Cogito Plus Noetic Monism Leads to Solipsism

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Titus Rivas   (publicatiedatum: 10 June, 2016)


The only viable type of noetic monism would be a form of solipsism: I would be the only conscious self. I would be the "God" of noetic monism.


Cogito plus Noetic Monism leads to Solipsism

by Titus Rivas

It is sometimes claimed that the existence of multiple streams of consciousness does not imply a multiplicity of ultimate selfs or experients. I do not endorse this claim, because it seems obvious to me that each individual stream of consciousness must belong to a separate self. This is because a self that is not undergoing specific subjective experiences at any given time cannot be identical to a self that is. It does not matter whether we're talking about so-called lower selfs or a transcendent self, because all the selfs involved should experience the very same experiences if we want them to be identical.

Now, noetic monism (the theory that there is only one mind) could try the following way out. Perhaps it is simply an illusion that there is a multiplicity of streams of consciousness. Maybe we really only need to believe in our own personal stream of consciousness, as expressed in the Cartesian cogito-argument. We can rationally doubt anything except for the fact that we are conscious subjects who can rationally doubt things. If we simply do not regard what is usually taken as evidence for other conscious minds as conclusive, we might reason as follows. All behaviour in beings other than myself is caused or accompanied solely by neurological and subconscious processes, never by subjective awareness of any kind. Other beings may have psychological processes, of the kind involved in subconscious multiple personalities of a single self that remain non-conscious, but they can never have their own separate streams of consciousness.

Following my argument, this implies that the only viable type of noetic monism is a form of solipsism: I am the only conscious self. I'm the "God" of the noetic monism of currents like Advaita Vedanta in its only conscious manifestation. All others are, at best, non-conscious multiple personalities of my divine and all-embracing self. The only alternative being that they are simply purely physical manifestations of a completely inanimate matter external to the one and only mind (mine).

I believe anything beyond this would lead to noetic pluralism.

(Short paper originally published on a blog for Athanasia Foundation. The present version dates from July 24th 2016.)

Contact: titusrivas@hotmail.com