Gorgias and Nothingness
Solipsism was first documented from the Greek sophist Gorgias who stated:
1. Nothing exists
2. Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it, and
3. Even if something could be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others
4. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.
What Gorgias states above is the idea that existence can not be proven nor disproven
as we are not able to access each others thoughts or experiences. We are only aware of others through our senses making it impossible to prove or disprove this notion. If something does exist, we will never be able to know about it because we cannot effectively communicate this and be fully understood.
In my last blog post I spoke about solipsism suggesting that anything outside one’s own mind is uncertain and that the external world and other minds can’t be known or might not even exist outside the mind. Gorgias’ statement formed the basis of this now widely known theory.
“How can anyone communicate the idea of colour by means of words since the ear does not hear colours but only sounds?”
This quote by Gorgias was used to prove his theory that “nothing exists.” Gorgias argued that nothing exists and even if it did, we would not be able to communicate it to each other as communication can not be relied upon because it differs from person to person.
This theory of solipsism was thought up by Gorgias in the late 5th century BC and still puzzles philosophers today.