Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Newsletter #00006

Alright, as many of you may know, i enjoy philosphy and psycology alot, this note is based mainly on both, i hope you enjoy it!

Now, before i get started, I will need to explain the theory of dualism, which is something that i will be alluding to alot in this note. Dualism is a theory that was established by Rene Descartes in 1879, it is the theory that the body and the mind are two separate entities. That should be all you have to know about it.

Now, this is my main argument, can everything around us be proved to exist? I do not believe that it can. Look at it this way, have you ever gone up to a friend and called them by the wrong name? I know i have, and i have had people come up to me and say "Hey Ben!" Now if the senses can fool us once, who is to say that they are not constantly fooling us, that we are perpetually decieved? My name is Brad, we are all in agreement on that, but what if my understanding was corrupted, and i have come to belive that my name was brad, when it really isnt? What if every one of us is wrong, and my name is really Frank, or Ben? The same goes for everyone else too, What if Josh's name wasn't josh, what if we heard wrong? Had our ears decieve us as well as our eyes, How could we be sure that we were really speaking to josh? We cannot be sure of anything pertaining to this, because we can always forget a name, or see one thing, when the thing that is actually there is entirely different from how we percieve it. Or we could even imagine hearing something due to our imperfect ears, or hear it wrong, and establish it as truth.

With this understanding, we could go so far as to say we don't know the difference between the sun and the moon, left and right, soft and hard, so on and so on. It is even logically possible for our understanding of truths to be obscured, with the possibility of some "grand deciever" that keeps us from comprehending truth. Due to this theory, our understanding of simple mathematics could be warped or out of place. our common understanding of 2+2=4 could be wrong. Under this theory, for all we know, 2+2=14. Now some would say, "without correct mathmatics, how could large structures be built? or any type of architectural design without measurements?" Which only goes back to the first point, that senses can be decieved, and that neither common sense nor mathematics are exempt from this possibility of extreme error.

Descartes says that if we are able to question these things, then we are, without a doubt, thinking things. now this makes alot of sense, because to even begin to question yourself about being a thinking thing, you need to be able to think, so do not argue with myself or descartes on this point.

*side note1*-refer to bottom

This point i am about to make leads me to dualism.....
In all of this doubt, that we may be inconceivably incorrect about absolutely everything, means we could be wrong in saying that we have a body. This proves dualism, to make another point, i will provide one(which will end up being many) quote from descartes.

when an entity is known for certain to have property x, but not known for certain to have property y, then x is essential to the entity, and y is not

what this means is that if one thing with one property cannot be one and the same with something that has the opposite of that property. When he was saying this, the property he was referring to was that of proof of exsistence and entity. We know that we have a mind, but we cannot be sure we have bodies, so a soloid thing cannot be combined with something that is undeniably questionable, leading to the notion of dualism. Descartes had many meditations on this, here are annotations from a few of them:

(1)I cannot possiby doubt that i exist as a thinking thing.(This was established as we tried to doubt our existence and found ourselves, therefore, affirming it.)
(2)I can doubt, however, that i have a body, and thus that i exist as a physical thing.
(3)Therefore, thinking is essential to what i am. My body is not. Furthermore, I know my mind more easily than i know my body. "From this I knew that I was a substance the whole essence or nature of which is to think, and that for its existance there is no need of any place, nor does it depend on any material thing; so that this 'me,' that is to say, the soul by which i am what i am, is entirely distinct from body, and is even more easy to know, than is the latter; and even if body were not, the soul would not cease to be what it is."

(1)If i concieve and percieve with certainty that they are separate, different kinds of things then they are separate, different kinds of things. If, for example, i see that one thing has propery A and another thing has property Not A, then i knowthat they are different kinds of things, because one and the same thing cannot have a property and its opposite.
(2) I percieve with certainty that i exist as a thinking and unextended thing.
(3) I percieve with (virtual) certainty that my body, or any body for that matter, is unthinking and extended.
(4) Therefore, mind and body are separate, different kinds of things. "This I (that is to say, my soul by which I am what I am)' is entirely and absolutely distinct from my body, and can exist without it."

(1) An entity cannot have a property and its opposite.
(2) My body is divisible, it has parts. Divisibility is part of what it means to be a body
(3) My mind is indivisible. It has no parts. "For...when I consider the mind, that is to say, myself inasmuch as I am only a thinking thing, I cannot distinguish in myself any parts, butapprehend myself to be clearly one and entire; and although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body, yet if a foot' or an arm, or some other part, is separated from my body, i am aware that nothing has been taken away from my mind."
(4) Therefore, my mind and my body are different kinds of things

There is an Argument to contradict this, it is as follows:
One cannot determine the properties or laws of other entities, but can determine them for themselves.
(or thats how i understood it)
another way to say that would be this:
you cannot determine the properties of something you are not, but you should be able to determine what properties you have

In his fourth statement of the third annotation, Descartes says different kinds of things, which means something, that i shall explain to you now. Descartes also used the idea of what is called a type-type dualism. In this field, there are types, and there are tokens. a type would be say a chair, how would you classify a chair? as something you sit on, that is a type, BUT, tokens are like different things within that type, for example, there are square chairs, three-legged chairs, four-legged chairs, and they come in a rainbow of colors, no each of those would be considered one TOKEN of the TYPE chair.
What Descartes is saying (now that you know that) is that the mind and the body are not, in fact, tokens of the same type, but two types altogether.

*side note1*-
These points fit very well with my religion argument in the first note, how can we be sure that we have a religion or belief when we can't even be sure we hear everything correctly, yes we can concurr that we have heard the same things, but in this theory, there is a large margin for mutual human error. Therefore possibly disproving anything and everything we have heard.
BUT- this could also be used in the exact opposite way, it could be used to refute all physical things, and identify ourselves as nothing at all but spirits.

sadly, thats all i can get in for now, possibly a follow-up next week, tell me if you would actually want one or not.

today is the absolute DEADLINE for the contest, get them in!!

here is the little puzzle-
if you were to stick a man in an unbreakable bubble, and keep filling it with air, what would happen to the man?
(ignore some physics, just go with it, i don't need to hear it, haha)

February 17-2009
-by Brad

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