I see no way how I can not exist, so it's better to reverse the question to you. How can I possibly not exist? Or should I say, how can you possibly not exist. (For I of course could be a mere hallucination from your perspective)
... exactly my point - once doubt outweighs the inner experience of "I am", you're done ... that's the "Big Bang" of experience -
Ha! Excellent play, Stormalv! You've turned over the coin that has me so haunted. I can no more prove that I don't exist than I can prove that I do exist.
And for what it's worth, I would never presume to question your existence. How could I? If I were in a position to question another's existence it would seem that by default I implicitly believe in my own existence, but no one else's . . . and that just seems needlessly selfish.
But the real question that I have still remains: In the phrase, "I think, therefore I am," who exactly is doing the thinking? For me it's a question of the Observer and the Observed.
For the sake of this particular discussion, if we take it as a given that experiential evidence is all we have to base our concept of Self upon, then we must believe that there is a Self that is doing the experiencing. However, would this indicate that there is also something that is observing the Self as it is in the process of experiencing? Something that observes the Self experiencing and which is capable of reporting back, in essence, that "I see you thinking, and I see you concluding that therefore you exist."
Perhaps this is just way too dualistic for my own good. I'm not saying that I necessarily believe any of the preceding gibberish here. I'm just asking.
And then what happens?
Sorry if I'm not making much sense to everyone, our language is very limited you know! But damn! :eek:
logic and mathematics are human constructions for mechanizing a selection of hard-won human intuitions about the world we live in ... but as the water droplet case clearly demonstrates, any isomorphism between these mechanized intuitions and the real world must be experientially/experimentally demonstrated before being accepted.
However, would this indicate that there is also something that is observing the Self as it is in the process of experiencing? Something that observes the Self experiencing and which is capable of reporting back, in essence, that "I see you thinking, and I see you concluding that therefore you exist."
This could also mean that some people in a way will never be conscious?
... or is it that I experience self and conclude that I exist, and after having done that I recall my experience of self and resulting conclusion that I exist and proceed to critique it - a process which is itself experienced and remembered ... this does not lead to an infinite recursion of observers (of observers (of observers (of observers ...))) - but it can lead to a life spent analyzing everything one experiences (and analyzing that analysis (and analyzing ...)) ...
Hey, by the way, I couldn't get your website to open. Wanted to check out your work. Are you digital or a film purist? Back in the old days I used to run a B&W processing lab out of my house. I miss those days . . .
... that stinks! - what browser/version are you using? (just for my own information - I wrote the software for that website awhile back based upon bleeding-edge features in the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox ....
"'people think, therefore there is something that thinks:' this is what Desartes argument amounts to...that there there must be something 'that thinks' when we think is merely the formulation of a grammatial custom which sets an agent to every action...a metaphysico-logical postulate is already put forth..." The Will to Power
... actually, this could be a level-of-description thing ... at a sub-atomic level of description, there are no atoms, no chemistry, no solids, no life, no humans - nothing ... just a sea of quarks (or whatever the "smallest" particle is today) ... but does looking at things from the sub-atomic level of description necessarily imply that atoms are a fiction? chemistry is a fiction? solids are a fiction? life is a fiction? humans are a fiction? ... btw, good point about mistaking "certainty" as a synonym for "truth" ...
As to the question implied by the title of this thread; can there be absolute certainty? Yes. Many people are absolutely certain about various things. That says nothing about the actual state of the world, only about the state of those people. Being certain is an activity which is possible. What is lacking is truth, as a thing in itself; there is no such thing.
... actually, this could be a level-of-description thing ... at a sub-atomic level of description, there are no atoms, no chemistry, no solids, no life, no humans - nothing ... just a sea of quarks (or whatever the "smallest" particle is today) ...
I see your point about perspective and 'level of description', but I'm afraid the relevance to 'cogito ergo sum' is lost on me. Could you explain?
"Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought--a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!"