... I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here ... at question here is "absolute certainty" ... which seems to render the phrase "confident in the certainty of" somewhat incoherent ...
Okay, perhaps I worded that poorly. Let's say that while I like to believe that I exist, I cannot say with any degree of certainty, in the sense that I can prove it, that I do.
My question was, when Stormalv said "I'm certain I exist," how can he be so certain? Surely I can't be the only one out there who questions his own existence, and if there's someone out there who doesn't, I'd like to know how they acquired this certainty, because I think it would be handy knowledge to have.
is it fair to ask Stormalv to refrain from invoking experiential evidence? ... after all, isn't experience all we have access to of anything? ...
Fair doesn't have anything to do with it.
I asked that this type of explanation be avoided sheerly out of my own desire for something deeper. Saying "I think, therefore I am" doesn't work for me, so offering this to me as an explanation is useless in my own journey of self-discovery. I see it as an argument ender on par with someone saying, "It's true because it says so in the Bible," when you're having a theological disagreement with them.
Now, at this point one could say, "Well, TickTockMan, in your post here I can't help but notice that you keep using words like 'I' and 'me' and other self-referential terms. Doesn't that seem to indicate that there is a 'you' that exists to ask these questions?"
This would be a reasonable question, but largely irrelevant in that it doesn't really help, and it doesn't really address the fundamental issue of what, exactly, constitutes "I." The phrase "Cogito Ergo Sum" sounds wise on the surface, but it never really addresses the underlying question of what the "self" actually is, or how one can know that what one experiences, or thinks about, is anything more than illusion, or for that matter if "The Self" is any more than an illusion.
From the mind's perspective (and this is an important distinction), are experiences had in dreams, or under the influence of psychedelics any less real than "regular" experiences? There are several cultures that would say "no." Are they simply wrong? I don't have the special knowledge to say this with authority and experience a good feeling about it.
The moment one begins to express doubt about the existence of The Self, does not the value of experiential evidence as any sort of proof of one's existence also fall under a similar cloud of doubt? There seems to be very little room for wiggling around here. Either one is confident in the existence of their Self as defined by their experiences and goes about their day without giving anything beyond that concept a second thought . . . or one does not, and keeps digging further into what seems to be an infinitely deep hole.
Then again, I could be wrong. How should I know anyway? This just happens to be the experience my mind is having at 2 in the morning. When I wake up tomorrow I may spend the day refuting myself.
Thanks for wading through my rambling.
Respectful regards to all,