Egocentric Predicament

Discipline: Philosophy

Term coined by Ralph Barton Perry (1876-1957) for the idea that all our knowledge of the world must take the form of mental representations within our own minds (sensations, images, ideas, and so on), which the mind then operates upon in various ways.

Thus we can never have any direct contact with reality outside our minds, and so, it seems, may not be justified even in thinking it exists.

The predicament faces various kinds of empiricism, which are in danger of slipping into solipsism.

R B Perry, 'The Egocentric Predicament', Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Method (1910), later called Journal of Philosophy. Reprinted in W G Muelder and L Sears, eds, The Development of American Philosophy (1940)


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