The Instigator
Sorrow
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Spaztoid
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

Do I exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,143 times Debate No: 11827
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (4)

 

Sorrow

Con

Enlighten me.
Spaztoid

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate, I trust it will be an interesting one.

"Cogito ergo sum" - Ren´┐Ż Descartes

This statement, while philosophical in nature, is my simple standard of proof. To debate, you must rationalize. To rationalize you must think. To think you must exist. You think therefore you are.
Debate Round No. 1
Sorrow

Con

I am not thinking. Therefore, I do not exist.

That statement applies only to yourself. You cannot judge my existence based on your thinking.

Sorry, but I must still ask: "Do I exist?"
Spaztoid

Pro

==Arguments==

For this debate, I will use metaphysical existence as my proof. The resolution asks me to prove my opponents existence, however that does not require that I prove his physical existence, so I intend to prove metaphysical existence.

---Metaphysical Existence---
Metaphysical existence is a form of existence that does not require a physical or known form, but rather refers to existence in perception. For example, I do not have to see a physical incarnation of thought for thought to exist, I must simply perceive it conceptually for it to exist.

==Rebuttals==

"I am not thinking. Therefore, I do not exist."

This statement is flawed as it assumes the premise requires action in progress. The quote is not "Cogitavo ergo eram" meaning I am thinking therefore I am existing, it is "Cogito ergo sum" meaning I think therefore I am. The phrase demonstrates that the ability to think defines existence, not the action of thinking defines existence.

In English, we no longer practice the use of the simple present tense, instead relying on action in progress "-ing" rooting to demonstrate present action. For example, I am typing means either I am in the action of typing or I type. In Latin, the root "-avo" is first-person action in progress and the ending "-o" is simple first-person action. The meanings are distinctly different, as the use of "-avo" requires that I must be performing the indicated action. If I were not performing an action, but I am not talking about a future or past event/idea, then I would use the "-o" ending meaning that I can or do perform the indicated action, though I am not doing so now. "Cogito ergo sum" does not use action in progress, instead it uses simple present tense. As a result, using modern English, the phrase "I think therefore I am" is better translated as "I can/do think therefore I am."

"That statement applies only to yourself. You cannot judge my existence based on your thinking."

Actually, these statements are flawed for four reasons. One, the statement is not in sole application to myself. It a statement of fact meaning that because it does not define any limitations on person (first-person, second-person, third-person) it applies to all persons.
Two, as existence has not been defined, thus you as con must either provide a definition of existence that shows that my thinking cannot define your existence or must refute "Cogito ergo sum" as a proof for existence.
Third, because I am proving metaphysical existence, my perceptions of your existence do prove your existence.
Fourth, even if I were not proving metaphysical existence, "Cogito ergo sum" does not apply to my thoughts, it apply to yours. You are in this debate, therefore you are proving your own existence because it is impossible to hold a debate with something/someone that does not exist.

"Sorry, but I must still ask: 'Do I exist?'"
No apology is necessary. I think my argument answers this question quite nicely.
Debate Round No. 2
Sorrow

Con

Apparently CON seems to be modelling his entire argument after a one-line quote of a single person. I can say "The flying spaghetti monster is surrounding us." Will you believe it? Not necessarily, but can you prove this is the case? The same occurs when CON tries to further justify this quote by saying anything I say to refute this quote is invalid simply because there is only one correct way to say it, which is an argument from ignorance.

As for the majority of his lengthy paragraph/speech, I am afraid I am not sure what CON is implying; while the grammar lesson is nice, I don't think it means anything and can do anything to prove that I exist.

Also, that statement is and will be conducted from a first-person point of view. Again, like Puck said (and no offense), but please do not confuse Decsarte's quotes. The statement defines its limitations clearly, beginning with the pronoun I.

Also, since existence is a rather ambiguous term from many perspectives, I will define it using a philosophical prerogative, taken from Wikipedia:

". In academic philosophy the word has a more specialized meaning, being contrasted with essence, which specifies different forms of existence as well as different identity conditions for objects and properties. Philosophers investigate questions such as "What exists?" "How do we know?" "To what extent are the senses a reliable guide to existence?" "What is the meaning, if any, of assertions of the existence of categories, ideas, and abstractions?" - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Furthermore, I am not sure how you exactly proved my existence using metaphysical existence. "We do not assume there is a self to begin with. Self is not presupposed as a stuff out of which the world arises. Rather the self arises in the world." Descartes's famous quote endured much criticism, as it basically defies existence preceding essence, or vice-versa.

Lastly, to counter CON's final argument, how can he be sure I am not artificial intelligence? What if I am not real? What if this is the matrix? Unless he were to somehow cross-reference my UDP ports and see if they were open to the WWW, then he may prove that I am actually debating and therefore I exist. Until then, reality is but the mind of a butterfly. Our minds are not interconnected, I can't see your thoughts, just as you can't see mine. Therefore, you cannot impose your existence upon mine.

Sorry, but I must still ask: 'Do I exist?'
Spaztoid

Pro

==Rebuttals==

"Apparently CON seems to be modeling his entire argument after a one-line quote of a single person. I can say 'The flying spaghetti monster is surrounding us.' Will you believe it? Not necessarily, but can you prove this is the case? The same occurs when CON tries to further justify this quote by saying anything I say to refute this quote is invalid simply because there is only one correct way to say it, which is an argument from ignorance."

Well, I am not sure what Con is doing, but I (Pro) am indeed modeling my argument based upon a single philosophical idea. My argument is my own however, only using Descartes quote as a starting point.

However, as for my argument of ignorance, I apologize for my lack of enlightenment. Allow me to attempt propose a more informed position. My opponent attempted to negate the claim by stating that by not thinking he was not existing. This statement is logically flawed by simple linguistic properties. The statement does not require an action in progress. I do not have to be thinking to exist according to the quote. I must merely think to exist. Con's attempt to claim that the quote can be altered or reinterpreted would change the very meaning of the quote, thus his argument here is defeated.

I also apologize for not making the point clear in my paragraph on grammar, I will clear things up. My so called grammar lesson was demonstrating that Latin and English are not directly compatible. As we translate information from Latin to English or visa-versa, the meaning is changed. My opponent attempted to negate the quote using a slightly distorted translation of the quote I brought forth. Due to the misunderstanding the translation, I explained why Con's negation was flawed. He misused the quote, thus his rebuttal to it is flawed.

"Also, that statement is and will be conducted from a first-person point of view. Again, like Puck said (and no offense), but please do not confuse Descartes' quotes. The statement defines its limitations clearly, beginning with the pronoun I."

Here, Con attempted to impose restrictions on my argument based on a misunderstanding of my argument. I am not claiming I think therefore you exist, I am claiming that my opponent thinks therefore he exists. Due to the nature of grammar, unless specific restrictions are placed on personhood, a statement can be used in first-person, second-person, or third-person. I am not confusing nor reinterpreting Descartes quote, simply applying it to Con, instead of to myself.
Additionally, the quote does not begin with a pronoun, its translation does. Again, this error arises from translation, as Cogito is a conjugated verb implying a person. As the verb can be conjugated into different persons without altering the concept, the limits Con tries to impose on the quote are invalid.

Next, my opponent brought forth the philosophical study of existence, however did not define existence. However, using his source, my opponent left out significant details of what defines existence.
"In common usage, existence is the world of which we are aware through our senses and persists independently without them." [1]
As this quote claims, existence does not require human senses. Simply because we cannot perceive something does not negate its existence. Furthermore, Con does not negate my definition of existence from a metaphysical point of view in which my opponent does not require a physical form; he must simply be conceptualized to exist.

"Furthermore, I am not sure how you exactly proved my existence using metaphysical existence. 'We do not assume there is a self to begin with. Self is not presupposed as a stuff out of which the world arises. Rather the self arises in the world.' Descartes' famous quote endured much criticism, as it basically defies existence preceding essence, or vice-versa."
I am not sure the point Con is trying to make in this argument. My premise does not assume self, is assumes existence. As long as there is existence, thought proves something exists. While the quote does use personhood, it does not rely on it for proof.

Con's final rebuttal is by far his weakest. As such, I will break in down into segments to fully refute it.

"Lastly, to counter CON's final argument, how can he be sure I am not artificial intelligence? What if I am not real? What if this is the matrix?"
My burden of proof was not to demonstrate that you exist as a person, or in any specific form, merely to prove that you exist. Thus you could be a person, a computer, a flying spaghetti monster, etc.

"Unless he were to somehow cross-reference my UDP ports and see if they were open to the WWW, then he may prove that I am actually debating and therefore I exist."
I am holding a debate, regardless of whether it is with a person or not. Thus, regardless of whether I track down Con, Con does exist.

"Our minds are not interconnected, I can't see your thoughts, just as you can't see mine."
This is the single greatest flaw in my opponent's rebuttal. By claiming that I cannot see Con's thoughts implies that Con has thoughts. By my opponent's source, existence is independent of our perceptions. Thus, his thoughts exist. According to "Cogito ergo sum," thought implies existence, therefore my opponent has proved his own existence.

"Therefore, you cannot impose your existence upon mine."
I never claimed to.

Once again, my opponent reiterated his question, "Do I exist?" In short, yes he does.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mizzouvetmed 6 years ago
mizzouvetmed
Con was correct here. If Descartes wanted to be the ultimate skeptic, he should have said "Thoughts occur" because there is truly nothing linking the thoughts back to his existence/consciousness. Good debate
Posted by Sorrow 6 years ago
Sorrow
i guess so
Posted by Spaztoid 6 years ago
Spaztoid
Well, not much is happening here.
Posted by Spaztoid 6 years ago
Spaztoid
You called me Con, lol.
Posted by Sorrow 6 years ago
Sorrow
Indeed. Good debate.
Posted by Spaztoid 6 years ago
Spaztoid
Thanks for the debate, that was fun :)
Posted by Sorrow 6 years ago
Sorrow
kfc
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
Bop
Posted by Sorrow 6 years ago
Sorrow
Solipsism, my dear Watson.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
"One, the statement is not in sole application to myself. It a statement of fact meaning that because it does not define any limitations on person (first-person, second-person, third-person) it applies to all persons."

Read more Descartes. :P
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by JackSpades64 6 years ago
JackSpades64
SorrowSpaztoidTied
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Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
SorrowSpaztoidTied
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Vote Placed by mizzouvetmed 6 years ago
mizzouvetmed
SorrowSpaztoidTied
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Vote Placed by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
SorrowSpaztoidTied
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