Presentation Title

Are We the Thinkers of our Thoughts?

Faculty Mentor

Pete Murray, Michael Hanson

Start Date

17-11-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 9:15 AM

Location

C308

Session

Oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

In this paper, I argue Rene Descartes’s Cogito fails to take Cartesian skepticism far enough, and I seek to understand the implications of the alternative argument, I observe thus I exist. Critics of Descartes including Georg Lichtenberg, Immanuel Kant, and Bertrand Russell, have argued Descartes’s truth, “I think therefore I am,” begs the question and the only concept that can be stated is that thoughts exist. Nevertheless, an “I” can be derived from this line of logical reasoning; if we are aware that thoughts exist, there then must be some point of reference from which those thoughts are being observed.

The “I” that is proven here, however, is not the clear unified distinct “I” of the Cogito. This can be demonstrated by an update to Descartes’s Evil Genius thought-experiment supported by the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan and his claim that the Freudian ego is not a distinct autonomous decision-maker, but to a large extent the object of shattered subconscious. The update to the “Evil Genius” thought-experiment is to consider a hypothetical five-dimensional movie where technology reaches where in addition to the protagonist’s sensations being felt the audience is placed as the observer of the thoughts within the protagonist’s mind. Nevertheless, there must be some point of reference for the audience observing the film we can call “I.”

The creation of the statement "I observe thus I exist" derived from this indicates a layer of consciousness that has undergone a sort of Lacanian mirror-stage and is aware of the thoughts within the mind, and consequently, can derive models from pattern recognition with predictive capability on future observed thoughts. This demonstrates that Cartesian dualism is not sufficiently ontologically complex and sets up a framework for philosophical thought within the three distinct disciplines of philosophy: epistemology, value theory, and metaphysics.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 17th, 9:00 AM Nov 17th, 9:15 AM

Are We the Thinkers of our Thoughts?

C308

In this paper, I argue Rene Descartes’s Cogito fails to take Cartesian skepticism far enough, and I seek to understand the implications of the alternative argument, I observe thus I exist. Critics of Descartes including Georg Lichtenberg, Immanuel Kant, and Bertrand Russell, have argued Descartes’s truth, “I think therefore I am,” begs the question and the only concept that can be stated is that thoughts exist. Nevertheless, an “I” can be derived from this line of logical reasoning; if we are aware that thoughts exist, there then must be some point of reference from which those thoughts are being observed.

The “I” that is proven here, however, is not the clear unified distinct “I” of the Cogito. This can be demonstrated by an update to Descartes’s Evil Genius thought-experiment supported by the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan and his claim that the Freudian ego is not a distinct autonomous decision-maker, but to a large extent the object of shattered subconscious. The update to the “Evil Genius” thought-experiment is to consider a hypothetical five-dimensional movie where technology reaches where in addition to the protagonist’s sensations being felt the audience is placed as the observer of the thoughts within the protagonist’s mind. Nevertheless, there must be some point of reference for the audience observing the film we can call “I.”

The creation of the statement "I observe thus I exist" derived from this indicates a layer of consciousness that has undergone a sort of Lacanian mirror-stage and is aware of the thoughts within the mind, and consequently, can derive models from pattern recognition with predictive capability on future observed thoughts. This demonstrates that Cartesian dualism is not sufficiently ontologically complex and sets up a framework for philosophical thought within the three distinct disciplines of philosophy: epistemology, value theory, and metaphysics.