No worries. I have never taken a class in logic or algebra, but neither is particularly difficult once you learn to speak the language. I am, however, confused as to what Descartes 'cogito ergo sum' argument has to do with the problem of free will, but then I am not entirely clear what the problem of free will is, so perhaps it is to be expected. Personally, I think that Descartes argument is best understood as a sceptical attack upon evidence and
self-evidence. For example, take the following three existential statements:
[indent]1. There exists a black raven
2. There exists a perception of a black raven
3. There exists a perception of a perception of a black raven[/indent]
The first statement is about ravens
, the second statement is about perceptions
, and the third statement is about perceptions of perceptions
. In other words, each existential statement quantifies over a different domain, and not one can be deduced from any other. That is, it does not follow from the existence of a perception of a black raven that there exists a black raven, and it does not follow from the existence of a perception of a perception of a black raven that there exists a perception of a black raven. In other words, evidence and self-evidence do not imply that what is being perceived actually exists. However, no matter our scepticism or how far we push this regress, the existence of a perception is always assumed. In other words, there is something perceiving, thinking, existing.
It should be noted for those that consider it a problem that the 'cogito ergo sum' argument exemplifies a form of question begging, however, so does every valid argument and, for that matter, many invalid arguments, too. That said, I have yet to hear or read a refutation of it.