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Posibility of No-Self

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    Can anyone offer me a decent proof for the existence of self that does not reference some kind of weird religious dogma?

    And before you go there no "I think therefore I am" does not cut it. It's circuitous, assuming a self.

    I've read widely on the subject and found nothing of merit as far as a proof goes.

    Worse, any time I try to structure an experiment to prove the existence of a self...we'll "I" cannot find a way to create such an experiment.

    Also, I don't accept that my use of the word "I" and the structure of our language proves a self, anymore than my use of the word unicorn proves the existence of unicorns.
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    Who just got negged ?
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    Wittgenstein's private language argument I think?

    I think it goes along the lines of since a private language is inadequate (as ostensive definition within the subject doesn't work) for communication between people, then our language is a public language. Having a public language implies more than one self.
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    (Original post by StepVheN)
    Can anyone offer me a decent proof for the existence of self that does not reference some kind of weird religious dogma?

    And before you go there no "I think therefore I am" does not cut it. It's circuitous, assuming a self.

    I've read widely on the subject and found nothing of merit as far as a proof goes.

    Worse, any time I try to structure an experiment to prove the existence of a self...we'll "I" cannot find a way to create such an experiment.

    Also, I don't accept that my use of the word "I" and the structure of our language proves a self, anymore than my use of the word unicorn proves the existence of unicorns.
    You can't prove anything without first making assumptions. To prove that you exist, you must first make the assumption that you are thinking about whether you exist. This cannot be proved, since you are then assuming that you exist, to be able to be thinking about your existence. Paradox.
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    (Original post by Transcendence)
    You can't prove anything without first making assumptions. To prove that you exist, you must first make the assumption that you are thinking about whether you exist. This cannot be proved, since you are then assuming that you exist, to be able to be thinking about your existence. Paradox.
    Wow... I'm interested in this area too, never thought of that angle before. Cool.

    I think the paradox is solved by looking at thoughts as if they don't originate from a thinker, a self, which seems credible phenomenologically.

    Heck, I'd go even as far to think that this alone shows there is no self - left a permanent recognition in my mind at least.
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    (Original post by Transcendence)
    You can't prove anything without first making assumptions. To prove that you exist, you must first make the assumption that you are thinking about whether you exist. This cannot be proved, since you are then assuming that you exist, to be able to be thinking about your existence. Paradox.
    If I sit down and think to myself, I become aware of things drifting aimlessly in my mind. Perhaps they are illusions and imaginings or whispers of things unreal. But no, that is not it. These things- I shall henceforth call thoughts- are not drifting aimlessly in space. My mind is not a sea of eddies and tides of objects in physical place.

    Perhaps it is not things drifting in my mind, but a way I feel, a way I am for but a fleeting second. If I am angry I feel an incandescent red and if I am sad I feel the deepest darkest darkness. No, no, it cannot be for when I have the same thought "I loveth thee", at times I feeleth melancholy blue, and at times fiery red for thou hast spurned my desires. Thoughts are not merely a state of my being in, they are in a separate locality, a dimension far removed from thine mind, brain or body.

    Yet there remaineth one truth I cannot shrug. If there be a thought, whatever its nature be, then surely there must be present a thinker. This I am sure with all certainty. For how dost I think where there is no I? How dost I feel without I? What experience do I gain, where I have been banished to an existenceless eternity? If there is a thought there must be a thinker- a truth as self evident- as that love existeth only with lovers, or abhorrence existing only with they who detesteth such. And every time I say this-but for a fleeting second- a thought exists and so must I. Even if I am not the same I- when the moment hath ripped away by the hurried hands of time.

    There is a thought, so there must be a thinker.
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    (Original post by StepVheN)
    Can anyone offer me a decent proof for the existence of self that does not reference some kind of weird religious dogma?

    And before you go there no "I think therefore I am" does not cut it. It's circuitous, assuming a self.

    I've read widely on the subject and found nothing of merit as far as a proof goes.

    Worse, any time I try to structure an experiment to prove the existence of a self...we'll "I" cannot find a way to create such an experiment.

    Also, I don't accept that my use of the word "I" and the structure of our language proves a self, anymore than my use of the word unicorn proves the existence of unicorns.
    Descartes 'I think therefore I am' didn't cover everything he said. I don't know if you read his entire work on it, but he did sufficiently show that you can prove a 'self'. In case you don't know which to read, it's his meditations.
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    @Bluetooth

    That's Descartes, right?

    My problem with that is when you observe thinking happening, no "thinker" can be found in the process.

    Thinking, yeah, but a self directing and controlling the thoughts? No - there's just no evidence for one, and it's not implied in the process of thinking anymore than a "riverer" is implied in a river. He's completely assuming an "I" based off nothing.
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    (Original post by Hicquodiam)
    @Bluetooth

    That's Descartes, right?

    My problem with that is when you observe thinking happening, no "thinker" can be found in the process.

    Thinking, yeah, but a self directing and controlling the thoughts? No - there's just no evidence for one, and it's not implied in the process of thinking anymore than a "riverer" is implied in a river. He's completely assuming an "I" based off nothing.
    Your analogy is flawed. A river is a noun which requires something yes? it requires water, and the water to be flowing. As does a thought require that their be thinking which needs a thinker. Just as one loving requires a lover. etc.
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    (Original post by Hicquodiam)
    @Bluetooth

    That's Descartes, right?

    My problem with that is when you observe thinking happening, no "thinker" can be found in the process.

    Thinking, yeah, but a self directing and controlling the thoughts? No - there's just no evidence for one, and it's not implied in the process of thinking anymore than a "riverer" is implied in a river. He's completely assuming an "I" based off nothing.
    No, that was all me baby- though it's probably descartes paraphrased.

    How can I have a thought/ feeling without there being a framework with which to receive these thoughts? If there were no self but there were thoughts, then `i wouldn't have that indescribable feeling inside of myself every time I think, as there would be no I. Sort of similar to how I wouldn't be able to hear a tree falling, or see the sun rising, or feel angry if there were no I. But there is that feeling so there must be a self that feels and thinks.

    Also, you cannot doubt that feelings do exist- because the very process of doubting conjures up more feelings/ thoughts.
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    (Original post by Hicquodiam)
    @Bluetooth

    That's Descartes, right?

    My problem with that is when you observe thinking happening, no "thinker" can be found in the process.

    Thinking, yeah, but a self directing and controlling the thoughts? No - there's just no evidence for one, and it's not implied in the process of thinking anymore than a "riverer" is implied in a river. He's completely assuming an "I" based off nothing.
    The self isn't necessarily directing and controlling the thoughts; the self just feels/ experiences them. It's like how when people are drugged and told to do things like walk off a cliff, you might argue that they were not controlling their thoughts- but that they were induced by an unconscionable man.
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    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    Your analogy is flawed. A river is a noun which requires something yes? it requires water, and the water to be flowing. As does a thought require that their be thinking which needs a thinker. Just as one loving requires a lover. etc.
    Gah. Philosophers. You'll drive me mad some day.

    Your analogy is flawed. First of all, a river isn't a noun: it's an actual real stream of flowing water in real life. The word 'river' is a noun which points to this thing, and it's definition ('flowing water') has to conform to the reality of what it's trying to represent.

    What's important is the reality, not the definition. In reality, if you look at a river, there's just flowing water. No 'flow-er' of the water, no active causer outside of the river controlling the flowing, there's just nothing more than the flowing water.

    In reality, if you look at thinking, there's just flowing thoughts - words and pictures and images in your head. There's no you, no thinker, no conscious controller behind the thoughts directing their flow, and you won't be able to find one.

    Nothing requires that there is. If the concept of 'thinking' implies a thinker then the concept is wrong, or pointless, or whatever.

    Don't analyze concepts for truth - look at reality for truth.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    The self isn't necessarily directing and controlling the thoughts; the self just feels/ experiences them. It's like how when people are drugged and told to do things like walk off a cliff, you might argue that they were not controlling their thoughts- but that they were induced by an unconscionable man.
    Oh alright.

    What evidence is there for a feeler/experiencer of life, though?
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    (Original post by Hicquodiam)
    Oh alright.

    What evidence is there for a feeler/experiencer of life, though?
    Not sure what your question is getting at.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    No, that was all me baby- though it's probably descartes paraphrased.
    All the "doths" confused me, sorry.

    How can I have a thought/ feeling without there being a framework with which to receive these thoughts?
    Well - there's just reality, experience. I guess you can call that a framework.

    If there were no self but there were thoughts, then `i wouldn't have that indescribable feeling inside of myself every time I think, as there would be no I.
    Wait what?

    So if a little kid has a feeling that there's a monster under his bed, there must be a monster?

    No dude; we "feel" as if our unconscious assumptions are true. If your mind believes there's a you, it'll feel like there's something behind your eyes thinking thoughts.

    Doesn't make it true.

    Sort of similar to how I wouldn't be able to hear a tree falling, or see the sun rising, or feel angry if there were no I. But there is that feeling so there must be a self that feels and thinks.
    Well, sounds, sights, and feelings exist, they just don't happen TO a self - they're the end of the line, raw experience, it doesn't have to hit a you to become "experienced", and it doesn't.

    Also, you cannot doubt that feelings do exist- because the very process of doubting conjures up more feelings/ thoughts.
    Yeah of course, feeling and thoughts exist. Feeler and thinker doesn't. Simple - look.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    Not sure what your question is getting at.
    The self isn't necessarily directing and controlling the thoughts; the self just feels/ experiences them.

    Where is the feeler/experiencer of life?

    Pretty simple: If it exists, it's got to be somewhere.
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    (Original post by Hicquodiam)
    Where is the feeler/experiencer of life?

    Pretty simple: If it exists, it's got to be somewhere.
    That is something to be found inside yourself. I can find it everytime I reflect on an issue. If you follow the Cartesian arguments, then each person can only be sure of the existence of the self and not others.
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    Ah Philosophy... It's like like Maths, you assume things, follow logical implications and arrive at something new, maybe a contradiction that disproves the assumption, or perhaps even the next discovery that will advance the human race.
    ... Except with Philosophy, the "logical implications" are armchair thought experiments or subjective interpretations, so are essentially equivalent to a full set of assumptions, leading to a result that is completely useless.
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    (Original post by Blutooth)
    That is something to be found inside yourself. I can find it everytime I reflect on an issue.
    What? No - you're finding a FEELING, not a feeler. You do see the difference, right?

    Are you being honest about what you're actually finding? I don't think you are.

    If you follow the Cartesian arguments, then each person can only be sure of the existence of the self and not others.
    I just blasted those away, look a few posts up.
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    (Original post by Spungo)
    Ah Philosophy... It's like like Maths, you assume things, follow logical implications and arrive at something new, maybe a contradiction that disproves the assumption, or perhaps even the next discovery that will advance the human race.
    ... Except with Philosophy, the "logical implications" are armchair thought experiments or subjective interpretations, so are essentially equivalent to a full set of assumptions, leading to a result that is completely useless.
    True - approach it phenomenologically, not philosophically. Scientifically, not mathematically.

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