The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: When Descartes said "I think, therefore I am", was he right?  (Read 4360 times)

Offline hamdani yusuf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 173
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Ok. I have thought about this and Descartes is wrong.

Self existence requires more than thought.... it requires an identity. There must be a meaningful "I". Thought can exist in a computer, or better still on the internet, without ether self awareness of  identity or anybody else's awareness. Worse, if it is the result of interaction between programs Identity might be utterly confusing to the point where a meaningful answer never could be given.

In short "I think but I haven't a clue who is"

According to Descartes, an act of thinking is the evidence of the subject's existence. The thinker can doubt anything else but it cannot doubt its own existence. It can still doubt its own identity.
Have you ever seen Jacky Chan's movie "Who Am I?"
 

Offline Blame

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile


According to Descartes, an act of thinking is the evidence of the subject's existence. The thinker can doubt anything else but it cannot doubt its own existence. It can still doubt its own identity.
Have you ever seen Jacky Chan's movie "Who Am I?"

Jacky Chan? No. But in the classic book "Alice in wonderland" Alice couldn't work it out when the Caterpillar asked "who are you?"

Descartes was copping out. Without an identity there is no subject. The thinker can conclude that something must exist but can't be sure thoughts belong to what he defines as "I". Bout the only certainty is the thoughts themselves exist....and if the thinker was a program the thoughts would indeed be the sum of existence.
 

Offline hamdani yusuf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 173
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Descartes was not talking about thought as an object, but doubting, thinking, and existing as activities done by a subject (in this case, himself).
The logic in the full statement "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am" is implication.
doubt --> think --> exist
There are more requirements for thinking than just for existing, and even more for doubting.
existing means having objective reality.
thinking means having particular belief or idea. This requires memory(information storage) and information processing capability.
doubting requires more than that, especially awareness that information the subject is having might be faulty/erroneous/doesn't represent reality.
 

Offline Blame

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Descartes was around before computers but not before gods. I am sure this quote was old before he cut his first tooth: "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad". Gods meddling with a man's mind is no new idea.

So when a voice in his head came up with "I think therefor I am" could he really be sure that voice was his? Doubt, belief, information processing capability, memory are all involved but who owned them? The statement is problematical then on religious grounds, later on psychological grounds and now because of artificial intelligence and artificial reality.

What he should have said is "There are thoughts therefor something is". Even that might be a stretch. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The implication there is that thought could have preceded existence.   
« Last Edit: 10/08/2016 07:55:42 by Blame »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums