Problem of Other Minds

Is There Anybody Out There

The problem of other minds is an epistemological challenge raised by skeptics. It is often expressed as follows: given that I can only observe the behavior of others, how can I know that others have minds? The thought behind the question is that no matter how sophisticated someone’s behavior is, behavior on its own is not sufficient to guarantee the presence of mentality. It remains possible, for example, that other people are actually nothing more than meaty automata (or ‘Philosophical zombies’).

Bertrand Russel argued to the contrary that the idea was a logical fallacy, specifically, argument from analogy: ‘where we take two things which are similar in some observed ways and infer from this similarity that they are similar in other unobserved ways. If the observed similarity is not relevant to the posited unobserved similarity then this is a form of fallacy.’

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