thought addict wrote: ↑Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:23 pm
You're right. But if Dontaskme is talking about humans questioning their own existence, they certainly can
It's a type of recursion. Some types of recursion are possible in the universe. An eye can examine its own image in a mirror. A plant or animal can enhance or destroy its own body (recursive in the sense that it's an example of an object acting upon itself). In computer software or mathematics a function can invoke itself. Recursive functions in software usually need a base case which is some condition under which the looping comes to an end. All examples of recursion will also have a starting point - some external actor that caused the process to start off. So, a body or a brain can certainly examine itself and can even destroy itself. What it arguably cannot do is cause its own creation.*
I do not think this would be 'us' questioning our own existence, rather it would be drawing attention to the fact that our notion of what constitutes 'us' is not fixed.
You write: 'An eye can examine its own image in a mirror
'. I do not think it can. If the eye is to be equated to its image in a mirror, then it is simply an appearance, a pattern of light, that can no more interpret its image than the image can interpret the eye. But we do not really mean 'the eye'; interprets, we mean the brain behind the eye. The brain can interpret the reflection, because the brain is not identical to either the eye or the reflection in the mirror. To say 'this is my eye
' is to say that me and my eye are not the same thing.
So in one sense the eye is part of 'me', in another it isn't. Both my mind and my body can be said to 'exist', together or separately. So I'm not really questioning 'existence' as such, I'm just drawing attention to the fact that we can describe 'me' in two different ways.
But just as I can either differentiate 'me' from 'my eye' - or I can lump the two together and call that 'me' - I can carry on lumping and do the same with the rest of the universe. I can say I 'exist' as 'forces', or as 'matter'. Or I can go the other way and differentiate 'me' - my mind - from matter entirely.
So the term 'exist' has no meaning on its own, it only takes a meaning from the thing it refers to, e.g. 'me'. And what 'me' refers to varies.
I don't see how though a mind could ever correctly refute its own existence simply because cognito ergo sum.
Is the 'sum
' a different thing to the 'cogito
'? In English we would write 'I think therefore I am'.
Is that 'therefore' because we are saying 'this thought' and 'being/existence' are synonyms?
Because that would be to say that everything we think of counts as existing. In which case, it is impossible to think of anything that doesn't
exist, since our thinking of it makes it exist.
Alternatively, if the 'sum
' and the 'cogito
' are different, if to say something 'exists' is to claim something additional
to 'it is a thought', then we need something additional to the 'cogito'
Or to put it as you do, is a 'mind' identical
to a 'thought'? Or is a mind something more, real in a way that the thought on its own isn't? For example, suppose we say 'mind' is different because it is a continuity of thoughts? But in that case, we must also add a claim that linear time is real to the 'cogito ergo sum
' at which point it is no longer simple.