Monday, April 29, 2013

Problems with Rene Descartes's "I Think; Therefore I Am."

Cogito, ergo sum”   René Descartes
( Latin: "I am thinking, therefore I exist", or traditionally "I think, therefore I am" ) 
Is a philosophical statement by René Descartes, which became a foundational element of Western rationalism. "Cogito ergo sum" is a translation of Descartes' original French statement: "Je pense, donc je suis", which occurs in his Discourse on Method (1637)
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Brain / Mind
If we allow that all of our thoughts are generated by The Brain, & sometime thereafter, Some Internal Sense becomes ‘Aware’ of These Thoughts, This Second process or ‘Artifact’ occurs after The Creation of The Thought. One may argue that The Awareness of The Thought occurs simultaneously with The Creation of The Thought, But in Either Case; The Brain is Constructing The Thought, & The Mind Becomes Aware of it. 
A Principle Tenet of Common Philosophy is that The Soul, or Mind, Guides The Host Body, which is essentially a Robot, in The Behaviours of The Individual, Demonstrating its Autonomy. But if The Brain Creates all of our Thoughts, It is The Robot that Creates them, & The Soul merely becomes aware of them as an After Effect.
This is very disconcerting for several reasons; But suffice for this argument right now; When The Soul becomes ‘Aware’ of The Statement; ‘I think, therefore, I am’; It is commonly interpreted to mean that The Process of thinking means that The Soul Exists. But The Robot that generates this ‘Thought’, Never Experiences The Effect of ‘Awareness’ ( ! ) 
After The Brain Generates a Thought & Shunts it to The ‘Awareness’ Center; This Artifact produces No Secondary Effects. 
If one were to argue that Any Given Thought is ‘Considered’ & then ‘Debated’ in The Mind, These are all Processes of The Brain, Which The Mind is Then Later ‘Aware’ of, But The Awareness itself has no mechanism of telling The Brain that it is experiencing these Thoughts. 
This is ‘Epiphenomenalism’; It asks; Does The Mind ( Awareness ) do anything?
According to this line of reasoning; No, It doesn’t.
But more curiously; When The Brain Generates The Thought; “I Think, Therefore, I am.” It produces it with an Entirely different Understanding than what The Mind is commonly thought to be experiencing. 
Even The Thought that This Statement means that; “I Exist as an Autonomous Soul.” was created within The Brain.
Which means that The Brain, As an Unconscious Machine which generates all of our Thoughts, Must have its own ‘Idea’ of A Conscious Experience, which is not at all Conscious ( !!! ).
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i have a corollary idea to this, Which is that There are ‘Fakers’ in The Human Population that are not Conscious at all, but go around telling everyone that they are. Their Robot Brains have deduced that The Robots that are going around telling everyone that they are Conscious, & have ‘Souls’ are Treated better than The Robots that willingly admit that they are merely Robots & Do not have Souls. These ‘Faker’ Robots have built into them, by whatever mechanism that caused them to come into existence, A Strong Sense of Survival & Reproduction, & that The Best, Most Successful Strategy for their own Propagation is to convince The Robots that Do have Souls, that they have souls too.
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A Device The Says: “I Think, Therefore; I am.”
Obviously; A Machine that is built to Say ‘I Think, Therefore, I am.” is not Experiencing any sense of What The Sentence ‘Means’, But nevertheless, In order for The Machine to Say this; It must Exist. 
The Same would be true for a Robot that says it, even a Robot whose very clever programming allowed it to formulate The Sentence, without ever having it ‘Programmed’ into it. 
Or - - Such a Robot may have endured millions of years of mindless Evolution to create a Robot that would eventually, by random processes, come up with That Statement.
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The Statement ‘I Think, Therefore, I am.’ also makes no claims that The Speaker or Thinker of The Statement has an Continuous Existence that either proceeded or follows The Statement, or even it’s awareness of having thought or stated it. 
If we allow that Matter can form ‘Conscious’ Thoughts which experiencing The Phenomena of ‘Awareness’, Then it makes perfect sense that these ‘Conditions’ of Physical Accretion of Matter to become ‘Aware’ might easily & Inevitably occur in Vast Clouds of Swirling Matter, such as within any given Sun, Causing this Thought to occur, then Dissipate immediately.
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“I Napoleon Bonaparte, Think, therefore; I am.”
The Statement makes no claim that you are in fact Napoleon Bonaparte, or in any sense, who you are sure that you are.
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Are we living in a Universe so Cruel,
That it would allow us to be aware that we are Robots?
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* Use of The Words Tenet & Tenant. An Ant is a TenAnt of The Colony. 



Wm Jas said...

It's not the statement that is proof of one's existence. Rather, the immediately self-evident fact of consciousness is proof of one's existence. The statement merely expresses this self-evident fact and the conclusion which follows from it.

In syllogistic form, Descarte's argument is:

1. Either I am deceived, or things are as they appear to be.
2. It appears that I exist.
3. If I am deceived, I exist.
4. Therefore, I exist.

Premise 2 assumes the self-evident fact of consciousness -- that something "appears."

A Translucent Amoebae said...

i've added another exposition to this at :