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Can you prove to your self that you exist

 
 
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 02:42 am
@djjd62,
you are putting a lot of responsibility in the hands of the postal service!

Would not an infallible argument require a validation from a dimension we cannot be aware of, and thus not be possible?


This kind of question, by definition, cannot be answered. A man must accept his limitations.

A better use of resouces is to determine how to better respond to the stimuli we do know we experience

thats my humble opinion
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 03:15 am
@IRFRANK,
Interestingly, this "dimension we cannot experience" is the one sought by those who seek "the spiritual" in which individual selves are transcended. Indeed, the esoteric literature associated with such spirituality speaks of "self as an illusion" .
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 04:26 am
@ikurwa89,
ikurwa89 wrote:

I understand Descartes argument, but what his suggesting is the mind i.e thoughts are existing not thy self.

So If I stop producing thoughts or think about anything then I won't exist.. It's like I only exist when I think...

It's doesn't establish the point of proving that you actually exist OBJECTIVELY in the world without the use of any sensory organs.

My main argument was sensory organs are falliable, so things might not appear the way they are.. My thoughts are being produced through an organ which is ultimately unreliable..

The "I think, therefore I am" doesn't do well in establishing you exist objectively.




Descartes did not say, "I exist, therefore I think", he said, "I think, therefore I exist". Many things exist, but do not think. So, it is not true that I exist only when I think. And Descartes did not say that.

My thoughts may be unreliable, if that means that I may think things that are not true (that is, I can make mistakes). But that is not the same thing as saying that we may be mistaken about whether we do have thoughts at all (reliable or unreliable). So that my thoughts are unreliable is, although true, irrelevant, for Descartes is not arguing from the reliability of thought; he is arguing from the existence of thought, and unreliable thoughts exist just as must as do reliable thoughts.

You continue to make the same argument even though it continues to be refuted. I wonder why.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 04:29 am
@ikurwa89,
ikurwa89 wrote:

Also, a note on "I", it doesn't necessary have to be physical or metaphysical.. It just has to be something that will exist regardless of myself, which is me.

Pretend you have no sense organs.. or if you like think of Hume's Bundle Theory!


How can I exist regardless of whether I exist? That implies that I can both exist and not exist. That seems to be a contradiction.

Why would Hume's theory imply I have no sense organs?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:34 am
If nothing else and with all else stripped away, this shows that I am this "thinking thing" - since by the act of positively thinking, I've shown this to be true by that act.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:17 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Interestingly, this "dimension we cannot experience" is the one sought by those who seek "the spiritual" in which individual selves are transcended. Indeed, the esoteric literature associated with such spirituality speaks of "self as an illusion" .
As soon as you consider a meta-perspective, you've created one beyond that. It's like a thought fractal.
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:20 am
Hmmm, I wonder if this post and other such like it, aren't the proof of philosophy fail?
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 05:07 pm
I've had a look around my body, my thoughts, my sensations, my memories, my cognition, etc, and I haven't found anything I can call a 'self'. Just a bunch of chemical processes that have to be re-supplied as the chemicals are used up. I can't find anything whatsoever in 'me' that is the same today as it was yesterday. Did I miss something?
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 05:34 pm
@FBM,
http://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/theseus.html
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:03 pm
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

I've had a look around my body, my thoughts, my sensations, my memories, my cognition, etc, and I haven't found anything I can call a 'self'. Just a bunch of chemical processes that have to be re-supplied as the chemicals are used up. I can't find anything whatsoever in 'me' that is the same today as it was yesterday. Did I miss something?


Yes, there is a spatio-temporal continuity between you body as one time and your body at a different time. There may not be some one feature, or some one set of features that are the same. But there will be some set of features that that form a continuity. For example, A at time t1 may have features a,b,c, d, and e. A, at time t2, will have features, a, b, c, (but not e). A, at t3, will have features, abz, but not d, and so on, until A will have no features it had at 1, but will have been connected with ti, by a continuous set of features. So, there will be spatio-temporal continuity but no set of features continuous. There will, in other words, be a thread of continuity made up of different strands. And that is, I think, what the continuity is between me as a child, and me as an adult. You think that unless there is some one feature, or some one set of features that are the same, there is no sameness, but that is false. It may be, and is, more complex than that. There is a continuity of different features.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:57 pm
Yes, I'd agree, but that's not generally what people are thinking of when they say 'self', at least in my experience. The 'self' as a discrete entity/identity that persists throughout one's lifetime is a convenient fiction, as far as I can tell. A sort of reification. While apperception is a useful tool for survival, and thus evolved as a brain behavior, it's not very accurate with regards to ontology.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 07:10 pm
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

Yes, I'd agree, but that's not generally what people are thinking of when they say 'self', at least in my experience. The 'self' as a discrete entity/identity that persists throughout one's lifetime is a convenient fiction, as far as I can tell. A sort of reification. While apperception is a useful tool for survival, and thus evolved as a brain behavior, it's not very accurate with regards to ontology.


But the self was proposed to explain why even if people change, they are the very same person. But although that explanation seems wrong, there is a different explanation, namely the one I gave about spatio-temporal continuity. I don't know that people do think what you think they think. But even if they do, so what? What is important is the question, what makes me the same person I was 20 years ago, even if every bodily feature has changed? Wasn't that the point of the OP? Why be content with a fiction no matter how convenient, when we have a different true explanation? The geocentric theory of the heavens was a convenient fiction. But it was discarded as soon as the true explanation became available.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Sep, 2010 09:53 pm
@kennethamy,
I think we mostly agree, just quibbling over details. Would you say that the "features" are the "same" at t1, t2...? Is the self, as commonly defined, a mere collection of features? I don't think that's what people mean when they say they're the same person that they were 20 years ago. Nor do I think that they mean a spatio-temporal continuity. What I think most people mean when they say "same person" is that there is some unique, unchanging essence that persists as a discrete identity throughout one's lifetime, and that although this or that feature may gradually morph, there is still some unchanging essence that gives them their singular identity. This may be a leftover from belief in a soul; it may have even been the impetus for belief in an immortal soul, but it doesn't survive scrutiny. Spatio-temporal continuity is observable, but sameness from t1 to t1000 seems to me to be more of a perceptual/intellectual illusion than anything.
ikurwa89
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Sep, 2010 01:59 am
Honestly, you guys are missing the point.

Forget your organs, and answer the question.

Stop bringing Descartes into this, his solution does nothing but affirm that he forgot one sensory organ.
0 Replies
 
ikurwa89
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Sep, 2010 02:04 am
@kennethamy,
Clearly you have no idea what Bundle theory is, it doesn't imply that you have no sense organs, but I want you to prove to your self WITHOUT.. yes without for the 5000 time, that you have no sense organs(refer to bundle theory) and that you exist.

Can you please pretend for the next 5min that you have none of them and tell your self that you exist..

That's the question and don't hide behind descartes.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Tue 14 Sep, 2010 12:06 pm
@FBM,
Nothing is really lost, as nothing is really acquired...thus the process is everything.
Hegel dialectics is very much about sameness in change...
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Sep, 2010 09:45 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

Spatio-temporal continuity is observable, but sameness from t1 to t1000 seems to me to be more of a perceptual/intellectual illusion than anything.
To whom does it seem to be an illusion?

If you see change, then you are are static. If you see stasis, you must be changing.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2010 11:11 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

Nothing is really lost, as nothing is really acquired...thus the process is everything.
Hegel dialectics is very much about sameness in change...


+1
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2010 11:19 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

FBM wrote:

Spatio-temporal continuity is observable, but sameness from t1 to t1000 seems to me to be more of a perceptual/intellectual illusion than anything.
To whom does it seem to be an illusion?


Me and several hundred million Buddhists philosophers, for a start. There have
been other philosophers, writers, poets, etc, who have remarked on it. It's a pretty common theme, seems.

Quote:
If you see change, then you are are static. If you see stasis, you must be changing.


Sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me. Is it a bald assertion? Rhetoric? In the act of seeing anything, in motion or static, you're in the process of changing. The content of your senses, perception, apperception, neuronal signalling, etc are changing at practically the speed of light (OK, not really, but pretty fast). Moment to moment, every aspect of your being is undergoing change. The individual is subject to the Ship of Theseus argument, as far as I can tell. We can keep calling something by the same name, but that in no way reflects the truth that everything is in a constant state of becoming. Our capacity for naming abstractions and talking about them as if they were real is precisely the act of reification, I think. Convenient, but nonetheless fiction.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Sep, 2010 02:38 am
I cannot prove to myself that I exist. I will, however, proceed with the arrogant and ignorant conclusion that I do.

A
R
T

 

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