Who is I?  

rm_deaminveni 50M
139 posts
10/28/2005 3:11 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Who is I?


Cogito ergo sum Perhaps one of the most famous Latin phrases (running a close second to veni, vidi, vici).

"I think therefore I am", Descartes' declaration that the 'I' we experience as consciousness must exist in order to do the thinking. This simple observation forms the basis of his Meditations in which he attempts to demonstrate the existence of the corporial world and God using only philosophical argument.

It was an ambitious task and one which he sadly fails to complete. Creating what is now known as the 'Cartesian circle', a self referential argument in which an early tool used to test the 'I' (a supposed tormentor) can ultimately only be the God he finally concludes must exist. Sadly, this being the case his intermediate arguments all depends upon his initial assumption of a tormentor. His argument is therefore based on his conclusion, resulting in a flawed line of reasoning.

That said, his initial statement Cogito ergo sum holds true. If you want to send yourself into a tailspin ask yourself this, "I know 'I' exist, but how can I prove irrefutably that anyone else does?" Sadly, "Because I can talk to them", or "Because I can touch them" doesn't work, your senses could easily be fooled into believing pretty much anything. (In fact they regularly are by optical illusions, and dreams.)

This issue is becoming all the more complex. Now we have even more difficulty establishing that we are talking to a 'real' person on-line. I know 'I' exist, but how do I know bloglanders exist, other than through what I see on their blogs?

Okay, I'm going to lie down with a cold towel on my head.

If you want to read Descartes' attempt track down a copy of his 'Meditations', Penguin did a nice one which I think is still available.

See Mom, that university education wasn't completely wasted.

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