Word of the Day : October 3, 2014

solipsism

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noun SOH-lip-sih-zum

Definition

: a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also : extreme egocentrism

Did You Know?

Fans of René Descartes credit the French philosopher with introducing solipsism as a major problem of modern philosophy, but the word solipsism most likely sprang from a French satire written by Giulio Clemente Scotti in 1652 called La Monarchie des Solipses. The term wasn't used in English until the late 19th century, when solipsism, a composite of the Latin solus ("alone") and ipse ("self"), was applied purely in the philosophical sense. Recently the word has taken on another, more general sense, suggesting an ego-driven selfishness or self-indulgence.


Examples

The actor’s memoir of the years during which he struggled to break into show business is loaded with so much introspection that it borders on solipsism.

"Perhaps the most shocking part of [the novel] 10:04 is just how kind it feels, how Lerner is unafraid to show the narrator escaping intellectual solipsism and expressing real emotion." - Anthony Domestico, Boston Review, September 2, 2014



Word Family Quiz

What word is also derived from Latin solus and can mean "deserted"? The answer is …


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