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Most of so-called philosophy is due to this kind of fallacy

  1. Jun 21, 2011 #1

    dx

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    "The fact that man produces a concept 'I' besides the totality of his mental and emotional experiences or perceptions does not prove that there must be any specific existence behind such a concept. We are succumbing to illusions produced by our self-created language without reaching a better understanding of anything. Most of so-called philosophy is due to this kind of fallacy." - Albert Einstein
     
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  3. Jun 22, 2011 #2

    apeiron

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    Before the thread gets deleted, as it does not pose any actual argument, I would suggest reading p51 of Einstein and Infeld's excellent book on the philosophy of mechanicism - The Evolution of Physics - where they give a very sound view of the proper relationship between science and philosophy in practice.

    To paraphrase, metaphysical generalisations pave the way for new scientific theories which in turn should lead to a more informed level of metaphysical generalisation...etc.

    The book then goes on to illustrate this in Einstein's own experience.

    "So-called" philosophy would be exactly that which does not play this game. I certainly agree with that.
     
  4. Jun 22, 2011 #3
    "The fact that man produces a concept 'I' besides the totality of his mental and emotional experiences or perceptions does not prove that there must be any specific existence behind such a concept. We are succumbing to illusions produced by our self-created language without reaching a better understanding of anything. Most of so-called PHYSICS is due to this kind of fallacy."


    If it's a fallacy and there is no concept 'I', then who/what does the thinking?

    To doubt the existence of 'thinking' involves thinking and reaffirms the existence of thinking. Thinking proves that we exist, at least during those times that we think.

    I can doubt whether there is an external world but i find it absurd to even begin to doubt if I actually think. I am sure Decartes agrees :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  5. Jun 22, 2011 #4
    Even the "I" can be doubted. When you say "I" you mean a collection of memories about the past experiences of someone, but that man being you might be an illusion as well. One could say that you were created by an experiment and all those memories were fed to you by some brain machine, but they correspond to nothing real. So even the "I" (in principle) can be doubted.

    The only logical inference we can have from "I think" is "there are thoughts at this moment" Maybe a better illustration of the above is in Russel's The Problems of Philosophy:

    http://www.ditext.com/russell/rus2.html

    in particular:

    "But some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. 'I think, therefore I am' says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we were quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as the real table and does not seem to have that absolute, convincing certainty that belongs to particular experiences. When I look at my table and see a certain brown colour, what is quite certain at once is not 'I am seeing a brown colour', but rather, 'a brown colour is being seen'. This of course involves something (or somebody) which (or who) sees the brown colour; but it does not of itself involve that more or less permanent person whom we call 'I'. So far as immediate certainty goes, it might be that the something which sees the brown colour is quite momentary, and not the same as the something which has some different experience the next moment. "

    :D
     
  6. Jun 22, 2011 #5

    Ryan_m_b

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    But then what is the definition of "I" and how do you know that it is what you think it is? We can say we are conscious beings but that is even harder to define, especially when taken into account with theories of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphenomenalism" [Broken].
     
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  7. Jun 22, 2011 #6

    fuzzyfelt

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  8. Jun 22, 2011 #7

    disregardthat

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    The self is a component of the structure of language, and Einstein is right, of course there is no specific existence (physical or supernatural) behind this. I don't think too much of philosophy is arguing on that behalf.
     
  9. Jun 22, 2011 #8


    So, you're basically saying "a component of the structure of language" is able to reason and seek and produce logic?
     
  10. Jun 22, 2011 #9

    The "I" is forever unknowabe, it's the the thing-in-itself, the noumenon as Kant would put it. Our reasoning is only phenomenal and cannot penetrate to the noumenon. In that respect, you have a point - all way say about nature and our experience is a set of assumptions and propositions with various degrees of certainty. In some sense, "I think therefore i am" is also a bit of a stretch if one is suspecting some kind of conspiracy.



    With the right set of assumption, we are able to say a great many things. Without a form of belief, nothing could be said of reality.
     
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  11. Jun 22, 2011 #10

    By who? :)
     
  12. Jun 22, 2011 #11

    Evo

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    This doesn't meet the criteria for starting a thread at all. It's just a quote. We have a thread for favorite quotes.
     
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