• Kranky
    71
    Can we be certain of more than just our existence?

    More instance:

    Let's say 'I think, therefore I am' proves our existence.
    Then by my reckoning it also proves what we are thinking of at that period of time.

    For example
    If I consciously think to myself that Mike Tyson punching me would hurt.
    This would:
    1) prove my existence
    2) prove I think Mike Tyson punching me would hurt

    If I were to doubt my existence
    This would
    1) Prove my existence
    2) Prove I am thinking about doubting my existence

    What I'm asking is: If I have a thought that I am consciouslly aware of, is there any way in which that thought is not certain? Surely it is certain that the thought is there if I am consciouslly thinking it?

    If my exact thought itself was in doubt, then how could I prove my existence?
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    Are you thinking Berkley's Idealism? (Kinda reminds me of it, in your OP.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjective_idealism

    If nothing else, I suppose it's a starting point for clarification... .
  • Kranky
    71


    I'm not sure haha!

    If I am thinking a thought, that thought has to be certain.
    if that thought could be doubted, then so could my existence.
  • Kranky
    71
    I mean, if I am consciously thinking right now that I am writing on this forum, that thought is certain?
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    My take is to abstract even more from thinking, to experiencing (thinking is a kind of experience), and say that "experience is happening" is the greatest certainty; "something is experiencing" and "something is being experienced" are the next greatest certainties, which we call the self and the world, though we don't yet know if those aren't the same thing (that the self might be all of the world). Everything else is first sorting out what kinds of (combinations of) experiences are(n't) possible, and thus what is(n't) necessary about the world and oneself; and then filling in the details about those contingent possibilities, which is the long hard work of the empirical sciences.
  • Kranky
    71
    Sorry, do you agree with my op?
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    More or less. It's certain that thinking is happening, and that something is thinking, and something is being thought about. That last bit seems to be your main point.
  • Zelebg
    599
    If I am thinking a thought, that thought has to be certain. if that thought could be doubted, then so could my existence.

    Thought process entails existence, and that thought is a very special kind of thought, particularly self-evident, for some reason. But I do not see why it would need to be necessarily true, except that doubting it should prove pointless right away. Everything else can be doubted much easier.

    Have you actually tried doubting it, I mean for real? Maybe physically it can not be doubted for more than a few seconds, if at all. I couldn’t at least, can you?
  • Kranky
    71
    But is it certain that the exact thought I am consciously aware right now is happening? Or could it be another thought entirely?
  • BrianW
    974
    But is it certain that the exact thought I am consciously aware right now is happening?Kranky

    Firstly, what does it mean to be aware of thought?

    The reason I'm asking is because I seem to have a perspective from which the awareness and thoughts are different and somewhat separate though not completely independent. I would put it as, "thought is an expression of awareness."
    To me, "I think, therefore I am," seems more appropriate when it means, "I am aware, therefore I am." I think awareness (for me, consciousness is a more comprehensive terminology) is the fundamental person (or existence) because there's no way of getting past its ever-ness. For example, being conscious means being aware and having it on record while being unconscious means being aware without being impressed on any record. Either way, no matter the degree, consciousness/awareness is ever-present.
  • Kranky
    71
    So if I am consciously aware, this awareness would have to be exactly as it seems. Anything less and I'm not really aware.
  • Kranky
    71
    Anyone else have an opinion? I'm still confused!

    Is the thought I am having right now certain in how it is?
  • 3017amen
    2.6k
    Is the thought I am having right now certain in how it is?Kranky

    Yes it should be, but you can never be absolutely certain ( at all times and in all places). That's because you have a consciousness and subconsciousness (or in Freudian speak; conscious, preconscious, unconscious).

    Examples:

    1. Is one aware of their consciousness while sleepwalking?
    2. Having a fatality while driving and daydreaming suggests uncertainty as to which brain is doing the driving(?).
  • Qwex
    366
    "I think therefore I am", can be reduced to, "I act therefore I am." Thinking is an action, thus "I act", would be more sensible.

    In all honesty I never thought much of the quote.

    I act, therefore I am, doesn't make sense(neither does "I think"). I am thinking, thus I am (What? A part needs to be added). I am thinking thus I am real, thus I am truth, thus I am part of the universe. If it were stated any of these ways, it's still an incomplete statement.

    Can we be sure of other existences? Personally or as a species? I am sure of some others around me. By some strange means I may be able to confirm other simulations; but we're so discreet in the massive simulation that contains us, I doubt we'll ever find proof of another simulation.
  • Zelebg
    599
    Is the thought I am having right now certain in how it is?

    Thought involves time and memory, so just by having memory be a subject of malfunction, for example, there is already a possibility to draw wrong conclusion even after the whole thought process was going fine up until that point. Plus whatever other possible ways our thoughts can be corrupted that we may not even know about.

    So no, there is no absolute, or any kind of certainty in a single thought by itself, apart from how being ‘self-evident’ may be considered a measure of truth. However, if you write down as you think, and then further extend, derive and combine consequences of your conclusions, then consistency and practical applicability increase certainty to the point where it becomes true as much as it matters, i.e practically true, and I guess that’s the kind of truth we are after even if it is actually false in some wider metaphysical context.
  • Frank Apisa
    2.1k
    Can we be certain of more than just our existence?

    My impulse was to answer, "No!"

    But I realized I was certain of that...so the answer must be "Yes."

    But then again, if it is "Yes"...then I was not actually certain of my original "no."

    Which means the answer may be "No."

    I'd offer my favorite answer (I do not know.)...but that seems to offend so many people I will refrain from doing so.
  • Kranky
    71


    But you wouldn't need to be certain for the thought to be certain. Just you thinking the thought is in itself certainty?
  • Kranky
    71
    Anyone else have an opinion on this?

    If I am aware of a thought, that exact thought is certain. If it were not certain in exactly how it was occurring to me, then it's existence (and therefore mine) could be doubted?
  • A Seagull
    621
    Anyone else have an opinion on this?

    If I am aware of a thought, that exact thought is certain. If it were not certain in exactly how it was occurring to me, then it's existence (and therefore mine) could be doubted?
    Kranky

    It depends upon what you mean by 'certain'.

    Certainty is a state of mind. If you only had one thought in your head, no matter what it was, I expect you would be certain of it; in fact I am certain of it, for there would be no capacity for doubt.
  • Kranky
    71


    That's exactly what I mean.
    If I have one thought in my head that I am conscious of, the context of that exact thought is certain.

    So we can be certain of our existence (because of the thought) and certain of the thought itself?
  • Qwex
    366
    ,

    It's not the word 'certain', that means nothing.

    Experience of thought means the faclilities for our prolonged metamorphasis are healthy and we can think in real time.

    The thought is "up there" perhaps.

    If merely thinking, my thought is certain, there is build up because all I'm doing is projection with a stern face.

    Moments do pass.

    What is the forge of thought?
  • Kranky
    71


    So my thoughts, as I think them, are certian in what they are?

    No room for evil demon to alter them if I am aware of them?
  • Qwex
    366
    no because certain wouldn't be scientific. A tarot reader, maybe, not a philosopher. Thoughts are possible because... I think. Therefore, science on thought.
  • Kranky
    71


    How do you mean?

    If I am aware of a thought, how is it possible that it could be different then my awareness of the thought itself?
  • Qwex
    366


    You are aware of thought, that can be answered using science; scientific explanation replaces certain, in every context.

    Thoughts: "I'm here, thus thoughts"
  • A Seagull
    621
    That's exactly what I mean.
    If I have one thought in my head that I am conscious of, the context of that exact thought is certain.

    So we can be certain of our existence (because of the thought) and certain of the thought itself?
    Kranky

    Well yes, just so long as you have sufficient capacity for thoughts about your thoughts; and without any evidence to the contrary, I can confidently (but perhaps not certainly) assume that you do.

    So once one gets the thought that one exists (eg 'I am') then it is irrefutable and certain.
  • Kranky
    71


    I am sitting here with the awareness typing this reply. That single thought is therefore certain in that it is happening?
  • A Seagull
    621
    ↪A Seagull

    I am sitting here with the awareness typing this reply. That single thought is therefore certain in that it is happening?
    Kranky

    Certainly for you it is. And I have no problem in believing it.
  • Kranky
    71


    So we can be certain of our existence as well as the exact content of our conscious thoughts at the time of their awareness.

    So is that beyond what Descartes meant by I think therefore I am?
  • Kranky
    71
    Anyone else have a thought on this?
  • Mww
    1.8k


    It is irrational to doubt the fact of thought, and that thoughts have exact content; there is no such thing as a thought never had nor a thought had that is empty.

    It is impossible for a human to prove that thought is predicated exclusively on the existence of the body, for to do so he must prove thought is impossible without a body, and he must also prove every possible body thinks.

    Two cents.
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