some Q's on "I think therefore I am"

“I Think Therefore I am”

“I” = “I am”

Descartes is presupposing a sense of self. This isn’t a sound argument, it’s flawed. Besides he also doubted sequential reasoning, so the “therefore” is invalid. He should of only said: “doubt,” and although doubt doesn’t necessarily have meaning with out the “ing” (doubting) there is no reason to contribute the doubt to Descartes so we don’t know (and neither did he) that he existed. Even if the thinking was “his” how do we know he wasn’t programmed to doubt by some evil genius just like complex computers can be programmed? Also, didn’t he learn from the mathematics he loved so much that he must define the meaning “think” and “exists” before using them to prove anything?

Nothing is certain. We can only assume assumption and build upon does assumption in hope to reach our goal (whatever it is). (It worked pretty well for Newton with Gravity and all.) Right?

Help me, I need answers

To deny that one thinks is a contradiction.

Do you doubt that you doubt?

You cannot doubt that you doubt, therefore, you are.

Right… because there is something that is doing the actual doubting… that something must exist… Furthermore, you can involve choice. Choice is inescapable. Even choosing not to choose is a choice or choosing not to believe you exist is a choice in which something is doing the choosing. However, based on that you can argue that you are the only person that exists.

Hello Vance,

Where does the statement that, “I think, therefore I am,” support the conclusion that only the thinker can exist? All it says is that I’m certain that I exist. If anything, it tells me that existence is possible. And if it’s possible for me, why not for you? What reason do I have to assume another thinker can’t be convinced by exactly the same idea?

Look at it in a wider context. Think of mankind in terms of a thin organic film on the surface a celestial spheroid. The fact that one planet is so coated ought to be telling us that other planets might be similarly coated. If pond-scum could think, would they be correct to conclude that the very fact of their existence precludes the possibility that other ponds are similarly coated?

Your own existence tells you that existence is possible. I recently remarked in another thread that the notion, “I doubt, therefore I exist” was at least 1200 years old (read St. Augustine’s De Trinitate) before Descartes was even born. Indeed, it was a hot topic for Mediaeval Scholastics such as Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. My point is that people have been thinking about this long before you arrived to imagine it yourself.

If your mother is only part of your fantastic dream that conjures up this entire universe, then how could she have conceived you before you arrived to imagine her into existence? And if you still insist that she, along with everything else, is only part of your dream, then why did you dream-up this gigantic lie about people being born and dying? If it’s all coming out of your head, why are you trying so hard to deceive yourself? But if all this is only a manifestation of your mind, then is it really possible to deceive yourself? Who is deceiving whom?

Sorry, but I’ve got to run (literally, I’ve got to get in my morning run before the backroads unthaw and turn to muck).


Thanks for the response Michael. But I simply said that I CAN argue that I am the only thing that exists. It doesnt necessarily mean that I or someone will. I agree with the points that you so well made. But for the sake of argument ( :smiley: ) I will give some alternate options…

Because I exist it follows that existence is possible, I agree with that logically. I just don’t see any emperical or concrete evidence that would prove another’s existence. Existence defined as existence like mine. Everything that I interact with doesn’t necessarily have to be manifested. It may be automated and everything may be an algortihm of a machine. So you are right in saying

… It is possible but not proven. It’s all in the way we observe things. I observe you only objectively but I can observe myself objectively and subjectively. Maybe when humans evolve we will all be able to relate on a subjective level.

I think if pond-scum could think we would be in trouble :stuck_out_tongue: . But seriously, because I exist doesn’t preclude/prevent anyone else from existing. I just don’t know 100% if they do or not. It’s funny you mentioned conception and the idea of where we came from because when I first thought about “I think, therefore I am” idea that thought accured to me also. And it still conflicts. But I look at myself as energy, pure energy, just in a slowed down form. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (assuming Einstein is accurate) but it can change forms. If our (un)conscious mind is energy, it has existed before, just in another form. (Pardon the tangent). But the questions you raise at the end of your post are valid and are questions to which I don’t have the answer to. And I doubt anyone does. If there is an answer now it is not conceivable in our current mindstate. My main point is that even though you existing is “more possible” than it is impossible, your existence cannot be logically derived and proven. What are your thoughts?