This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Cogito ergo sum

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by speed, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. death metal black metal

    death metal black metal New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You're confusing what you consider ignorance, and intelligence. Someone taught the right answers is not smarter than someone not taught them, and that person's judgment will still be terrible.
     
  2. derbeder

    derbeder in a vicious circle

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    lost
    There is a difference between property dualism and substance dualism only under the assumption that there are substances, i.e. there is something that is the owner of properties and that this thing is distinct from any conjnnction of its properties. One might reject any ontology which posits substances in this sense, and come to identify subsances with "bundles" of properties. This is roughly Hume's position on this matter. On such a view of substances, property dualism entails substance dualism.

    The Conscious Mind is not an easy read. The main argument of the book depends on very substantive issues in the metaphysics of modality and will not be appreciated without some familiarity with the literature on the relation between concievability and possibility. But if one actually wants to get into this topic, it is an essential book.
     
  3. NovembersDirge

    NovembersDirge Angry Metal Guy

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    As a sociologist I have to err on the side of individuals being subject to social construction. In the end, the whole damn thing comes down to the fact that people exist within their cultures and thus adopt the ideals of their cultures. It is practically impossible to escape. A great place to look for this is when someone is trying to attribute some gender trait to 'evolution.' For example, women prefer pink. According to some ridiculous 'scientist' who probably doesn't know the first thing about social constructionism, this has to do with 'the health of a man's face.' What??? Or how about the fact that the average age of women in the study was 30 and they'd all been raised as women in a western society where blue is for boys and pink is for girls. While not as eloquently stated as it could be, the point remains the same: social construction of ideals is often times a very real, cogent counterpoint to 'genetic' arguments.

    On top of that--were culture genetic one would arguably not see cultural differences. If culture is a predetermined set of genetic patterns which fuel chemicals in one's brain which leads one to act in specific ways, there would be unmistakable similarities between cultures. The only thing that remains constant across culture is a basic belief in a separation between the 'real world' and a 'spirit world,'.. that's about it (I suppose we should also count symbolic language..). Gender roles, ideas about economy, language, etc., all differ across the board and no one has ever found evidence of genetic predispositions to certain types of basket weaving or pottery making. ;)

    OK, that was a cursory and very tired series of arguments. Yippee!

    Oh, and Descartes jumps to a conclusion.. one cannot assume existence from thought. One says "I think" which should be followed by "therefore, there is thinking going on." That's about as far as the logical statement goes. ;)
     
  4. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Metal??

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    NJ,USA
    I was in fact making the assumption that you stated was necessary. And yes, I read significant portions of The Conscious Mind and it certainly is not for the uninitiated. My knowledge of the literature on this subject is still fairly limited so I'm sure you could recommend some slightly more elementary readings.
     
  5. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    906
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Straya
    Can anyone enlighten me as to why 'I think therefore I am' is any more 'true' than 'a horse has 4 legs'? Both seem to be personal conceptions, that once thought, engender their own validity. If I am deceived about the horse, is it not the case that my conception is still internally valid / existing, and that it would simply prove to be of no use?
     
  6. kmik

    kmik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Delted, then! I remember reading something exactly like this on the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, but perhaps it was a misinterpretation. Serious business ;)
     
  7. Justin S.

    Justin S. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,007
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The Meditations are arranged as a series of "trials" one must pass before graduating on to the next. In his Replies, Descartes clearly states that deductive "arguments" are basically of no use for the type of knowledge he is after. The famous cogito ergo sum is not meant to be a syllogistic argument (i.e., should not be represented as kmik has done ;)), and is not formulated as such in Meditations. Rather, this "truth" is intended to register "intuitively" by "the light of nature" when one is along the meditative path opened by the philosopher. Descartes says an infinite regress of justification and "proof" cannot provide any knowledge, and that even our most rigorously worked out arguments all rest on some sort of intuitive apprehension (the elusive "grasping" or leap of understanding).

    Regarding Blowtus' concern of the validity of the scope of representation (i.e., correspondence of "internal" or "mental" representations): For Descartes, the rules of thinking ("logic") were held to be universally valid. Thus, whether the objects of sensation correspond to anything "real" (i.e., mind independent) is initially doubted, but not the scope of human reasoning and logic. Both (correspondence of sensory representation and logic) are claimed to be secured by the demonstration of God (who would not deceive us in either sense).

    What I am trying to stress is that "cogito ergo sum" makes little sense when extracted as an isolated argument, as its demonstration is tied to a certain method and a certain understanding of scholastic philosophy and theology.
     
  8. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,520
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    lunar stonehenge
    Your post commits many elementary mistakes. First, you make genetics and culture mutually exclusive, instead of allowing for the possibility that both have a causal impact. It's easy to dismiss the idea that genetics influences aspects of human culture when you mean that genetics determines culture, irrespective of other variables. Furthermore, you suggest that if culture 'were genetic,' we would not see cultural variation. First, this assumes genetic homogeneity. Second, and more damning, is that you presume that hereditary traits do not take feedback from the environment, which is, of course, ridiculous. Creatures that are genetically identical may have different phenotypes even with respect to traits that are known to be strongly influenced by genetics.

    He should be able to get more than that. At least, he should have that something exists. The idea that nothing exists, but something is thinking does not make a whole lot of sense.
     
  9. kmik

    kmik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    That if we suppose that for thinking to exist something must think it which is not entirely obvious. Maybe only thinking exists.
     
  10. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,520
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    lunar stonehenge
    How could only thinking exist, without anything that thinks? Do you have an example in mind that makes this understandable?
     
  11. kmik

    kmik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I am merely pointing out that this is a hidden assumption you need to deduce that something exists, that's all. It's a very ambiguous territory because I don't know what it means that something exists if there's no thinking, either. I still don't have to give an example; I blame it on the evil demon :)
     
  12. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,520
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    lunar stonehenge
    It is a plausible one, though. I can't think of any counterexample. Thinking is a process and something must undergo it.

    Pardon? Are you invoking subjective idealism or some interpretation of quantum theory?

    In order for the evil demon to deceive, there has to be something to be deceived. It can't very well deceive nothing.
     
  13. kmik

    kmik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I am saying that the demon twists my brain into believing that thinking without something that thinks is impossible, just like he could possibly trick me about 1 + 1 = 2.

    I am not saying that if something is not sensed then it does not exist. There is existence that is independent of the mind. When I close my eyes the world still exists, that is. In a universe with no conscious beings, however, how can anything said to exist or not? What would be the implications if something is rather than not? (I'm mostly talking crap here I think)

    There could be a primordial mind that "thinks" the universe in which your body "thinks" your mind, perhaps. That thinking is a process still assumes materialist logic. Existence itself could be a "process" created by the mind?
     
  14. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    906
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Straya
    Descartes ends up refuting the demons capacity to do this, and says that so long as he applies himself to logic it cannot be faulted. Whether this was just to save his ontological argument or is what he intended in the first place I haven't quite worked out... it seems to make his arguments work better for me anyway :)



    To me, the Cogito seems valid for the word definitions that Descartes used, but he appears to posit 'I', 'thought' and 'existence' as more absolute and substantial than simple practical categorisations for his perception.
     
  15. kmik

    kmik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    That thinking can exist without something that thinks does not refute any logical axioms. It's logically possible.

    Your second statement is very interesting. Didn't think about that myself, but the implications reach far beyond that of the Cognito itself
     

Share This Page