My problem with descartes

>I think therefore I am – Descartes

“I” may not actually exist in the way I think I do. The “I” is not well defined as an entity, and the “therefore” still requires a leap of faith to prove that thinking proves existence. Just because we are used to the idea that thinking things must exist, does not mean that we could not be totally deceived. We could even be deceived about our ability to think.

“I” might exist, but only as a concept or a metaphysical possibility. Descarte still has not proven the evil genius cannot affect his mind, or there is not something even more powerful.

Philosophy is not my area of expertise, but the statement feels wrong to me, and I will try to explain why I think it is unsafe:

Does a computer that thinks it exists actually exist or is it programed to think so? If there was no one to observe it, how would it confirm that it was not a concept in a void of possibilities? Concepts do not exist in a physical (material) sense. If I write a dialog about a thinking character named Jim, that does not mean Jim “exists” as anything but a concept in my imagination. Does “Jim” exist on some plane if he recites “cogito ergo sum” in my internal dialog? Does he now have a soul?

If the premises are wrong, then Jim has unknowingly begged the question.

I can think therefore I am

I exist therefore I can think

 Now then does Jim have a soul? Well “can” implies “ought” but can does not prove ought.

I have thought of another way to phrase my answer:

How can you know if you are actually thinking? Or that thought even exists, rather than being an illusion/concept? What if thought is an automatic process in a conception?

Even if I affirm “I think therefore I am”, it doesn’t prove I am part of a material universe, or that such a reality even exists. The expression is just an excuse to pretend you’ve found a rock-solid axiom, so you can put aside some extreme skepticism.


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