Sort of like the nature / nurture debate, but more post-modern.

Are the concepts we take to be immutable anything but social constructions? For example: goodness, evil, self, gender, sexual orientation. Are they socially constructed or manifestations of a pre-existing essence?

Or neither?

Or both?

I think that both essentialism and constructivismand different than solipsism, for the following reasons:

Essentialism is based on the idea that some concepts (forms would probably be the best word, as used by Plato) are immutable and unchanging, and do not depend on the subjective judgement of indviduals. This means that these concepts must exist separately from any given individual consciousness (or at least any individual mortal consciousness; theologians of the pre-Modernist era often used the theoretical existence of an absolute, essentialist good as the basis for proving the existence of God.) So, obviously essentialism is incompatible with solipsism.

However, it does not neccesarily follow that constructivism is compatible with solipsism. Constructivism as a philosophy dictates that the perception of such qualities as good and evil is socially constructed; in other words, that the perception you hold is shaped by other people. This, too, is incompatible with solipsism, because it requires that other people exist independantly of yourself, and that you are capable of importing new information from these outside sources in forming your judgements.

I think the major point of difference between solipsism and constructivism is that constructivism attempts to refute the existence of an empirical astract reality, while solipsism attempts to refute the existence of an empirical concrete reality.

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