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Do we really exist?

 
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 11:14 am
Next time I go to traffic court i'm going to tell the judge he can't prove that I exist so I don't have to pay my tickets.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 11:37 am
Amigo wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
Amigo wrote:
Nothing we perceive can be proven to exist. That is a fact.

Is that an empirical fact?
Is that a trick question?

No.
0 Replies
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 01:39 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Amigo wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
Amigo wrote:
Nothing we perceive can be proven to exist. That is a fact.

Is that an empirical fact?
Is that a trick question?

No.


Empirical;

A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. It is usually differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically." "Empirical" as an adjective or adverb is used in conjunction with both the natural and social sciences, and refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment. In this sense of the word, scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations.

In a second sense "empirical" in science may be synonymous with "experimental." In this sense, an empirical result is an experimental observation. In this context, the term semi-empirical is used for qualifying theoretical methods which use in part basic axioms or postulated scientific laws and experimental results. Such methods are opposed to theoretical ab initio methods which are purely deductive and based on first principles.

----------------------

Joe, I contenplated your question. I'm afraid that if I were to attempt to answer your question sooner or later I would end up in an asylum and since I can't afford that I would have to send you the bill.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 02:30 pm
It appears to me that I exist and I can't think of any advantage to sincerely believing I'm not real. Unless I suppose you want to act as if you are invisible or not responsible for your actions or some such.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:14 pm
Amigo wrote:
Joe, I contenplated your question. I'm afraid that if I were to attempt to answer your question sooner or later I would end up in an asylum and since I can't afford that I would have to send you the bill.

Then let me re-phrase my question: how do you know that nothing we perceive can be proven to exist?
0 Replies
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:20 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Amigo wrote:
Joe, I contenplated your question. I'm afraid that if I were to attempt to answer your question sooner or later I would end up in an asylum and since I can't afford that I would have to send you the bill.

Then let me re-phrase my question: how do you know that nothing we perceive can be proven to exist?
Joe, I contemplated your question and i'm afraid if I tried to answer it everybody would know I was full of $hit....and then I'd have to sue you.
0 Replies
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:22 pm
Chumly wrote:
It appears to me that I exist and I can't think of any advantage to sincerely believing I'm not real. Unless I suppose you want to act as if you are invisible or not responsible for your actions or some such.
As far as I can tell theirs no advantage at, it's hazardous.

This is that french crap. It's that Sarte guy.

TO HELL WITH SARTE!!!

Cogito, ergo sum!!Case closed
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:47 pm
joe wrote:
Then let me re-phrase my question: how do you know that nothing we perceive can be proven to exist?


It is a trick question. If you cannot know that anything percieved exists, the (percieved) notion that nothing can be proved cannot be proved. Smile
0 Replies
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:50 pm
Cyracuz wrote:
joe wrote:
Then let me re-phrase my question: how do you know that nothing we perceive can be proven to exist?


It is a trick question. If you cannot know that anything percieved exists, the (percieved) notion that nothing can be proved cannot be proved. Smile
A paradox?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:53 pm
Amigo wrote:
Joe, I contemplated your question and i'm afraid if I tried to answer it everybody would know I was full of $hit

No doubt.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:53 pm
No, just a word game.
0 Replies
 
Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 03:59 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Amigo wrote:
Joe, I contemplated your question and i'm afraid if I tried to answer it everybody would know I was full of $hit

No doubt.
Checkmate.

I will be back joe......from Chicgo.

I WILL BE BACK
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 12:39 am
To all.

Unless we look at the key word "really" in the phrase "really exist" then nonsense will ensue.

"Reality" has different levels. For example in the question "does the constellation Orion really exist ?" we might argue that it exists for some purposes but not others. By extrapolation I would argue that the same can be said of all concepts. In particular the concepts "I" and "we" really exist as progenitors of these communications. On the other hand, at a transcendent level beyond the functionality of communication it could be argued that "selves" are merely social conventions ....ephemeral waves in an ever changing psychological ocean.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 01:54 am
fresco wrote:
"Reality" has different levels. For example in the question "does the constellation Orion really exist ?" we might argue that it exists for some purposes but not others.
a) How can a constellation exist for a purpose, unless it was purposefully created?
b) Or do you mean for the purposes of certain arguments?
I'm confused.
fresco wrote:
By extrapolation I would argue that the same can be said of all concepts. In particular the concepts "I" and "we" really exist as progenitors of these communications.
You extrapolate a) and/or b) to not only physical objects but to (subjective) concepts as well?
Could you substitute "as progenitors of" with "to foster"?
What communications are you referring to?
fresco wrote:
On the other hand, at a transcendent level beyond the functionality of communication it could be argued that "selves" are merely social conventions
I am not sure what transcendent level you refer to.
I am not sure what functionality you are ascribing to communications, nor what communications you are referring to.
If selves are merely social convention then could we have a social convention as a hive mind, or of no mind, and if so how would we argue these social conventions?
fresco wrote:
....ephemeral waves in an ever changing psychological ocean.
Ephemeral = fleeting: sure enough on that point, as we don't live long, or do you mean our thoughts are fleeting? By psychological ocean are you inferring some sort of collective consciousness?

Thanks much in advance for any response you see fit to deliver, don't forget to add a bit of humor!
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 06:56 am
Fresco, as usual, your thoughts are interesting.

As far as I'm concerend they pretty much answer the initial queston of the thread.

I've said previously that I do not think that I exist. I mean this in the way that I do not think the configuration "I" is something that relates to reality as an absolute.

If we see a river, we can say that there exists a river. We can even say that there exists, within the river, billions of drops of water. But since we cannot tell one drop from another in this massibe body of water, such a claim is useless.

Similarly, we cannot easily say where one 'I' begins and another ends, and so the unconditional existence of 'I' is simply an illusion.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 08:59 am
Cyracuz wrote:
If we see a river, we can say that there exists a river. We can even say that there exists, within the river, billions of drops of water. But since we cannot tell one drop from another in this massibe body of water, such a claim is useless.

What claim? That there is a river? Why is that useless?

Cyracuz wrote:
Similarly, we cannot easily say where one 'I' begins and another ends, and so the unconditional existence of 'I' is simply an illusion.

How do you know that?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 09:36 am
Chumly,

As usual I am working from the point of view of "reality" as a "social construct". My "levels" of reality reflect different consensual interrelationships between different groups of interlocutors. Thus a "constellation" modern man might call "Orion" is an arbitrary collection of celestial objects which has "reality" by virtue of common observation of persistent spatial relations sometimes used for the purposes.of "navigation" or "astrology". Members of the set called "Orion" might well have belonged to different "constellations" for earlier social groups.

I make no distinction between "physical" and "non-physical properties" these being merely descriptions of different expectancies social groups attach to their concepts. In short all concepts whether they be rocks, electrons, gods or selves exist as interrelational social nodes for specific purposes. It is therefore futile to argue whether a concept already coined "exists" or "doesn't exist". We are really arguing about different expectancies. Existence is relative not absolute. As a card carrying atheist I cannot argue against the existence of "God"…all "things" have been "thinged" by homo-sapiens for social purposes…..I can merely argue that the concept serves no useful purpose for "me"(that was the humour :wink: )…i.e. I have a negative relationship with the concept But to take this a stage further the "I" which has these relationships is in constant flux. The "I" of today is certainly different from the "I" of childhood. Indeed the "I" of today is different from that of yesterday ! This is the ephemeral nature of "self" I referred to above. The fact that today"I" exist as a node of "culpability" for legalistic purposes belies the fact that the same "body" could be deemed to constitute an "I" whose social responsibility would be to kill others for the purposes of a future war.

To see this relativity is to transcend normal concepts of "self".
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 02:48 pm
joe

The claim that there is millions of drops of water within the river is useless. It is useless because when the water is in such a state that we can see the individual drops, we no longer think of it as a river, but as rain.


And I know that the boundaries between one "I" and another are undefinable because of experience. Some parts of it are easy to tell apart. It is not hard to determine which hand is mine and which is yours. A more difficult task might be to determine which ideas and attitudes are mine and which stem from elswhere.

Also, if my emotional state alters according to external influences, then I am not completely mine.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 03:02 pm
Cyracuz wrote:
joe

The claim that there is millions of drops of water within the river is useless. It is useless because when the water is in such a state that we can see the individual drops, we no longer think of it as a river, but as rain.

Well, when the river is divided into millions of individual drops, then we no longer think of it as a river because it isn't a river.

Cyracuz wrote:
And I know that the boundaries between one "I" and another are undefinable because of experience.

Then you're fooling yourself. If experience is your only guide, then whose experience is telling you that the boundaries between one "I" and another are undefinable? And if you can't tell, then how can you be sure that you can rely on your experience?

Cyracuz wrote:
Some parts of it are easy to tell apart. It is not hard to determine which hand is mine and which is yours. A more difficult task might be to determine which ideas and attitudes are mine and which stem from elswhere.

If you don't know whose ideas you're having, then why should your idea that your hand is a part of you rather than a part of me be more reliable than any other idea? It seems to me those would be equally difficult tasks.

Cyracuz wrote:
Also, if my emotional state alters according to external influences, then I am not completely mine.

You're not completely your what?
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 03:30 pm
Whos experience? Our experience, though it would be accurate to say experience and leave it at that.
And wether or not experience is reliable cannot be answered, because experience is our sole vessel of information. A variable though, is how we remember experience. There are more beneficial ways and less beneficial ways.

But can you honestly say that you've never done things because smeone else did, or someone else told you to? Did you never make a compromise with a loved one?

My existence is not owned by just me, was the point I was trying to make with the last remark.
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