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Cognito ergo sum & Existance

Envisage
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12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist. Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'. The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.
YYW
Posts: 36,252
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12/6/2014 9:32:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist. Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'. The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

It's "Cogito ergo sum." not "Cognito ergo sum."

Rene Descartes thought so...
Tsar of DDO
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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12/6/2014 9:38:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/6/2014 9:32:45 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist. Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'. The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

It's "Cogito ergo sum." not "Cognito ergo sum."

Rene Descartes thought so...

I was thinking 'in cognito' when I wrote the post. Meh.
Smithereens
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12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. It is literally a conclusion formed from a premise. I might as well argue:
>The Sky is blue
>Therefore Blue is a colour.
The only reason why it works is because it is stating something obvious.
>I Think
>Therefore I am
The argument at face value is invalid because the conclusion is stated in the premise. When the premise argues 'I think,' It presupposes that 'I am,' thus when 'I am' is posited, it seems to follow merely because the first premise considered it true before hand. To demonstrate this, consider the argument while presupposing that 'I am' is a false statement: 'I think.' Is now a false premise. An argument that has a premise that can be refuted by falsification of the conclusion is not a logically sensible argument. In fact, it isn't even an argument. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'
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Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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12/7/2014 5:07:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

Why wouldn't it, how can something be demonstrated more conclusively than to the extent that it cannot be doubted under any circumstances?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Yeah, that was the point.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist.

You are confusing epistemology and ontology, the statement is epistemological, it's about how or what we know, knowledge is not ontologically causal, to know something exists is not the cause of it's existence.

Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'.

In what way can existence be an incoherent concept? I suppose you can question the word's meaning, but I think you are just moving away from epistemology and ontology and delving into linguistics. I don't think philosophy comes apart because you can question the coherence of a word, if that was the case, then a strong rebuttal would be that incoherent is an incoherent concept, just what is incoherent?

The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

Again, for this to be meaningful, you need to do something more than declare that existence isn't coherent, perhaps explain what that would mean, tell us how it can be an incoherent concept.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

I'm not seeing a single drop of water yet, perhaps you can be more explicit.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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12/7/2014 5:27:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. It is literally a conclusion formed from a premise. I might as well argue:
>The Sky is blue
>Therefore Blue is a colour.
The only reason why it works is because it is stating something obvious.
>I Think
>Therefore I am
The argument at face value is invalid because the conclusion is stated in the premise.

When the premise argues 'I think,' It presupposes that 'I am,' thus when 'I am' is posited, it seems to follow merely because the first premise considered it true before hand. To demonstrate this, consider the argument while presupposing that 'I am' is a false statement: 'I think.' Is now a false premise. An argument that has a premise that can be refuted by falsification of the conclusion is not a logically sensible argument. In fact, it isn't even an argument. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'

Cogito ergo sum was not the argument, it is only a concluding statement referencing the argument found in the "Discourse on the Method" that the argument has come be known by. Descartes' Discourse has withstood any effective challenge for almost 400 years, if you want to take a shot at challenging the logical reasoning of it, good luck.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Envisage
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12/7/2014 6:10:56 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 5:07:05 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

Why wouldn't it, how can something be demonstrated more conclusively than to the extent that it cannot be doubted under any circumstances?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Yeah, that was the point.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist.

You are confusing epistemology and ontology, the statement is epistemological, it's about how or what we know, knowledge is not ontologically causal, to know something exists is not the cause of it's existence.

Fair enough. I think I wanted to approach this from another angle, from Heidegger's. In that we don't know what 'is' or 'that' means, we at best only have an approximation of it.

Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'.

In what way can existence be an incoherent concept? I suppose you can question the word's meaning, but I think you are just moving away from epistemology and ontology and delving into linguistics. I don't think philosophy comes apart because you can question the coherence of a word, if that was the case, then a strong rebuttal would be that incoherent is an incoherent concept, just what is incoherent?

The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

Again, for this to be meaningful, you need to do something more than declare that existence isn't coherent, perhaps explain what that would mean, tell us how it can be an incoherent concept.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

I'm not seeing a single drop of water yet, perhaps you can be more explicit.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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12/7/2014 9:37:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 6:10:56 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/7/2014 5:07:05 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

Why wouldn't it, how can something be demonstrated more conclusively than to the extent that it cannot be doubted under any circumstances?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

Yeah, that was the point.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist.

You are confusing epistemology and ontology, the statement is epistemological, it's about how or what we know, knowledge is not ontologically causal, to know something exists is not the cause of it's existence.

Fair enough. I think I wanted to approach this from another angle, from Heidegger's. In that we don't know what 'is' or 'that' means, we at best only have an approximation of it.

Heidegger? I thought it was Bill Clinton that questioned the definition of "is".

Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'.

In what way can existence be an incoherent concept? I suppose you can question the word's meaning, but I think you are just moving away from epistemology and ontology and delving into linguistics. I don't think philosophy comes apart because you can question the coherence of a word, if that was the case, then a strong rebuttal would be that incoherent is an incoherent concept, just what is incoherent?

The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

Again, for this to be meaningful, you need to do something more than declare that existence isn't coherent, perhaps explain what that would mean, tell us how it can be an incoherent concept.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

I'm not seeing a single drop of water yet, perhaps you can be more explicit.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
PeacefulChaos
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12/7/2014 11:56:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'

If it's a statement of the obvious, how does it not follow? Follow from what? Follow from the premise which is already true? In which case, it does follow.

If I say blue = blue, it's a statement of the obvious, and it does follow that blue is indeed blue, as that is what it is.

If I can doubt my own existence, I should necessarily exist. It doesn't make sense if I could doubt my own existence and not exist; otherwise, I wouldn't be capable of doubting.
tabularasa
Posts: 200
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12/7/2014 2:24:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
OP is right in a sense. In the sense that we do not know how to define existence. I would strictly define existence as: something is, beyond all doubt. Is there doubt that we exist? An argument can be made that we do not exist, so perhaps we don't. This hasn't been as widely accepted as the OP implies, but he is right that it has become the starting point for science and philosophy.

In response to subsequent posts about the self-affirming nature of the statement, "I think, therefore, I am."...

The premise is "only things whose existence is undoubtable can be said to exist with certainty." "Cogito ergo sum" is not the premise. It is the argument in a nutshell, summarizing the argument's evidence and conclusion. It lacks the premise of the argument, which is why non-philosophers have no idea what it means.

Broken down:
1. Premise: Only things whose existence is undoubtable can be said to exist with certainty.
2. Descartes can doubt his senses, life experience, everything else, etc.
3. Descartes cannot doubt that he thinks
4. Evidence: "Descartes thinks."
5. Logical connector: "Descartes cannot doubt that he is a thinking thing. This he seems sure of."
6. Since Descartes cannot doubt that he thinks, he can say with certainty that he exists as a "thinking thing."
7. Conclusion: "Descartes is."

So, "I think, therefore, I am" is a statement containing evidence and conclusion, while skipping over the premise and the logical connector.
1. I already googled it.

2. Give me an argument. Spell it out. "You're wrong," is not an argument.
Chrysippus
Posts: 2,173
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12/7/2014 11:22:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. It is literally a conclusion formed from a premise. I might as well argue:
>The Sky is blue
>Therefore Blue is a colour.
The only reason why it works is because it is stating something obvious.
>I Think
>Therefore I am
The argument at face value is invalid because the conclusion is stated in the premise. When the premise argues 'I think,' It presupposes that 'I am,' thus when 'I am' is posited, it seems to follow merely because the first premise considered it true before hand. To demonstrate this, consider the argument while presupposing that 'I am' is a false statement: 'I think.' Is now a false premise. An argument that has a premise that can be refuted by falsification of the conclusion is not a logically sensible argument. In fact, it isn't even an argument. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'

Two things:

1. It isn't really circular. For it to make any sense, you have to supply the implied premise. The full syllogism goes something like this:

For a being to be able to think, it must exist. (All A = B)
I can think. (C = A)
Therefore I must exist. ( :. C = B)

"I think, therefore I am" is not circular; it draws a conclusion that is different than either of its premises and that necessarily follows from them.

2. Circular reasoning is logically sound by definition; the conclusion MUST follow from the premises, since they are identical. Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works. Circular arguments are pointless, though, because they prove nothing at all; which is why it is treated as a logical fallacy. So even if "Cogito, ergo sum" were circular, that would not make it logically false - it would only make it useless.

Misero, ergo sum.
Cavete mea inexorabilis legiones mimus!
Smithereens
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12/9/2014 1:42:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 11:56:46 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'

If it's a statement of the obvious, how does it not follow? Follow from what? Follow from the premise which is already true? In which case, it does follow.
A conclusion is said to follow when it is necessarily inferred from its premises. 'I am, therefore I am,' is not an argument, does not conclude anything, as it is nothing more than a statement that is true on its own merit. You can't have an inference drawn from this statement, as an inference by definition is not identical to that which it is inferred from. Without an inference taking place, it is nonsensical to suggest that some statement 'follows' from another. The two statements are the same, they don't follow from each other.

If I say blue = blue, it's a statement of the obvious, and it does follow that blue is indeed blue, as that is what it is.
I buy this argument.

If I can doubt my own existence, I should necessarily exist. It doesn't make sense if I could doubt my own existence and not exist; otherwise, I wouldn't be capable of doubting.
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Smithereens
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12/9/2014 1:57:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 11:22:53 PM, Chrysippus wrote:
1. It isn't really circular. For it to make any sense, you have to supply the implied premise. The full syllogism goes something like this:

For a being to be able to think, it must exist. (All A = B)
I can think. (C = A)
Therefore I must exist. ( :. C = B)

"I think, therefore I am" is not circular; it draws a conclusion that is different than either of its premises and that necessarily follows from them.
I'd like to argue that while your pointing out of the implied premise makes perfect sense, it is still false for previously mentioned reasons. Note that in the formulation you provide, 'I' is still assumed to exist prior to the conclusion. Both the implied first and second premises are guilty of this fallacy. However, since the conclusion must be the first statement to posit that 'I exist,' on its own, we cannot allow previous premises to assume its unconditional truth in order to draw the conclusion. Thus even by adding the implied premise, the conclusion is still invalid for the same reason. I'd even go so far as to keep my previous argument and maintain that it is still circular, as it is still effectively using the conclusion to create the conclusion.


2. Circular reasoning is logically sound by definition; the conclusion MUST follow from the premises, since they are identical. Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works. Circular arguments are pointless, though, because they prove nothing at all; which is why it is treated as a logical fallacy. So even if "Cogito, ergo sum" were circular, that would not make it logically false - it would only make it useless.
Circular reasoning being sound is ok, I argued on the point of validity, that the argument was invalid. A valid conclusion is that which is necessarily inferred from sound premises. We cannot know if it is valid or not however since as a circular argument, it is a standalone statement.
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n7
Posts: 1,358
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12/9/2014 10:40:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 11:22:53 PM, Chrysippus wrote:
At 12/7/2014 12:41:17 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The argument isn't convincing. As in, it isn't a valid form and thus doesn't follow. It is literally a conclusion formed from a premise. I might as well argue:
>The Sky is blue
>Therefore Blue is a colour.
The only reason why it works is because it is stating something obvious.
>I Think
>Therefore I am
The argument at face value is invalid because the conclusion is stated in the premise. When the premise argues 'I think,' It presupposes that 'I am,' thus when 'I am' is posited, it seems to follow merely because the first premise considered it true before hand. To demonstrate this, consider the argument while presupposing that 'I am' is a false statement: 'I think.' Is now a false premise. An argument that has a premise that can be refuted by falsification of the conclusion is not a logically sensible argument. In fact, it isn't even an argument. Its a statement of the obvious.

'I think, therefore I am,' is logically equivalent to: 'I am, therefore I am.'

Two things:

1. It isn't really circular. For it to make any sense, you have to supply the implied premise. The full syllogism goes something like this:

For a being to be able to think, it must exist. (All A = B)
I can think. (C = A)
Therefore I must exist. ( :. C = B)

"I think, therefore I am" is not circular; it draws a conclusion that is different than either of its premises and that necessarily follows from them.


2. Circular reasoning is logically sound by definition; the conclusion MUST follow from the premises, since they are identical.

Being valid =/= being sound
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dylancatlow
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12/9/2014 12:08:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:

In considering whether or not you exist, you answer the question. So although the act of asking the question (or giving an answer) is not necessarily given, when it is given, the question is answered. It's not just that denying your existence is incoherent; it's that denying your existence establishes your existence. The argument does not establish the existence of everyone, but only those who participate in some cognitive exercise regarding it.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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12/12/2014 8:30:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/6/2014 9:20:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
Does this really demonstrate something's existence (yours)?

At best, it only rules it incoherent to doubt your own existence, or for anyone else to doubt your existence, since such statements always presuppose a doubter.

If it is incoherent for *me* to do anything, then I exist, so even your criticism entails the truth of the argument. All Descartes meant was that there is consciousness, and that is what I am.

Just because it's impossible to doubt a things existence, doesn't make it exist.

It does entail that you ought to believe it, that we can be sure of. It seems particularly queer that there is such a thing which you must believe exists for reasons which have nothing to do with demonstrating its existence.

Moreover it can can still follow that existence is an incoherent concept. Just what is 'existence'. The best we seem to be able to hope for it to posit existence in incorrigible terms (terms that relate to our own consciousness), since we are epistemically limited to it. But that still doesn't demonstrate that existence has a coherent 'nature'.

The only way I can think of to prove that existence is incoherent is to argue that reality does not exist, which would be a proposition refuted by your arguing that reality does not exist.

This runs into serious problems if it holds a drop of water since most philosophies use cognito ergo sum as a starting point for grounding ontologies.

Indeed. Seems kind of pointless thinking about what you should believe when you don't think there is a you to do any believing.