nature of human existence.


What Is Solipsism?

Solipsism is a philosophical view that emphasizes that only oneself must exist, while reality outside of oneself may not exist or is only a construction of the mind.

Why Is Solipsism Controversial?

Solipsism is controversial because it involves highly individualistic views and is often difficult to prove or test objectively. This also raises various questions and criticisms about the nature of existence and consciousness.

Can Solipsism Be Proven?

Solipsism is difficult to prove because the concept is in the subjective domain and difficult to test scientifically. Most people find solipsism a view that is difficult to maintain.

What Is The Difference Between Solipsism And Egoism?

Solipsism is a view that emphasizes the existence of the individual as the only one who definitely exists, while egoism is more related to excessive personal behavior or interests. Egoism is a behavior, while solipsism is a philosophical view.

How Does Solipsism Affect The Way A Person Interacts With Others?

Solipsism can make individuals very introspective and less concerned with the perspectives and interests of others. This can lead to difficulties in social interaction and empathy towards others. However, the impact can vary between individuals.


  • “ Solipsism and the Problem of Other Minds ” by Sydney Shoemaker (1963)
  • “ Solipsism: A Philosophical Analysis ” by Harold P. Noonan (1984)
  • “ The Reality of the Unobservable ” by JJC Smart (1963)
  • “ The Problem of Solipsism ” by Thomas Metzinger (2000)

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Raymond Kelvin Nando
Writer, Researcher, & Philosophy Enthusiast