• Lif3r
    344
    This is the reality I am experiencing, and so I can conclude it exists in so far as I am capable of thought.

    I think, therefore I am, and I am, therefore my reality is as well.
    1. Has the extension gone too far, or is it reasonable? (6 votes)
        Unreasonable
        33%
        Reasonable
        33%
        Other (please explain)
        33%
  • javra
    1k
    This is the reality I am experiencing, and so I can conclude it exists in so far as I am capable of thought.

    I think, therefore I am, and I am, therefore my reality is as well.
    Lif3r

    For me, the validity of this affirmation rests one what one here understands by “my reality”. In one sense, we each inhabit individual and personal realities which at places perfectly overlap and at other places do not. While philosophically problematic, if one were to actually be accordant to a Wittgenstein-like mentality, it is readily meaningful in colloquial usage to express, “Your reality is different from mine.”

    In this sense, I’d say sure.

    But when addressing reality as being that which is impartially applicable regardless of beliefs and so forth, the philosophical problem is that false awareness of reality can occur. Yes, sometimes in the form of hallucinations and illusions, but, more pertinently I believe, in the form of false beliefs, i.e. delusions. Sometimes, we can appraise from our own perspective (often itself shared with many others) that some group(s) will hold communal delusions of what is reality; e.g., for most of us, those who subscribe to Earth being flat will easily fit this description. Here, “they” will share a false (appraisal of) reality which they nevertheless inhabit with a type of tunnel vision (apparently being unable to conceive of the possibility that it might in fact not be so).

    In this sense of “reality”, the OP’s affirmation no longer holds:

    What one here thinks to be reality can very well be a falsehood and, thereby, nonexistent (in all senses other than that of existing in the biases of the given subject(s)). That one’s beliefs are commonly shared in unison with many, even most, others will not, of itself, bestow the same degree of certainty regarding what is real that the cogito does. Again, as can be exemplified by those who share a flat-Earth worldview (only that here this possibility of a communally held false system of beliefs would be self-referentially applied).

    The trick, I believe, is to find ontological givens that 1) hold the same degree of certainty that the cogito does and 2) are commonly shared by all others (this in the same manner that the cogito is commonly shared by all sapient beings). To the degree that one can incrementally accumulate these, one could, in principle, then obtain an understanding of reality whose certainty is on par with the cogito.

    Then again, one does not need a cogito-like certainty about things in order to contemplate and hold onto perspectives of reality.
  • Lif3r
    344
    but whether or not a person's perspective of reality is fully true doesn't matter. Regardless it is their experience and interpretation of reality. This is why I've said "my reality" in order to indicate the singular depiction of the individual.
  • Lif3r
    344
    On these pretenses it has to ring true because you are experiencing the exact experience as you.
  • javra
    1k
    On these pretenses it has to ring true because only you are experiencing the exact experience as you.Lif3r

    I think I get what you're saying, in which case, again, sure. But is this quote there might be implied something that does not ring true: my experiences of a physical item, though being from my own unique perspective, is shared with all other sentient beings in that all will tacitly or explicitly agree (minimally via behaviors) that the same physical item is. A different way of saying this is that there can be no personal realities (in the plural) were it not for a commonly shared, singular, and impartial reality ... which we presume to know to at least some degree.
  • Lif3r
    344
    My angle here is to prove that the reality we experience is tangible. Because I know I exist, I can also conclude that the experience I am having is actually happening and not merely nothingness
  • Lif3r
    344
    right I changed it from only to cover multi dimension and singularity
  • javra
    1k
    Have to get going for now, but what meaningful import does the OP hold other than affirming something along the lines of, "I think, therefore I have thoughts"?
  • Lif3r
    344
    no... I think therefore my reality exists
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    Unreasonable because the very idea behind the cogito ergo sum argument is the possibility of reality being an illusion. All Descartes could do was prove his own existence and nothing more. Reality could still be an illusion.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I’ve had a similar thought myself.

    Descartes famously attempted to systematically doubt everything he could, including the reliability of experiences of the world, and consequently of the existence of any physical things in particular; which he then took, I think a step too far, as doubting whether anything at all physical existed, but I will return to that in a moment. He found that the only thing he could not possibly doubt was the occurrence of his own doubting, and consequently, his own existence as some kind of thinking thing that is capable of doubting.

    But other philosophers such as Pierre Gassendi and Georg Lichtenberg have in the years since argued, as I agree, that the existence of oneself is not strictly warranted by the kind of systemic doubt Descartes engaged in; instead, all that is truly indubitable is that thinking occurs, or at least, that some kind of cognitive or mental activity occurs. I prefer to use the word "thought" in a more narrow sense than merely any mental activity, so what I would say is all that survives such a Cartesian attempt at universal doubt is experience: one cannot doubt that an experience of doubt is being had, and so that some kind of experience is being had.

    But I then say that the concept of an experience is inherently a relational one: someone has an experience of something. An experience being had by nobody is an experience not being had at all, and an experience being had of nothing is again an experience not being had at all. This indubitable experience thus immediately gives justification to the notion of both a self, which is whoever the someone having the experience is, and also a world, which is whatever the something being experienced is.

    One may yet have no idea what the nature of oneself or the world is, in any detail at all, but one can no more doubt that oneself exists to have an experience than that experience is happening, and more still than that, one cannot doubt that something is being experienced, and whatever that something is, in its entirety, that is what one calls the world.

    So from the moment we are aware of any experience at all, we can conclude that there is some world or another being experienced, and we can then attend to the particulars of those experiences to suss out the particular nature of that world. The particular occasions of experience are thus the most fundamentally concrete parts of the world, and everything else that we postulate the existence of, including things as elementary as matter, is some abstraction that's only real inasmuch as postulating its existence helps explain the particular occasions of experience that we have.
  • Gnomon
    814
    I think, therefore I am, and I am, therefore my reality is as well.Lif3r
    Yes. But reality may not be what you think it is. As TheMadFool said, "the very idea behind the cogito ergo sum argument is the possibility of reality being an illusion." And modern science is beginning to understand that evolution didn't design us to know the world as it really is : invisible and intangible. Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman, in The Case Against Reality, argues that what we envision as the real world is actually a set of symbols created by each mind. Hoffman calls those mental symbols "icons" in reference to the little low-res pictures on your computer screen.

    If so, then your subjective "reality" is merely an imaginary conception that bears only a vague resemblance to the ultimate objective world that Kant called ding an sich --- "a thing as it is in itself, not mediated through perception by the senses or conceptualization, and therefore unknowable". So, your "reality" definitely exists as an ideal concept, but not as the True Reality. And your extension of cogito ergo sum is what Buddhists call Maya (illusion). :smile:


    The Case Against Reality : http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page21.html
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Yes. But reality may not be what you think it is.Gnomon

    This. We cannot doubt that there is some kind of world or another that we are experiencing. But we can in principle doubt any particulars about that world. Conversely, although we cannot doubt that we ourselves exist to have experiences, we can doubt any of the particulars about ourselves. All that's indubitable is that someone has some experience of something. All the details are up for grabs.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    One can only think because one is already embedded in a world and a language that interprets it.
  • Pinprick
    335
    One can only think because one is already embedded in a world and a language that interprets it.Banno

    Are you suggesting that without language thought is not possible?
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Depends what you mean by "thought"...
  • Pinprick
    335


    Actually, it depends on what you mean by thought. :razz:
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Fair call.

    Descartes set himself the task of finding something of which he might be certain, and was dissatisfied until he reached the cogito. He was far too hard to please, putting way too much effort into doubt, for its own sake. But doubt takes place against a background of certainty. The very story of his reaching the cogito involves him seeking refuge from the cold as his company retreat from disaster. He could only report his rumination to us later, presumably from the comfort of his much-loved bed. All this philosophical thinking - his thought - require him to have a place in the world. Hence,

    One can only think because one is already embedded in a world and a language that interprets it.Banno
  • Pinprick
    335


    I agree that thought requires a subject (the thing thinking/experiencing) that exists, presumably somewhere, presumably physically, if that is what your getting at. I just don’t see where language is necessary for anything other than communicating your thoughts, and feelings, to others.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    I agree that thought requires a subjectPinprick

    Then you missed the point. Thought needs much more than just a thinker. Think on it a bit.
  • Gnomon
    814
    All that's indubitable is that someone has some experience of something. All the details are up for grabs.Pfhorrest
    Fortunately, the scientific method of obtaining "objective" knowledge has dispelled some of the subjective uncertainty that led to mystical & magical worldviews, and to imaginative religious myths. So, I think it's safe to say that, in the 21st century, we have a deeper & broader understanding of Reality than the cave men. But we may have lost some of the visceral immediacy of knowing, as we gained more cerebral understanding.

    I suspect that some on this forum would place the notion of Panpsychism in the cave man mystical category. But our Information-based inferences, although not yet complete, take some of the mystery out of it. We have reasonable theories that the potential for Mind is inherent in Matter & Energy, but the details are up for further exploration of our collective reality. :smile:
  • Pinprick
    335
    Then you missed the point. Thought needs much more than just a thinker. Think on it a bit.Banno

    I assume you are referring to an external world or objects (things to think about). I was meaning that to be included in “somewhere,” but I’m not entirely convinced of that either. I can have thoughts that are strictly about me and have nothing to do with anything external. Something along the lines “I am me,” a statement about my sense of self, or self-awareness.
  • Arne
    528
    Actually, I think the original went too far.

    "I am" is a self-sufficient and absolute affirmation of being. You could not "think" or do anything else in regard to "I am" if you were not.

    All else is unnecessarily and arbitrarily rendering asunder what the king's men in all their futility have been trying to put back together for almost 400 years.

    Just saying.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    Your “I am” is sufficient as an affirmation of being, but it is reducible, at least according to Descartes, so it is not self-sufficient and it is not absolute.

    “....., therefore I am”. The “I” that is, presupposes the “I” that thinks.
  • Kmaca
    24
    I think what you’re saying is reasonable especially if interpreted in a pragmatic sense. I think people like Rorty and possibly Quine would agree with you. You are stuck in your reality regardless. Since there is no gods-eye-view to judge a more accurate reality, you might as well work within your experience to refine the best framework that you can. I think Hume might have said something similar regarding his skepticism about causation - we can’t know whether the sun will rise tomorrow but we better behave as if it will.

    Nevertheless, reasonable as it may be, there is something philosophically unsatisfying about it. After all, you could still exist as a self in the ‘I think, therefore, I am’ but still be brain in some vat.
  • Arne
    528
    and to what is it reducible since I certainly do more than think. How about you?
  • Arne
    528
    in addition, the "I" is not separable from the "I am". There can be no "I" without an "am." Though I suspect there can be an "I" without the "think." In fact, the "I" rarely appears in most of what we do and is generally a post script whose only purpose is to give description of what occurs in its absence.
  • Mww
    1.7k


    Perhaps you do. From where “I” sit, think is all, and only what, “I” do. That being granted, it is clear there can be no “I” without the “think” necessarily conjoined to it. And the separabiltiy is not concerned with “I” and “am”. But with “think” and “am”, “I” being common, and hence inseparable, from both, and “think” and “am” being inseparable from each other.

    Because the the OP is directly from Descartes, proper critiques of it should follow from Descartes as well. In the two sections following his infamous assertion, he qualifies his intentions thus:

    “...This is the best way to discover what sort of thing the mind is, and how it differs from the body....”

    “....I take the word ‘thought’ to cover everything that we are aware of as happening within us, and it counts as ‘thought’ because we are aware of it...”

    It is quite reasonable to suggest from those, that the “I am” merely represents awareness that thoughts occur. Therefore, the “I” that is, presupposes the “I” that thinks.

    Post-Cartesian philosophy makes attempts to define thought and conscious being, which Rene himself didn’t, for “covering everything” is hardly a definition, and whether such attempts have more justified his proclamation than refuted it, are debatable.
  • javra
    1k
    Trying to find out if I should reevaluate my opinion of Descartes.

    Because the the OP is directly from Descartes, proper critiques of it should follow from Descartes as well. In the two sections following his infamous assertion, he qualifies his intentions thus:

    [...]

    “....I take the word ‘thought’ to cover everything that we are aware of as happening within us, and it counts as ‘thought’ because we are aware of it...”
    Mww

    He states this clarification after the fact, but how does it apply to the very argument he provides in his Meditations for the cogito? Last I recall, it was argued by something along the lines of “I can’t doubt that I doubt”. Extending Descartes’s demon, though, it can be conceived that one’s own doubts which one can’t doubt having are, in fact, completely an effect that is fully produced by the demon – thereby failing to demonstrate with the sought after certainty that these doubts one sense to be one's own are in fact one’s own. If it is not “I” but the demon’s thoughts, the proposition of “I think” would then be false. (This, ironically, hinges on the issue of who, or what, causes the thoughts, or doubts, to be.)

    BTW, I’ve been spewing this about for a while now, so I’m fully on board with the proposition that one’s own awareness (of anything) evidences that one is while aware. This would then include one’s awareness of any doubts (regardless of any Cartesian skepticism regarding their cause).

    On a different note, given this quoted affirmation from Descartes, one’s emotions would be classified as a portion of one’s thoughts. But this so far seems to be a category error. Again, especially when taking his Meditation arguments into account.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    He states this clarification after the fact, but how does it apply to the very argument he provides in his Meditations for the cogito? Last I recall, it was argued by something along the lines of “I can’t doubt that I doubt”javra

    I would guess he took doubt to be just a negative thought, or, a thought of negative quality. Doubt is no less an awareness than any affirmation. Besides, he is involved in thinking doubt, thus canceling the notion for doubt being a feeling.

    As for the demon, because his god would not purposefully deceive him, and deception is quite evident, such deception must in fact be a representation of himself:

    “....It is for this reason I am persuaded that I shall not be doing wrong, if, taking an opposite judgment of deliberate design, I become my own deceiver, (...) I will suppose, then, not that Deity, who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth, but that some malignant demon, who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful, has employed all his artifice to deceive me; I will suppose that the sky, the air, the earth, colors, figures, sounds, and all external things, are nothing better than the illusions of dreams, by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity...”

    He imagines a demon within himself, which is himself. Thing is, he can’t blame his god for his illusions, especially considering who the treatise was written for and dedicated to.
    —————-

    If it is not “I” but the demon’s thoughts, the proposition of “I think” would then be false. (This, ironically, hinges on the issue of who, or what, causes the thoughts, or doubts, to be.)javra

    Yeah....that good ol’ Cartesian theater on the one hand, or the homunculus on the other.
    —————-

    On a different note, given this quoted affirmation from Descartes, one’s emotions would be classified as a portion of one’s thoughts.javra

    I wouldn’t argue that Descartes would have thought so. And some folks do even these days. But feelings have since been shown to not be cognitions, so are not a portion of one’s thoughts, which are the only source of cognitions available to us, but certainly qualify as part of one’s consciousness. We don’t think our feelings, but only think the objects which belong to them, hence we are, as he says, “aware of as happening within us”.
  • Lif3r
    344
    you are presenting a connotation of the original text, not refuting mine.
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