The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

I Think does not mean I AM

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 570 times Debate No: 92907
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




In this debate, the opponent must prove why I Think equals to the existence of one's self
While I will try to disprove such idea

Burden of proof:
Since this is more of a philosophical debate, not all arguments must be strictly supported by evidence (but any proof/sources are welcome :P)

Please use the first round as acceptance, you can use the remaining rounds in whatever ways you like

That being said, have fun and good luck!



I accept! This sounds like fun. May the odds be ever in your favour!
Debate Round No. 1


Emphasising the aim:
1) Opponent must prove why I Think equals to the existence of one's self
2) I would be the skeptic and try to disprove such idea.
That said, let the match begins.

A) Defining today's motion:
Here are my interpretations on the motion "I Think equals to the existence of one's self" :

1. Equal: Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another. (
By the same, it is 100% the same, if there is only 99.999% the same,
It is Similar, not Equal.
2. For example: a round moon is Similar to a silver plate in many ways (color,shape...)
But the moon does not Equal to a silver plate, as there are diferences as well (size, chemical components...)
3. Therefore, for me to disprove today's motion, I simply need to list one or more differences of between "I Think" and "I am"
If I can list at least one, then "I think" can only be similar to "one's existence", but not Equal to one's existence
Thus, the motion shall not stand.

B) Thinking can be an illusion (non-existing)
1. According to scientific researches, more scientists begin to discover different brain patterns as thoughts.
Brain patterns are formed by electrical impulses in neurons. For example: Researchers used monkeys to monitor their primary motor cortex when they touch illuminated targets.
2. Those patterns could be generated, provided there is enough technology and resources to replicate those electrical impulses.
3. Since thought could be generated by means other than existing ,having a thought does not mean you certainly exists.
For example:This is the same as proving having high score in academics doesn't mean you are hardworking.
Since having a high score could be obtained by other means (cheating,luck...) other than hardworking.
Having high score doesn't Equals to hardworking (which is one of the means among cheating/luck...)
4. Since the existence of thought does not depends solely on Existence. Thought does not equal to existence as there are other means to generate thought.


B) Unconcious people can exists
I would like to prove this by using the constructive proof method.
1. For example: If A equals to B
But B does not equal to C
Then A does not equal to C
2. Therefore,
If people that are existing but in high degree of coma can be not thinking (unconcious)
But not thinking (unconcious) does not equal to thinking (concious)
Then existing but in coma does not equal to thinking (concious)

3. To strengthen my arguments, Researchers have identified patterns of brain activity that correlate to unconsciousness.

(Source: states-of-unconsciousness-with-eeg-data/)

C) Conclusion
1. Thought does not equal solely to Existence.
2. Using consturctive method to disprove.



Thank you for coming to the debate. We are arguing over whether or not it follows that I exist from the fact that I think. First, I will address Pro's arguments. Then I will make an argument of my own.

Pro's case for the resolution

Pro makes two arguments, and he lables them both "B," so I'll refer to the first as "B(1)" and the second as "B(2)." In Section B(1), he argues that it's possible to think without existing, and in Section B(2), he argues that it's possible to exist without thinking.

Let me address Section B(2) first. Here, I agree with him. It is possible to exist without thinking. But that point does not in any way establish the resolution. The fact that it's possible to exist without thinking does not mean it's possible to think without existing. It's also possible to exist without walking, but that doesn't mean it's possible to walk without existing. The question, for the purposes of this debate, is whether or not it's possible to think without existing, so Section B(2) is irrelevant to this debate.

Section B(1) contains the only argument that's relevant to the debate, so I will address that. Here, Pro argues that since thought can be generated artificially that it's therefore possible to have thoughts without existing. This conclusion doesn't follow because whether a thought occurs naturally or through artificial stimulation, in both cases whenever there's a thought, there's somebody who is having the thought. Thoughts can't exist apart from somebody thinking them. Even if some thought or perception is an illusion, there's somebody who is having the illusion. Illusions cannot be had by non-existent persons. Pro seems to be making a dichotomy between a thought being caused by existence and a thought being caused by a researcher. By that is a categorical error since "existence" isn't a member of the same category as "researchers." After all, researchers also exist, and would have to exist in order to cause anything.

My case

My position is that if I think, then I must exist. If my position is correct, that negates the resolution. Look at the wording of the resolution. It says, "I think does not mean I am." If we are stipulating that I is the same person in both parts of the statement, then the statement is self-contradictory because the first part of the statement tells who is the one doing the thinking. It's me. That implies that I exist, which is denied in the second part of the statement. So the statement contains an internal contradiction between the first part and the second part. The statement, "I think," presupposes that there is a me who is doing the thinking. After all, the statement flat out tells us who it is that is doing the thinking. Non-existent things can't think. So the statement, "I think; therefore, I exist," is really kind of a tautology. It's analytically true.

That's it for now.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your reply. You have really good logic.
That said, I must first point out your 2 logical fallacy,
before returning to my arguments.

Con's Side Arguments.
Let me address his arguments.
Con has failed to prove his Only 2 arguments:

A) Illusion is existence
If Con wanted to prove today's motion by the illusion angle,
It should go like this:
1) Thinking At least ensure's that there is an illusion
2) The illusion Must be made by ourselves (existing)

3) So thinking must prove that ouself exists (I think = I am)

However, Con has only proved point (1), then jump straight to point (3)
Neglecting the logical preliminary in point (2), thus his argument are illogical.
Lets take Con's logic with another example:
1) The painting with dragons exists
3) So the dragon must exists
Apparently, that logic suffers greatly from false induction,
Con can only prove that illusions exists, but he Cannot prove why the thing (self) in illusion exists.

B) Irrelevance
His second argument goes like this:

1) The "I" in (I think. I am.) is the same
2) So "I" think not equal to "I" am is contradicting.
To begin with, this argument is irrelevent with today's motion.
I have made it extra apparent that Con has to Prove why "I thnk = I am"
But Con seemed to be avoiding his duties, and challenge the headings instead.

That said, allow me to show Con's fallacy once again.
First, his whole argument is based on the preliminary that The "I" in (I think. I am.) is the same
Notice that he assumed this preliminary as his Own opinion, without any proof or support.
In other words, since I had proven in above that "I" in (I think. I am.) Can be NOT the same
Con's whole arguments are internally flawed.

Pro side arguments
Since Con side argued that my second argument is unrelatable, I should focus on my first argument.
C) Thinking can be an illusion (non-existing)
Notice that the Con side can never actually rebut my first argument.
"Thoughts can't exist apart from somebody thinking them."- said Con
"Illusions cannot be had by non-existent persons." - said Con
I believe you have all noticed by now that Con is simply restating his own opinions, again & again (desperately) : NO! Thoughts can only exists when there is somebody thinking about it!
1) Con once again lacks any evidence, and even argumentation to prove his own stance
2) Con Cannot Deny that thought can be created by machines (with advance tech) (
3) To furthur strengthen my arguments, I would like to add that Philosopher Chuang Tzu
believe that our own existence could be created by other's dream

D) Conclusion
Pro: - Points out all Con's argument contains fallacy
- Proven thought can be illusions
Con: - Cannot fullfil his own burden of prove (cannot prove I think=I am)
- Cannot prove illusion is made by ourselves Solely

Hence, all cons side arguments cannot refer to today's resolution, thank you.



Labling has become a confusing enterprise in this debate, but I'll stick as best I can to the new labling. Be careful because it differs from the earlier round.

A. illusion

Pro misrepresents my argument. I did not argue that because an illusion exists that the object of that illusion must also exist. He's right that an illusion of a dragon does not entail the existence of the dragon. Rather, I argued that if an illusion exists, then the subject having that illusion must exist. Illusions are had by subjects. If I am having an illusion of a dragon, the dragon may not exist, but I do.

Pro's original argument was that since thoughts and illusions can be created artificially, then my own thoughts and illusions can exist without me existing, which is obvious nonsense. Regardless of the source of my thoughts and illusions, as long as I'm the one having them, then I must exist.

B. Irrelevance

Pro responds to my argument that the "I" in both parts of the stated resolution refer to the same person--the one uttering the statement. He says my argument is irrelevant, but it's unclear why. My response deals directly with the stated resolution: "I think does not mean I AM." Since "I" is the first person personal pronoun one uses to refer to one's self, then "I" and "one's self" both refer to the same person. Anybody who utters the resolution must be referring to themselves when reading both "I's" in the sentence. So yes, they do both refer to the same person.

If the statement had said anything like, "If I think, then Bob exists," or, "If Greg thinks, then I exist," we'd be debating a different topic. But it's plainly evident that the subject in "I think," and the subject in "I am," are both the same subject when both statements are made in the same sentence and uttered by the same person.

Pro accuses me of merely assuming this, but I am only looking at the grammatical construct of the sentence and the meaning of the first person personal pronoun. One only needs to analyze the statement, "I think," to realize that if it is true, then necessarily, I exist. The words, "I think," mean that the person referred to as "I" is the one doing the thinking. Things that don't exist don't think. So if there is some subject referred to as "I" who is doing the thinking, then that subject must exist.

Pro attempts to strengthen his agument by citing Chuang Tzu who thinks "our own existence could be created by other's dream." However oddly we may have come to be, if we're talking about "our own existence," then we are presupposing that we do exist.

C. More on illusion

In this section, Con just builds on his response to my claim that thoughts and illusions must be had by subjects who exist. He responds by saying I only asserted these things without proving them. The proof is in the very nature of what it means to think or to have an illusion. They are both subjective processes that occur in the minds of persons.

Dropped argument

Pro dropped his argument from people existing without thinking.

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for the reply
But I must show Con's rebuttal and arguments are flawed

A. Illusion
Con never truly answered my rebuttals in round 3 (illusion doen't equal to existence)
If Con wants to rebut, it should go like this:
1) If Illusion exists
2) So subject having the illlusion must exists
3) Since the subject equals to self (not computer/other's illusions)

4) Hence Self exists
Notice that Con can never prove part (3), jumping from (1), (2) directly to (4)
"as long as I'm the one having illusions, then I must exist." - said Con
As long as I'm the one having illusions
2) I must exist
Beware that Con never explains (1) why I Must be the one having illusions.
While I had proven that illusions can be caused by machines/other's dream/electrical impulses
Hence subjects existing can be Not self.
Thus, Con also failed at defending his first argument. (Part A)

B. Grammar? Seriously?!
It seems that after Con failed at establishing a logical standpoint in argument 1,
He now attempts to even use Grammatical method to answer a Philosophical question in argument 2
That said, lets review his conclusion:
[ "I" in I think means "I" in I exists ]
However, he is assuming that there is an "I" in "I exists"
(Which is the whole point of this debate - whether there is an "I"..)

So lets look at this Con's assumption:
1) I must be thinking
2) Things dont exists, dont think
3) So thinking things must exists
However, this contains fallacy, take the follwing as an example of this logic:

1) Dogs must have tails
2) Things that dont have tails, are not Cats
3) So things with tails (Dogs) must be Cats
Con's second arguments, contains internal contradictions, thus he cannot defend his second argument.While I had proven that things with tail (thoughts) have many forms (illusions/electical)
Hence, thoughts may not only be existence (not only Cats)

C. Wait! What about our duties?
Please be aware that at the Challenging stage & Round 2 stage, I had reminded the duties of both sides. Con side must prove why (I think = I exist) while I would try my best to challenge him.
Since I had just disprove his main arguments , I would now comment on his actions of challenging the headings/my stance (I think doesnt mean I am)

Lets say, for example - if Con try to proves that Cat eats rocks, (according his method of proving)
1) Cats dont eat plastic
2) Cats dont eat clouds

3) Hence, Cat eat rocks.
It is shown that such deduction is illogical. Since denying other factors doesnt mean your own stance is true (think=existence)
Therefore, no matter how many headings he disprove,
As long as he cannot Directly prove that thinking = existence, he failed to relate to the resolution.

D. Conclusion:
During this debate, I have done the following
- Proven that Con still has yet to fullfill his duties. (I think = I am?)
- Proven that Con Cannot explain why illusions must mean our existence.
- Mentioned possibilities where I think not equals to I am (electical/illusions..etc)



A. Illusion

Illusion came up in Pro's original argument in his opening, titled, "Thinking can be an illusion." His third premise reads, "Since thought could be generated by means other than existing, having a thought does not mean you certainly exists."

He appears to believe that if a thought is generated artificially through electrical impulses that those thoughts are therefore illusions, and if they are illusions, then they can exist without you existing. I challenged that premise on the basis that thoughts and illusions are always had by subjects, regardless of what is causing them. As long as they exist, then somebody is thinking them or percieving them. This is true by the very nature of thought and illusion, which are subjective states of states of mind.

Pro's suggestions for how I should have argued are barely coherent, and I have exlicitly denied the second premise. My position is that it doesn't matter what causes the illusion. As long as the illusion exists, then somebody is having that illusion.

The resolution tells us explicitly who it is that is doing the thinking. It begins, "I think. . ." So who is the one doing the thinking? Who is the subject in that statement? It's I. Me! That presupposes that I exist. If I am the one doing the thinking, then I must exist. To refute this, Pro would have to demonstrate that it's possible for me to think (or do anything at all) without me even existing. He never even attempted to show that.

B. Grammar

Here, Pro appears to doubt whether there is an "I" in "I exist." Well, of course there is. Look at it. It's right there. "I exist." In case you missed it, it's the first word in the sentence. Unless the sentence is completely without meaning, it refers to the one who thinks. "I" is the subject of the sentence. It's what the sentence is about. "I think" and "I exist" both presuppose the existence of "I" since "I" is who is doing the thinking and the existing. This is just straight forward English grammar.

If Pro wanted to argue that there was no "I," doing the thinking or the existence, he should've gone with a different resolution that didn't use the word, "I."

Again, Pro makes a muddled attempt to represent my argument, but that is certainly not the way I would argue, so his dog/cat parody is hardly analogous to anything I said.

C. Duties

Pro appears to be claiming that I did not carry my burden of proof because I made an illogical argument. But again, his parody does not resemble my actual argument, so it's irrelevant.

My argument is simple. The statement, "I think does not mean that I exist." is self-contradictory because the statement, "I think," tells us who is doing the thinking--me--but then it denies that I exist. If you accept the resolution of this debate, then you've got to accept the notion that it's possible for me to think even if I don't exist. It's possible for you to think even if you don't exist.

It would appear that my arguments have gone unrefuted, and Pro's have all been refuted.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar 3 months ago
FYI my votes give a lot of commentary from my thoughts as I read your arguments, and general advice. That I call out certain obvious fallacies, doesn't mean I've dismissed the points, merely that I am literate enough to understand them.

---RFD (1 of 1)---
ARGUMENTS: A lot of this boils to pro trying to move the goalpost of his claim onto con, and seeming to demand an absolute when he never proved an absolute to begin with.
S&G: I love pro's organization, and were it allowed I'd consider giving him S&G for it (slightly better consistency on labels would have been nice).
CONDUCT: Never invent rules and expect people to follow them.


Con is not the instigator, it's his job to disprove the resolution by any means (doubt on pro's claims, strength of his own by comparison, or some mix). He is not bound by made up rules after the first round (which pro tried in R2).

Sadly a lot of pro's arguments boiled down to straw-person arguments (inferring that con argued cats eat rocks, etc). This debate does not include limits on what form that existence must be, so if the painting of the dragon thinks it exists, it exists (real dragons still don't), but if the painting does not think it still might exist. Denying the Antecedent doesn't change that (as con caught). This is a basic multiple X inputs can lead to the same Y output. Con's arguments (in addition to rebuttals) were pretty simple, the K to the topic that the question itself implies existence to question existence.

In pro's favor, I will say that I am not convinced con actually exists, as he might be an illusion in my head who is not really thinking... But if I am really thinking, then this debate gives me no reason to question my own existence (pro was trying to challenge the normative assumption, much like a Christian pointing out that an atheist hasn't outright disproven God or a Teacup that made everything, it's not the atheists job to do so unless they instigate that argument against those things)
Posted by philochristos 4 months ago
It was a challenge to keep arguments within 3000 characters, but it also added to the fun of the debate. Thanks!
Posted by Jack_Dead 4 months ago
yeah, dang those word count restrictions (which I ignorantly set for myself :P)
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
Thanking each other and other off topic things are the an ideal use of the comment section.
Posted by Jack_Dead 4 months ago
(I couldn't find any place to put my thanks inside the debate because of the word count restrictions.)
But I would like to thank philochristos for such an intense debate,
it is so much fun to have a debate where I can squeeze my brain!
No matter the outcome, I hope you enjoyed this match as much as I do!
Posted by philochristos 4 months ago
Oh dear. I hope I didn't misinterpret the resolution.
Posted by Jack_Dead 4 months ago
I never said anything about the famous sentence of "i think, therefore i am"
All i was trying to discuss is "why I Think does not equals to the existence of one's self"
Please keep that in mind when voting ; )
Posted by 9spaceking 4 months ago
this is impossible to win for pro.
Posted by debatesRfun 4 months ago
I would accept only I agree with Jack_Dead
Posted by vi_spex 4 months ago
i know therfore i am
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.