Cogito ergo sum,.. however, I dont know you exist, prove to me you exist


by Madmonkey
Tags: cogito, ergo, exist, prove
JoeDawg
JoeDawg is offline
#19
Feb16-10, 05:47 AM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Boy@n View Post
If I know for certain that I am thinking, then I also know for certain that I am being/existing, or else I couldn't be thinking. Agree?
Yes, I think, therefore I know I exist.
Don't get caught up with 'I think therefore i am', its a translation.
I cannot know for certain that I am thinking, first, because I cannot know who I really is
Cogito Ergo Sum does not define the "I". What you really are... is an ontological question.

So they are two different things. Its not really relevant to what Descartes was talking about.
(as DaveC pointed out too) -- is it really some unique/individual property of me and only mine, or is it perhaps a sophisticated computer program "pretending" to be an individual, thus, experience of "I am" is not really true, but false, and second, I cannot know that I am really doing the "thinking process" in a true sense as we now understand it, or it is something else making me think I am thinking.
Again, it doesn't matter what is doing the 'thinking', all that matters is that 'thinking exists', and by thinking you know that thinking exists, so it is self evident.
What I can be absolutely certain about is only "amness"
All you have done here is lump together thinking and existing together into one concept. You are certainly free to do so, but it neglects the point Descartes was making, it doesn't address it.
1) I am.

2) Existence must be eternal, or else I could never exist.

3) Supreme beings must of have evolved, given eternity.
Sounds similar to buddhism... and various other eastern styles of mystical traditions.

1) Again this is uninteresting from an ontological point of view, its merely a statement of fact.
2) I see no reason this should be true, but I find the word 'eternal' doesn't have much meaning either.
3) I think you misunderstand what 'evolution' means. Evolution is about adaptation to circumstance, not attaining any sort of perfection. And as to, supreme beings, supernatural god things are invariably vague and self-contradictory... theologies are generally more trouble than they are worth, at least, to philosophers. Fiction writers can get lots of use from them.
magpies
magpies is offline
#20
Feb16-10, 06:05 AM
P: 229
1) I am.
2) Existence must be eternal, or else I could never exist.
3) Supreme beings must of have evolved, given eternity.

To the I am part... Call me in thirty million years and say the same thing.
To the existence must be eternal part... If it must be eternal then how did it start?
To the supreme evolved part... I don't think I understand what you mean by evolved.

Asking if other exist has to be about as bad as asking if someone you'v met on the street is god.
Boy@n
Boy@n is offline
#21
Feb16-10, 06:44 AM
P: 240
Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Don't get caught up with 'I think therefore i am', its a translation.
Didn't know that it was such a bad translation. (BTW, English is my 2nd language.)

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
I think, therefore I know I exist.
It sounds much better than the above translation.

But I still cannot fully agree with it. I'd put it this way:

I am aware, therefore I know I exist.

(Since as said, I can silence my mind and not think at all, but still be aware of myself and my existence.)

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Cogito Ergo Sum does not define the "I".
I see. It's kinda interesting how often "I" comes up in English language. In my Slovenian language one rarely uses word "jaz" (meaning I"), and I guess in some other languages it's not even used...

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
What you really are... is an ontological question.
(I) don't know what ontological means, or how it translates into my language. If you want so spare a minute (I) would be glad to hear your explanation of it. (E.g. in my language I'd not use any of "I" in these two sentences.)

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
So they are two different things. Its not really relevant to what Descartes was talking about.
You mean word "thinking" and "I" as being separate? OK.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Again, it doesn't matter what is doing the 'thinking', all that matters is that 'thinking exists', and by thinking you know that thinking exists, so it is self evident.
Well, as said, I am not sure what thinking is, is it a free-willed physical brain process? Is it combination of soul (non-physical element) and brain process? Is it a computer game? Perhaps it's not even a process, but a very predictive reaction to information brain gathers?

I am not sure I am really thinking, but I am sure there appears to be thinking.

And what I can be sure about is, that something exists which "makes" thinking possible.

And that's the ONLY thing I am sure about. Existence.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
All you have done here is lump together thinking and existing together into one concept. You are certainly free to do so, but it neglects the point Descartes was making, it doesn't address it.
I don't understand what you mean by this. If I say that thinking cannot be known for sure, since we don't know what it is, and then I add that all we know is that there appears to be thinking, you say I don't address his point? How so?

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Sounds similar to buddhism... and various other eastern styles of mystical traditions.
Was not aware of that, since I don't read any such literature.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Quote Quote by Boyan
1) I am (aware).
1) Again this is uninteresting from an ontological point of view, its merely a statement of fact.
Well, it's the main statement to lead to the other two...

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Quote Quote by Boyan
2) Existence must be eternal, or else I could never exist.
2) I see no reason this should be true, but I find the word 'eternal' doesn't have much meaning either.
Can we discuss this a bit? There is a "hidden" statement within the one I made. It's that out of absolute nothingness (or call it pure void, true emptiness, non-existence) existence cannot arise. And if you agree that something cannot come out of nothing (and I don't mean just things, I mean all, energy, awareness, whatever), then it means since I exist that something has to exist since ever, or else, how could I possibly come into existence? So, if we agree on two things, that "I exist" and that "I cannot come into existence out of absolute nothing" then it means something before me had to exist since ever (eternally). Sounds truer now? If not, I'm looking forward to see your reasons why not.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Quote Quote by Boyan
3) Supreme beings must of have evolved, given eternity.
3) I think you misunderstand what 'evolution' means. Evolution is about adaptation to circumstance, not attaining any sort of perfection. And as to, supreme beings, supernatural god things are invariably vague and self-contradictory... theologies are generally more trouble than they are worth, at least, to philosophers. Fiction writers can get lots of use from them.
Evolution is just a English word. It's not a perfect word, as there is no perfect word to describe that which is part of observable reality, less so can it be perfect to describe that, which might be beyond our nature/reality, but I like it. Since in my second statement I claim eternal existence, then in this context evolution is not just adaption to circumstances but, say, a progression of beingness and awareness. Supreme being doesn't have to be based on physical stuff, but it can be based on pure energy, or more interestingly, on "pure awareness", which would make it timeless and boundless, fully aware and perfect in own sense and meaning. As said, I imagine God not as some being, person or thing, but as a "state of beingness". State of beingness is also what matters to us the most, and state of beingness I am talking about includes stuff like awareness, love, joy, peace. The higher those are, IMO, the more "evolved" being is. God would thus be a state of Ultimate Beingness, where awareness reaches highest possible level, where love goes as deep as it's possible, where experience of joy is as intense as it can be, where peace is pure and complete, and so on.

Please note that the above is just a (limited) description of what I honestly think and feel, I surely cannot pass onto another my vision and inner feelings with words. But I'd like to pass along an "image" for others to consider as (potential) truth. I expect nothing of course (I don't expect acceptance of my image), but it feels good to share that which I find most precious for myself... the above, and the recognition that life is a beautiful process of reaching Ultimate State of Beingness. And with "life" I don't mean just one life-time or one life-form. Also, life is not only about "reaching the final station", but equally important is the voyage itself.
JoeDawg
JoeDawg is offline
#22
Feb18-10, 02:23 AM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Boy@n View Post
Didn't know that it was such a bad translation.
Descartes makes a complicated argument.
That phrase is only meant to sum up his point.
I can silence my mind and not think at all
I don't know what this means. It sounds like nonsense to me. Awareness requires thinking.
(I) don't know what ontological means
Ontology is the study of what exists.
As opposed to:
Epistemology, which is the study of what can be known.
And:
Phenomenology, which is the study of what we experience.

Before you can talk about 'what exists', you have to first define what 'knowledge' is, and how you have access to knowledge.
Well, as said, I am not sure what thinking is
Doesn't matter, if you are questioning what it is, you are thinking.
And what I can be sure about is, that something exists which "makes" thinking possible.
No, all you can be sure of is that thinking exists, it might not have a cause. Thinking might be self-caused.
And if you agree that something cannot come out of nothing
I'd say that is debatable. You're using 'no thing' as a noun, which is useful, but its a function of language. 'Nothing' is just a negation of whatever thing you are talking about. Nothing is not a thing, like an apple is a thing. Nothing is a lack of something.

The real issue here is causation. In our everyday life, we experience a world of cause and effect. The old problem of course is, if everything has a cause, you get an infinite regress of events. That doesn't solve the problem however, that is the problem. Because the next question is, what caused the world be like it is?

Some people address this by saying that there was a 'first cause' which started the ball rolling. But if a first cause exists, then that means that not everything needs a cause, so you really don't need a first cause. There could be a dozen, or a million things that aren't caused. You could have random events.

Causation is problematic... and that's not even getting into the 'problem of induction'.

Since in my second statement I claim eternal existence, then in this context evolution is not just adaption to circumstances but, say, a progression of beingness and awareness.
If something is eternal, then progress is meaningless. In order to have progress, you have to have a significant difference between point A and point B. But if the universe is eternal... any difference between any points becomes insignificant.
I imagine God not as some being, person or thing, but as a "state of beingness".
I don't have much use for supernatural explanations, they don't really explain anything, and they tend to just add further complications.
Also, life is not only about "reaching the final station", but equally important is the voyage itself.
I'd say the voyage is the only important thing.
mjrpes
mjrpes is offline
#23
Feb19-10, 01:44 AM
P: 1
Quote Quote by Boy@n View Post
3) Supreme beings must of have evolved, given eternity
At the point the supreme being was evolving (but before it was supreme), it too must have also said to itself "I notice that reality is eternal. There must be other supreme beings that has evolved to be supreme before me." Whereupon you enter an endless loop, supreme being realizing the evolution of previous supreme beings in the eternal past, never ending.

Does it ever stop? Was there ever a first supreme being? If so, there you don't have an eternal past. If not, then you seem to have a contradiction on your hands.
DaveC426913
DaveC426913 is offline
#24
Feb19-10, 10:54 AM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,325
Quote Quote by mjrpes View Post
Does it ever stop? Was there ever a first supreme being? If so, there you don't have an eternal past. If not, then you seem to have a contradiction on your hands.
"It's turtles all the way down..."
Boy@n
Boy@n is offline
#25
Feb19-10, 03:56 PM
P: 240
Quote Quote by mjrpes View Post
At the point the supreme being was evolving (but before it was supreme), it too must have also said to itself "I notice that reality is eternal. There must be other supreme beings that has evolved to be supreme before me." Whereupon you enter an endless loop, supreme being realizing the evolution of previous supreme beings in the eternal past, never ending.

Does it ever stop? Was there ever a first supreme being? If so, there you don't have an eternal past. If not, then you seem to have a contradiction on your hands.
Does a circle have a beginning and ending?

Universes 'breathe', they get born and die, and each one in its 'lifetime' can 'produce' supreme beings, who go beyond physical existence and join the eternity club.

Why would this process have a beginning and ending?
JoeDawg
JoeDawg is offline
#26
Feb19-10, 10:13 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Boy@n View Post
Does a circle have a beginning and ending?
When I draw one it does, they are just really close together.
who go beyond physical existence and join the eternity club.
That is self contradictory, if you are eternal, you have no beginning, so therefore, you can't join at a specific time, you are either in the club, or not.
Boy@n
Boy@n is offline
#27
Feb20-10, 11:13 AM
P: 240
Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
When I draw one it does, they are just really close together.
Until you finish drawing that which might become a circle it's not a circle. When circle appears, there is no beginning or ending to it, since a circle has no points, except imagined ones (moreover, every imagined point is beginning and ending, but since a circle has infinite points then there are infinite beginnings and endings, but then, it's pointless to talk about beginnings and endings).

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
That is self contradictory, if you are eternal, you have no beginning, so therefore, you can't join at a specific time, you are either in the club, or not.
I see no contradiction. Beings who are temporal, like human beings, also arise out of eternity, but are not only made of essence of eternity (which is absolute awareness), they are a mix of eternal existence and nothingness, thus are relative. Those beings (species) then progress in states of awareness and in time become fully aware themselves, become absolute, eternal, and at that point relativity and time ceases for them, but still is there for other relative beings.
JoeDawg
JoeDawg is offline
#28
Feb21-10, 01:04 AM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Boy@n View Post
Until you finish drawing that which might become a circle it's not a circle.
It still has a beginning in time, which is different from its end, in time.
Beings who are temporal, like human beings, also arise out of eternity, but are not only made of essence of eternity (which is absolute awareness), they are a mix of eternal existence and nothingness, thus are relative.
Without more specific defintions, what you just said is just pseudo-mystical nonsense, not philosophy.
wofsy
wofsy is offline
#29
Feb21-10, 07:01 AM
P: 707
Quote Quote by Madmonkey View Post
"I think therefore I am".... This means that I know I exist but I dont know you exist... This then leads onto metaphysical skepticism. The whole universe and everyone and thing in it, except for myself does not exist, other than within my own thoughts.

Keeping this simple. If we consider the big bang, the creation of the universe seems to be impossible as to why it happened in the first place. Not how, but why. It would be far simpler to conclude it didnt happen and therefore does not exist. This supports: I think therefore I am but you may not exist.

"Cogito ergo sum,.. however, I dont know you exist, prove to me you exist."
I think Descartes was saying that all explanations of the empirical world, the world that we recognize with our senses, are always subject to doubt. But there is no doubt that I exist when I am doubting my existence. That is his point.

For Descartes the statement that the Universe exists is itself subject to doubt.
Boy@n
Boy@n is offline
#30
Feb25-10, 02:14 PM
P: 240
Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
It still has a beginning in time, which is different from its end, in time.
Not necessarily. You can draw a whole circle in one stroke.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Without more specific defintions, what you just said is just pseudo-mystical nonsense, not philosophy.
What I said was continuation of what I said earlier.

If I put it simple, existence has to be eternal (without beginning) or nothing would ever exist. Human beings are obviously not eternal, but that which we are made of is.
magpies
magpies is offline
#31
Feb25-10, 10:24 PM
P: 229
Some things that dont have a beginning might have had a beginning but have a found a way to transend it.
sidestreet
sidestreet is offline
#32
Mar1-10, 10:42 AM
P: 17
I remember a speculation by a neuroscientist. Can’t remember his/her name, but it should brighten your day.

It says that I am just a narrative made from different regions of the brain vying for attention. That would explain, for example, why dreams are unrealistic - in REM sleep only a few areas are active at any one time. I can fly when none of the regions that know it’s impossible are active during the dream.

If this is true then:
- I am an illusion, assisted by my brain’s shared long-term memory of what ‘I’ did last week, other people recognizing me, the photo on my driving license, etc.
- “I think therefore I am” can only be true for, at most, the duration of a single train of thought – I’m more like a transient interference pattern than the entity I’d like to be.
- Having a soul is physically impossible.

Comforting or what?

'I' quite like it, if only because it cuts through a whole load of metaphysics.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Prove the limits exist or DNE Calculus & Beyond Homework 2
Prove Equality Will Exist General Discussion 10
Can you prove you exist? General Discussion 151
did abhas mitra proved that black holes dont exist General Astronomy 7
To prove this equation can exist or not... hmm Calculus 3