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I think, therefore, I am


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Typical of Bucky... I am lost. :D or is "am lost" a superfluous qualifier of "I" ;)

 

~modest

 

wandered off the tao perhaps? rhetorical question that; :) just using you again as a springboard to further explication if that's ok.

following my theme, i.e., "i" is both necessary & sufficient to assert self-existence, and the players i have lined up, here is something of an overview of the way i'm leading. :read:

 

Dialectical monism, also known as dualistic monism,[dubious – discuss] is an ontological position which holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from monism by asserting that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms. For the dialectical monist, the essential unity is that of complementary polarities which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, are co-substantial in a transcendent sense. ...

 

Dialectical monism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The tao that can be followed is not the true tao :read:

 

I looked back at what you were saying and agree :D I think Descy would agree too. "I exist" is, in a way, repetitive such that saying "Do I exist?" both declares the existence of "I" and questions it superfluously.

 

~modest

 

yes, and per se, yes. :)

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Strange loop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [boldenation by turtle]

And yet when I say "strange loop", I have something else in mind — a less concrete, more elusive notion. What I mean by "strange loop" is — here goes a first stab, anyway — not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive "upward" shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one's sense of departing ever further from one's origin, one winds up, to one's shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop. (pp. 101-102)

 

Strangeness

The "strangeness" of a strange loop comes from our way of perception; because we categorize our input in a small amount of 'symbols' (by which he means groups of neurons standing for one thing in the outside world). So the difference between the video-feedback loop and our strange loops, our "I"'s, is that while the former one converts light to the same pattern on a screen, the latter one categorizes a pattern and outputs its essence, so that you get closer and closer to your essence the further you get down your strange loop. (according to his new book 'I am a Strange Loop') ...

 

:earth:

:phones:

:turtle:

:turtle:

:turtle:

.

.

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Michael definitely makes a good point and ego'm not afraid to acknowledge it. :turtle: I would simply say that my conclusion differs: the best predicate is one for which we lack an actual verb, to mean "be aware of (oneself)" instead of the cogito but the argument is nevertheless essentially an implication; self-awareness itself is the experiential verification that implies the sum. Alao, aside from the humour value, the verb stink would more appropriately be smell.

 

the statement is famous for being famous; I might say, a mere meme. wait for it...
Well, there isn't really this circularity. It became famous because it is indisputable, without being an actual tautology.

 

so mick, i agree "I" is enough, but then after saying as much, you put "am" back in to qualify.
Actually, that wasn't what Mickey said. :phones:
further, descartes didn't "say" i think therefore i am in his original reference to "I" as evidence of one's existence in his meditations on first principles, and later qualified his intent when the cogito got legs. :turtle:
In Latin and some latinate languages, the subject can often be left implicit. The predicate cannot, under any circumstance that is meant to be an actual assertion. Therefore Mick's sentence was not contradictory. In short he meant that the ability to conceive of ego implies that sum can be the predicate.

 

before anyone blasts my wiki source, please have in hand another source that you feel is "more" qualified.
Descartes' Epistemology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) This guy says the same thing I concluded from Mick's point:

 

Third, the certainty of the cogito depends on being formulated in terms of my cogitatio—i.e., my thinking, or awareness/consciousness more generally. Any mode of my thinking is sufficient: doubt, understanding, affirmation, denial, volition, imagination, sensation, or the like (cf. Med. 2, AT 7:28). My non-thinking activities, on the other hand, are insufficient. For instance, it's no good to reason that “I exist since I am walking,” because methodic doubt calls into question the existence of my legs. (Maybe I'm just dreaming that I have legs.) A simple revision, such as “I exist since it seems I'm walking,” restores the anti-sceptical potency (cf. Replies 5, AT 7:352; Prin. 1:9).

 

yes; but only one at a time.
I think there are cases in which each personality is unaware of the others.

 

Aside from the crappy code, this program would continually find itself to exist. Hence, we either have to be very liberal with our definition of existence or accept that Descartes postulate is in error. Yes/no?
During execution the image exists in the system. An image exists for each running instance of the same executable. Like the cogitating mind, it isn't a material object but it exists. However, such a simple automaton cannot be considered self-aware and can hardly be called cogitating. It cannot really deduce its own existence, it is just a deterministic sequence of a very few possible states. On both these accounts it isn't a counterexample.

 

not superfluous in this instance, no. :turtle: so succinctly, "i" has no meaning without "not i".
Errrrrrrr-gash, you're talking about two ideas that the same mind may hold. It is between these two conjectures that the mind is able to establish to which the predicate am applies and to which it doesn't. This is pretty much where Russel goes wrong in criticizing the use of 'I' as begging the question; it isn't necessary to predetermine "I am" in order to experience the cogito.
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In Latin and some latinate languages, the subject can often be left implicit. The predicate cannot, under any circumstance that is meant to be an actual assertion.

 

It is to be remarked, however, that the substantive verb has a twofold meaning: first, The absolute meaning, e.g., God is (the absolute affirmation), where it certainly constitutes the predicate; or Man is, in the sense of exists. Second, The ordinary meaning, where it is equivalent to exists as, or appears as, e.g., “A Negro is (i.e., appears as) black;” so regarded, the substantive verb is common to every subject and every predicate alike, and implied in them

 

 

The verb is the predicate. It is most properly translated: "I think therefore I am" where I is twice the subject and the verb is twice the predicate.

 

Nonetheless, I agree with both Mickey and Turtle in what is essentially laid out on wiki's page: Cogito ergo sum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

~modest

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...I would simply say that my conclusion differs:

...

Well, there isn't really this circularity.

...

I think there are cases in which each personality is unaware of the others.

...

Errrrrrrr-gash, you're talking about two ideas that the same mind may hold. .

...

 

:phones: i would simply retort that i think, therefore i argue.

 

a strange loop is as a strange loop does. :turtle:

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Qfwfq:

Third, the certainty of the cogito depends on being formulated in terms of my cogitatio—i.e., my thinking, or awareness/consciousness more generally.

 

..."or awareness/consciousness more generally." Yes! But this is more than just "more generally." It brings up the distinction between thinking as content of awareness/consciousness (A/C) and that latter transcending content.

As I've mentioned many times in other threads, Franklin Merrell-Wolff* is my favorite philosopher/mystic, and his masterpiece, The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object, speaks directly to this point.

Descarte believed that thinking was the fundamental "proof" that "I exist," but *being* is more fundamental than any such content of experience, even thinking.

Who thinks? I do, but who am "I"... this individual "identity" or consciousness itself, prior to what I am conscious/aware *of?*

 

Merrell-Wolff says the latter. Awareness is prior to and more fundamental than what we are aware of. "I am A/C" transcends identification with whatever I am aware of, including thinking.

 

*The Heart of Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Philosophy

 

"mik" (I see we are all such good buds here that you are all comfortable using diminutive forms of my name, so FYI, "mik" is my personal favorite.)

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Descarte believed that thinking was the fundamental "proof" that "I exist," but *being* is more fundamental than any such content of experience, even thinking.

Who thinks? I do, but who am "I"... this individual "identity" or consciousness itself, prior to what I am conscious/aware *of?*

 

Merrell-Wolff says the latter. Awareness is prior to and more fundamental than what we are aware of. "I am A/C" transcends identification with whatever I am aware of, including thinking.

 

*The Heart of Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Philosophy

 

"mik" (I see we are all such good buds here that you are all comfortable using diminutive forms of my name, so FYI, "mik" is my personal favorite.)

 

:D that's a good mik. to the eye then!! :phones: :jab: :turtle:

 

rather than get to i through your preferred dead mystic, i prefer to go through a live logician. just so, i just ran out & i just picked up a copy of hofstadter's i am a strange loop as i think it is best that i look in the horse's mouth for myself rather than rely on the equine dental assessments of others. :earth: :turtle: that said, here's what someone else says about it. :doh: :turtle: if y'all thinks it merits a separate thread, just bark up. :dog:

 

I Am a Strange Loop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

ps buddha's statment of the cogito predates descartes et al. i think it's a very old idea. know what i meme? :spin:

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it is with a sad joy that i find now reading dougy in his preface to i am a strange loop, [page viii] lamenting that of those who read GEB (gödel, escher, bach) and communicated their impressions to him over the past 30 years, very few understood it in the contextualist sense that he meant it, id est, as a investigation/observation on the nature of "i". sad for doug because authors of every ilk hate that readers didn't get it, & joy because dougy has affirmed that invoking his name and asserstions in this discussion was apropos.

oh...& joy for the new book. i like strange loops; they taste like candy. :naughty:

:hihi:

:cry: :eek_big:

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OK Modest & Turtle, ego durst disagree with Kierkegaard because ego agree with Lex Newman's brilliant analysis! Notice that ol' Søren is totally neglecting the consideration of Lex'es first clarification, in arguing from the fact that the cogito already pre-supposes the existence of "I":

 

First, a first-person formulation is essential to the certainty of the cogito. Third-person claims, such as “Icarus thinks,” or “Descartes thinks,” are not unshakably certain—not for me, at any rate; only the occurrence of my thought has a chance of resisting hyperbolic doubt. There are a number of passages in which Descartes refers to a third-person version of the cogito. But none of these occurs in the context of trying to establish categorically the existence of a particular thinker (as opposed merely to the conditional existence of whatever thinks).

 

You and Søren would be correct in raising that objection, concerning the statement: Q thinks, ergo he exists. OTOH for the mind thinking about itself, the cogito is not just a mere hypothesis, it's an experiential fact. Søren's very remark, that existence is necessary for the cogito, is what forms the implication on which modus ponens may be applied given the factual truth of the cogito.

 

The verb is the predicate. It is most properly translated: "I think therefore I am" where I is twice the subject and the verb is twice the predicate.
This is obvious, I fail to see the bearing of the transitive case of the predicate when there is nary object nor adjective to which it be applied.:eek_big: The verb
exist
is one aspect of the verb
be
(in just about any language I have some notion of); when used intransitively
be
can't have further meaning than
exist
or at the most presence in a context that is mentioned. I don't get what you mean to infer.:naughty:

 
It brings up the distinction between thinking as content of awareness/consciousness (A/C) and that latter transcending content.
In being aware of itself, the mind is the content of its own awareness, so this distinction folds up; the things distinguished become the same. This is the meaning of the clarification quoted above.

 
Descarte believed that thinking was the fundamental "proof" that "I exist," but *being* is more fundamental than any such content of experience, even thinking.

Who thinks? I do, but who am "I"... this individual "identity" or consciousness itself, prior to what I am conscious/aware *of?*
Descartes explicitly wrote that the mind cannot go further from there, to conclude anything about its nature, neither could it determine whether it exists with or without some object.
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OK Modest & Turtle, ego durst disagree with Kierkegaard because

...

You and Søren would be correct in raising that objection, concerning the statement: Q thinks, ergo he exists. OTOH for the mind thinking about itself, the cogito is not just a mere hypothesis, it's an experiential fact. Søren's very remark, that existence is necessary for the cogito, is what forms the implication on which modus ponens may be applied given the factual truth of the cogito. ...

 

i didn't mention or have in mind kierkegaard in any thing i have said, so i don't understand your comments. :) but taking your modus ponens and going back to turtles and hofstadter, which i have introduced, there is the matter of the tortoise & achilles & caroll & russell & lions & tigers & bears oh my. :eek2:

 

What the Tortoise Said to Achilles - encyclopedia article about What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.

 

the circularity of "I" that i am after now is hofstadter's recursion and i'd like to hear you Q, and you-all not-Q's, address that directly. on that note, it seems pertinent to ask if you, and/or you-all, have read GEB, because if you have not then my invoking it may well fall on ignorance. certainly i can't expect you to discuss what you don't know as that is illogical. :beer:

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Qfwfq:

In being aware of itself, the mind is the content of its own awareness, so this distinction folds up; the things distinguished become the same. This is the meaning of the clarification quoted above.

 

I'm guessing you didn't bother to read the link on Merrell-Wolff, as he distinguishes consciousness from content of the mind very cogently and eloquently. Also, the "mind" is the seat of reason and all thinking, while consciousness itself is that which knows its own existence prior to and more fundamentally than *what* one thinks or knows.

 

Descartes explicitly wrote that the mind cannot go further from there, to conclude anything about its nature, neither could it determine whether it exists with or without some object.

 

True. That is the difference between one who "thinks" that thinking establishes proof of being and one who recognizes being, as realized by A/C independently of its content as prior to and more fundamental than thinking vis-vis knowing that one exists.

 

I speak from firsthand experience ("sitting still" an hour a day for nearly 40 years) that even after thinking is suspended, as in "nirvana", that consciousness still *is* "self aware" tho the "self" is then identified as consciousness itself rather than its content, including personal identity as "this guy."

 

mik

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as i have asserted what i think dougy means to say, i'll let him say what he means in certain terms. :)

 

I Am A Strange Loop

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Chapter 1

On Souls and Their Sizes

Lights on?: pg. 23

 

... The central aim of this book is to try to pinpoint the nature of that "special kind of subtle pattern" that I have come to believe underlies, or gives rise to, what I have here been calling a "soul" or an "I". I could just as well have spoken of "having a light on inside", "possessing interiority", or that old standby, "being concious".

 

Philosophers of mind often use the terms "possessing intentionality" (which means having beliefs and desires and fears and so forth) or "having semantics" (which means the ability to genuinely think about things, as contrasted with the "mere" ability to juggle meaningless tokens in complicated patterns -- a distinction that I raised in the dialogue between my versions of Socrates and Plato).

 

Although each of these terms puts the focus on a slightly different aspect of the elusive abstraction that concerns us, they are all, from my perspective, pretty much interchangeable. And for all of these terms, I reiterate that they have to be understood as coming in degrees along a sliding scale, rather than as on/off, black/white, yes/no switches. ...

 

discuss. :beer: :eek2:

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Doug no talkin' 'bout Desc'us. Not in that passage at least, he doesn't appear tobe discussing cogito ergo sum and ego don't see where he's touching on the recursion.

 

i didn't mention or have in mind kierkegaard in any thing i have said, so i don't understand your comments.
The link supplied by Modest, on account of which he said he agrees with you and Mik. If there's any chance of agree with being a mutual relation, ego would conclude you would agree with Søren if you follow that link or at least that you're arguing the same circularity. But ego'm beginning to suspect that Doug's circularity isn't the same one.

 

but taking your modus ponens and going back to turtles and hofstadter, which i have introduced, there is the matter of the tortoise & achilles & caroll & russell & lions & tigers & bears oh my. :shrug:

 

What the Tortoise Said to Achilles - encyclopedia article about What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.

Ego'm familiar with Carrol's jocular infinite regress, it simply shows a tricky aspect of modus ponens: it needs to be applied to itself in order to be applied to anything... including to itself! It's just like Tarski's definition of truth, down through the meta-meta-meta-languages that serve to avoid self referentiality. Not quite this topic though, here we are applying logic, we're not being logicians.

 

Also, the "mind" is the seat of reason and all thinking, while consciousness itself is that which knows its own existence prior to and more fundamentally than *what* one thinks or knows.
So let's say the 'I' or the ego in our discussion, instead of "the mind", whatever we can call that which is aware of itself and of other things.

 

Now ego can't say much about your personal experience which you claim but it doesn't mean your ego, or conciousness, is unable to experience things, including thinking, so ego draw no conclusion from the separation. If you're able to deliberately experience nothing for an hour, not even thinking, feeling or what, the fact that you (your ego) remain(s) somehow self-aware doesn't refute Descartes' argument.:shrug:

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Doug no talkin' 'bout Desc'us. Not in that passage at least, he doesn't appear tobe discussing cogito ergo sum and ego don't see where he's touching on the recursion....

 

:shrug: be careful to not get any paper cuts turning douggi'e pages. :shrug: :D he points out early on that there is no such thing as proof in any such investigation as this (or descrat's et al) and the best one can do is convince others of an idea they are already predisposed to believe.

 

a person convinced against their will,

is of the same opinion still.

~ unattested ~

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Qfwfq,

Regarding your statement:

If you're able to deliberately experience nothing for an hour, not even thinking, feeling or what, the fact that you (your ego) remain(s) somehow self-aware doesn't refute Descartes' argument.
...

 

I'm left wondering whether you understood my statements above:

 

Who thinks? I do, but who am "I"... this individual "identity" or consciousness itself, prior to what I am conscious/aware *of?*

 

Merrell-Wolff says the latter. Awareness is prior to and more fundamental than what we are aware of. "I am awareness/consciousness" transcends identification with whatever I am aware of, including thinking.

 

I'm not really trying to refute Descartes' argument but to say awareness of ones existence as consciousness/awareness is more fundamental than linking "my existence" necessarily to content of awareness, including thinking.

 

It is perfectly legitimate for all who identify "ego" with thinking or feeling (or smelling) to assert that they know they exist because they *do* these things. But being (awareness of being) is more fundamental that any/all *doing.*

It really would help if you would read the piece on Merrell-Wolff, as he goes into very intelligent explanation of this subtle difference.

 

BTW, I wouldn't say that meditation is "deliberately experienc(ing) nothing", unless you think that awareness aware of being awareness is "nothing." This awareness, transcending content is the nature of "nirvana." It requires the "experience" of nirvana to "grok this meaning."

 

Regardless of what you "think" of what I just wrote, the awareness who read it is your sense of "I."

mik

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