Friday, September 9, 2011

343: A special approach of Cartesianism

In my research I came across something that was completely new to me. An attack on the principle, on which Descartes based his argument: the principle of indiscernibility of identicals. It is so exciting that I quote you the whole text.
-Begin QUOTE: source Wikipedia (english)
The principle of indiscernibility of identicals – that if two objects are in fact one and the same, they have all the same properties – is mostly uncontroversial.
However, one famous application of the indiscernibility of identicals was by René Descartes in his Meditations on First Philosophy. Descartes concluded that he could not doubt the existence of himself (the famous cogito ergo sum argument), but that he could doubt the existence of his body.
From this he inferred that the person Descartes must not be identical to his body, since one possessed a characteristic that the other did not: namely, it could be known to exist.
This argument is rejected by many modern philosophers on the grounds that it allegedly derives a conclusion about what is true from a premise about what people know.
What people know or believe about an entity, they argue, is not really a characteristic of that entity. Numerous counterexamples are given to debunk Descartes' reasoning via reductio ad absurdum, such as the following argument based on a secret identity:
1. Entities x and y are identical if and only if any predicate possessed by x is also possessed by y and vice versa.
2. Clark Kent is Superman's secret identity; that is, they're the same person (identical) but people don't know this fact.

3. Lois Lane thinks that Clark Kent cannot fly.
4. Lois Lane thinks that Superman can fly.
5. Therefore Superman has a property that Clark Kent does not have, namely that Lois Lane thinks that he can fly.
6. Therefore, Superman is not identical to Clark Kent.

7. Since in proposition 6 we come to a contradiction with proposition 2, we conclude that at least one of the premises is wrong.

- Leibniz's law is wrong; or
- A person's knowledge about x is not a predicate of x; or
- The application of Leibniz's law is erroneous; the law is only
applicable in cases of monadic, not polyadic, properties; or
- What people think about are not the actual objects themselves; or
- A person is capable of holding conflicting beliefs.
Any of which will undermine Descartes' argument.[3]


Of course I can give the the standard objections to dualism and I will, but like this attack on the principle which Descartes uses, you never read much about the semantics of Cogito ergo sum in the standard introductory textbooks on philosophy.

But just take a minute to look at that statement "I think, therefore I am". If it is a proposition, or actually two propositions, one inferred from the other, then it must have a truth value. The propositions must be either TRUE or FALSE.

Suppose that the propositions are true and then take the first two theses of the Tractatus of Wittgenstein:
1 The world is everything that is the case.
1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.

Thinking is a factual process…leads to being as some factual state. So far so good, but the process and state are depending on this "I". Where did Descartes find that "I"??? To what fact does this "I" refer to?

Then I found an article by Jaako Hintikka ,a Finnish philosopher and logician, in the magazine "The Philosophical Review", Vol. 71,No. 1 (1962) and my heart jumped. Let me quote the first paragraph and you'll understand why.

-begin QUOTE
1. COGITO, ERGO SUM as a problem. The fame (some would say the notoriety) of the adage cogito, ergo sum makes one expect that scholarly industry has long since exhausted whatever interest it may have historically or topically.

A perusal of the relevant literature, however, fails to satisfy this expectation. After hundreds of discussions of Descartes's famed principle we still do not seem to have any way of expressing his alleged insight in terms which would be general and precise enough to enable us to judge its validity or its relevance to the consequences he claimed to draw from it.

Thirty years ago Heinrich Scholz wrote that there not only remain many important questions concerning the Cartesian dictum unanswered but that there also remain important questions unasked.' Several illuminating papers later, the situation still seems essentially the same today. - End QUOTE

So my semantical doubts about the Cogito are not unjustified. Digging into this theme is beyond the scope of our present project, but it really intrigues me.

So, we have fundamental questions about Descartes Cogito, but let's assume it is a valid inference based on true propositions. In the next lecture we shall "judge its validity or its relevance to the consequences he claimed to draw from it." to quote Hintikka.

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: I hope I wasn't to difficult today.....:)
[13:24] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): sorry Herman i was late..i have to read the blog
[13:24] herman Bergson: Bu tif you have any remakrks or questions...the floor is yours now ㋡
[13:25] oola Neruda: what criteria will you use to make that judgement or examination
[13:25] herman Bergson: what judgement oola?
[13:25] oola Neruda: about the Descartes assertion
[13:26] herman Bergson: Well...most important is to keep in mind that Descartes postulates the existence of two different SUBSTANCES
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Superman and Clark Kent are the same but not identical...
[13:27] herman Bergson: so ontologically...there exist really two different things...that is the content of our univers
[13:27] herman Bergson: the mental and the physical...
[13:27] Astronomer Somerset: there is no such thing as duality as no two things are the same
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: a'
[13:27] Doodus Moose: wonders how Descartes would view a room of avatars attending a philosophy lecture
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that is my thought astro
[13:27] oola Neruda: what i meant was... some formula of logic... some philosophy that is felt to be truth... the tools for disceting it
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i always wonder that doodus about all of them
[13:28] herman Bergson: one moment..
[13:28] herman Bergson: there is no such thing as duality as no two things are the same...can you elaborate on that astro?
[13:29] herman Bergson: one moment Mick
[13:29] Mick Nerido: Two things can be the same but not identical i.e. Superman/ Clark Kent
[13:30] Astronomer Somerset: yes i think so even if you where to create two identical objects they would still not be the same as they are both created from independant seperate atoms
[13:30] Astronomer Somerset: for true dualism they would have to be made from the same atoms
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes Astro..that is also one of the arguments against the identity principle....
[13:31] herman Bergson: like two object may have all identical properties...except their location in space....
[13:31] Astronomer Somerset: even a mirror image is not identical as it is the reverse
[13:31] herman Bergson: However..I have a true SL argument against that!
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: aaa thats true
[13:31] herman Bergson: When I make a prim....
[13:32] herman Bergson: and I duplicate that prim at the very same location I have true identity...
[13:32] herman Bergson: hmmmmm
[13:32] Doodus Moose: except that they have different Keys
[13:32] herman Bergson: maybe you would when you seperate them they show to have different pixels
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: interesting idea
[13:32] herman Bergson: Cool Doodus....
[13:33] herman Bergson: You win!!!!!
[13:33] Doodus Moose: it's how the system knows they are different :-)
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes the key is different...absolutely!
[13:33] Astronomer Somerset: no you don't both objects are made from separate zero's and ones you have just two codes the same but they are still separate binary bits
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: aa yes they are still 2 different objects even if perfect copies cause simply you have 2 separate ones with2 prim ids or so
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: and not just 1
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yaaaaayyyyyyyy!
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: or dont know
[13:34] Mick Nerido: Identicalness is based on more than appearences
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hehe that got my mind spin a bit
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hhee
[13:34] herman Bergson: you even could claim that the two prims differ in memory addresses in my computer
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: but one thing i use to say is that even of 2 things are identical they cant be the same cause there are still 2 of them
[13:34] Astronomer Somerset: even two identical twins created from the same egg are not identical
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: for it to be the same you can have only 1
[13:35] herman Bergson: Well I think it now is clear enough that Descartes appeal to the principle of identity is not waterproof ^_^
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hmm is a bit tricky for sure
[13:35] Doodus Moose: "identical" might be true in mathematics, where things on either side of the "equal" sign (could) be the same...
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): even with cells
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: wouldn't the spiritual dimension be a property of matter, rather than a duplication of it?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well Druth ...that is a next station we will visit...
[13:37] herman Bergson: property dualism.....
[13:37] herman Bergson: A weaker form of dualism than substance dualism
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: 'k
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:37] herman Bergson: The second issue that fascinates me here is the semantics of the "I" in the cogito
[13:38] Astronomer Somerset: herman is the statement i think therfore i am truthfully a statement of self aware not existance
[13:38] herman Bergson: To be honest was in preperation of this lecture that I really seriously began to think about it...
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it always seemed so rational to me
[13:40] Astronomer Somerset: a whale or an ant exist but they may not think the are products of chemical programming
[13:40] herman Bergson: well...the title of the article of Hintikka is ... The Cogito: Inference or Performance
[13:40] herman Bergson: I just found the article and handt the time to read it
[13:40] herman Bergson: except the first few paragraphs :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well astro....I think that relates to theproblem of the semantics regarding the "I" in the statement...
[13:42] Astronomer Somerset: i always took it to mean a referal of ID
[13:42] herman Bergson: Descartes adds almost secretly something to existence....
[13:42] Astronomer Somerset: which is self aware
[13:42] herman Bergson: that I....that awareness...
[13:43] herman Bergson: I haven't thought this although yet....
[13:43] Mick Nerido: I know I exist...
[13:43] Astronomer Somerset: yes it's a statement of self I as in me myself or I
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: the awareness was the starting point, onto which he added everything else
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes mick....but that statement PRESUPOSES the I
[13:43] herman Bergson: that is what fascinates me here
[13:44] Mick Nerido: If I was unconcious I would still exist.
[13:44] Astronomer Somerset: we exist in sl but we are not a physical part of the programming we are a user and our avi's are just binary code so do we exist in sl
[13:45] herman Bergson: We will get to such arguments in the next lecture Mick....
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hmm this is also an interesting thing
[13:45] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: take plants for example
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: they are alive but are they self aware
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: they have no brain
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes Astro...a fascinating move to focus on the existence of the avatar...:-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: seems just a bunch of individual cells with no consiousness but its still life
[13:46] Mick Nerido: I think therefore i am aware of my existance...
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: or a tree
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: can a tree feel
[13:46] druth Vlodovic: we "exist" in SL to the extent to which we can affect it, if something existed which could have no effect on anything then it could not be said to exist
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: aa yes
[13:47] Astronomer Somerset: certain plants do have a basic neural pathway venus flytraps sense their pray by touch
[13:47] herman Bergson: Very cryptic Druth....
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: sl is a digital extension of ourselves
[13:47] Mick Nerido: SL existence is 2 dimentional
[13:47] herman Bergson: Hold on......!
[13:47] Astronomer Somerset: no sl is a medium that allows us to express our true selfs
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes sort of that
[13:48] herman Bergson: the concept of self awareness implies that the agent can say..That is me
[13:48] Doodus Moose: astro - if that is what you choose to express
[13:48] herman Bergson: only few organisms are able to do that
[13:49] herman Bergson: one is the human being...
[13:49] herman Bergson: but some animals can show by their bhavior the same expression "That is me"
[13:49] Doodus Moose: ahhh, the elephant in the mirror
[13:49] herman Bergson: chimps, and elephants , yes
[13:49] herman Bergson: dolphins too
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I have to go now
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: o cu Gemma
[13:50] Mick Nerido: What about Superman? lol
[13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): herman
[13:50] Doodus Moose: byee Gemma!
[13:50] Astronomer Somerset: bye gemma
[13:50] Lizzy Pleides: byeee Gamma, TC
[13:50] herman Bergson: Bye GEmma....
[13:50] herman Bergson: looks at his watch...
[13:51] herman Bergson: Gemma is right...
[13:51] Adriana Jinn: thanks you professor
[13:51] herman Bergson: it is about time to come to a conclusion...
[13:51] Doodus Moose: i'm sure humans are the only beings yet to demonstrate a value of virtual items :-)
[13:51] herman Bergson: Ok one last remark or question...:-)
[13:52] Astronomer Somerset: at the very core of this question is a more fundamental question that needs to be understood befor we can truly answer these questions
[13:52] druth Vlodovic: cats watching a hockey game do it :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: which is Astro?
[13:52] Astronomer Somerset: and that is what is thought
[13:53] herman Bergson: or more precise perhaps...what is The Mind, Astro?
[13:53] Astronomer Somerset: yes
[[13:53] herman Bergson: Good conclusion...thnx!
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all for the wonderful discussion....
[13:53] Astronomer Somerset: thank you herman
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: hmm this was very interesting
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: for sure
[13:54] herman Bergson: Your question will be our main focus for what is to come Astro
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: got me something to think about
[13:54] Adriana Jinn: very interesting yes
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] Adriana Jinn: have to read it quietly after hihihih
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok cu soon all
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] Qwark Allen: awsome hermann
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] herman Bergson: Thx QWark..
[13:55] Qwark Allen: i`ll read the begining in the blog
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: Hooo!!!
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: Hoooo!
[13:55] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!!
[13:55] Qwark Allen: ☆*¨¨*<♥*''*BEJIITA!!! *''*<♥:*¨¨*☆
[13:55] Qwark Allen: Hooooooo!!!!!!! \o/
[13:55] Qwark Allen: |
[13:55] Qwark Allen: / \
[13:55] Qwark Allen: ☮☮☮☮☮☮☮☮
[13:55] Qwark Allen: Hoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[13:55] herman Bergson: All will be posted in the blog asap....Adriana
[13:55] Doodus Moose: ....feeling......transparent.......
[13:55] Qwark Allen: ok nice
[13:55] Doodus Moose: ....getting .....cloudy.....
[13:55] herman Bergson: Hi Rodney...
[13:55] herman Bergson: RIght in time as usual ^_^
[13:55] Rodney Handrick: Hi Herman
[13:56] Rodney Handrick: that time zone thing
[13:56] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman..i have to read the lecture from the beginning
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: danke herman!! ty class :-) see u nex week!
[13:57] herman Bergson: next week?
[13:57] herman Bergson: ^_^ ?
[13:57] Lizzy Pleides: danke auch von mir, next time is tuesday?
[13:57] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye:-)
[13:57] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy..Tuesday same time same place
[13:57] netty Keng: servus
[13:58] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye all..see you next tuesday
[14:00] druth Vlodovic: thanks for the lecture herman, it was interesting
[14:01] Astronomer Somerset: thank you herman
[14:01] druth Vlodovic: I'm afraid I'm off seeking food
[14:01] druth Vlodovic: have fun all
[14:01] herman Bergson: you are welcome Astro
[14:01] Astronomer Somerset: thats ok will you be back later
[14:02] herman Bergson: anytime

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