Beyond My Existence

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Tyler, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    As it stands, 'I think, therefore I am' is as big a proof we have of our own existence in philosophy. I and every other human being since Descartes have not been able to take this any further so I'm curious; has any philosopher taken the next step? After proving that I exist, I believe it would be an interesting to step to prove that my friend exists. So who's covered this with any kind of conclusion?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Firefly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,330
    I think Descartes said, basically; how would we know if our friend existed? Sense experience? Our senses are unreliable, therefore we can't rely on them. (Though he also thought he'd proved the existence of God, and even of material things (I think) so he's not infallible)

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,495
    He thinks, he is independent, therefore he is.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,036
    It all comes down to trust.
    If we don't trust that materia and other life exist, we can't prove that it does.
    If we distrust its existance we have to distrust our own experience as existing, it becomes a form of paranoia.
    Then there's always the element of surprise coming from outer events that have a huge impact on our pereception of our existance, that helps to create our experience of being.
    The experience of existing in the form of being an individual human being is but a small part of the whole existance of all that is, in all forms of consciousnesses, from the smallest particle to the universe and all its variations.


     
  8. Cactus Jack Death Knight of Northrend Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    816
    Hey Tyler.

    Deffinetely a question I've puzzled over before. See I allready have down how I can tell I exist, but proving the existence of others is challenging. Though I find it difficult to believe this world is all in my head and that everyone else is simply figments of my imagination. But can I prove the otherwise? Well what I do have to offer is these two thoughts: 1.) using our sense we can interpret our reality, and touch, see, taste

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    another person and interpret them as part of that reality (being real), that and as said above by Pollux "He thinks, he is independent, therefore he is.", another persons independent thought process, there ability to think differently and come up with unique answers to problems that you would not have thought of can classify him/her as real.

    Anyway, ever seen Vanilla Sky? If not I highly highly recommend that movie.

    So I don't know if I'll ever post on Sciforums again so all I have to say once again is peace out to all.
     
  9. Katazia Black Mamba Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    743
    ......Beb – Trust has no intrinsic value regarding proof. If your friend is a perfect illusion but you cannot tell the difference then trusting that the friend exists is the same as believing an illusion is true. Your assertion of trust does not answer the question but reinforces the quandary.
    ......If you can think then you can rightly claim that you exist since thinking does not involve any senses. As soon as you attempt to make claims based on sensory perception then you immediately introduce doubt about the existence of anything other than yourself. How do you tell the difference between a perfect illusion and reality? You can’t, hence you cannot rely on your senses for any form of proof.
     
  10. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,036
    It's just a matter of how you chose to perceive the world. Is a fake Picasso less real than the authentic one?
    If the "illusion" is so convincing, then why label it false? Sure, we can wonder and examine how the existance is buildt up, including all its "illusions", but they are nonetheless the reality we preceive, they are in that quality real. The illusions are our reality.

     
  11. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    Hi everyone

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I'm new around here so I hope you don't mind if I just start carrying on right away

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    "If a tree falls in the forest...". I always think of that one when this topic comes up. I don't know who first asked that question, but I like to think it's the same as asking "If something happens, and there's no one around to experience it, does it actually happen?". To me, it's a question about the nature of reality, and whether or not there is what you might call an "absolute" or purely "objective" reality that is independant of any perceptions each of us might have about it.

    Is the world an illusion? Is reality nothing more than a construct of my mind? Am I the only one who is actually real? Am I the only one really here? Am I part of some sick voyeristic experiment concocted by alien or godlike scientists. I could try to find a way to "prove" to myself that someone I know is also actually real, but I still can't figure out how that would ever be possible. They could sit down with me on a starry night, and in the middle of a deep philosophical coversation articulate in an honest and heartfelt manner the exact same feelings I am expressing here, and I might be convinced. But is that proof? No. That's exactly what someone would do wouldn't they, if they were trying to stop me from discovering the truth. It's what Truman Burbanks best friend did to him when he came close to discovering the true nature of his world

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Since you can't actually prove it either way, it has to come down to what you believe. Take three people were standing outside a building with no identifying markings of any kind on it. The first person believes that it is a post office, the second person believes that it is a bank, and the third person believes it to be a school of philosophy. If they all then took a look inside, either one person would be right, or none of them would be right. But it is not possible for 2 of them to be right, and certainly not possible for all 3 to be right. This example does not prove anything. In fact it is based on an assumption that can't be proven. That assumption is that the universe we live in is something that possesses the quality of being "absolutely real". But it does illustrate that very viewpoint. It's what I choose to believe not because I always have, but more so because I have been completely uncertain before, and through my experience in this world I have come to trust in it.

    My belief is that we are all living in the same physical universe. If there was no being in it capable of experiencing it in even the smallest way, it would still be here. But there are beings here, and they are aware of themselves, the universe, and everyone else as being part of that universe. We all experience the same absolute reality in different ways because of our different experiences of it and the perceptions that stem from them. But if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, it still happens, and it still creates the compressed air waves that our ears are sensitive to, and that our brains interpret as what we call sound.

    Bit of a shame to believe that actually. In some ways it would rock if reality itself (as it refers to the physical world) was actually a completely subjective thing. It would be like the Matrix, and you could do or change anything. Actually, from a Christian perspective, it's like the the universe is God's matrix. The bible says if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can command a mountain to throw itself into the ocean. It also says that if you believe and don't doubt, God pretty much has to do what you've asked because unwavering faith like that is always rewarded. So what if you're driving down a highway and you really need petrol, but you know there isn't a petrol station for another 20 miles. You pray really hard for one, and never waver in your faith. Suddenly, a few hundred metres up the road, you see one. "Amen!" you yell, "Thaaankyou Jesus's's!". You pull over, get filled up, and as you pay the attendant you ask "How long has this place been here mate?". "About 10 years" he replies. What did God do? Change the entire history of the world to accomodate an additional petrol station right where you needed one? This is kinda tongue in cheek, but it's always amused me.

    Sorry for the long post. I don't mind if nobody reads it all. Sometimes I just post cause it's fun

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  12. spookz Banned Banned

    Messages:
    6,390
    :My belief is that we are all living in the same physical universe. If there was no being in it capable of experiencing it in even the smallest way, it would still be here. But there are beings here, and they are aware of themselves, the universe, and everyone else as being part of that universe. We all experience the same absolute reality in different ways because of our different experiences of it and the perceptions that stem from them. But if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, it still happens, and it still creates the compressed air waves that our ears are sensitive to, and that our brains interpret as what we call sound. "

    totally agree with above!

    so how do i accept that, what i perceive, exists independantly of myself?
    when others perceive the same thing too! by others i mean a sizable majority
    of humans. otherwise that perception could be brushed off as a mass delusion/collective hallucination.....

    ps: it would rock to create ones own reality. i guess tho that dreams are gonna have to do for now
     
  13. machaon Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    733
    descartes

    Now that Descartes is dead, do you think he can prove that he does not exist?
     
  14. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    LOL!

    You are definitely good value machaon

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  15. machaon Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    733
    A reply to rav

    If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, will it make a sound?. No. When the tree falls it will send out waves of compressed air. If someone is around the compressed waves of air will enter their ears. Those waves will be converted into "sound". If no one is around then those waves will not be converted to a system of measurment that we recognize as "sound". Therefore we should not think we are such an integral part of the universe that nothing can occur without perception lending aspect to the linear focus of the human mind.
     
  16. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    I carry on sometimes and forget that people don't always feel inclined, and often simply don't have time to read long ramblings

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    But I'm trying, I really am!

    You're a someone who seems to embrace all the fantastic subjective aspects of what it means to be alive, while also standing firmly on the ground of the reality that is independant of our preceptions. I've always felt that that was "right".
     
  17. machaon Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    733
    Rav

    Ramble on.
     
  18. prozak Banned Banned

    Messages:
    782
    There is no proof of our existence. However, it's a good working hypothesis, especially if one does not presuppose either materialism or dualism as the foundations of existence.
     
  19. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    I exist.
     
  20. CounslerCoffee Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,997
    I exist.

    Wheres your proof my imaginary friend?
     
  21. lordjin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    219
    When I fail to bathe, my crotch stinks, so I exist. When my friend doesn't bathe, his crotch smells even worse...as it is far worse to smell the unwashed crotch of another than one's own foul-smelling crotch, he too invariably exists.
     
  22. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,422
    I have no proof to give you. You might be the only one who is real. That's something I have to concede when looking at things from your perspective. However, I know that's not true, because I am real as well. I know that I'm real simply because I'm here. That's not proof from your perspective, but it's all the proof in the world from mine. So, if I'm real (and I am), and you're real (whatever you think just serves to prove it), then that makes two of us so far.

    Maybe we can start some kind of club, and get some badges made up with "I exist" printed on them in big bold letters. That way we could seperate all the people that do from those who don't.
     
  23. notme2000 The Art Of Fact Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,464
    Damn, I just started another thread on this very premise, not realizing this thread was the same. I'll just carry my statements to this thread since it is already in the direction I was heading...

    The color red. Does it exist? First thought would most likely be "Yes, of course". But let's think about this... Red is how our eyes recognise light waves reflecting off an object with certain physical properties. Thus, if there were no eyes to perceive it, would the color red still exist? (If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound?) Probably not, just the light waves we perceive as red (or soundwaves from the tree)... Now this is pretty simple stuff so far... But everything we have ever experienced relies completely on our senses... And since I just showed that sight is simply perception, interpretation, what's to say the rest of our senses aren't as well? Space between two objects is how our brain links the 2 objects. So that falls in to the depth perception of sight. Feeling, such as pain, is simply our nerve endings' recognition of contact, but the feeling itself does not exist. Taste, just the taste bud's interpretation of certain chemicals. Same for smell. Sound is our ear's way of making sense of the soundwaves hitting it...

    Well now that I've shown that all senses may be deceiving us, I will get to my (borrowed from great philosophers from the past, Immanuel Kant, for one) major point. Look at an apple and you now know the color red, in itself, does not exist. Nor the taste of the apple, etc... Well then, can you say with any certainty that the apple exists? That anything exists? Is our entire reality based on our senses!? Or maybe even STEMMED from our senses!!! This could mean 2 things...

    Plato's "The Cave" deals with this by stating our reality is not the true reality, but the shadow... Our senses are holding us back from experiencing reality in it's true form...

    Descartes was more of a skeptic, and suggested the possibility that our senses were not hinting at an underlying reality, but completely deceiving us all together. The only thing we can't succesfully doubt is our consiousness... Cause something has to be doubting it... (I think therefore I am). Thus even your own body is nothing but an illusion. Did notme2000 really type this post, or do you just believe notme2000 typed this post? Does notme2000 exist? I'll say in all certainty that I do, but what kind of proof is that to you, someone who does not share my consiousness or senses?

    Sensations repeat themselves ---> leading to perception
    Perceptions repeat themselves ---> leading to experience
    Experiences repeat themselves ---> leading to knowledge

    Putting this in reverse we see that ALL knowledge comes from sensations... It's not that hard to conceive the world as nothing but interpretations of signals from some outside source...


    Question is, is the universe we perceive as 'real' the outside source? OR is the universe we perceive as 'real' the sensation?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2002

Share This Page