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 Cogito ergo sum

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mbacolas

mbacolas

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PostSubject: Cogito ergo sum   Thu May 27, 2010 7:12 pm

Cogito ergo sum (French: Je pense donc je suis; English: "I think, therefore I am"), often mistakenly stated as Dubito ergo cogito ergo sum (English: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am"),[1] is a philosophical statement in Latin used by René Descartes, which became a fundamental element of Western philosophy. The simple meaning of the phrase is that if someone is wondering whether or not they exist, that is in and of itself proof that they do exist (because, at the very least, there is an "I" who is doing the thinking).
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empowers

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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu May 27, 2010 9:33 pm

Now my head hurts. This is not a good day for me to be reading philosophy lol.

I like the idea that we are not our bodies because we say "My body", so the body belongs to us. And we say say "My mind", so our mind also belongs to us. We even say "My soul", so even our soul belongs to us. So who is this mysterious us that everything belongs to? It is us. It is consciousness.

Hope that made sense. scratch
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Shynaku
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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu May 27, 2010 10:15 pm

I never liked the "my [noun]" argument, because it only says something about our language — and, by extension, the way we think. I think this could sidetrack really quickly, so let's try to remain on the Cogito, ergo sum topic here, and I'll make another thread directed at dualism in general.

As for the topic: The negative thing that comes about with the cogito is the inability to get anything further from it. It would be nice to build a basis for reality from something that stands so soundly, but the best one seems to be able to do is base it on practicality. For example: if I wanted to justify my reason for believing that the world exists, and that the world I experience is not just the workings of a deceptive demon, I could only do so on the grounds that it's more practical for me to believe the world is real than any other alternative.
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empowers

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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu May 27, 2010 11:30 pm

I think the phrase still works on the level that it is. If you think, you exist. That's pretty much the whole thing. Whether or not the physical world exists is another thing entirely but that's not dependant on whether we exist.
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Shynaku
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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu May 27, 2010 11:54 pm

Well, if we are our bodies, then the world is a dependent feature, just like 'space' is required to have matter. I agree that the cogito necessitates our existences in some form or another, but it would be premature to say it is not intimately tied to questions on the existence of the physical world (note that the cogito was made while attempting to justify the physical world).
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KageShadowlance



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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:33 pm

Thinking is an action. An action is conducted by something. Thus, if something is thought, then the thing doing the thinking must be alive, thus proving the existence of the one doing the thinking. The ramifications behind this are impressive though.
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Shynaku
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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:16 pm

Two things I'd like to disagree with:
The first is probably just semantics, but it's not necessary that the thing thinking is "alive" in any sense. We usually attach that word to a physical existence, but it's conceivable that the being — or possibly beings, if it's a hivemind... — could be of a non-physical nature.
Second, I don't think the ramifications are actually all that great. It proves that at least one thing exists, but it says almost nothing about the nature of that thing, and we cannot deduce any more than that.
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KageShadowlance



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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:13 pm

I hadn't thought about a hive mind... I guess it is like "The White House Said" as it is not alive...

And the ramifications are that, if something is, then anything can happen because of it. That happening can change everything.
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Shynaku
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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:16 am

That's not the ramification; that's a possible conclusion. It's possible that a single entity has control over a reality they create; it's also possible that the entity is contingent on an independent existence. I go for the latter, more-or-less because of practicality.
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KageShadowlance



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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:50 am

Shynaku wrote:
That's not the ramification; that's a possible conclusion. It's possible that a single entity has control over a reality they create; it's also possible that the entity is contingent on an independent existence. I go for the latter, more-or-less because of practicality.

That is a possible conclusion then.

I would have to say though that your former is more realistic then your latter, practicality aside.
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Shynaku
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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:58 am

It's not a very strong conclusion; not every answer is equally weighted. If I look at my shoe, and think, "You are now a duck," it doesn't turn into a duck. From this, it seems more likely that I'm an existence that is experiencing something independent of me. Then, I conclude that other people have similar experiences as I, and are, thus, other thinking beings. Given that we've done tests on the functions of the brain, I then conclude that all the thinking beings we directly interact with are contingent on the physical world.

We have a mechanism and evidence supporting the latter conclusion; now what is your evidence supporting the former?
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KageShadowlance



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PostSubject: Re: Cogito ergo sum   Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:19 pm

I was re-reading it just now, and miss read it last night at 3am.

I thought it said that we have control over our lives for the first part, but it doesn't.

I have to agree then, from my religious and practical standpoint, that the entity is contingent on an independent existence.
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