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Poll: Do you exist?

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Thread: Do you exist?

  1. #1
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    Do you exist?

    Some say that it is a given that to say or even think "I exist", means that the individual saying/stating/writing/thinking it, exists. Otherwise, such a statement (or question if asked), could not be made in the first place.

    A few however (Xanadu, HappyLady, not sure if any others here), say that they don't know if they exist. And them thinking about it, isn't proof enough to convince them that they do, actually exist.

    An even fewer contend that they don't exist, and this is fact (although, this is incredibly rare, and IMO, absolutely unsupportable as it is an absurd position).

    So, this thread is targetted to the few members who question the idea of whether or not they even exist, or emphatically claim that they do not.

    Please justify your position. Most, myself included, believe this to be self-evident...that if you can make the statement, then you do exist (not to imply that if you can't make the statemet you do not exist...existence is not dependent upon making the statement).
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  2. #2
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    Re: Do you exist?

    We all have to exist somewhere because I see this and I exist. Whether I exist in a solid real place or an imaginary land of some deity I know not.

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Exactly fat. HOW you exist matters now when addressing the inference of the statement "I exist". Unfortunately, for some this isn't as black and white.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Sorry Apok, for bringing my view point in here, but a vote for anything other than, 'Yes, of course I exist.', is a perfect illustration of the mental disorder I often mention.

  5. #5
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    Re: Do you exist?

    *bump*

    Not letting this die until those who don't think they exist or allow that to be a possibility, see this thread.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  6. #6
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    Re: Do you exist?

    I believe that my consciousness is proof of my existence. I think, therefore I am. Beyond that, nothing is certain, though I use scientific means to practically interpret my observations of the world.

  7. #7
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    Re: Do you exist?

    I voted that I exist, but I leave open the possibility that I might not exist in the future (after death). Does that count?
    While laughing at others stupidity, you may want to contemplate your own comedic talents. (link)
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  8. #8
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Whether I am a brain in a jar / plugged into the matrix, there is an "I" that is Zhavric which exists. I may be confused or uninformed about my own form, but I do, indeed, exist.


    Unfortunately, during most work days, I do not exist on ODN

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you exist?

    I've actually thought of this before. How do we know that we exist? How do I know that ya'll exist? I could be typing this and none of you really are there. How do we know the people in our History books existed? It could all be a big Truman show thing. Or our minds could be imagining all of ODn. It's a thought, but, once you REALLy think about it, you realize it's a stupid thought. So, I voted yes.
    I can only be who He allows me to be, I can only stand where He places me. 1Peter 5:6
    The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything. ---Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. #10
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    Re: Do you exist?

    This is a very difficult concept to express, because it gets in the way of itself. Things like "exist", "is", "reality", "truth", "universe"... they appear to be self-evident. But self-evidence is still subjective, and not a proof. At least not for finite minds.

    To answer the original question, I am convinced that I do exist. But I still do not have complete objective proof of that, nor of anything else. Wishing it to be the case doesn't automatically make it so. There's a difference between being totally certain of something vs. having a confidence level of ~99.9995%. Your proposition would be to just round things up, but by doing so you're ignoring a margin of error, which is always present in any proposition we might have. We humans have a tendency to want to round things off and call them good even when they're not necessarily precise.

    (Please note: All references to myself are the assumed "I" based on our perception of how "I" appears to be.)

    Yes, based on my perception, it seems that I most likely do exist. But I can't verify it, because I have no objective frame of reference from which to make such a judgment.

    Descartes' statement has a lot of reasoned critics, so no one should try to paint those who don't accept "Cogito ergo sum" as being irrational thinkers.

    Many philosophers have broken the equation down further to assert, "I think, therefore thoughts exist," which is a little more intellectually honest than jumping to the conclusion of how a supposed agent is involved in the thinking process.

    Notice that the premise "I think" already presumes the conclusion of the "I" existing, so it's a biased statement, and cannot be verified for certainty.

    Likewise, saying "I exist" presumes in advance that there is an "I". You've also identified an "individual" as the I, but that is not established either. That is another representation of bias. We don't know if "I" represents a singular individual, or what it represents. We're only guessing. That's the best any of us can do. In matters of truth, we can make what look like reasonable assumptions to us, but ultimately, all we can do is punt.

    And how can we know if we exist if we don't even know what it means to exist?
    anything could be an illusion and we wouldn't know the difference... proof schmoof...

  11. #11
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    Re: Do you exist?

    I subscribe to the same rationality as you do, Apok, but there's another way of looking at this from just being the validity of "exist." There are some theoreticians, such as Francisco Varela, who talk about "emergent selves" and "multiple selves." What I'm going to do is take those ideas and apply them here.

    When you say "I exist." You are affirming that you recognize the existence of your own consciousness. But not enough to affirm your biological existence (so far it's believed that there are biological explanations of consciousness but so far nothing has been entirely proven/conclusive), or the existence of your unconsciousness or any other part of yourself which can't express the idea of "I exist." Basically, I'm splitting up "I" into different categories. Is "I" your conciousness, the amalgam of cells which make up your physiology, your soul, or something else? Either way, the phrase "I exist", in Descartesian terms, only affirms the existence of your conciousness but nothing else. A better way to say this is that "I exist" actually only says "My consciousness exists" or "I recognize my conciousness."

    Secondly, there is the premise that because you can say "I exist." You must. However, if that is the rule of thumb for proof of existence then you have to agree that those which can't linguistically communicate that sentance, must therefore not exist. Therefore, there needs to be some other criteria other than saying "I exist" to have proof of existence.
    I rebel - therefore we exist.

  12. #12
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by paintist
    Therefore, there needs to be some other criteria other than saying "I exist" to have proof of existence.
    You asked for it - you got it!

    I exist because non-existance is unexplainable - none of us has ever not existed - wait yes we have! Before we were born .... nah, we might have existed before we were born and not know it.

    I choose the explainable instead. I exist because I'm alive and I say so.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Do you exist?

    My logic...

    P1) In order for me to ask, "Do I exist?" there must be a 'me' which is asking the question. Otherwise, no question is being asked.
    P2) I have indeed asked, "Do I exist?"
    C) Ergo, I do exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanadu Moo
    This is a very difficult concept to express, because it gets in the way of itself. Things like "exist", "is", "reality", "truth", "universe"... they appear to be self-evident. But self-evidence is still subjective, and not a proof. At least not for finite minds.
    I have provided a proof which I believe is valid. Please tell me what you think of it.

    To answer the original question, I am convinced that I do exist. But I still do not have complete objective proof of that, nor of anything else. Wishing it to be the case doesn't automatically make it so. There's a difference between being totally certain of something vs. having a confidence level of ~99.9995%. Your proposition would be to just round things up, but by doing so you're ignoring a margin of error, which is always present in any proposition we might have. We humans have a tendency to want to round things off and call them good even when they're not necessarily precise.
    Where is the margin of error in this scenario. I understand that certain bits of knowledge do carry margins of error (eg. our knowledge of the size of a distant planet or star) but I fail to see how there can be such a margin here. There is no measurement being used. It is simply the case of "me existing" or "me not existing".

    If an agent "I" exists, then a question can be asked. If there is no such agent, then there can be no such question. It seems pretty strightforward to me.
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    I'll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
    - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged

  14. #14
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    Re: Do you exist?

    If I don't exist,why the heck do I keep cleaning? I quit.

  15. #15
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanadu Moo
    This is a very difficult concept to express, because it gets in the way of itself. Things like "exist", "is", "reality", "truth", "universe"... they appear to be self-evident. But self-evidence is still subjective, and not a proof. At least not for finite minds.
    What is the referent of "I" and "exist" Xan?

    To answer the original question, I am convinced that I do exist. But I still do not have complete objective proof of that, nor of anything else. Wishing it to be the case doesn't automatically make it so. There's a difference between being totally certain of something vs. having a confidence level of ~99.9995%. Your proposition would be to just round things up, but by doing so you're ignoring a margin of error, which is always present in any proposition we might have. We humans have a tendency to want to round things off and call them good even when they're not necessarily precise.
    While I completely disagree with this "rounding up" business, I am curious as to why you subscribe to it yourself while at the same time denouncing. You said you are convinced that you do exist, but you aren't absolutely certain. For what reason do you have to doubt your own existence? And of what value is it, to play the .00005% card in every day life?

    (Please note: All references to myself are the assumed "I" based on our perception of how "I" appears to be.)

    Yes, based on my perception, it seems that I most likely do exist. But I can't verify it, because I have no objective frame of reference from which to make such a judgment.
    The fact that you say "my perception", "I can't verify it", "because I have no obj. reference", etc... is your objective truth.

    You are being inconsistent. You claim that the being of yourself has a perception, that you cannot verify it, that you have no reference...while at the same time suggest that you do not exist (by way of possibility).

    Tell us...how is it possible...that you CAN perceive, you acknowledge your own limitations AS A BEING, yet not exist? I mean, you have certain attributes or characteristics that you have given yourself, described to us about yourself...all the while, suggesting that you do not exist (by way of possibility).

    How is that not the most absurd reasoning possible? It's sayi8ng:

    Xan can run.
    Xan can think.
    Xan can eat.
    Xan can talk.
    Xan has feelings.
    Xan communicates.
    But there is no Xan, he doesn't exist (as a being or otherwise)...despite the fact that the can do all those things as a being.

    Descartes' statement has a lot of reasoned critics, so no one should try to paint those who don't accept "Cogito ergo sum" as being irrational thinkers.
    We don't paint you as being irrational, your own argumentation does. See above.

    Many philosophers have broken the equation down further to assert, "I think, therefore thoughts exist," which is a little more intellectually honest than jumping to the conclusion of how a supposed agent is involved in the thinking process.
    Many? Whom? And given the fact that "I" is a specific referent, how is it possible that it is more accurate? If you make the statement about you having thoughts but don't really have those thoughts...who the heck does Xan? More importantly, why would you lie to "non-existent self" by saying that you thought something when you clearly didn't...because you don't exist in the first place? But wait...if you don't exist, how did you make the statement that resulted in lying to yourself?

    Absurd, plain and simple.

    Notice that the premise "I think" already presumes the conclusion of the "I" existing, so it's a biased statement, and cannot be verified for certainty.
    The term "I" represents something Xan. What do you think it means in the English language?

    Likewise, saying "I exist" presumes in advance that there is an "I". You've also identified an "individual" as the I, but that is not established either. That is another representation of bias. We don't know if "I" represents a singular individual, or what it represents. We're only guessing. That's the best any of us can do. In matters of truth, we can make what look like reasonable assumptions to us, but ultimately, all we can do is punt.
    We don't have to know all the details about "I", nor do we have to know all the details of "existence". What we do know, is that the words express a meaning, they MEAN something. Remember, we are using English and you have not demonstrated that we all must conform to Xanadese...so...what do you think the meaning of the statement "I exist" means Xan? In English please.

    And how can we know if we exist if we don't even know what it means to exist?
    Xan, it would appear that WE know what it means to exist...and only you are left in the dark about what it means. Existence is merely the state of being. This state of being can encompass a great variety of ways to do so, but the term used tells us that it is at least a state of being...which is all we mean by making the statement in the first place.

    When we say "I exist"...you are welcome to ask "But how do you exist?" But this is another truth. The first truth is "state of being for self"...the second is "what sort of state of being are we talking about?" You again confuse the 2 issues into 1.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  16. #16
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    Re: Do you exist?

    I most certainly do exist! This is self-evident from the fact that I am sitting here now, reading this topic, and responding. In what way could one be comprehending and responding to ideas if one did not exist?
    Whether or not others exist, or whether or not I exist as a living being, is another can of worms entirely, though.

  17. #17
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Xan.... how can you NOT exist?
    "With His dying breath... He saved me, with His wounds... He healed me, with His life... He died for me, although I never met Him, He remembered... me."

    +++=][ShadowKnight][=+++

  18. #18
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    Re: Do you exist?

    If it turns out I don't exist I will be pretty angry. 1620+ days of torture, oops schooling, with much more to come and not ever existing would absolutely stink. But I went to school so I must exist. I just don't see how I can not exist. I'm reading this, I go to school, I like Weird Al. I'm pretty sure I have a body and live on Earth too, but who knows.


  19. #19
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Poll Question: Do you exist?

    Xan votes that he doesn't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xan
    To answer the original question, I am convinced that I do exist.
    You're gonna REALLY have to explain how you can be convinced of something you don't know.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

  20. #20
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    Re: Do you exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    When we say "I exist"...you are welcome to ask "But how do you exist?" But this is another truth. The first truth is "state of being for self"...the second is "what sort of state of being are we talking about?" You again confuse the 2 issues into 1.
    That's backwards. You can't make the declaritive statement of "I exist" before you understand how you exist. That's like saying "The world is flat." and then trying to figure out how it's flat. You first try to figure out how or if it's flat, then based on that outcome can you make a statement about the world - or in this case, the state of existence.
    I rebel - therefore we exist.

 

 
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