I THINK therefore I AM

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Whoever
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:01 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71443 wrote:
For me, phenomenon are not explained by simply inventing a word, or observing something and saying, "you see, this is what is happening."

Me neither. But it's a bit tricky having a conversation with anyone else about them without inventing words.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:05 pm
@Whoever,
Lol, I'm debating about adding this to my 100 reply rule. After 100 replies the argument is moot, unsubscribe bin. However this one is remaining a little interesting, so we'll see.

Cheers,
Russ
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:09 pm
@Whoever,
Whoever;71453 wrote:
Me neither. But it's a bit tricky having a conversation with anyone else about them without inventing words.


Hi,

I tell you I talk to my friends all the time about these things. I use simple vocabulary. Simple sentences. And if I find that I need to resort to big words or specialized vocabulary, then I know that I do not yet understand the concept well enough to explain it. Hawkings, for example, does a marvelous job of explaining Relativity and Quantum Physics, in simple language.

You can look at any of my posts. I rarely use a work that is more than three syllables and never resort to specialized vocabulary. That does not mean that people will understand what I am saying. But it does mean that I am not trying to hide behind words.

Rich

---------- Post added at 03:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:09 PM ----------

GoshisDead;71455 wrote:
Lol, I'm debating about adding this to my 100 reply rule. After 100 replies the argument is moot, unsubscribe bin. However this one is remaining a little interesting, so we'll see.

Cheers,
Russ


Smile What do you find interesting?

Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:31 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71426 wrote:
would you care to share with me what Descartes meant by the statement "I think therefore I am"?
I'd surmise he meant something rather similar to what he meant when he wrote this:

Descartes wrote:
I have convinced myself that there is nothing in the world - no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Doesn't it follow that I don't exist? No, surely I must exist if it's me who is convinced of something. But there is a deceiver, supremely powerful and cunning whose aim is to see that I am always deceived. But surely I exist, if I am deceived. Let him deceive me all he can, he will never make it the case that I am nothing while I think that I am something. Thus having fully weighed every consideration, I must finally conclude that the statement "I am, I exist" must be true whenever I state it or mentally consider it.


The fact that he thinks is the only thing that is beyond all doubt. And his existence is thus evinced by his thought.

Quote:
Here is Wikipedia's take on it.
Ah, well as long as Wikipedia has a take on it...
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:32 pm
@richrf,
Hi,

Here is a thought that I had:

Isn't it interesting that the mind (what I call Individual Consciousness) when it is asleep, does not remember when it is awake, yet when it is awake, it remembers that it was asleep and maybe dreaming. Why does it only remember (or thinks it remembers) in one direction? Is the mind thinking when it is asleep? If so, why is it so much different? How does the mind change back and forth between these states?

Inquiring philosophers ask the questions. Smile

Rich
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:37 pm
@richrf,
I find the approach to the argument interesting, seemingly traditional theistic, traditional non theistic, and non-traditional agnostic. all hashing the same point in different ways.

I hardly ever find the argument itself (any argument) as fascinating as I find the interaction of the participants.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:37 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71472 wrote:

Isn't it interesting that the mind (what I call Individual Consciousness) when it is asleep, does not remember when it is awake, yet when it is awake, it remembers that it was asleep and maybe dreaming.


I remember my waking life when I am dreaming.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:47 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;71471 wrote:
I'd surmise he meant something rather similar to what he meant when he wrote this:



The fact that he thinks is the only thing that is beyond all doubt. And his existence is thus evinced by his thought.

Ah, well as long as Wikipedia has a take on it...


Nice translation. I have over thirty translations of the Dao De Jing - all of them different. So ... are you positive that this translation is the one and only one that should be referred to? Are you positive that the interpretation of the original thoughts by the translator are the one and only one that is correct? Should we do away with all other perspectives, translations, ideas on what Descartes meant.

Some questions to be asked:

1) Why does the translation say that the one necessarily follows the next in the second sentence?

2) Who is the Deceiver that he refers to?

3) What does Descartes mean by exist?

4) He says he is something. But what?

I can go on, and on, and on. For every sentence, one can easily find many questions.

Before, I ever have the assurance that I know what someone else was thinking hundreds of years ago, I will have to be first comfortable that I know what my girlfriend is thinking who I talk to for hours every day. I am not there yet. Some people may feel that they know exactly what someone was thinking hundreds of years ago. I can't seem to get into that space. I can guess and offer up my perspective on it, but that is as far as I will go. Smile But that is me.

I think therefore I am.

I am not what someone else thinks.

Rich

---------- Post added at 03:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:47 PM ----------

GoshisDead;71478 wrote:
I find the approach to the argument interesting, seemingly traditional theistic, traditional non theistic, and non-traditional agnostic. all hashing the same point in different ways.

I hardly ever find the argument itself (any argument) as fascinating as I find the interaction of the participants.


Yes. Humans are fascinating.

Rich

---------- Post added at 03:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:47 PM ----------

Didymos Thomas;71479 wrote:
I remember my waking life when I am dreaming.


Can you share the last time you remembered you were awake and what you remembered? Also, how do you know that you were dreaming when you remembered that you are awake?

Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:21 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71482 wrote:
Nice translation. I have over thirty translations of the Dao De Jing - all of them different. So ... are you positive that this translation is the one and only one that should be referred to? Are you positive that the interpretation of the original thoughts by the translator are the one and only one that is correct? Should we do away with all other perspectives, translations, ideas on what Descartes meant.
Well, compared with taking the phrase "I think, therefore I am" completely out of the context of ANY translation of his other writing, I think it's a good start.

What do you think Charles Dickens, who wrote in English meant by the phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"? Well, best finish reading the intro to A Tale of Two Cities if you want to know, rather than pulling it out of you know where.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:39 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;71492 wrote:
Well, compared with taking the phrase "I think, therefore I am" completely out of the context of ANY translation of his other writing, I think it's a good start.

What do you think Charles Dickens, who wrote in English meant by the phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"? Well, best finish reading the intro to A Tale of Two Cities if you want to know, rather than pulling it out of you know where.


I don't even see the phrase, "I think, therefore I am" in the translation that you chose. So am I to conclude that Descartes never said it?

As for context, we all choose our own. Did you consider that he might not write down exactly what he thought for fear of persecution? Is the fact that a person needs to earn a living and stay alive pertinent to a discussion? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends.

I find Descartes statement and the sentence and the treatise very enigmatic in many ways. As you can see, even the simple statement that has been attributed to him and is the topic for this thread can be translated in more than one way. In any case, it is a topic for discussion, as people have been doing for hundreds of years. And maybe, that is what it is all about.

Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 04:41 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71499 wrote:
As for context, we all choose our own. Did you consider that he might not write down exactly what he thought for fear of persecution? Is the fact that a person needs to earn a living and stay alive pertinent to a discussion? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends.
Here we go again with your continual efforts to undermine and destroy anything that can be known, any parameters or discernments or data or conclusions or meaning or anything at all.

Delimit your interpretations with the things we DO know, because destroying them only leaves us with nothingness.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 04:48 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;71520 wrote:
Here we go again with your continual efforts to undermine and destroy anything that can be known, any parameters or discernments or data or conclusions or meaning or anything at all.

Delimit your interpretations with the things we DO know, because destroying them only leaves us with nothingness.


You know what you know and you can know anything you want to know. Problems arise when someone insists that they she/he knows the Truth (which is fine) for both of us (that is not fine with me). Disagreement is as much a part of this world as agreement. If you wish, we can agree that we both have our own perspectives on what Descartes said.

It hardly leaves us with nothingness. It leaves us with observations, ideas, and questions. That is plenty enough for me.

Rich
 
Zetetic11235
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 06:08 pm
@richrf,
richrf,

How do you take lucid dreaming into account? Lucid dream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

During a lucid dream, one can manipulate what occurs in the dream. It is a strange concept, is it not?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:18 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71523 wrote:
You know what you know and you can know anything you want to know. Problems arise when someone insists that they she/he knows the Truth (which is fine) for both of us (that is not fine with me).
I think we have great insight into Descartes' thoughts on the matter. What's most worthy of discussion are the implications of his philosophy in our greater understanding of certain philosophical issues, including metaphysics (because the physical might be a deception), morality (because all other people might be a deception), epistemology (because all we can truly know is that we are a thinking being).

To suggest that "I think, therefore I am" might be some sort of existential statement about that which accounts for our very existence seems to be not what he communicates.

Quote:
Disagreement is as much a part of this world as agreement... It hardly leaves us with nothingness. It leaves us with observations, ideas, and questions. That is plenty enough for me.
Disagreement is not the problem. The problem is that cogito ergo sum is not a philosophy. It's a statement of pith worthy of a tombstone. But what it meant to Descartes can be learned, because his philosophy is extensively elaborated in his writings and because he himself said that the cogito was his central premise.


Incidentally, you are correct that cogito ergo sum does not appear in the Meditations verbatim, but the cogito (which appears elsewhere in his writings, including the Discourse on Method), directly refers to that argument I quoted.

The FIRST appearance of the cogito (which was written in French), is from the Discourse on Method, and you can see that it's the same argument:

Descartes wrote:
I am in doubt as to the propriety of making my first meditations in the place above mentioned matter of discourse; for these are so metaphysical, and so uncommon, as not, perhaps, to be acceptable to every one. And yet, that it may be determined whether the foundations that I have laid are sufficiently secure, I find myself in a measure constrained to advert to them. I had long before remarked that, in relation to practice, it is sometimes necessary to adopt, as if above doubt, opinions which we discern to be highly uncertain, as has been already said; but as I then desired to give my attention solely to the search after truth, I thought that a procedure exactly the opposite was called for, and that I ought to reject as absolutely false all opinions in regard to which I could suppose the least ground for doubt, in order to ascertain whether after that there remained aught in my belief that was wholly indubitable. Accordingly, seeing that our senses sometimes deceive us, I was willing to suppose that there existed nothing really such as they presented to us; and because some men err in reasoning, and fall into paralogisms, even on the simplest matters of geometry, I, convinced that I was as open to error as any other, rejected as false all the reasonings I had hitherto taken for demonstrations; and finally, when I considered that the very same thoughts (presentations) which we experience when awake may also be experienced when we are asleep, while there is at that time not one of them true, I supposed that all the objects (presentations) that had ever entered into my mind when awake, had in them no more truth than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately upon this I observed that, whilst I thus wished to think that all was false, it was absolutely necessary that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that this truth, I think, therefore I am, was so certain and of such evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged by the sceptics capable of shaking it, I concluded that I might, without scruple, accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I was in search.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:32 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235;71535 wrote:
richrf,

How do you take lucid dreaming into account? Lucid dream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

During a lucid dream, one can manipulate what occurs in the dream. It is a strange concept, is it not?


Totally. To me it is amazing. I have never been there, so if you (or anyone else) has some accounts you can related to me I would appreciate it. I am interested in the general feelings that you observe and what you are dreaming. Thanks.

Rich

---------- Post added at 08:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:32 PM ----------

Aedes;71548 wrote:
I think we have great insight into Descartes' thoughts on the matter. What's most worthy of discussion are the implications of his philosophy in our greater understanding of certain philosophical issues, including metaphysics (because the physical might be a deception), morality (because all other people might be a deception), epistemology (because all we can truly know is that we are a thinking being).

To suggest that "I think, therefore I am" might be some sort of existential statement about that which accounts for our very existence seems to be not what he communicates.

Disagreement is not the problem. The problem is that cogito ergo sum is not a philosophy. It's a statement of pith worthy of a tombstone. But what it meant to Descartes can be learned, because his philosophy is extensively elaborated in his writings and because he himself said that the cogito was his central premise.


Incidentally, you are correct that cogito ergo sum does not appear in the Meditations verbatim, but the cogito (which appears elsewhere in his writings, including the Discourse on Method), directly refers to that argument I quoted.

The FIRST appearance of the cogito (which was written in French), is from the Discourse on Method, and you can see that it's the same argument:



OK. I have a better understanding of your perspective.

Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:47 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71555 wrote:
Totally. To me it is amazing. I have never been there, so if you (or anyone else) has some accounts you can related to me I would appreciate it. I am interested in the general feelings that you observe and what you are dreaming. Thanks.
I think I can do that at times. It's not, perhaps, that I can control what I'm dreaming, but there are times when my normal self seems to have a direct awareness and participation in the subject of the dream -- and the only discontinuity when I awake is that my surroundings revert to the real world.

What they're about, I can hardly say. The details disappear quickly. And I'm so overtired all the time that most of the time I don't dream at all (meaning I don't have any awareness at all of dreaming).

My wife has dreams about her childhood cat all the time. Well, that's morphed since we had a baby to dreams about him.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 08:05 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;71548 wrote:
To suggest that "I think, therefore I am" might be some sort of existential statement about that which accounts for our very existence seems to be not what he communicates.


No, it is not what he "communicates" or even writes.

The term, "ergo" (therefore) indicates that what he "communicates" is that he is making an argument. ("therefore" is an illative). The premise is, "I think" (really, "I am conscious" for that was how "to think" was used in the 17th century. More broadly than it is now used). And the conclusion is, "I am" or, "I exist". And what Descartes argues is that it follows, necessarily, from the fact that he is conscious, that he exists. And, as Descartes explains in other places, it would be impossible for him to be conscious without existing. And, when it was objected (by Gassendi) that after all, the same was true of I walk, therefore I exist. Descartes replied that was true enough, that he could not walk without existing too. But the difference was that he was certain that he was conscious, and therefore that what ever conclusion followed from his certainty of his consciousness would be, itself, certain. But that since he could not be certain that he walked (since he could not be certain that he had a body) although I exist follows necessarily from I walk, since I walk is not certain, so I exist would not be certain.

Descartes is absolutely lucid. But, of course, you have to know what he says. You cannot just make it up. However perspictival you are, that doesn't give you a license for writing fiction as if it were fact.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 08:10 pm
@richrf,
I agree -- people who make it into a discussion of ontology are taking it beyond what Descartes ever wrote.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 08:15 pm
@Aedes,
What could go beyond the ontological silliness of animal spirits?!
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 08:24 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;71575 wrote:
I agree -- people who make it into a discussion of ontology are taking it beyond what Descartes ever wrote.


Descartes said that he is certain he exists. That's ontology. But his main point was epistemic. That he is certain that he exists. But clearly, if he is certain that he exists, then he exists. And from that, he deduced that the soul or mind exists. That he is his soul or his mind and not his body, although he has a body. That God exists, and that the external world exists. So, that is what he wrote, and that is a lot of ontology to my mind. Isn't it to yours?

---------- Post added at 10:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 PM ----------

Holiday20310401;71577 wrote:
What could go beyond the ontological silliness of animal spirits?!


It was a shot in the dark. Descartes was trying to understand how mind and body could influence each other. What is silly about it? It is false, but hardly silly.
 
 

 
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