if philosophy and psychology didn't exist, could humans be able to prove that we think and are capable of coming up with inventions, I mean we create things because we need them(that used to be the case), but philosophy proved that we are curious and we create because we need, and psychology was there to back it up. curios meaning that philosophy and philosophers proved that humans are naturally curios about the world around in such a sophisticated way which is more than just "We create and wonder because we have an urge of creation"

My question:

if philosophy didn't exist and psychology too, would we be able to prove that we think/are curious?

  • Can you expand a bit more on philosophy proved that we are curious? Human curiosity seems like an empirical result, observable by everyone, not just philosophers.
    – Canyon
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 8:47
  • @Canyon Thanks for the comment i will edit my question to be more specific and put more emphasis on curiosity
    – captindfru
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 9:22
  • But what does it mean to prove? That some people are curious is obvious even for children who are aware of that word. And philosophy and science does not prove things, it speculates with the goal of coming up of consistent theories which do not contradict experiences.
    – rus9384
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 9:35
  • 1
    If you take the meaning of philosophy literally then the answer has to be "no" because no-one would have bothered asking the question.
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 11:50
  • What do you mean by "didn't exist"? Do you mean that humans are different in that they aren't good at abstract thought and can't introspect? Do you mean that we're dealing with real humans who have no idea of philosophy or psychology (and you can define "real humans" such that that was the case some time ago)? Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 21:42

1 Answer 1



You are thinking and exhibiting curiosity in posing your questions. No results of philosophy or psychology could make this any more or less certain.

In any case any proof that we think would have to be conducted through thinking. A philosopher or psychologist would have think in order to prove that they themselves or others were thinking. But how could they think without knowing that they were doing so ? In which case no proof that they were thinking would be needed.


There's nothing wrong with the above but your question raises two philosophical problems that are by no means easy to answer.

Other minds

If it's clear that you are thinking and are curious, this offers no grounds for supposing that there are other minds that are also thinking and are also curious. We cannot be certain on logical or empirical grounds that there is any mind at all in any body that we perceive or otherwise are aware of. (Anil Gomes, 'Is There a Problem of Other Minds?', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 111 (2011), pp. 353-373.)

The mind as a continuant

Suppose you can solve 'the problem of other minds' and prove or otherwise satisfy yourself that other minds exist, this would not prove or do anything to show that 'we', as minds, have a continuing existence over time. Descartes clearly recognised this point in Meditation 2 when he said that the 'cogito' had only a point-instant certainty. 'I think, I exist' - I exist if I enact this thought but the cogito offers no guarantee that the mind that enacts the cogito at time t2 is the same mind that enacted the cogito at time 1. 'But I remember enacting the cogito at time 1 !' This statement lacks certainty since you may have only a false memory belief that you enacted the cogito at t1. (See the 'I am, I exist - that is certain. But for how long ?' passage : The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, II, tr J. Cottingham et al, Cambridge : CUP, 2008 : 18.)

I wouldn't for a moment suggest that there aren't powerful responses to both problems - knowledge of other minds and knowledge of the mind as a continuant. Also it may well be, and I myself favour this approach, that 'the mind' is a suspect entity, a reification (a treatment) of various properties, processes, relations, &c., as if they were a thing or entity. But this takes us beyond the limits of your question in the terms in which it is set.

  • Though your answer is really complicated after a bit of time I understood, and for that reason I'm accepting it, +1
    – captindfru
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 14:20
  • Thank you. I'll keep an eye on the complexity in future. Really useful feedback. Best : GT
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 15:43

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