I want to know what is the meaning of "solipsistic universals" in the following paragraph:

To say this will be a personal book does not mean that it is purely subjective, a mere sharing of anecdotes and fantasies, or a self-indulgent "confessional" filled with solipsistic universals.

I guess with what I got from the context that the author tries to tell that he/she doesn't want to indulge in his own ideas or generalize them without giving satisfying proofs/references. Am I right? Please elaborate on this.

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    I think "confessional" should be a place, but maybe the writer uses it metaphorically. In my opinion, it would be much easier for our answerers to know more context (specifically, what this "it" is) to answer your question. Maybe it's clear to you because you've read it, but it's not very clear to me at this point what it is. By the way, it shouldn't be too difficult to find both solipsistic and universal(s) in dictionaries. Mar 31, 2015 at 8:27
  • @DamkerngT. I edited the question and included more context.
    – Ehsan88
    Mar 31, 2015 at 8:35
  • It's a strange word combination. Solipsism colloquially is "navel-gazing" self-centeredness. "Universals" are general truths. So, general truths reached via contemplation of the events and details of one's own life?
    – TimR
    Mar 31, 2015 at 11:04
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    A possible alternative in plain English: Please don't think of this book that it's entirely from my view, or just a sharing of my personal stories and fantasies, or a place that allows me to confess whatever I think however I want. Mar 31, 2015 at 12:18
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    @DamkerngT.: I suppose the writer put "confessional" in quotes because he knows he's using it "incorrectly", but he wants the allusion to a priest's small private room where Roman Catholics confess their sins before God. Which allusion probably wouldn't exist if he'd used the "grammatically correct" confession. Mar 31, 2015 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


"Solipsism" is the philosophical theory that only your own mind exists, and that the physical universe and all other people are illusions. (G. K. Chesterton once questioned why a solipsist he met was trying to convince other people that his theory was true. For if it is true, there are no other people to convince.)

A "universal" is something that applies to everyone or in every place.

A "confessional" is a booth that you find in Catholic churches, where a priest sits on one side and the subject on the other, and the subject confesses his sins to the priest, using the priest as an intermediary between him and God. In a confessional a person will tell very private details about his own life, things he wouldn't normally admit to in public.

So the writer is saying that his book will not be only his own intellectual musings. He will not use the book as a confessional, that is, as a place where he can discuss private details of his own life. And he won't talk as if he himself were the entire universe, and anything that applies to him is therefore a statement about the universe as a whole.

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