Questions about rationalism (philosophy)?

1) if the saying is true (i think therefore i am) what does that mean for animals and insects? they think so does that mean they also exist?

2) If someone goes braindead suddenly (and can no longer think) do they no longer exists?

3) what about siri and all other forms of artificial intelegence? they can think to an extent, do they exist as well?

4) why is thought the indicator of existence (and not senses) when you need senses (sight, smell, hearing etc) in order to have the internal language needed for thought?

these are real questions but i'm also writing a fictional story for my philosophy class


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Most Helpful Guy

  • You don't understand the logic so let's break it down;
    We'll let T = "I think" and E = "I am" (aka "I exist")
    Logically, we'd represent "I think therefore I am" as T --> E ("T implies E", thinking implies existence).

    When we write "T" that means it is true, but NOT (T) means it is false as in "I do not think."

    The logical argument is:
    1. T --> E
    2. T
    3. therefore E
    This is called Modus Ponens.

    However, there is something called Modus Tollens.:
    1. T --> E
    2. NOT (E)
    3. therefore NOT (T)
    which means "I don't exist, therefore I don't think".

    However, this is logically wrong:
    1. T --> E
    2. NOT (T)
    3. therefore NOT (E)
    which is "I don't think, therefore I don't exist". This is a fallacy known as Denying the Antecedent.
    This fallacy is what you are proposing in your statement 2 about braindead people.

    There's another fallacy called Affirming the Consequent
    1. T --> E
    2. E
    3. therefore T
    which means "I exist, therefore I think."

    So, the bottom line is that thinking implies existence but existence does not imply thinking.

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What Guys Said 3

  • I think LOL that Descartes meant that the only way that you can be certain that you exist *at all* is that you think that you exiat, therefor there must be someone *you* to think that. That type of existence is not the same as the existence of exterior objects

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  • Most of your questions seem to rely on the assumption that existence is merely a matter of perception and that it can change depending on how we change.

    I would suggest you study Metaphysical Realism as a counterbalance to such claims. This theory suggests that reality exists independently of whether or not we perceive it correct.

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  • This is about where you regret taking philosophy at university :P Fucking glad I didn't do it now.

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