70

The objection to "I think, therefore I am" is that it presupposes the existence of an "I" doing the thinking. Possibly, "there are thoughts" is the true minimum statement that can be reached using Descartes' method; this does not presuppose the existence of some sort of unified consciousness having the thoughts. Bernard Williams and Søren Kierkegaard were ...


30

This is exactly what Descartes was trying to prove. He wanted to build philosophy from the ground up based on a series of rational observations. I think he must've been quite dismayed when he realized that it is possible to take a skeptical position on almost everything. His conclusion in his Meditations I & II was that this is the only truth, and the ...


18

Death is not the opposite of existence. The opposite of existence of is non-existence, and the opposite of death is life. Existence does not necessarily entail life, but life necessarily entails existence. So when philosophers argue for the existence of God, they're not arguing that he is "alive", and thus the notion of death is not applicable.


14

It is common nowadays to distinguish substance from property dualism. No major philosopher has advocated substance dualism since Descartes himself, but a large number of philosophers have advocated property dualism. This is a view which classifies the properties of objects as being of two kinds, physical and mental, while maintaining monism or quietism ...


13

This might seem strange to you but I've always thought that the best mathematical analogue of the cogito is some fixed point theorem, let's say Brouwer's fixed point theorem (the point can be made with most of them.) In its simplest form this states that any continuous function f from a closed disc to itself has a fixed point. So the idea is that any way you ...


12

Yes it may be false I think therefore I am is a logical conclusion, aimed at showing that something exists. It assumes that logic works and exists. How can you assume that before you even know if you or anything else exists? Well, you can't, of course. And famously logic is in itself impossible to prove. Therefore we can not say that Cogito is proven ...


10

Descartes was the modern founder of what is called foundationalism about knowledge, the idea that we must find a secure self-evident ground from which all the rest of our knowledge can be justified. Many classical philosophers (e.g. Plato, Kant, Frege, Husserl) shared this belief, and some continue to share it. The alternative, they believe, is universal ...


10

Disclaimer, some of this post may not make sense to you, as the OP has rewritten his argument numerous times, and I am not deleting any of this so, skip to the end for newest most relevant information. Descartes has made a mistake in logic which has not been caught for the past 350 years. No, he hasn't. You are falling into a fallacy of false premise, ...


9

You're reading Descartes out of context; he doesn't just say "cogito ergo sum" and go home, he says it in the course of an argument. I'm not going to rehearse all of the steps of the argument here-- the Meditations on First Philosophy are readily available, and easy to read-- but in broad strokes, he's asking: what do we know indubitably? Is there any kind ...


8

What is the analogous mathematical/logical expression to the last sentence? Why would there be one? Wittgenstein famously gave up the project of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus when he saw that there was no logical form to the Sraffa gesture; this led to the realization that there are all kinds of things which cannot be reduced to a mathematical or ...


8

Touch is just another form of sensory input subject to imperfect reading of the world like any other sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactile_illusion The whole phantom limb phenomenon involves massive deception, not sure whether this fits in your categorization of "tact". (Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind - fascinating and ...


7

There was a revolution in mathematics because of Descartes, back in the 1600's. He invented the method of using the mapping from geometric objects to coordinates and algebraic equations, where a quicker rote symbolic proof was possible in comparison to many synthetic proofs (like those in Euclid). What's great about mathematics is that we learn it all in ...


7

Following John Cottingham, I would suggest the answer has to do with what is called the "Cartesian Circle." While Descartes is often associated with radical doubt, the reality is that his Meditations escape from doubt pretty quickly. And the key to that is God. Meditation 1 ends roughly at the idea that he could be deceived by an evil demon and everything ...


7

Descartes' Meditations (1641), III.2 : illud omne esse verum, quòd valde clare & distincte percipio. John Veitch English translation of 1901 : all that is very clearly and distinctly apprehended (conceived) is true. See also Principia Philosophiae (1644), Pars prima, XXX : omnia qua clare percepimus, vera esse.


6

Is 'cogito ergo sum' necessarily correct, or have I missed something? One way to understand the cogito is as a way to state that it is sufficient to know one has doubts (is doubting) in order to conclude one exists. Now, while I am not certain he would claim it is "necessarily" correct, as you may know, Descartes also considers the problem of whether, ...


6

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death? Absolutely not. The concept of "immortality" clearly demonstrates that it doesn't.


6

The distinction between formal and objective reality in Descartes is elucidated on Brown's web page. Formal reality refers to the reality of an object by virtue of the kind of thing it is (infinite, finite, modes/thoughts). Descartes view of formal reality is encapsulated in this online commentary: "When Descartes speaks of things as having more or less ...


6

The thing is, that for the early Wittgenstein the Cogito Ergo Sum was just not true. So the Cogito could not be true a priori for him. Like David Hume, Wittgenstein believed that the Cartesian Ego, the thinking subject, was nowhere to be found. 5.631 There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains ideas. If I wrote a book called The World ...


6

From meditation 1: , sed genium aliquem malignum eundemque summe potentem et callidum omnem suam industriam in eo posuisse, ut me falleret: (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23306/23306-h/23306-h.htm) genium malignum --> evil genius or possibly genius malignus depending on how he's doing his declining of Latin. In translation: but some evil genius ...


5

For example he said that you cannot know your pain because you cannot doubt that you are in pain. I don't quite understand this thinking and am wondering if anyone can clarify this concept. I'm not sure I can write it any more than Wittgenstein, but I'll try to unpack it a bit: Another way in which the grammars of "I have toothache" and "He has toothache"...


5

My understanding of Descartes' contribution to geometry is the observation that curves can be expressed as algebraic formulae. If you have taken a bit of schooling, this observation has almost certainly impacted you (e.g. you will learn that plotting y = x^2 with the appropriate coordinate system gives a hyperbola, x^2 + y^2 = 1 gives a circle, ...). ...


5

But Descartes clearly indicates that he actually had this thought in winter 1619 under very special circumstances Actually, the circumstances are even more special than you indicate; Descartes had a series of three dreams on the night of November 10, 1619, which he viewed as a divine sign, and which directly inspired the project that consumed the rest of ...


5

There are two questions here. The first is the title question: "Is the Cartesian methodological doubt deeply flawed?" There are some folks who would argue the answer to this is "Yes", and would argue this for various reasons, depending on their own philosophical projects. The second, however, is the narrower question referred to in the text, which is the ...


5

If the simulation trilemma is correct, it is also trivial Reading through the Bostrom paper the first time, I missed his definition of "posthuman". Thankfully, the term is defined: The simulation argument works equally well for those who think that it will take hundreds of thousands of years to reach a “posthuman” stage of civilization, where humankind ...


5

To prove the existence of the res extensa, the sensible world, Descartes uses an argument that we nowadays don't accept anymore. First, he proves God: I have an idea of perfection An idea of perfection has to come from something perfect I am not perfect Then there has to be something else perfect (=God) Then he says: if all that information from the senses ...


5

I believe you're referring to the fallacy of inferring the “sum” (or “I am”) part from the “cogito” (or “I think”) part, right? The “ergo” (or “therefore”) makes it sound like Descartes is expressing an argument which has as its premise that he thinks, and the conclusion that he exists. The potential fallacy in this representation of the Cogito statement ...


5

Yes, of course. This idea is most famously discussed in Nick Bostrom's Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? Note that "Roko's Basilisk" is doing no real work for you here – you don't need any esoteric forms of decision theory to accept Bostrom's argument.


5

As a man of science Descartes wanted to give every phenomenon a naturalistic explanation, and hence to explain animals and humans behavior using a reduction to the way machines work. Yet, as a philosopher and a religious man - and not like Hobbes, for example - he couldn't accept a reduction between man and machine. Animals, for Descartes, indeed are ...


5

Bernard Williams provides detailed analysis of ego cogito ergo sum argument in Descartes, The Project of Pure Enquiry. The oldest objection to the premise, ego cogito, which goes back to Gassendi, is that the reference to ego ("I") is circular. "Were we to move from the observation that there is thinking occurring to the attribution of this thinking to a ...


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