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  1. #1 Proving you all exist. 
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I might end up feeling really stupid about posting this, but I've been trying to prove that the universe is not just an Inception-like figment of my imagination. Don't worry, I don't actually think this.
    Another way to put it, Descartes proved that since I think, I exist. But how do I know my mind didn't invent him saying that?


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  3. #2 Re: Proving you all exist. 
    Forum Sophomore MiguelSR1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I might end up feeling really stupid about posting this, but I've been trying to prove that the universe is not just an Inception-like figment of my imagination. Don't worry, I don't actually think this.
    Another way to put it, Descartes proved that since I think, I exist. But how do I know my mind didn't invent him saying that?
    You are clearly in lost predisposition in the MATRIX! i believe the blue pill will help. Hey u might be right that my mind made you up therefore prompting me to respond to your post.


    Imagination is key to the logic of thought, a greatest eternal truth.

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  4. #3  
    Your Mama! GiantEvil's Avatar
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    Well, Descartes didn't prove Cogito ergo Sum, he merely stated it.
    But anyhow, if the sum of my reality arises from your mind, then you should be privy to every current detail of my existence.
    Right now I am drinking something, what is it? Is it hot, cold, warm?
    What color of vessel am I drinking it from?
    From what material is the vessel made?
    On what does the vessel rest, between my lifting it and taking sip's?
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  5. #4 Re: Proving you all exist. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I might end up feeling really stupid about posting this, but I've been trying to prove that the universe is not just an Inception-like figment of my imagination. Don't worry, I don't actually think this.
    Another way to put it, Descartes proved that since I think, I exist. But how do I know my mind didn't invent him saying that?
    The position you describe is referred to as solipsism, from the Greek Sophists; only yourself exists, all other things being a product of your mind.

    It is also linked to Idealism (see Bishop Berkeley if you like crazy philosophy) - no objects exist independent of the mind - but not the same as Idealism accepts the existence of other minds.

    It is impossible to rebut your position with 100% certainty, for the very premise of your argument undermines any attempt to verify/rebut it. We can only know the world through our senses. If you can doubt your senses you must doubt all things received via your senses (this forms the basis of Descartes' cogito ergo sum, as GiantEvil points out, as knowledge of one's mind was said not to be received via any sense).

    So how do you know you are not now dreaming as you read this? Dreaming has a specific meaning made to distinguish between one form of experience, wakefulness, and another, dreaming. If you are now dreaming, what would we mean to say when you go to sleep and start dreaming? And how could you know you are dreaming within the dream... to ad absurdum. No. It is far simpler to assume you are awake now and when asleep you will be dreaming. Occam's razor at its sharpest.

    This argument is referred to as methodological solipsism, which does not assert we are brains in a vat, or in the matrix, but that we can never be 100% sure they are not. This also forms the basis for Kant's distinction between knowable phenomena (the world as we perceive it) and unknowable noumena (the world as it really is).
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    MiguelSR1:
    This is all hypothetical, I was just trying to see if anyone could logically prove others exist. I am not actually implying you do not exist
    GiantEvil:
    I wouldn't necessarily have to know everything about you because my brain would only have to furnish what I came into contact with, in this case, your words, right?
    Prometheus:
    I didn't actually mean I would be asleep when I referenced "Inception". But anyway, since existence, has to be proved without the senses, you would need telepathy to prove others exist.

    I also just want to reinforce that I don't actually support this view, I was just wondering if any of you could prove this view wrong.
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    GiantEvil:
    I wouldn't necessarily have to know everything about you because my brain would only have to furnish what I came into contact with, in this case, your words, right?
    How about a word you don't know? Like "iktomi".
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I didn't actually mean I would be asleep when I referenced "Inception". But anyway, since existence, has to be proved without the senses, you would need telepathy to prove others exist.
    Dreaming or 'brains in a vat' is traditionally how this question is framed; they all follow the same reasoning.

    Why does existence have to be proved without any senses?
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    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    Why does existence have to be proved without any senses?
    If you can doubt your senses you must doubt all things received via your senses
    Since if one couldn't doubt your senses we wouldn't be having this discussion, we must "doubt all things received" via our senses.

    How about a word you don't know? Like "iktomi".
    My brain would have made up the fact that that was a word I didn't know, that you did. No matter what you try to bring up, I can always say my brain made it that way. I agree with Prometheus in that the premise is fundamentally unprovable.
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  10. #9  
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    If the consciousness that was considered to propagate reality were to be made non functional, and reality continued, that would prove that said consciousness was in fact not propagating reality.
    Death disproves solipsism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    Why does existence have to be proved without any senses?
    Since if one couldn't doubt your senses we wouldn't be having this discussion, we must "doubt all things received" via our senses.
    What sense do we use to prove 2+2=4?

    And why, if you can doubt all other things, can you not doubt your own thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil
    If the consciousness that was considered to propagate reality were to be made non functional, and reality continued, that would prove that said consciousness was in fact not propagating reality.
    Death disproves solipsism.
    It would only disprove solipsism for the observer. For the person dying, they would not be privy to the continued existence of the world after her existence. It is literally scepticism in extremis. Therefore, solipsism cannot be challenged on it's own terms.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    It would only disprove solipsism for the observer. For the person dying, they would not be privy to the continued existence of the world after her existence. It is literally scepticism in extremis. Therefore, solipsism cannot be challenged on it's own terms.
    I posit that that depends on where the Dedekind cut comes between life and death for the consciousness.
    It is possible that the solipsist might perceive their impending death and realize that, indeed they are ending where their environment is not ending.

    Link to Dedekind cut; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedekind_cut
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  13. #12  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    What sense do we use to prove 2+2=4?

    And why, if you can doubt all other things, can you not doubt your own thoughts?
    You yourself said it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil
    I posit that that depends on where the Dedekind cut comes between life and death for the consciousness.
    It is possible that the solipsist might perceive their impending death and realize that, indeed they are ending where their environment is not ending.

    Link to Dedekind cut; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedekind_cut
    I don't think there is a Dedekind cut between conciousness and unconsciousness. Their awareness of themselves would taper with their awareness of their environment.

    The 'moment' of death is a fascinating concept, and your suggestion of a Dedekind cut intriguing.

    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    What sense do we use to prove 2+2=4?

    And why, if you can doubt all other things, can you not doubt your own thoughts?
    You yourself said it.
    Wow. You are a hardcore sceptic. Even Descartes didn't doubt his own thoughts.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I agree with Prometheus on the Dedekind cut. If the consciousness perceives the world, the world "goes with the consciousness" for that person, at the exact same time.

    Prometheus: Kinda- I got used to having all my ideas that I thought were so ironclad ripped apart so easily a week after I joined the forum.

    But philosophically, there is almost nothing you can't doubt, right? The statement goes- "the only thing you can be sure of is that you can't be sure of anything"

    I'm not familiar with the knowable and unknowable phenomena you referenced before, but on a random note, does that mean everything is unknowable? Or do you disagree with the statement itself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    Kinda- I got used to having all my ideas that I thought were so ironclad ripped apart so easily a week after I joined the forum.
    Btw - You deserve a lot of credit for being strong enough to continue, and maintaining your desire to learn and think and explore, and still enjoy participating here. It's a sign of good character. Keep it up. </return you now to your regularly scheduled program>



    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    But philosophically, there is almost nothing you can't doubt, right? The statement goes- "the only thing you can be sure of is that you can't be sure of anything"
    I used to say often when I was younger, "The only thing I know is that I don't know, and I'm not even sure about that."


    Edited: Fixed misspelling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I'm not familiar with the knowable and unknowable phenomena you referenced before, but on a random note, does that mean everything is unknowable? Or do you disagree with the statement itself?
    Kant divided the world into phenemena; those things we we know, the only way we can know, via our senses, and noumena, things as they actually are. He argued because we can only know things via our senses, with their limitations, we can never know whether that is in fact how they really exist.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-metaphysics/

    My intuition is that this interpretation is wrong but i couldn't tell you why, perhaps i just don't like it. At the moment i take it that we have to make certain assumptions regarding existence; Aristotle's laws of thought aren't a bad place to start.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    My intuition is that this interpretation is wrong but i couldn't tell you why, perhaps i just don't like it. At the moment i take it that we have to make certain assumptions regarding existence; Aristotle's laws of thought aren't a bad place to start.
    So basically we have to define existence? That's what I took away from your "assumptions regarding existence". Also, it seems very hard to find something definite about anything if we can doubt almost everything.

    Also, I'm thinking of reading the major works of Kant (the critiques), but I've heard they're pretty dense and most of it goes over the heads of most people (and if it goes over the heads of most people it will certainly go over my head).
    Should I just go for a Western Philosophy/Work of Immanuel Kant book?
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    Not assumptions regarding existence, but assumptions regarding how we are acquainted with existence. The two classical ways of knowing are inductive and deductive. The Greeks lauded the latter, we the former, but both are still used. While deductive knowledge is true by definition (2+2=4 kind of stuff), it may not actually tell us anything about the world. Inductive reasoning, while telling us about the world, cannot be certain. Therefore, we make assumptions, reasonable ones, regarding the certainty of our perceptions - the scientific method basically.

    As for Kant, i can't get my head round his works - he's been my favourite and worst philosopher - sometimes on the same day. I've never read any of his original works though, so couldn't comment. Generally i find it easier to read recent texts from authors that have understood and re-stated a work rather than try to navigate a text written in an translated archaic language.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    Since we always have to make assumptions couldn't one consider all reasoning inductive, because at some point to make a definition for your deductive argument you have to use inductive reasoning?
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    2+2=4 is true by definition, no assumptions required: that is we define 2+2 as being equal to 4, a tautology.

    But for something like this:

    All men are mortal
    Socrates is a man
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal

    then, yeah, our knowledge of the premise, that all men are mortal, is based on inductive reasoning.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    So only things that we can know through very abstract means that don't need physicality to back them up can be used to prove something without inductive reasoning. Perhaps that is why the sciences in general rely so much on math.

    However, is math considered a human notion if you remove the physical rug out from underneath it. I mean, if you couldn't resort to the "two stones dropped into a circle...", could you prove that 2+2=4 without saying something like "two is a number that when added to itself equals four"?
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    In proposing that zero truth value can be applied to any sensory experience, one must surrender any concept of measurement.
    What is the use of any system with this as an axiom?
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    Philosophy of maths is beyond me.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ph...y-mathematics/

    If you understand it, explain it to me please.

    But i agree with GiantEvil. Just because you can doubt your senses, doesn't mean you always should - you'll not be able to achieve anything.
    .
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  25. #24  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    Sorry, I don't get it either.

    But anyway, it is true that you can't get anywhere if you doubt your senses, but that doesn't mean you can't. All you can do is say that everything we know is a premise based on an assumptions, but it is better if you see past that and just assume.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane View Post
    I might end up feeling really stupid about posting this, but I've been trying to prove that the universe is not just an Inception-like figment of my imagination.
    It can't be "proved" one way or the other. That's what makes it such a pointless concept. Even as philosophy. It's just not worth arguing about.

    Wikipedia has a reasonably good overview: Solipsism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Psychological research has shown that even if a rational, non-autistic, non-psychopathic person were to become convinced that no one else really existed and that they were the solipsist, in the end, they would still live their life much the same way. Ergo, we humans tend to respond to our environment in a direct way, much like other animals do, rather than based on any kind of philosophy or ideology. So even if you could prove to yourself that no one else existed, chances are you wouldn't feel much liberation as a result, not for very long anyway.
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