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Descartes's First Meditation

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2010 03:41 pm
@wayne,
Laughing Heidegger made a living from a book which analysed your word "simply" !
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2010 04:05 pm
@Brianj1,
Quote:
He proposes a valid argument that while in a dream a person cannot tell the difference between the dream and reality.


I have had dreams that I knew were dreams, where I knew I was sleeping and dreaming, but the dreaming didn't end.

I have also experienced a state of sleep in which I was aware of my surroundings. It's light and not very sound, but it's still sleep. And dreams during this sleep can also occur.

So I would like to respectfully disagree with Descartes' argument.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2010 04:31 pm
@wayne,
Quote:
Just because I'm thinking about my grocery list and forget what I went upstairs for doesn't equate to the absense of self.


How would you describe self?
I think you and fresco may have very different definitions or explanations of the phenomenon.

Would you say that your forgetting what you went upstairs for equates to the absense of mind? It's a common enough phrase.

But then, what is the difference between "mind" and "sense of self".
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2010 10:07 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

I shall say it once more since you don't seem to get it. Descartes' "I" has debatable ontological status. The qualitative difference between "dreaming" and "wakefulness" may evoke a particular aspect of "self" rather than be "experienced" by a consistent entity called "self". Those instances during "the day" when any aspect of self is absent is little different from dreaming...hence the term "day-dreaming".


Yes. I still don't get it. And I will continue not to get it as long as you continue to speak philosophese and not English. The question is what is the difference between waking life and dreaming life. This "self" bit really does not cut it. I am the very same person whether I am awake or whether I am asleep.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 02:23 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
I am the very same person whether I am awake or whether I am asleep


Wake up Ken! Who do you think you are talking to when you verbalise "in your head" ? Who was running for a train in his underwear in that dream ?

Quote:
One of man’s important mistakes, one which must be remembered, is his illusion in regard to his I.
Man such as we know him, cannot have a permanent and single I. His I changes as quickly as his thoughts, feelings and moods, and he makes a profound mistake in considering himself always one and the same person; in reality he is always a different person, not the one he was a moment ago.
Man has no permanent and unchangeable I. Every thought, every mood, every desire, every sensation, says "I".
Man has no individual I. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small "I"s, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, "I". And each time his I is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man's name is legion.
G.I Gurdjieff

Freud made a living from the above !
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 04:06 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Quote:
I am the very same person whether I am awake or whether I am asleep


Wake up Ken! Who do you think you are talking to when you verbalise "in your head" ? Who was running for a train in his underwear in that dream ?



1. I am talking to myself.
2. No one. Dreams are not real, and the persons who figure in them are not real.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 04:26 am
@kennethamy,
Of course ! I forgot you were a naive realist.

Why would "a self" need to discuss anything with "itself" unless "self" were a social construction, entirely predicated on its relationship to "others" ?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 04:47 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Of course ! I forgot you were a naive realist.

Why would "a self" need to discuss anything with "itself" unless "self" were a social construction, entirely predicated on its relationship to "others" ?


Well, I am a realist. "Naive" is, of course, an insinuation, and needs support.

I (like others) have an "internal dialogue" for a number of different reasons. One of them is to think things through. I don't know just what a "self" is supposed to be. But if it is supposed to be identical with me, it is not a social construction (something invented) since I am not something invented. But then, the terms "self" and "social construction" are philosophical terms whose meanings are utterly obscure. I never talk in those terms since if I did, I would have no grasp on what I was saying. You seem to think that when you talk in these terms you know what it is you are talking about. Good for you. But don't expect me to know what it is you are saying unless you explain it to me in English and not in philosophese. I simply do not speak philosophese.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 05:04 am
@kennethamy,
...Then you have no place in a "philosophy" thread ! Try the barber's shop.

Forget about what I am saying. Merely note that your "hero" Quine has written thousands of words on the inadequacies of Descartes' concept of "self". Why did you ever bother to cite him if you don't know what he is talking about ?

http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/phil_mar2004.htm
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 05:20 am
@kennethamy,
compare also

http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/phil_apr2003.htm
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 08:27 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

...Then you have no place in a "philosophy" thread ! Try the barber's shop.

Forget about what I am saying. Merely note that your "hero" Quine has written thousands of words on the inadequacies of Descartes' concept of "self". Why did you ever bother to cite him if you don't know what he is talking about ?

http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/phil_mar2004.htm


Well, that is just what I was saying; that the notion of "self" is inadequate; not merely Descartes'. And that means that the very concept is inadequate (as Hume pointed out). So, it is not as if Quine thought that although Descartes made no sense, some other concept did. Quine does not use the concept of the self as do you, as it it made sense. Quine discusses it to show it makes no sense. I also said the the concept of the self makes only questionable sense. Does that mean I know what I am talking about when I talk about the self? But I am not talking about the self, I am talking about the concept of the self, and saying that talk about the self makes only questionable sense.

You really have to distinguish between talking about the concept, and actually using the concept. Quine talks about the concept. He does not use the concept. You use the concept assuming that the concept itself makes sense. And so do those you quote.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 11:06 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
Just because I'm thinking about my grocery list and forget what I went upstairs for doesn't equate to the absense of self.


How would you describe self?
I think you and fresco may have very different definitions or explanations of the phenomenon.

Would you say that your forgetting what you went upstairs for equates to the absense of mind? It's a common enough phrase.

But then, what is the difference between "mind" and "sense of self".


Absense of mind from where? When I am preoccupied my mind is not absent, it's multi task epic fail when I forget what I went upstairs for. The phrases we use are misleading.

I would say "mind" is our sense of awareness, our sense of self may be self awareness.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2010 07:13 pm
@wayne,
Absence of mind from the task you are performing.

I am saying that self is not so much a constant entity as it is a set of ever changing, internal relationships between contrasts that are arbitrarily established. The impression of constant substance, or I, comes from the continuous experience of establishing these relationships.
But the coherency of the I doesn't come from some transcendent, detatched and observing entity. There simply is no definite proof for that belief. Only the naive-realist's insistence that it is self-evident.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2010 01:09 am
@wayne,
Quote:
I would say "mind" is our sense of awareness, our sense of self may be self awareness.


Note that within "a dream" both of those "senses" may still hold.
0 Replies
 
Speakpigeon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 08:10 am
@kennethamy,
Descartes gave his argument only an approximative formulation. Taken literally, the argument is flawed as equivocating on the notion of dream.

To resolve the equivocation, we have to extert charity and interpret the argument as including a state of mind which is only figuratively dreaming. Yet, a new question then arrises: it there any such a state? Of course, we don't know of it, just as the dreamer does not know of the state of being awaken (although he might be said to believe that he is awake).

Attempts to show that in some sense we are sometimes dreaming (absent-minded etc.) when we are awake are misguided. Although such states are often not really comparable to dreams, their relation to being awake is similar to the relation of dreams to being awake, and therefore do not move the resolution of the issue forward: if in fact we are in some meta-dreaming state, the question of whether there is a meta-awaken state is not solvable. However, we cannot exclude this possibility, and this was the point made by Descartes.
EB
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 11:44 am
@Brianj1,
Quote:
... He proposes a valid argument that while in a dream a person cannot tell the difference between the dream and reality. As, from personal experience, I know this to be true...

Only as long as the "memories" of one's avatar in the dream are constantly revised so that whatever meandering craziness will be judged afterwards to be normal. When the memory editing process fails to keep up with events, the avatar apprehends the anomalies and recovers knowledge of waking life; then it's 'acquire the powers of a god' in virtual reality time. Everyday experience is not punctured with such intermittent enlightenments or lucid dreamings, and one gets cast back into the "same old story" upon waking from the slumbering kind. If waking life was a dream, it's of quite a different order than the usual, classifiable under "oneirocosmism" (oneiro=of dreams; cosm=world; ism=doctrine, system), of which solipsism would potentially be only one of its sub-genres.
0 Replies
 
 

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