• flannel jesus
    1.3k
    I hope so. Unfortunately no one has quite so interesting views of logic here as you do.
  • Banno
    23.4k
    Downunder, we stop at the red light...
  • Metaphyzik
    83
    It is interesting to think that perhaps:

    1. The cogito is not a logical preposition
    2. It can be - like anything else - be translated into a logical preposition.
    3. Then that logical proposition can be proofed.
    4. Then any of those proofs can be translated back into an adjusted cogito statement.
    5. The adjusted statement doesn’t always make any sense. What was - it green cows?

    The problem isn’t the simple logic. Nor is it the cogito (although it has flaws but they haven’t been the focus here). It is of course the translations. Devil in the details.

    A goal of philosophers a hundred years ago was to be able to provide a symbolic logic tied to natural language. So just by logic we could determine the truth and falsehoods of statements. That was a failure. Besides the obvious reasons of translation issues, the failure was due to paradoxes in logic (famously Russell’s set of sets, among others…).

    And traditionally what we have garnished from the paradoxical failures of logic is that it is a useful tool in a context. With parameters. And a set of assumptions. Because if it’s opened up to any input whatsoever it can never be proven to be logically complete. It is insular in nature.

    This grey area of translation makes great fun…. But the mind grows weary of emotional sophistry no?
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    And to clarify, the post at the top of this page is ironic.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    1. The cogito is not a logical preposition
    2. It can be - like anything else - be translated into a logical preposition.
    3. Then that logical proposition can be proofed.
    4. Then any of those proofs can be translated back into an adjusted cogito statement.
    5. The adjusted statement doesn’t always make any sense. What was - it green cows?
    Metaphyzik

    These are worthwhile considerations. I talked about it broadly on this post:

    So, from the Principles and the Replies to the Objections, to put in this exact terms, if I understand what is meant by them, the fact through which we realise we exist is an impression¹. When we express the impression, it is an inference – an enthytema often—, this reference of course relies on intuitions².

    1:
    "But when we notice that we are thinking things, there is a certain first notion, which is concluded from no syllogism; nor even when someone says, I think, therefore I am, or I exist, he deduces existence from thought by a syllogism, but recognizes it as a thing known in itself by the simple observation of the mind, as is evident from the fact that, if he deduced it by a syllogism, he must first have known this greater , everything that thinks is or exists; but surely rather he learns himself, from what he experiences with himself, that it cannot be as he thinks unless he exists."
    — Replies

    2:
    "I was not denying that we must first know what is meant by thought, existence, certainty; again, we must know such things as that it is impossible for that which is thinking to be non-existent; but I thought it needless to enumerate these notions, for they are of the greatest simplicity, and by themselves they can give us no knowledge that anything exists"
    — Principles
    Lionino
  • Banno
    23.4k
    an enthytema oftenLionino

    It is usual for one to be able to state the missing premise. If not, the enthytema is presumably invalid.

    Labouring the point, we have (I think, ⊢ I am); and the missing premise is "If I think, then I am". Which is, it seems, what was to be proved...

    And as discussed, one might get around this by treating it as a definition, " I am that which is doubting".

    But if we do this, then "I" ceases to be when not doubting.

    And to get around that, as you explained, one needs to move to "I am at least that which is doubting". Hence the doubting self is at least part of, but not the whole of, what exists.

    Is that roughly what you would argue?

    And is dualism always the consequence here?
  • Metaphyzik
    83
    Without being caught up in the predicates, the idea of the cogito is that the fact of thinking means that there is existence. Because thinking, existence can at least be supposed. Lionino is that what you meant by an impression?

    It is a flaw of the cogito that it contains “I”. Because yes the inclusion of “I” does lead inevitably to dualism (as Banno has pointed out).

    In any case the question is ill fitted to a logical proof, no?
  • Benj96
    2.2k

    If I answer your question "what can I know for 100% certainty" with the answer: "nothing".

    Does that mean you know nothing with 100% certainty. Or you certainly know nothing.

    Does accepting a lack of knowledge impart some form of knowledge?
  • Metaphyzik
    83


    I’ll try…. But probably won’t succeed in answering your question.

    The ultimate question (no not the one with the answer 42), is how can we know that we know anything. And the answer is we cannot. The best we can do is to convince ourselves of a solipsistic existence (think, therefore exist)…. But no proof can be found - or even what the proof may look like - to prove the world.

    So we can know that we know nothing at all. Which is, yes a piece of knowledge. The only knowledge perhaps, but it is a lot stickier than that….

    However that is really a tautological problem, as it doesn’t do anything for anyone. We accept the world regardless of mind games, so then the next question is: what can we be certain of, assuming we accept the world? Again if you don’t accept the world then there isn’t much point conversing with you ;). Haha

    However given a set of things we do accept about the world - are we certain or more certain of them? Yes we are. That will depend on what context you accept, and if you indeed follow any logical reasoning (I would estimate that 2/3 of people have no logical reasoning capabilities whatsoever beyond habit), which doesn’t really count). These people think with emotions, basically what they want to believe because it makes them feel particular ways. Etc etc. well… probably a lot higher than 2/3. A lot. And of course everyone is logical sometimes and culpable sometimes, so let’s talk percentages of thoughts - I still think it is a lot higher than 2/3.

    The point is, we can be certain of some things within a context / framework. But it is only as certain as the framework within which it resides is valid. Take scientific knowledge for example, what we “knew” 200 years ago is out of date in parts because the framework and context had been improved. Ad infinitum.

    So certainty is relative.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    Is that roughly what you would argue?Banno

    I am not in line with everything in the post but the last line, yes, I am at least that which doubts.
    But what sort of thing? I have just now said it, a thinking thing. But am I nothing besides?

    And is dualism always the consequence here?Banno

    Yes, but we can't do much against that. The hard problem of consciousness is perhaps incontrovertible.
    Many physicalist philosophers say:
    J9lzWF9.png
    Image from Dr. Bogardus

    Lionino is that what you meant by an impression?Metaphyzik

    An immediate awareness, an experience. This is the experience that the philosophers above are talking about. That thinking presupposes existence is an intuition, a belief that does not come from inference or from experience but that we can't conceive otherwise.
  • Banno
    23.4k
    The ghost in the machine. Ryle took care of that. Odd, that you cite folk who reject dualism, but apparently in its defence.

    We need to be very careful here.

    Is your claim that there are two substances, or that Descartes said there were two substances? If the latter, I will agree. If the former, then I will disagree.

    Also, given the topic, is you claim that you are 100% certain there are two substances?

    If not, then I suggest that this is too far from the OP.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    RyleBanno

    Never heard of.

    that you cite folk who reject dualism, but apparently in its defenceBanno

    I am not defending dualism, but only that it appears that physicalism will always be incomplete.

    Is your claim that there are two substances, or that Descartes said there were two substances?Banno

    Latter. Even for Descartes I don't thik he would say prima facie it is sure that there are two substances. The existence of bodies, aka res extensa, is far from certain. If he did, and he likely would, he would do so by invoking God.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    I'd like to post the following sections from the jstor article, as I think they are relevant:
    ZZnebh8.png
    u4ltR2S.png
    TdulC2p.png
  • Truth Seeker
    423
    Your answer is up to you. What it means for you is not necessarily what it means for others. I am completely certain about many things. I have already listed some of them in my previous posts.
  • Fire Ologist
    180
    The point is, we can be certain of some things within a context / framework. But it is only as certain as the framework within which it resides is valid.

    So certainty is relative.
    Metaphyzik

    But a statement like “certainty is relative” is not relative.

    I agree that we are only certain of things within a context, but when we say “certainty is relative”, we are making everything the context (with no room left for the context to change) and speaking of all certainties ( namely they are all relative).

    So maybe it is not that certainty is relative, but that certainty is rare and reserved for things in the context of everything and all time.
  • Fire Ologist
    180
    Does accepting a lack of knowledge impart some form of knowledge?Benj96

    In a sense it does. We still know something (maybe generally) before we might adduce we know nothing in particular.
  • Thales
    11
    I do not accept 'I think therefore I am'; I do not see how you can assume that thinking necessarily implies a thinker.Richard Goldstein

    I seem to recall Bertrand Russell making the same argument. In proclaiming, "I think, therefore I am," Descartes has snuck "I" in the back door. All he has done with 100% certainty is to demonstrate "thinking" exists -- not "I."
  • Metaphyzik
    83


    Yes of course. The posit of the statement “certainty is relative” is an absolute statement. Absolute relativity is an oxymoron.

    The thought pattern leads to it though. So it is a standard self-referential paradox. Set of all sets kind of stuff. There are lots out logic traps out there. Sometimes we can get out of them by couching our terms and avoiding the validity of self-referential statements… but in the end those never seem to be that convincing. They seem like special case exceptions for no real reason.

    The takeaway is that it isn’t a certain statement.

    The paradox runs like this:
    * everything is relative
    * if true then that is an absolute statement
    * if it is an absolute statement then everything cannot be relative

    “Certainty” doesn’t quite fit in place of “everything”. But close enough.

    * certainty is relative
    * if true then it’s an absolute statement. If we are to be certain of it then how would we even be certain in a relative way about something so straight forward / simple? It seems impossible to even know what relative certainty is in this case.
    * if so, then certainty cannot be relative.

    Now interestingly enough, that argument doesn’t make the statement false. It shows that it is not logically complete. Meaning you can’t say that it is always valid. In context… And around the circle we go again.

    Does this mean that context with regards to certainty is an invalid parameter?

    Does this mean that believing in relativity with regard to certainty is not a logically sound argument (after all the premise cannot be certain)

    Or does it simply mean it is a meaningless statement to call anything relative?
  • Metaphyzik
    83
    Also there is the question of if certainty implies truth.
  • ENOAH
    288
    It shows that it is not logically complete.Metaphyzik

    And therein lies the "resolution" to your unresolvable paradox, right?

    You are judging how it stands up to logic.
    If nothing is absolute, neither is logic.

    Hence the illusion of a problem that does not arise in a/the Reality where everything isn't relative.
  • Metaphyzik
    83


    It ends up being a critique of how we think. Aka how we logically thinks

    It is a resolution in that it posits that logic is in itself invalid except where we can consider it to be complete. The conclusion would be that logic is only absolutely correct when it is relative.

    And a self referential statement like that - logically derived - implies that it is absolute, if that statement is to be believed absolutely. Therefore relativity has nothing to do with it, even though that was the purpose of the statement. Negate it and follow through the loop to the same point, ad infinitum.

    It is not a solvable problem.

    Now that is theoria. In praxis, we aren’t too much concerned over this. And the avoidance of self referentially applying propositions like that is all part of accepting the world - else we would be all solipsists, or one step above that (meaning we accept logic as valid as part of the world… so avoiding that would mean we accept the world in absolute anarchy, which I think some do…)

    But this distinction is interesting when we consider what we can be certain about. It seems that we are certain about what at base level we accept of the world. Substitute that for “I think”, which would really be “I accept” therefore I am, because there really isn’t much of a choice. So we are left to logically backfill the acceptance with an incomplete structural set of thinking patterns. Which are great when applied to a set, but fail when thinking about it belonging to its own set of sets that don’t belong to itself etc etc. logic is a tool designed for certain uses.

    That is why (one reason anyways) the philosopher doesn’t really think he/she knows anything. We are certain to the extent that we can be convinced.

    And the epistemological underpinning of acceptance is experiential, or a-priori if you will, etc etc. lots of room for plausible explanations (and room for some that don’t make sense). Given a very basic acceptance level - what else actually makes sense? I would think that the further up the acceptance chain you go the more specific beliefs and sets of knowledge are in play, and if you actually try to understand them instead of believing you already know what you are supposedly investigating, then the amount of certainty in the world (measured by people purporting certainty about things) to be fairly large, and the amount of falseness that we would recognize to also be less large. Ugh. Never mind.
  • ENOAH
    288
    Ugh. Never mindMetaphyzik

    No, that was informative. Thank you. And I get your frustration. Feels impossible sometimes to address such multilayered complexities in a narrow time and space.

    You did a nice job, at the very least, illustrating how it is much more multilayered and com0lex than my prompt implied.
  • Metaphyzik
    83


    Thanks. I do tend to ramble on a bit though haha. Just my take on it though, although I am always ready to be convinced otherwise. Looking for the most plausible explanation really aren’t we?
  • Metaphyzik
    83


    Thanks I’ll take a read
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k
    Of relevance:

    For if intellect understands itself to understand, it must first be given that it understands some thing and then understands itself to understand: for the understanding that intellect understands is of some object. Thus, either we proceed to infinity or, if we come to some first thing understood, that cannot be understanding itself, but some intelligible thing.

    Summa Contra Gentiles

    This seems to justify: "I am" as opposed to merely: "thinking is," because there is both thinking and the recursive awareness of this thinking as thought. What is the "I" but this very sort of self-awareness in thought? But if there is self-awareness, some self exists, since it would seem that a "self" or "I" is definitionally just this very sort of awareness.

    Whereas, it seems possible that a goldfish or fetus might experience some level of first person subjective experience, but not any sort of recursive self-knowledge.

    Descartes' doesn't bring this out fully, but I do think he implicitly answers the big criticism against his famous line. For it is not simply that there "is thinking," but also that there is recursive self-awareness of thinking. This is what motivates the statement in the first place.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    but also that there is recursive self-awareness of thinkingCount Timothy von Icarus

    In other words, the "I" is what experiences thoughts — definitionally as you said.

    But about recursiveness, Cardano's criticism:
    and the immediacy of this intuition is not consistent with the view expressed by other Renaissance figures who consider reflexive thinking, such as Cardano, who see a time interval elapsing between the thought and the realization that the thought is being thought (De libris propriis, ed. Ian Maclean (Milan, 2004), 328): ‘we do not know and know that we are knowing in the same moment, but a little before or after’ (‘eodem momento non intelligmus, et cognoscmus nos intelligere, sed paulo ante vel post’).Discource on the Method, Ian Maclean translation, explanatory note 28
  • Lionino
    1.4k


    But then Descartes states not "I think therefore I am" but "'I am, I exist,’ is necessarily true whenever… it is conceived in my mind.". It is not that the memory of something allows us to know that we exist, but that everytime we think we are sure of our own existence.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k


    I'm not sure if this is much of a criticism. Thought is essentially processual. The very effort to understand a claim like "I think, therefore I am," relies on "prior cognition," as Aristotle says. "This is also true of both deductive and inductive arguments, since they both succeed in teaching because they rely on previous cognition: deductive arguments begin with premisses we are assumed to understand, and inductive arguments prove the universal by relying on the fact that the particular is already clear." (Posterior Analytics)

    But simply because thought "is" in the context of becoming doesn't mean "it is not," anymore than an eclipse can be shown "not to be," simply because it occurs over an interval.

    Notably, I think the common complaints here are dealt with quite well by Augustine, who has his own formulation of Descartes' famous proposition. There, the theory of mind binds together being, knowing, and willing, such that the three are intrinsically related in forming the "I"

    I am talking about these three things: being, knowing, and willing. For I am and I know and I will. In that I know and will, I am. And I know myself to be and to will. And I will to be and to know. Let him who can, see in these three things how inseparable a life is: one life, one mind, and one essence, how there is, finally, an inseparable distinction, and yet a distinction. Surely this is obvious to each one himself. Let him look within himself and see and report to me. (Confessions)
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