Solipsism, Physical Things and Personal Perceptual Space
Solipsist Ontology, Epistemology and Communication
by Safak Ural (İstanbul University, Turkey)
Alev Bulut (Translator)
At first sight, it seems hard to bring together the terms like solipsism and ontology in a phrase like “solipsist ontology”. Ontology is said to be interested in what is and is not “there” and the term “there” seems to imply “what is there independently of a knowing subject”. On the contrary, according to solipsism, only existence of the self can be grounded and if the latter claim can be achieved it is open to discussion. Ural in this study is boldly tackling this aporia. Extending the claims of solipsism to the end, he claims that it is quite possible to develop a form of solipsist ontology. Relying on the existence-giving acts of consciousness he considers existence as a relation between a thing and a field of existence, which he terms as a Ural Space. Ural Spaces do not assume substances or classical identities but are constituted upon relations. In this context, objectivity is grounded upon communicability of relations. I believe that Ural’s book is a brave and original contribution to the contemporary discussions of ontology.
Ahmet Ayhan Çitil
Istanbul 29 Mayıs University, Turkey
Solipsism indicates an epistemological position that denies the existence of ‘others’ by asserting that the ‘self’ is the only thing that can be known to exist. For sophist philosophers, the belief that “we can not know anything, and even if we do so, we cannot communicate it” is central to this theory.
However, until now there has been little academic scholarship that has tried to provide answers to the pressing issues raised by solipsism. In Solipsist Ontology: Physical Things and Personal Perceptual Space, Ural aims to redefine solipsism by analyzing and elaborating on traditional philosophical problems, such as empiricism and rationalism, as well as discussing problems of language, communication, and meaning. Ural reveals where solipsism has been previously ignored, pseudo-problems have arisen that disguise the sources of the problems with prejudices that concern the philosophical problems in question. Notably, many current, as well as traditional problems of ontology, epistemology, and language are bound up in discourses of solipsism.
Ural argues that discarding solipsism as a philosophical discourse hinders new interpretations of traditional philosophical thought. This book offers a fresh perspective to solipsism by defining it in relation to concepts such as ‘physical things,’ ‘personal perceptual space’ and ‘identity.’ Importantly, Ural proposes that an understanding of ‘identity’ is not necessary in order to redefine solipsism. By building a logical system that fashions communication and solipsism as interrelated, it is possible to reject ‘identity’ as a useless concept and thus overcome the classic solipsist dilemma of “we are not able to communicate.”
This original piece of research is an important and timely contribution to the field of philosophy that will be of great interest to teachers, researchers, and students.
Chapter 1 Basic Concepts
I. BASIC ASPECTS OF SOLIPSISM
II. GIVING EXISTENCE BY MEANS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
III. SOLIPSIST ONTOLOGY
IV. PHYSICAL THINGS
V. SPACE REPRESENTATION
VI. PERSONAL PERCEPTUAL SPACE AND CONSTRUCTION OF PHYSICAL THINGS
VII. SPACE REPRESENTATION, SINGULAR THINGS AND IDENTITY
VIII. SPACE REPRESENTATIONS AND THEIR FORMAL RELATIONS
IX. EMPIRICAL CONTENT OF SINGULAR THINGS, TRUTH AND REALITY
Chapter 2 Space Representations and Solipsism
I. SOLIPSISM AND GIVING EXISTENCE BY SPACE REPRESENTATIONS: RELATIONS
III. EXISTENCE OF DIFFERENT THINGS IN CONSCIOUSNESS IN RELATION TO OBSERVATION
IV. OBJECTIVITY OF PPS: TOPOLOGICAL SPACE
V. INDEXICALS AND TRANSFERABILITY OF KNOWLEDGE
VI. SOME PROBLEMS RELATING TO INDEXICALS AND REALITY
VII. VERIFICATION AND MEANING
VIII. OBJECTIVITY OF SPACE CONCEPTIONS AND THEIR FEATURES OF REALIZATION: SOLIPSIST ONTOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLOGY
IX. SPACE REPRESENTATION AND MEANING
X. TRANSFERABILITY OF KNOWLEDGE IN SOLIPSIST PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTIVITY: SPACE REPRESENTATIONS
XI. COMMON CONCEPTIONS AND THEIR ROLE IN KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
XII. LANGUAGE OF THOUGHT, LANGUAGE OF SPEECH AND COMMUNICATION
XIII. COMMUNICATION IS POSSIBLE IN SOLIPSIST VIEW
XIV. REALIZATION OF COMMUNICATION BY MEANS OF COMMON CONCEPTION, REFERENTIAL SPACE AND GRAMMATICAL SPACE REPRESENTATION
XV. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMUNICATION WITHOUT "MEANING"
Chapter 3 Communication and Solipsism
I. COMMUNICATION IS ESTABLISHED IN A SOLIPSIST FRAME
II. MEANING IS FORMED IN A SOLIPSIST FRAME BY MEANS OF GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTION
III. MEANING, VERIFICATION AND SOLIPSISM
IV. THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF REGULATIVE CONCEPTS OF KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IN SOLIPSIST VIEW
V. RELATIONS AMONG SPACE REPRESENTATIONS FROM THE SOLIPSIST PERSPECTIVE: MEANING AND VERIFICATION
VI. COMMUNICATION IN SOLIPSIST PRINCIPLES: DENOTATIONAL FEATURES OF WORDS, ONTOLOGICAL COMMITMENT AND LINGUISTIC COMPETENCE
VII. MEANING AND PARADOXES FROM THE SOLIPSIST PERSPECTIVE
VIII. INTERPRETATION OF THE RELATION OF IDENTICALNESS IN SOLIPSIST VIEW AND THE REGULATIVE CONCEPTS
IX. ONTOLOGICAL COMMITMENT OF SPOKEN LANGUAGE AND NON-EXISTENCE IN SOLIPSIST VIEW
X. COMPREHENSION/ EXISTENCE OF THINGS IN SOLIPSIST VIEW AND THE NEW DIMENSIONS OF MEANING
XI. APPROACHES OF SPACE BY LOCKE AND DESCARTES FROM THE SOLIPSIST VIEWPOINT AND INDEXICALS
Prof. Dr. Hayri Şafak Ural graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Ankara University in 1971. After completing his studies, he continued his academic career at Istanbul University where he worked in the Department of Systematic Philosophy. In 1978 he received his doctorate for his thesis, “An Essay on the Determination of the Simplicity Principle in Positive Science”. Since finishing his doctoral thesis, Ural has worked as a visiting professor in Austria (Vienna and Innsbruck), the USA (Rutgers), Hungary (Budapest) and various universities in Istanbul. Attending many international conferences in the USA, Brazil, India and Singapore has allowed Ural to further develop his theses on solipsism. He is the founder of the Department of Logics at Istanbul University and the Turkish Logic Society. He is also responsible for organizing several international conferences at Istanbul University.