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Grand Unified Philosophy

HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
This is a split off from the Agnosticism thread. Basically, we're arguing the ability to derive all beliefs from first principles, thus creating an entire system which is properly justified from the ground up. I'm saying that it is possible, others are saying it is not. And so I will be trying to do so here. In theory, we will progress from knowing nothing to our end goal which is very broadly a system of rational skepticism, a philosophy of justified belief, and an ethical system of secular humanism. Very very broadly. So let's get started.

I think, therefore I am. This is the very first statement which we shall make. I argue that this statement is self-evident, that is to say the evidence for the truth of the statement is contained within the statement itself. Thus, it is a justified belief, aka knowledge.

Why is it self-evident? How could you disprove it? If you attempt to argue against the premise, that you are thinking, you would be engaging in thought, thus proving the premise. Therefore, it is indisputable that you are thinking. If you attempt to argue against the deduction, that though implies existence, you run up against an obvious contradiction as well. You are thinking. How could you be thinking if you did not exist? Thought exists. Thus, you exist.

This "I" that we refer to in the argument. What is it? We do not need to go into any real detail about identity at this time, because the statement itself suggests a definition. "I" is the thing that is thinking. I am a thing that thinks.

So, we have established that you exist, and that you are a thinking thing. Now, you are also receiving sensory information. You are experiencing things. You can deny the accuracy or relevance of these experiences, but you cannot deny that they are occurring. So:

1) You exist and are a thinking thing.
2) Your senses exist.

Now, the argument that your senses appear to be senses of an external world is intuitive but long-winded if we were to try and work it out in full. So I would rather be brief and simply state that the simplest and most complete explanation for the structure and pattern of your sensory experiences is that you are interacting with an external physical world, which is the intuitive belief we all have.

1) You exist and are a thinking thing.
2) Your senses exist.
3) Your senses appear to be of an external physical world.

This matter of appearances. This is were we have the idea that your senses could be fooled. That whole evil demon thing, or to update it a bit the idea of being in the Matrix. What shall we say about this suggestion? Well, let's suppose that it is true. What difference does it make? None. That's inherent in the proposed thought experiment. If it made a difference, that difference would be observable. And if we could observe it, we would be able to deduce that we were in the Matrix. Since we are not aware of any such observation, we can say that appearances, in this case, are reality. Whether they are really reality or not is irrelevant to us, in fact the entire possibility is incoherent and relies on semantical technicalities.

1) You exist and are a thinking thing.
2) Your senses exist.
3) Your senses are of an external physical world.

So we have this external physical world, and we can interact with it. It behaves in certain ways. The process of understanding the patterns of behavior of this world we shall call natural philosophy, aka science. And I would argue that we can very easily see from here the justification for the belief in science, in the scientific method, etc. The results speak for themselves. Pragmatically, there is no better method for understanding the world around us. Thus, with that simple stroke we can add all of Science to our justified beliefs.

1) You exist and are a thinking thing.
2) Your senses exist.
3) Your senses are of an external physical world.
4) Science

I'll pause here for now, and ask for any questions or rebuttals. I shall then respond to those, and proceed also with the next stage of the argument, which I guess should be the epistemology and our theory of knowledge. Once we do that, we will be able to move on to things like ethics.

HamHamJ on
While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    How do you recognize that you're thinking? That is, can you sense when you're not thinking? Absence of thought = non-existence?

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  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote:
    So, we have established that you exist, and that you are a thinking thing. Now, you are also receiving sensory information. You are experiencing things. You can deny the accuracy or relevance of these experiences, but you cannot deny that they are occurring. So:

    This is question begging. All you've established is that you are a thinking thing, something you which cannot even identify or describe.
    So I would rather be brief and simply state that the simplest and most complete explanation for the structure and pattern of your sensory experiences is that you are interacting with an external physical world, which is the intuitive belief we all have.

    Also question begging. Why this belief rather than that belief?
    This matter of appearances. This is were we have the idea that your senses could be fooled. That whole evil demon thing, or to update it a bit the idea of being in the Matrix. What shall we say about this suggestion? Well, let's suppose that it is true. What difference does it make? None. That's inherent in the proposed thought experiment. If it made a difference, that difference would be observable. And if we could observe it, we would be able to deduce that we were in the Matrix. Since we are not aware of any such observation, we can say that appearances, in this case, are reality. Whether they are really reality or not is irrelevant to us, in fact the entire possibility is incoherent and relies on semantical technicalities.

    This is flawed reasoning. You are asserting that we are able to identify difference without reference to anything else. How would we know if we are being fooled if we have no other experience of not being fooled? You need to be able to compare an orange to an apple to know that the orange is different from the apple (or that not all things are oranges). You are proposing that (1) if there was a difference, we would see it, (2) we don't see a difference, and so, (3) therefore there is no difference.
    So we have this external physical world, and we can interact with it. It behaves in certain ways. The process of understanding the patterns of behavior of this world we shall call natural philosophy, aka science. And I would argue that we can very easily see from here the justification for the belief in science, in the scientific method, etc. The results speak for themselves. Pragmatically, there is no better method for understanding the world around us. Thus, with that simple stroke we can add all of Science to our justified beliefs.

    No, just no. Question begging again. Why this science? Why not Aristotelean science? Why are we interested in observing things empirically and building our knowledge using induction rather than using deduction, which is how you are building your metaphysic? Would it not be better, give us more certainty if we started with irreducible and self-evident bases and used reason alone to come to conclusions about how the world works?

    You need to establish your position and refute questions like these before you can claim that "science is self-evident" or something like that. Your original position (I think, I am) is not to be doubted - it is true by contradiction. This claim that science is the preferred method for understanding the natural world is not true by contradiction, is not necessarily true, and as such requires justification and demonstration, which you have not provided.
    I'll pause here for now, and ask for any questions or rebuttals. I shall then respond to those, and proceed also with the next stage of the argument, which I guess should be the epistemology and our theory of knowledge. Once we do that, we will be able to move on to things like ethics.

    I'm sorry, but you are attempting to marry a very flawed Cartesian rationalism with Baconian science, and you aren't actually making an argument or providing evidence. You are listing things you want to claim and then not supporting them, instead you are claiming they are self-evident or that "it's easy to see why we should all accept this" - that's question begging and it's a logical fallacy.

    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    Your project is flawed, and I would strongly recommend that if you insist on system building, you base your theories on someone from the 19th century (look at Fichte or Hegel or something) as opposed to the 16th or 17th. You'll get along fine for awhile, until you discover that some people like to philosophize with a hammer and expose all of the lies and flaws of the metaphysician.
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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    How is all this going to lead you to an absolute moral worldview?

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I find it terribly suspect that you could have epistemic access to all of your beliefs, or that you could possibly assert the coherence of an entire system of beliefs. It's just too big to think about. At best, we can hold up small pieces and assess the coherence of perhaps that.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    So I would rather be brief and simply state that the simplest and most complete explanation for the structure and pattern of your sensory experiences is that you are interacting with an external physical world, which is the intuitive belief we all have.

    What standard of simplicity and completeness are you using, and how are those standards justified on first principles?
    HamHamJ wrote:
    This matter of appearances. This is were we have the idea that your senses could be fooled. That whole evil demon thing, or to update it a bit the idea of being in the Matrix. What shall we say about this suggestion? Well, let's suppose that it is true. What difference does it make? None.

    Being in the Matrix could easily make a difference. For instance, if you were the only envatted brain (and hence 'your friends' and 'your parents' were not real people)--that would change your ethical obligations, and, presumably, the things you value. Or, alternately, you might wonder if your machine overlords were going to change the rules at their whim; the constraints of a program are not at all immutable in the way that we presume the laws of physics to be.

    I find it hilarious that you are attempting this project.

  • ParagonParagon Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    MrMister wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    This matter of appearances. This is were we have the idea that your senses could be fooled. That whole evil demon thing, or to update it a bit the idea of being in the Matrix. What shall we say about this suggestion? Well, let's suppose that it is true. What difference does it make? None.

    Being in the Matrix could easily make a difference. For instance, if you were the only envatted brain (and hence 'your friends' and 'your parents' were not real people)--that would change your ethical obligations, and, presumably, the things you value. Or, alternately, you might wonder if your machine overlords were going to change the rules at their whim; the constraints of a program are not at all immutable in the way that we presume the laws of physics to be.

    I find it hilarious that you are attempting this project.

    It doesn't make a difference because even if you're in the Matrix you would have no way of knowing; you can't sit around speculating about all possible scenarios you can find yourself in. You have to trust your senses or everything falls apart.

    I'll respond to replies later, off to a friend's house, peace.

    Bagginses wrote: »
    Really, -J-'s argument against empiricism comes down to "sure, it might work in practice, but it still doesn't work in theory," which I suppose makes rationalists the philosophical version of paultards and goldbugs.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Basically, we're arguing the ability to derive all beliefs from first principles, thus creating an entire system which is properly justified from the ground up.

    Read Spinoza's Ethics He does that which you claim to be possible.
    I. By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent.

    II. A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.

    III. By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself; in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.

    IV. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.

    V. By mode, I mean the modifications ["Affectiones"] of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.

    VI. By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite--that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.
    Explanation.--I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind: for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and involves no negation.

    VII. That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone. On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or rather constrained, which is determined by something external to itself to a fixed and definite method of existence or action.

    VIII. By eternity, I mean existence itself, in so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow solely from the definition of that which is eternal.
    Explanation.--Existence of this kind is conceived as an eternal truth, like the essence of a thing, and, therefore, cannot be explained by means of continuance or time, though continuance may be conceived without a beginning or end.

    AXIOMS.

    I. Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else.

    II. That which cannot be conceived through anything else must be conceived through itself.

    III. From a given definite cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no definite cause be granted, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

    IV. The knowledge of an effect depends on and involves the knowledge of a cause.

    V. Things which have nothing in common cannot be understood, the one by means of the other; the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other.

    VI. A true idea must correspond with its ideate or object.

    VII. If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence.



    PROPOSITIONS.

    PROP. I. Substance is by nature prior to its modifications.

    Proof.--This is clear from Def. iii. and v.



    PROP. II. Two substances whose attributes are different have nothing in common.

    Proof.--Also evident from Def. iii. For each must exist in itself, and be conceived through itself; in other words, the conception of one does not imply the conception of the other.



    PROP. III. Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other.

    Proof.--If they have nothing in common, it follows that one cannot be apprehended by means of the other (Ax. v.), and, therefore, one cannot be the cause of the other (Ax. iv.). Q.E.D.

    etc.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • MolotovCockatooMolotovCockatoo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    This is a split off from the Agnosticism thread. Basically, we're arguing the ability to derive all beliefs from first principles, thus creating an entire system which is properly justified from the ground up. I'm saying that it is possible, others are saying it is not. And so I will be trying to do so here. In theory, we will progress from knowing nothing to our end goal which is very broadly a system of rational skepticism, a philosophy of justified belief, and an ethical system of secular humanism.

    Isn't having a defined end goal antithetical to the idea of starting and building only from first principles?

    Killjoy wrote: »
    No jeez Orik why do you assume the worst about people?

    Because he moderates an internet forum

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  • edited December 2009
    Here is one hand.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    How do you recognize that you're thinking? That is, can you sense when you're not thinking? Absence of thought = non-existence?

    If you were recognizing or sensing anything, you would be thinking. Recognizing thought would be thinking about thought, I guess. So yeah, absence of though would mean non-existence, at least of the thinking thing that is you.

    saggio wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote:
    So, we have established that you exist, and that you are a thinking thing. Now, you are also receiving sensory information. You are experiencing things. You can deny the accuracy or relevance of these experiences, but you cannot deny that they are occurring. So:

    This is question begging. All you've established is that you are a thinking thing, something you which cannot even identify or describe.

    Are you denying that you have sensory experiences? Once the existence of the self is established, the existence of the experiences of the self is self-evident.
    This is flawed reasoning. You are asserting that we are able to identify difference without reference to anything else. How would we know if we are being fooled if we have no other experience of not being fooled? You need to be able to compare an orange to an apple to know that the orange is different from the apple (or that not all things are oranges). You are proposing that (1) if there was a difference, we would see it, (2) we don't see a difference, and so, (3) therefore there is no difference.

    "Difference" here would mean some observation that is not accounted for by our natural explanation.
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    I find it terribly suspect that you could have epistemic access to all of your beliefs, or that you could possibly assert the coherence of an entire system of beliefs. It's just too big to think about. At best, we can hold up small pieces and assess the coherence of perhaps that.

    Well that's why we are working in pieces. It's like a tree. Once you show the trunk to be justified, you can then use it to justify the branches.

    saggio wrote:
    Also question begging. Why this belief rather than that belief?
    No, just no. Question begging again. Why this science? Why not Aristotelean science? Why are we interested in observing things empirically and building our knowledge using induction rather than using deduction, which is how you are building your metaphysic? Would it not be better, give us more certainty if we started with irreducible and self-evident bases and used reason alone to come to conclusions about how the world works?
    MrMister wrote: »
    What standard of simplicity and completeness are you using, and how are those standards justified on first principles?

    These are all basically the same question, so I will deal with them in one response. Anyway:

    I am interacting with the world. I can discern patterns within that world. More basically, if we do not want to use the word "world" at this stage, I am interacting with things that are not-me. I can distinguish between thinking-thing-me, which is what we call consciousness, and my body, which is basically the non-thought-stuff that I can control directly (this does not imply dualism by the way, simply that at this stage of my understanding that's how things seem to be) and then a bunch of other stuff with which I can interact but not directly control by thought which is the world.

    This is all rather simplistic, but basically we can discern that all this other stuff behaves in certain repeatable ways. This allows us to perform induction and make predictions about the behavior of the world.

    Stripped of metaphysical implications, if we simply consider the matter of how we interact with the world and control it, the utility of greater abilities for interaction and control are obvious. We are hungry, we want food, being able to get food more easily is obviously desirable. Or gaining the ability to see things from farther away. Etc. Thus, we can establish an argument that the greater utility of some predictive models over others because of their greater power without needing any larger framework of values.

    We'll come back to this in more detail later I think.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

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  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Errr, you're going with foundationalism? That's just turtles all the way down.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    How do you recognize that you're thinking? That is, can you sense when you're not thinking? Absence of thought = non-existence?

    If you were recognizing or sensing anything, you would be thinking. Recognizing thought would be thinking about thought, I guess. So yeah, absence of though would mean non-existence, at least of the thinking thing that is you.

    What I mean is, existence can't be tested with senses. There's no way to experience no existence/ no thinking so is there a difference between existence and non-existence if you can only experience the former? Describe non-existence and you'll putter around with phrases like "Absence of will" and "Lack of awareness of anything" and I sure as hell can't imagine what a void like that is.

    I think, therefore I am. Sure
    I fail to think, therefore I don't exist. Wait, then who's saying that?

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  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you think and not exist? Being is not a predicate precisely because any predication already posits existence.

    That being said, this thread is pretty ridiculous.

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  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I love math for being so good at accurate definitions and proofs, but even there as soon as you move beyond the very basics, you get approximations and proofs of equations through matching them to empirical observation.

  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    I love math for being so good at accurate definitions and proofs, but even there as soon as you move beyond the very basics, you get approximations and proofs of equations through matching them to empirical observation.

    That is completely and utterly untrue. It could not be less true.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited December 2009
    These are all basically the same question, so I will deal with them in one response. Anyway:

    I am interacting with the world. I can discern patterns within that world. More basically, if we do not want to use the word "world" at this stage, I am interacting with things that are not-me. I can distinguish between thinking-thing-me, which is what we call consciousness, and my body, which is basically the non-thought-stuff that I can control directly (this does not imply dualism by the way, simply that at this stage of my understanding that's how things seem to be) and then a bunch of other stuff with which I can interact but not directly control by thought which is the world.

    This is all rather simplistic, but basically we can discern that all this other stuff behaves in certain repeatable ways. This allows us to perform induction and make predictions about the behavior of the world.

    Stripped of metaphysical implications, if we simply consider the matter of how we interact with the world and control it, the utility of greater abilities for interaction and control are obvious. We are hungry, we want food, being able to get food more easily is obviously desirable. Or gaining the ability to see things from farther away. Etc. Thus, we can establish an argument that the greater utility of some predictive models over others because of their greater power without needing any larger framework of values.

    We'll come back to this in more detail later I think.

    Where did your hunger come from?

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    I love math for being so good at accurate definitions and proofs, but even there as soon as you move beyond the very basics, you get approximations and proofs of equations through matching them to empirical observation.

    That is completely and utterly untrue. It could not be less true.

    Maybe it's just my impure applied mathiness, but you don't really see a lot of people not using numerical methods to run their shit

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Podly wrote: »
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you think and not exist? Being is not a predicate precisely because any predication already posits existence.

    That being said, this thread is pretty ridiculous.

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  • CmdPromptCmdPrompt Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    I love math for being so good at accurate definitions and proofs, but even there as soon as you move beyond the very basics, you get approximations and proofs of equations through matching them to empirical observation.

    That is completely and utterly untrue. It could not be less true.

    Maybe it's just my impure applied mathiness, but you don't really see a lot of people not using numerical methods to run their shit
    Yeah, applied mathematics is a different boat than pure math.

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you not exist? Seriously. Can you construct a scenario in which you are thinking, but do not exist? No. It's ludicrous, logically impossible.

    Thus, you are justified in believing that you exist, aka you know you exist.
    Where did your hunger come from?

    At this point, I don't care. It's a bare fact of my existence that I feel it. It's also a bare fact that it is a generally unpleasant sensation. By experimentation I can figure out how to stop feeling hungry.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you not exist? Seriously. Can you construct a scenario in which you are thinking, but do not exist? No. It's ludicrous, logically impossible.

    Thus, you are justified in believing that you exist, aka you know you exist.
    Where did your hunger come from?

    At this point, I don't care. It's a bare fact of my existence that I feel it. It's also a bare fact that it is a generally unpleasant sensation. By experimentation I can figure out how to stop feeling hungry.

    I don't think that you're giving the sensation, and it's attendant desire, enough priority. Why do you start by reflecting on your thinking, rather than your hungering? After all, you could have gone a long time without reflecting about anything at all, but would have gotten hungry regardless. I posit that your desire is prior to your thinking, and is a more logical place to start.

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you not exist? Seriously. Can you construct a scenario in which you are thinking, but do not exist? No. It's ludicrous, logically impossible.

    Thus, you are justified in believing that you exist, aka you know you exist.
    Where did your hunger come from?

    At this point, I don't care. It's a bare fact of my existence that I feel it. It's also a bare fact that it is a generally unpleasant sensation. By experimentation I can figure out how to stop feeling hungry.

    I don't think that you're giving the sensation, and it's attendant desire, enough priority. Why do you start by reflecting on your thinking, rather than your hungering? After all, you could have gone a long time without reflecting about anything at all, but would have gotten hungry regardless. I posit that your desire is prior to your thinking, and is a more logical place to start.

    Sensation is also a type of thought.

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  • cramcram Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Is there any particular reason you think that you can get around Gödel's incompleteness theorem here? It would presumably be possible in your system to talk about the belief of belief, and that is the sort of meta-language which was used for the incompleteness theorem. You would then end up with either an inconsistent belief system, or a set of fully justified beliefs which are unprovable.

    Gödel's incompleteness theorems

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    The OP reminds me of Shinji's inner monologue from the end of Evangelion.

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  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Podly wrote: »
    Moridin wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Secondly, the "I think, I am" moment isn't as profound as you would like. It establishes that there is a thinking thing, but it doesn't give us any insight into what that thing is, or why we should even be particularly bothered with it. We can't attribute to it any properties, nor can we build up any sort of coherent metaphysics other than that there is a thinking thing that thinks.

    The thinking thing is yourself, which is having the experience of existing, as it where. While I may be using "we" as the default pronoun, ultimately what is important is "I". What conclusions I can arrive at from my perspective. I know that I exist. I know that I am experiencing things. Etc.

    Not really. You think you exist. You do not "know" it. This is an incredibly important distinction. You're still constructing your epistemology by fiat.

    Descartes probably could've saved philosophy a few centuries by just exclaiming, "I think, therefore I am thinking!"

    How could you think and not exist? Being is not a predicate precisely because any predication already posits existence.

    All you've done here is equivocate "thinking" with "existing". Which I suppose I don't really have a problem with. But I felt like his definition of "exist" is stronger than yours, polds.

    \/\/ what he said.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Can you construct a scenario in which you are thinking, but do not exist?

    Whence the link between "thinking" and there being a "I" which thinks? It would be impossible for thought to think thought was not thinking; to think is to think. But to argue that in there being thought there is some "I" which is the entity which is thinking does not follow from there being thought.

    Again, for there to be thought there must be thought. But it is not necessarily the case that for there to be thought implies a "I".

    Unless "I" is another word for "thought". But then we are into some awesome substance dualism where "I" is "thought" and, say, my biological body is something other than thought.

    So I am res cogitans, thought, and my body is, say, res extensa.

    But we need to find a way for "thought" and "I" to be the same thing.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
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