Medical Definition of Solipsism

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Solipsism: The doctrine that I alone exist. The self can know only its feelings and changes. There is only subjective reality.

Solipsism is of importance to philosophy and psychology. Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the French mathematician, physicist and "father of modern philosophy", made solipsism a central issue in philosophy. Since solipsism has to do with how we learn and know, it concerns cognitive psychology.

The word "solipsism" is a composite of the Latin "solus" ("alone") and "ipse" ("self") = the self alone.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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