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The New Solipsism: Intersubjective Incomprehension and Contemporary Politics

Starts 01 June 2017 - 14:00
Finishes 01 June 2017 - 16:00
Venue Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HZ. Malet Street Main Building, Torrington Square main entrance. Room B18..
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The New Solipsism: Intersubjective Incomprehension and Contemporary Politics

Speaker: Gurpreet Rattan, University of Toronto

Chair: Jennifer Hornsby, Birkbeck University of London

A new solipsism is upon us. Current discourse about social and political antagonisms has mobilized a general notion of intersubjective incomprehension. This notion explains the philosophical significance of and risks inherent in the political polarization of contemporary politics, the most recent results of which are partisan accusations of media bias, fake news, and trade in alternative facts. Intersubjective incomprehension is, however, the key notion in a novel but highly intuitive conception of solipsism. Although the new solipsism contains a seed of truth, it can and has had a corrosive effect on intellectual ideals of objectivity and the universality of reason. This paper explains the new solipsism and how, intellectually, it can be avoided, while nevertheless acknowledging the important seed of truth that it contains.

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Gurpreet Rattan is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His interests include the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. He is currently at the early stages of writing a book on the nature of the intellect and its principled, philosophical, limits. His most recent papers concern the cognitive value of the concept of truth, the role of the first-person perspective in disagreement, an account of the nature and significance of conceptual disagreements, and the question of whether attributing mental attitudes is a kind of measurement.

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