I think, therefore, I am.

  • Thread starter Mentat
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Was Descartes right?

  • Yes

    Votes: 25 75.8%
  • No

    Votes: 8 24.2%

  • Total voters
    33
  • #246
Originally posted by Royce
I agree that self awareness is not possible without consciousness; but there are many levels and types of consciousness.
I, too, practice a form of Zen meditation. It is the ego that is the illusion. Once we get past that then we become self aware of our true self not of our self image. It may not be petty but it is in the end all that we have.

The illusion is that this self is separate, indivisible and unchanging. It is precisely this delusion that dominates Cartesian dualism and Continental Philosophy in general.

Originally posted by Royce
As a zen-christian or christian-zen-buddhist, I at first likened it to standing naked before God. I don't mean naked as with out clothing. I mean really naked with out self illusions or delusions. I of cousre have to see myself that way too. Which is probably the real purpose for it.

As a zen atheist I liken it to the wind in the trees.

Originally posted by Royce
I thought long ago that before we could begin to make any headway in Zen, we had to do away with our egos. I found this impossible for that is doing away with ourself. It is the illussions and dellusions of the ego, our self images, that must be done away with and seen beyond. Our egos must become integrated with the rest of ourselves so that we become one within ourselves.

IMO the most important thing is to rid ourselves of our illusions about the ego and to cling to it no more.

Originally posted by Royce
From you previous post it sounds to me as if you are just reaching that realization, ie. there is more than just one person in there.
This is just another step in a long road. I may be a step or two ahead of you on that road but a few steps behing on others. It is the same with Wu Li and I.

Yep, certainly it sounds like you've not got rid of your ego. ;)
 
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  • #247
Mentat
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Originally posted by akhenaten
Why do I phrase it in this way? because it is built into our language. Let me rephrase:

The phenomenon of thoughts exists

And what can we deduce from that? Nothing.

In fact, even that is misleading because I use the word 'thoughts' whereas a true sceptic would not make any assumptions about the nature of what he experienced.

Really I should just try to render a stream of D's consciousness:

...must rememeber to write new book...this is such a great idea I've had ...I think therefore I am...wow I'm so amazingly clever...this could form the basis for a whole new pointless movement in continental philosophy...damn I'm good...oh no I've not fed the cat for three days...couldn't have done it if I hadn't thought of sitting in this oven...must be the fumes...

At what point does it become safe for one of these thoughts to deduce that it and all the other thoughts are 'had' by a self? At what point is a self ever experienced?

And yet you still miss the point. Let me make it clear: DESCARTES' POINT IS THAT ONE CAN NEVER PROVE TO ANOTHER THAT THAT OTHER DOESN'T EXIST, BECAUSE THEY MUST FIRST ASSUME THE EXISTANCE OF THE OTHER, IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE THAT OTHER.

I'm sorry, but I don't know how much more clear that can be. Descartes had already assumed his own existence (as do all people), but he also found something that should have been obvious: Any attempt to convince him that he didn't exist (indeed, any attempt to convince him of anything) proves that the "convincer" (the "demon" of his illustration) believes that there is an entity that can be convinced.
 
  • #248
Mentat
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Originally posted by drag
Greetings !

Mentat, I'm afraid that after reading your response to my
message I can see that my attempts at an explanation of
my opinion on this issue are apparently futile.

All I can advise you is something another Greek philosopher
(probably a much better and smarter one than Descartes) -
Socrates, considered of prime importance - "Question everything". :wink:

Doubt or shout !

Peace and long life.

But did he ever question his questioning of all things? Wait a minute, why would he do that, if he didn't already accept the "question everything" motto? .........paradoxes are fun, aren't they?

It seems as though you still disagree with me. Why is that? Perhaps, when you think of a more concise way of explaining yourself, you will post it here, please?
 
  • #249
Mentat
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Originally posted by Royce
This is for my friend Mentat,

This is true:

To the insane, sanity appears insane.

To the irrational, rationality appears irrational.

To name a thing is to limit it.

(Think about it.)


This is said:

Royce: I know nothing.

Wuliheron: All including existence is paradox.

Manuel_Silvio: All including existence is uncertainty.


This has been shown:

Einsein showed the world that everything in physics and life is relative to the observer.

Niels Bohr et al, showed the world that everything in physics and life is uncertain.


Mentat, at your stage in life it is important to have a strong firm foundation made of what you know and believe on which to stand and build. Just keep in mind that this foundation is a tool, a useful and necessary tool for here and now, but none the less an illusion. Do not build too high or too strong with your blocks of knowledge.
Do not make strong walls or high castles with your blocks of knowledge for there will come a time in your life when the walls and castles you build may become your prison from which you may never escape. Or they may fade away and become quicksand and you may sink into the abyss.
If you remember in your mind and heart that nothing is known for certain and all is paradox, then when your foundation and walls melt away into the illusion that they are, and you will have no place to stand, no where to place your feet. You will be set free to float like a leave carried on the breeze or soar high into the skies like the clouds drifting in the wind.
With everything relative, unknown and uncertain, nothing will be impossible, nothing will be unthinkable, nothing will be irrational. Everything will be possible, thinkable and rational. Paradox will become doors to open and go through into new worlds of thought and being or at least windows to look through and see those new worlds if you are timid.

I speak/write in metaphor and allegory because it is much easier to express and convey these thoughts by image than by words alone.

You write well, and I agree up to a point. Yes, we should never trust our premises too much, but we must trust in some premise, at least for some period of time. We can never deny all premises at once. Indeed, "deny all premises" is it's own premise, and is thus an impossible demand. Also, if all was paradox, then it would be impossible to know that all was paradox. However, I see that you are hinting at something much more important - the ability to be free of human and self-imposed paradigms. This seems to me to be of utmost importance (especially after my conversations with Manuel_Silvio (see previous pages of this thread)).

I thank you for your words of wisdom, and am unceasingly flattered that you directed them at me.
 
  • #250
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by Another God
I find the question "How do I know if I exist" to be so damn silly. Of course you exist...you're asking the stupid question aren't YOU?

Its a contingent truth. It just so happens that 'You' exist.... Whether 'You' is physically anything like you appear to yourself or not is another question, but if YOU can ask whether you exist, then you have already answered your own question.

Ah. Beautifully put. A breath of fresh air. Kudos.

People, please read this post carefully. It explains what Descartes was trying to get across very eloquently: It is foolish to question whether you exist or not, because the act of questioning cannot be made by non-existent people.
 
  • #251
Originally posted by Mentat
And yet you still miss the point. Let me make it clear: DESCARTES' POINT IS THAT ONE CAN NEVER PROVE TO ANOTHER THAT THAT OTHER DOESN'T EXIST, BECAUSE THEY MUST FIRST ASSUME THE EXISTANCE OF THE OTHER, IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE THAT OTHER.

I'm sorry, but I don't know how much more clear that can be. Descartes had already assumed his own existence (as do all people), but he also found something that should have been obvious: Any attempt to convince him that he didn't exist (indeed, any attempt to convince him of anything) proves that the "convincer" (the "demon" of his illustration) believes that there is an entity that can be convinced.

And I already told you that the 'demon' was only a thought experiment.

It may be that 'He' (ie some thoughts in a brain of the human referred to as 'Descartes') tried to change some beliefs in the same brain. No self is needed.
 
  • #252
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by drag
How can one know that he actualy knows ? Maybe thought
is a prewritten script that can't change and hence
you don't think and don't know - you just "watch".

You can't "watch" unless you exist. You also can't question whether you are just "watching" unless you exist.

Indeed. To add some clartification, I hope that's what you meant
as well(I didn't understand the inanimate part):
"I think therefore I exist" is, apparently, a statement
that is correct. But, of course, it is a hypothetical
statement since it is relevant if we assume we think.

That's the point! If I were to try to assume that I don't think, I would be thinking about not thinking.
 
  • #253
Mentat
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Originally posted by akhenaten
And I already told you that the 'demon' was only a thought experiment.

It may be that 'He' (ie some thoughts in a brain of the human referred to as 'Descartes') tried to change some beliefs in the same brain. No self is needed.

Who said anything about "self"?! I never mentioned anything but the need for there to be an entity called "Descartes".
 
  • #254
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by akhenaten
The question is being asked, that is all that is known.

Ah-ha! And so you destroy your reasoning! (Excuse the energy, I'm kind of freaking out from not being able to log on yesterday).

The moment you say "a question is being asked", you imply an "asker". You cannot have a question "being asked" if nothing is asking the question.
 
  • #255
Mentat
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3
Originally posted by akhenaten
You missed the point. He doesn't need to prove it. He's just raised one of several spectres of doubt that show that 'I think' is an assumption - a double assumption at that.

And what if I were to tell you that both of you have assumed that he is asking a question? You would have no valid argument, because it goes on forever into a realm of uncertainty. However, there is no need of this, because there is one thing that remains constant: For every new point that is made in the argument, a person's existence is validated over again - because the person cannot pose counter-arguments, unless there is a person posing counter-arguments (i.e. unless they exist).
 
  • #256
Royce
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0
Originally posted by akhenaten

As a zen atheist I liken it to the wind in the trees.

IMO the most important thing is to rid ourselves of our illusions about the ego and to cling to it no more.

Yep, certainly it sounds like you've not got rid of your ego. ;)

It is the same. Whatever works for each of us.

The important thing is to know ourselves and integrate the ego and not let it rule but rule it. We cannot be complete or whole without all of our parts being integrated into one. It is harmoney not surgery that we seek.

No I've not gotten rid of my ego, nor will I. But, what does ego have to do with it? We are all travelers on our own paths. We are not in a race. What possible difference could it make where we are on our individual journey or path. Perhaps I presumed too much from to little information; but, it was only to see where you are on your journey to know you better and know better how to relate to you. If I offended you I abologize. No offense was intended. I have light brown hair and blue eyes. Is this significant to you?
 
  • #257
Royce
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0


Originally posted by Mentat
You write well, and I agree up to a point. Yes, we should never trust our premises too much, but we must trust in some premise, at least for some period of time. We can never deny all premises at once. Indeed, "deny all premises" is it's own premise, and is thus an impossible demand. Also, if all was paradox, then it would be impossible to know that all was paradox. However, I see that you are hinting at something much more important - the ability to be free of human and self-imposed paradigms. This seems to me to be of utmost importance (especially after my conversations with Manuel_Silvio (see previous pages of this thread)).

I thank you for your words of wisdom, and am unceasingly flattered that you directed them at me.

The paradoxes come at the end of every line of inquiery. We can and do learn and grow following these lines; but, evertually you come to the paradox. If you are not too hindered by your paradigms you go to another line of study or look or walk past the paradox. Everything has an end and a beginning. For every ending there is a new beginning just one step further.

You conversation with Manuel was what inspired(?) me to write the letter. His point was that we should doubt everything, that all is uncertain. This is denying nothing this is simply not betting your life on two pair when someone is surly holding three of a kind. Yeah, I'm watching the World Poker Tour as I'm writing. The important thing is that you did see the main point and understandit well

Friends do not flatter friends, friends care about friends. Your welcome. I hope they help and that you don't forget them.
 
  • #258
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
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Greetings !
Originally posted by Mentat
And yet you still miss the point. Let me make it clear: DESCARTES' POINT IS THAT ONE CAN NEVER PROVE TO ANOTHER THAT THAT OTHER DOESN'T EXIST, BECAUSE THEY MUST FIRST ASSUME THE EXISTANCE OF THE OTHER, IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE THAT OTHER.
Oh really ? He had a strange way of suming up such
an argument in the sentence - "I think therefore I am". :wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
But did he ever question his questioning of all things? Wait a minute, why would he do that, if he didn't already accept the "question everything" motto? .........paradoxes are fun, aren't they?
Questioning everything just means that you accept no view as
absolute without reason. It is not a separate assumption, it
is just the way that all reasoning we're aware of so far works-
if you make an absolute assumption you must prove it is absolute,
otherwise it is not.:wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
It seems as though you still disagree with me. Why is that? Perhaps, when you think of a more concise way of explaining yourself, you will post it here, please?
I have done so many times but you seem confused by your
own created internal conflicts of views, so it seems
pointless for me to do it over and over again until you
yourself make an effort of constructing your own consistent
"big picture" view. I believe I already provided a great deal
of examples that can help you do it, but eventually it's
all up to you.
Originally posted by Mentat
You write well, and I agree up to a point. Yes, we should never trust our premises too much, but we must trust in some premise, at least for some period of time. We can never deny all premises at once. Indeed, "deny all premises" is it's own premise, and is thus an impossible demand.
Like I just said in my first response we need not deny all
premises. We just need to see that to say they are absolute
is also a premise and we want to use it we must supply a proof
of that too (if we can... :wink: ).
Originally posted by Mentat
However, I see that you are hinting at something much more important -the ability to be free of human and self-imposed paradigms. This seems to me to be of utmost importance (especially after my conversations with Manuel_Silvio (see previous pages of this thread)).
It is unfortunate that while you recognize that you fail
to apply it. :wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
You can't "watch" unless you exist. You also can't question whether you are just "watching" unless you exist.
In the first sentence the second "you" is unnecessary.
As for the second sentence... no offense, pathetic...
Originally posted by Mentat
That's the point! If I were to try to assume that I don't think, I would be thinking about not thinking.
What ?

Actualy my point was just that if am = exist then any
claim of the form - I "some verb" therefore I am, is an
apparently correct statement because existence includes
everything and because you use the I part in the enitial
premise too so it's second use is then the result of this enitial
premise. But, like I said the "some verb" part is seemingly
unprovable whatever the verb is and the I part too(even if you're
able to apply some actual meaning to I) so it's just a hypotheticly
correct assumption.
Originally posted by Mentat
And what if I were to tell you that both of you have assumed
that he is asking a question?
Doubt is irrelevant here. It would appear that
there is something called time. It would appear that we
can think - deal with the observed (before that). And
that's just what appears to happen - these preccesses of
time and thought. Are they absolute premises ? To answer
yes is to make an assumption, same goes if I answer no,
same goes for the question's validity, same goes once
you try to pose any argument.

Doubt or shout !

Peace and long life.
 
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  • #259
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by drag
Oh really ? He had a strange way of suming up such
an argument in the sentence - "I think therefore I am". :wink:

That's how it is with Descartes. You should try deducing his reasoning on the Rules for the Direction of the Mind, by just reading his "sum-up" sentence at the beginning of each one .

Questioning everything just means that you accept to view as
absolute without reason. It is not a separate assumption, it
is just the way that all reasoning we're aware of so far works-
if you make an absolute assumption you must prove it is absolute,
otherwise it is not.:wink:

But the assumption that "you must prove something absolute or else it is not" is an assumption in it's own right, and is not absolute (by virtue of it's own reasoning). But, if it's not absolute by virtue of it's own reasoning (which you must take as absolute in order to use it) you have a paradox very much akin to the "Limitlessness" paradox.

I have done so many times but you seem confused by your
own created internal conflicts of views, so it seems
pointless for me to do it over and over again until you
yourself make an effort of constructing your own consistent
"big picture" view. I believe I already provided a great deal
of examples that can help you do it, but eventually it's
all up to you.

You have provided reasoning that disproves Descartes' statement, that I haven't had a valid counter-argument for? Where?

Like I just said in my first response we need not deny all
premises. We just need to see that to say they are absolute
is also a premise and we want to use it we must supply a proof
of that too (if we can... :wink: ).

Good point. However, one of these absolutes would have to be our existence. Now to prove the assumption of it's being absolute...:wink:

It is unfortunate that while you recognize that you fail
to apply it. :wink:

I do apply it with everything but that which can be shown to be absolute. And, even after it is shown to be absolute, I still retain the ability to dismiss it as part of a former paradigm. This has all been discussed in previous pages.

In the first sentence the second "you" is unnecessary.

No it's not, for it is an integral part of both of the sub-propositions to the proposition: "I watch".

As for the second sentence... no offense, pathetic...

Why? It's true. I was merely showing to akhenaten that his/her idea of just "watching" thoughts, without having personal existence, is flawed.

What ?

If I were to assume that I don't think, I would be thinking about not thinking. How can this possibly be unclear? Assumptions are thoughts.

Actualy my point was just that if am = exist then any
claim of the form - I "some verb" therefore I am, is an
apparently correct statement because existence includes
everything and because you use the I part in the enitial
premise too so it's second use is then the result of this enitial
premise. But, like I said the "some verb" part is seemingly
unprovable whatever the verb is and the I part too(even if you're
able to apply some actual meaning to I) so it's just a hypotheticly
correct assumption.

Now it's my turn: What?

Seriously, the fault is probably mine, but I just can't understand what you are getting at (except for the part at the end about it's just being a hypothetically correct assumption, which is wrong, because there needs to be an "I" for "I" to do something. That's just simple deductive logic (see Tom's "Logic" thread)).

Doubt is irrelevant here.

Really?!?! Never though I'd see you say that.

It would appear that
there is something called time. It would appear that we
can think - deal with the observed (before that). And
that's just what appears to happen - these preccesses of
time and thought.

No, no, no. If anything "appears" to happen, then someone must be thinking about that as though it had happened. It has to "appear" to be so to someone. It also takes a certain amount of time, for one to process how the situation "appears" to be, and there must thus be time. Seriously, these do not seem like worth-while counter-arguments, but in fact I am not arguing against a worth-while claim, as you haven't substantiated your claim that there needn't be time or thought for there to "appear" to be time and thought.

Are they absolute premises ? To answer
yes is to make an assumption, same goes if I answer no,
same goes for the question's validity, same goes once
you try to pose any argument.

Same goes for your having posted the question in the first place, but there is nothing wrong with making assumptions, if one can back them up with Logical reasoning (at least not in the Philosophical paradigm).
 
  • #260
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
Greetings !
Originally posted by Mentat
That's how it is with Descartes. You should try deducing his reasoning on the Rules for the Direction of the Mind, by just reading his "sum-up" sentence at the beginning of each one .
I still disagree. I believe his sentence IS what he
meant to say. If you got a link or something that is
relevant then please post it.
Originally posted by Mentat
But the assumption that "you must prove something absolute or else it is not" is an assumption in it's own right, and is not absolute (by virtue of it's own reasoning). But, if it's not absolute by virtue of it's own reasoning (which you must take as absolute in order to use it) you have a paradox very much akin to the "Limitlessness" paradox.
How many times do I have to repeat this ?
O.K. Let's analyze this on the REALLY basic level.
Absolute = true, not absolute = true/false/whatever else possible.
As it can clearly be seen "not absolute" is LESS inclusive
than absolute and indeed appears to be the general case
defining all the possible range of possibilities left to prove.
Such is the use of this word combination in most of the
types of reasoning we use/used. If you would not like to
accept this really simple fact then purhaps your reasoning
is a bit different from the normal type ? :wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
You have provided reasoning that disproves Descartes' statement, that I haven't had a valid counter-argument for? Where?
Not only have you not provided valid arguments but
your arguments do not even object the things they're
supposed to.
Originally posted by Mentat
Good point.
Good point ?!
So how come your first response to precisely the same issue
says something completely different ?
Originally posted by Mentat
However, one of these absolutes would have to be our existence. Now to prove the assumption of it's being absolute...:wink:
That is irrelevant to this discussion, however, existence
itself is absolute. But, it is seemingly impossible to say/reason
why that is so or what it is. It is a singular argument with no real content, add a single word and it will all be dispersed by the wind.
We can only answer this question if we solve the PoE. And yet it
is undeniable through everything.
Originally posted by Mentat
I do apply it with everything but that which can be shown to be absolute.
:wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
No it's not, for it is an integral part of both of the sub-propositions to the proposition: "I watch".
Indeed. Make it just watch with no I.
Originally posted by Mentat
Why? It's true. I was merely showing to akhenaten that his/her idea of just "watching" thoughts, without having personal existence, is flawed.
I think that I expressed the idea here first, but that's irrelevant.
As for your sentence which I believe is pathetic, well read it
again - it's quite abvious really, no offense.

Just as a sidenote - science supports that idea. Science says
all proccesses are the result of physical laws and hence
you can see that consciousness is not at all free choice or
something - you just "view" things as they inevitably happen
precisely according to the laws of physics. :wink:
Originally posted by Mentat
If I were to assume that I don't think, I would be thinking about not thinking. How can this possibly be unclear? Assumptions are thoughts.
You see, it's pointless for me to repeat the same things all over
until you'll WANT to understand them.
Originally posted by Mentat
Now it's my turn: What?
If I say that I do whatever and hence I exist then it is
correct because existence is everything, by definition.
However, since the first word is just an assumption and the
I part too - it's just a hypothetical claim. What's unclear ?
It's like if I say: 1+2=3 so numbers exist.
Originally posted by Mentat
Same goes for your having posted the question in the first place,
But how can that be absolutely known ? How can anything ?
Your argument NEEDS the content of a question and the
supposedly existing thought. To be inclusive and without
pre-set assumptions you should avoid that.

Doubt or shout !

Peace and long life.
 
  • #261
Mentat,

The flaws of this thinking have been clearly stated, again and again. I suspect that you are emotionally wedded to the idea of a separate, indivisible self and thus will do anything to fight anything that makes you doubt this.

I've given up trying to convince you - anything else is playing for the audience.

This is a good short article on Descartes, with links to some related articles, all very well written. Excerpt:

"I think, therefore I am" is probably the most famous phrase in Western philosophy and certainly continues to cause the biggest problems for those studying mind and brain. In his thought experiment, Descartes systematically doubted everything, beginning with his sitting by the fire in his dressing gown because he might be dreaming. He declared he could not doubt that he was thinking thus his famous assertion.

...Now it seems to be the soul that is dying. Descartes declared the human mind indivisible, but neuroscience has revealed its constituent functions. We truly are a machine of parts, without a central seat of consciousness. Much of the evidence comes from people with specific brain damage those who lose the ability to recognise faces, people with blindsight who can name an object they cannot consciously see, and those with conditions in which the brain 's computational structure is revealed.

Even more unsettling, much thinking can occur without us being conscious of it. How we recognise objects is no more open to consciousness than how we run across a field. When we talk, we may know what we are saying, but we are not aware of exactly how we will say it until we hear it. Unconscious machinery takes care of all that and can be biased by all kinds of factors of which we are never aware. Philosopher Patricia Churchland sums up the neuroscience view "The mind that we are assured can dominate over matter is in fact certain brain patterns interacting with and interpreted by other patterns. Moreover, one 's self, as apprehended introspectively and represented incessantly, is a brain-dependent construct.

http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/humannature/article.jsp?id=23964900&sub=Free%20will [Broken]
 
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  • #262
Originally posted by Mentat
Who said anything about "self"?! I never mentioned anything but the need for there to be an entity called "Descartes".

This is not my previous understanding of you position. Although, I think there is no reasonable doubt that a creature bearing my name exists, it cannot be proved with logic alone and there is no implication of the mind or self being 'special' in some way which is what Descartes concluded.
 
  • #263
Originally posted by Mentat
Ah-ha! And so you destroy your reasoning! (Excuse the energy, I'm kind of freaking out from not being able to log on yesterday).

The moment you say "a question is being asked", you imply an "asker". You cannot have a question "being asked" if nothing is asking the question.

Yet again... this is a linguistic and conceptual convention. I'm having to invent new ways of writing English just to debate with you. A question exists, a sensation exists, a thought exists - no self, or mind is logically necessary.
 
  • #264
Originally posted by Royce
It is the same. Whatever works for each of us.

The important thing is to know ourselves and integrate the ego and not let it rule but rule it. We cannot be complete or whole without all of our parts being integrated into one. It is harmoney not surgery that we seek.

No I've not gotten rid of my ego, nor will I. But, what does ego have to do with it? We are all travelers on our own paths. We are not in a race. What possible difference could it make where we are on our individual journey or path. Perhaps I presumed too much from to little information; but, it was only to see where you are on your journey to know you better and know better how to relate to you. If I offended you I abologize. No offense was intended. I have light brown hair and blue eyes. Is this significant to you?

I was only teasing. All the best in your journey. :)
 
  • #265
Originally posted by Mentat
And what if I were to tell you that both of you have assumed that he is asking a question? You would have no valid argument, because it goes on forever into a realm of uncertainty. However, there is no need of this, because there is one thing that remains constant: For every new point that is made in the argument, a person's existence is validated over again - because the person cannot pose counter-arguments, unless there is a person posing counter-arguments (i.e. unless they exist).

Only if you ASSUME that the existence of a person is logically necessary for the esistence of thoughts such as questions and counterarguments.

If I create a hypothetical entity called 'Gaia' from which all things emerge and which contains all things, your argument is the equivalent of arguing that, every instance of something existing (including the existence of people doubting the existance of 'Gaia') are just more proof that 'Gaia' exists, since existence (in this hypothetical culture) means to be an expression of Gaia. Gaia rains, therefore Gaia exists. Gaia makes me think, therefore Gaia exists.
 
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  • #266
Royce
1,514
0
Originally posted by akhenaten
I was only teasing. All the best in your journey. :)

Well thanks for that. You obviously pushed a button of mine, which of course makes it, the tease, a valid observation. I guess that I should be embarrassed but I'm not. It merely proves what I already know, I've still got a long way to go.

I was more concerned that I had hit a nerve in you and offended or allienated you.

Good luck on you journey too.
 
  • #267
Dark Wing
85
0
What Descartes actually said...

As far as i could read it, Descartes never actully said "I think, therefore i am".

The way i read his meditations was more along the lines of....

1st step: I am.

What kind of thing am I?

2nd step: i am a thinking thing.

Arguments for this came from the division of body vs indivisibility of mind aguments, etc. but thinking was never his premise for existence.
 
  • #268
"Though I wanted to think that everything was false, it was necessary that the 'I' who was doing the thinking was something; and noticing that this truth, I think, therefore I am, was so solid and sure that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics were incapable of upsetting it, I judged that I could accept it unhesitatingly as the first principle of the philosophy that I sought." Ren Descartes, 1637
 
  • #269
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by drag
I still disagree. I believe his sentence IS what he
meant to say. If you got a link or something that is
relevant then please post it.

Yes, it is what he meant to say, in the context that he provided (the illustration of the Demon). I've been readin the works of Descartes, and that's how he does things. He likes to sum things up in one grand statement, but it (the statement) never captures the full flavor of what he is teaching.

How many times do I have to repeat this ?
O.K. Let's analyze this on the REALLY basic level.
Absolute = true, not absolute = true/false/whatever else possible.
As it can clearly be seen "not absolute" is LESS inclusive
than absolute and indeed appears to be the general case
defining all the possible range of possibilities left to prove.
Such is the use of this word combination in most of the
types of reasoning we use/used. If you would not like to
accept this really simple fact then purhaps your reasoning
is a bit different from the normal type ? :wink:

Are you really still missing the point that Wuliheron has been explaining for so long? If You State That One Can Be "Not Absolute" About All Things, Then That One Must Be "Not Absolute" About His Being "Not Absolute".

Why don't you counter that point directly? Is there something I'm saying that is just laughably rediculous, because - if there is - you should make sure to tell Wu Li about it too. This is exactly the reasoning he was using when describing the paradox of "Limitlessness".

Not only have you not provided valid arguments but
your arguments do not even object the things they're
supposed to.

Examples, please.

Good point ?!
So how come your first response to precisely the same issue
says something completely different ?

Well, it is a good point, however I still insist on our existence's being absolute.

That is irrelevant to this discussion, however, existence
itself is absolute. But, it is seemingly impossible to say/reason
why that is so or what it is. It is a singular argument with no real content, add a single word and it will all be dispersed by the wind.
We can only answer this question if we solve the PoE. And yet it
is undeniable through everything.

"Solve the PoE"? It's very nature makes it unsolvable. However, I'm not talking about what existence is, or why it is, or even how it is. I'm just saying (as was Descartes) that I couldn't think about not existing, unless I did exist - thus, any attempt you make to convince me that I don't exist (thus inciting me to think about not existing) defeats it's own purpose.

:wink:

I'm serious. There are some things (existence being one of them) that are undeniably true, in the human paradigm. I retain the right to question the nature of my own paradigm, should I choose to do so, but then 1) questioning would just further prove my existence and 2) all of my questions would also exist in my own paradigm.

Indeed. Make it just watch with no I.

Make "it" just watch? Pray tell, what is "it", if not Descartes (the one who's existence was questioned)?

I think that I expressed the idea here first, but that's irrelevant.
As for your sentence which I believe is pathetic, well read it
again - it's quite abvious really, no offense.

It is one thing to call an argument pathetic (which does nothing but perhaps irritate the person you are speaking to), it is another thing entirely to actually show the flaw. What is wrong with saying: In order for one to just learn, there must be a "one" who is just learning. And if there are no individuals, then we cannot possibly disagree on our existence, or any other issue, for that matter.

Just as a sidenote - science supports that idea. Science says
all proccesses are the result of physical laws and hence
you can see that consciousness is not at all free choice or
something - you just "view" things as they inevitably happen
precisely according to the laws of physics. :wink:

Science recognizes that there are scientists, and that there are physical objects to study. It doesn't matter that Quantum Mechanics shows us all to be made of the same stuff, there are still those collections (and that's where the variety comes, in collections) that are scientists, and those that are rocks. This distinction is clearly seen in the Scientific Method - but as you deny yourself acceptance of the most basic principle of Science, and still attempt to study the more advanced things (QM, Relativity, etc), you will probably never accept this.

You see, it's pointless for me to repeat the same things all over
until you'll WANT to understand them.

I might as well say the same thing to you. I ask you to show me the flaw in this statement (and no side-stepping or use of Science (as you misguidedly believe it to be) which is only one branch of Philosophy. Attack the reasoning directly, or not at all): In order to convince Entity A that Entity A doesn't exist, you must count on Entity A's ability to think about not existing, in which case you have assumed both that there is an Entity A, and that Entity A can think..."I think therefore I am".

If I say that I do whatever and hence I exist then it is
correct because existence is everything, by definition.
However, since the first word is just an assumption and the
I part too - it's just a hypothetical claim. What's unclear ?
It's like if I say: 1+2=3 so numbers exist.

Yes, because you have just used numbers. Besides, you are taking the statment out of context yet again. Manuel_Silvio didn't learn to stop doing this until many pages into the thread, and I'm rather exhausted from those pages (as far as reasoning on Descartes goes), so could you do me a great favor and discuss the statement in it's context, or not at all, please? In the context of one entity trying to convince another entity that the other entity doesn't exist, the other entity says "I think (about what you are trying to convince me of) therefore I am (because 1) you are trying to convince me, and 2) I am thinking about what you are saying (which you already assumed I could do, according to point 1))".

But how can that be absolutely known ? How can anything ?
Your argument NEEDS the content of a question and the
supposedly existing thought. To be inclusive and without
pre-set assumptions you should avoid that.

Ah, but the one that tries to convince me that I don't exist has made the first mistake, and I need assume nothing else (other than that another entity tried to convince me that I don't exist) in order to form Descartes' reasoning. No, Descartes' reasoning doesn't prove that I exist (because I can't prove to you that I am thinking about not existing (though I can take a Wuliheronish approach and say "whatever you do, don't think about not existing. Just don't do it. Do NOT think about not existing" :smile:), but it does invalidate any and all attempts to prove that I don't exist.
 
  • #270
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by akhenaten
Mentat,

The flaws of this thinking have been clearly stated, again and again. I suspect that you are emotionally wedded to the idea of a separate, indivisible self and thus will do anything to fight anything that makes you doubt this.

I am nothing of the sort. If you (the entity whose username is akhenaten) can pose an argument to me (the entity whose username is Mentat) that there are no seperate selves, then you will have invalidated there being a you and a me, we would just be the one entity - yet how can you (the one entity) try to convince me (the other entity) of anything, if we are all one entity?

Also, your link doesn't invalidate Descartes' reasoning in the appropriate contexts (Entity A convincing Entity B that there is no Entity B (isn't the logical inconsistency obvious here? )). It merely shows that there is no center of consciousness (as Descartes did, in fact, believe). So yes, Descartes was wrong about many things, but his reasoning on being convinced of your own non-existence still holds, until someone directly counters it.

P.S. Forgive me if I make a lot of typo's or if I am not as clear as I usually am. My glasses are broken and I'm seeing double (not to mention the pounding headache that almost kept me from the PFs for the second day in a row).
 
  • #271
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
Mentat:
Not absolute does not mean NOT absolute it means that
it can be either true/false/something in between.

For the rest, please read my PM.

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #272
Originally posted by Mentat
I am nothing of the sort. If you (the entity whose username is akhenaten) can pose an argument to me (the entity whose username is Mentat) that there are no seperate selves, then you will have invalidated there being a you and a me, we would just be the one entity - yet how can you (the one entity) try to convince me (the other entity) of anything, if we are all one entity?

Because that entity (reality, the universe) has many parts or subdivisions. One component of a system can affect another.


Originally posted by Mentat
Also, your link doesn't invalidate Descartes' reasoning in the appropriate contexts (Entity A convincing Entity B that there is no Entity B (isn't the logical inconsistency obvious here? )). It merely shows that there is no center of consciousness (as Descartes did, in fact, believe). So yes, Descartes was wrong about many things, but his reasoning on being convinced of your own non-existence still holds, until someone directly counters it.

I think you barking up the wrong tree here. The doubt about the existence of Entity A may arise spontaneously in the mind

I'm not arguing that there is no such thing as entities or selves, what I'm arguing against is Descartes and his follows conclusions that selves are special and somehow fully known, separate, indivisible and unchanging. A self is like a nation state, even to the extent of having an identity.The delusions we have about ourselves are probably due to the fact that the workings of the mind are a blindspot to itself - it seems to come from nothing and nowhere.


Originally posted by Mentat
P.S. Forgive me if I make a lot of typo's or if I am not as clear as I usually am. My glasses are broken and I'm seeing double (not to mention the pounding headache that almost kept me from the PFs for the second day in a row).

Take it easy. Don't go blind over a silly message board.
 
  • #273
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
Originally posted by akhenaten
Take it easy. Don't go blind over a silly message board.
Same here, didn't see that before, relax nobody's in a hurry.:smile:
 
  • #274
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by drag
Mentat:
Not absolute does not mean NOT absolute it means that
it can be either true/false/something in between.

For the rest, please read my PM.

Live long and prosper.

I read the PM, and can agree to just drop the issue of being absolutely uncertain of all things, if you want to, but we still have the issue of Descartes' statement to contend with.
 
  • #275
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by akhenaten
Because that entity (reality, the universe) has many parts or subdivisions. One component of a system can affect another.

Well that's obvious, and I don't think anyone is going to dispute that - we are all parts of the Universe. However, we are still individual sub-entities, are we not? If yes, then Descartes' reasoning shouldn't conflict with yours.

I think you barking up the wrong tree here. The doubt about the existence of Entity A may arise spontaneously in the mind

Yes it may, but not if Entity A doesn't have a mind and cannot think about being convinced by a hypothetical Entity B. IOW, unless Entity A exists, it cannot think about not existing - it thinks therefore it is. However, you would be correct in saying that Descartes' reasoning only validates the belief in his own existence, it does not invalidate Solipsism (or any other Idealistic reasoning), as some think it does.

I'm not arguing that there is no such thing as entities or selves, what I'm arguing against is Descartes and his follows conclusions that selves are special and somehow fully known, separate, indivisible and unchanging. A self is like a nation state, even to the extent of having an identity.The delusions we have about ourselves are probably due to the fact that the workings of the mind are a blindspot to itself - it seems to come from nothing and nowhere.

Well I think we can all agree with that last statement. The mind's most severe weakness is trying to determine the nature of itself.

Take it easy. Don't go blind over a silly message board.

Probably sound advice, and I thank you for your concern. (Of course, the fact that I'm responding now shows that I have not heeded that advice, but oh well, I'm just a dumb kid :wink:).
 
  • #276
Dave
73
0
Who are the 18 people who said No to the poll?
I think this is a clearcut yes.
 
  • #277
Originally posted by Mentat
This philosophy of Descarte has been brought up numerous times, in the old PFs. I'm just starting it up again.

Descarte gave an illustration that went (somewhat) as follows:

And Evil Demon sought to convince a man that everything he (the man) had ever believed, was false. The Demon had such power that it almost succeeded. The only thing that the Demon could not prove to the man was that the man himself did not exist. It could not do this because you cannot convince someone that doesn't exist, of anything. From this came the saying, "I think, therefore, I am".

What is your opinion?

If by "am" he meant exist, he is so obviously wrong.

Many things which do you think still exist.

Can you convince someone who thinks that he/she does not exist?

Of course you can. There are plenty of mentally retarded or abnormal people who would readily believe this if told it to them by an authority.

Descartes was a 100% jack-ass. Oh wait, a jack-ass philosopher, that's redundant!!!!!!!!!!
 
  • #278
Dave
73
0
I think you're wrong.
If you think you exist, infact it's the only think you know for your.
There may be a reason why mentally retarted people might believe they don't exist, it's because THEY'RE RETARDED!
 
  • #279
Originally posted by Dave
I think you're wrong.
If you think you exist, infact it's the only think you know for your.
There may be a reason why mentally retarted people might believe they don't exist, it's because THEY'RE RETARDED!


Thanks for making 100% no sense. You did not use a single proper sentence, and made word-change errors.

I see you're from New Zealand - that sucks bad enough that I won't rag on you more...
 
  • #280
Another God
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
987
4
ummm...physicsrocks88...if you keep up this attitude, I can promise you right now that You won't be around for much longer. That sort of stuff isn't tolerated in here.

I don't think your first post there was particularly helpful, and then your second one was just ad hominen and a complete waste of every readers time. Please stop it.
 

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