What are some of the logical fallacies of solipsism

Descartes' God as the cause of everything in contrast to metaphysical solipsism

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2.) The cognitive power of one's own reason

3.) Knowable truths

3.1.) Mathematics and Philosophy
3.2.) Cogito ergo sum

4.) The origin of the doubt about one's own power of knowledge
4.1.) The origin of the thought of one's own perfection is God
4.2.) The origin of the thought of one's own perfection is not God
4.3.) Solipsism
4.4.) Another explanation of the origin of the thought of one's own perfection
4.5.) Duplicating a world
4.6.) “Cogito ergo sum” does not require a soul
4.7.) Matter and body
4.8.) The dream
4.9.) Dark and confused, clear and distinct perceptions
4.10.) The error
4.11.) Senses and intuitions
4.12.) Mathematics and Philosophy II

5.) Comparison of the "absolute I" and God
5.1.) Analogies
5.2.) Disanalogies

bibliography

1 Introduction

In the following housework, the image of God developed by René Descartes should be examined and whether this can be accepted as the cause of everything that exists. To this end, Descartes' arguments for such a god are to be examined and, on the basis of this, a new possible theory for the cause of everything will be developed.

This should then be compared with the God developed by Descartes and examined whether one of the two theories can be regarded as more evident.

2.) The cognitive power of one's own reason

First, Descartes argues in his work "Discours de la Méthode" that he believes that common sense is the most widely distributed matter in the world.[1] Because separating truth from falsehood is equal to every human being[2]so that there are only differences in knowledge in the accidents of individuals, but not in terms of the pure form or the natures.[3]

Descartes explains that, while observing the customs of other people, he found that there is a great diversity among peoples here. So while a custom may seem completely insane and ridiculous to one people, the same custom is common practice and accepted within another people. This observation leads him to the result that he "does not believe too firmly [...]" what he has only learned through example and habit.[4] and should instead investigate what he can find as truth in himself.[5] He says: "My plan has always been to try to reform my own thoughts and to build on a ground that is entirely mine."[6]

Descartes begins by dividing people, or their spirits, into two different types of groups. One of them thinks of themselves to be more capable than they are and does not allow themselves to be stopped from making judgments too quickly, let alone fixing their own thoughts through order, so that once they start to doubt they remain confused for their entire life . The other kind of mind, on the other hand, has enough humility or reason to recognize that it is less able to separate truth from falsehood than some others from whom it can be instructed and is content with this method in order not to in to land of confusion. Descartes sees himself first in the group of the former. However, because he had different teachers early on and was confronted with the differences between individual opinions, which he found not less sensible, but sometimes even more sensible, he is now one of the latter.[7]

With this subdivision, however, it remains questionable who should instruct the latter when the former themselves tend to end up in confusion. For when the latter teach, the only difference between the two is that the former are confused by themselves, the latter by the former. But since there are no others in this classification, the latter must be instructed by the former.

Descartes also points out that it makes a huge difference to a spirit in which culture it grows up. So that one is much more convinced by habit and example than by any knowledge.[8] If so, it makes no difference who is confused and how, since everyone in this model should simply be confused. But since no one is capable of any knowledge anyway, various kinds of confusion arise. According to Descartes, it is also not decisive how many people support one opinion, since according to him it is much more likely that "one person alone encounters the truth than a whole people."[9]

Therefore, he comes to the conclusion that he should not take any opinion from anyone, but instead seek truth within himself.

This contradicts his previous classification, since he can no longer be counted among the group that is being taught, but only with that group that teaches himself and consequently has to remain in confusion after him.

On the other hand, Descartes is of the opinion that: “[...] our judgments can hardly be as pure and reliable as they would be if we were in full possession of our reason from birth and we were always guided by it alone would have been. "[10]

Therefore he would have to either reject the division of the two spirits or say that God did not "[...] give everyone a certain light to discern truth in the midst of false [...]"[11]. Which, according to Descartes, would contradict the perfection of a god. This objection is dealt with in more detail in chapter "4.1.) The origin of the thinking of one's own perfection is God".

First of all, it should be clarified what, according to Descartes, can be recognized as truth by humans themselves.

3.) Knowable truths

3.1.) Mathematics and Philosophy

Descartes points out that, as shown in the previous chapter, it is more likely that a person will know the truth than the whole people. It seems to follow from this that physics that is not practiced by just one person is less likely to contain a truth, since Descartes claims that objecting to the foundations of physics he developed is quite conducive to revealing errors. Several people would see more here than a single one, so that a new, improved invention can emerge from a recognized error.[12] According to Descartes, however, those of mathematics are more solid than the foundations of physics.[13] Mathematics has already found some evident and certain justifications.[14] Nevertheless, one must begin with philosophy, since, according to Descartes, the principles of mathematics were taken from philosophy, in which, however, he did not find any certain principles, so that he would like to start introducing certain principles into it.[15]

At the time he makes these considerations, there are various opinions within philosophy. According to Descartes, this is not possible because there can only be one true opinion.[16]

In order to introduce principles into philosophy, Descartes would like to undermine the foundations of the same[17] and attack the principles introduced up to now, since for "valid and well-considered reasons"[18] everyone can be doubted and because it is possible that the source of truth does not consist of an all-good God, but of an evil, powerful and cunning spirit.[19] So it can also come about that the manifest truths of mathematics declared by Descartes at the beginning, which cannot deceive people[20]such as the fact that adding two and three gives five could also be mere errors.[21]

But Descartes recognizes that there is an almost unchangeable nature in himself that helps him to have clear insights, so that the manifest truths of mathematics in particular remain unchangeable and eternal and cannot be errors.[22]

How this knowledge can come about will be discussed in more detail in chapter "4.12.) Mathematics and Philosophy II".

3.2.) Cogito ergo sum

As Descartes goes through the considerations described in the previous chapter, he realizes that whether he is wrong or not, it is he who is making these thoughts. He has consequently found proof of his own existence, so that the first principle of the philosophy he is looking for is the truth "I think, therefore I am"[23] puts. Because even the "craziest requirements of the skeptics"[24] do not make it possible to refute this finding in any way.[25]

In the following, Descartes also discusses what this I is that he has recognized as himself. He claims that if he stopped thinking he would have no reason to believe that he has ever been[26] because he only exists as long as he thinks.[27] Therefore it is a substance whose whole essence consists in thinking.[28] He calls this substance a thinking thing, spirit, soul, mind, reason,[29] who doubts, sees, affirms, denies, wants, does not want, imagines, feels,[30] recognizes a few and does not know a lot,[31] so that, since it does nothing but think, nothing can be perceived more evidently than one's own mind.[32] The sensations and imaginations, ergo the modes of consciousness, are undoubtedly in this mind, even if it perceives something wrongly. Because of this, the soul is much easier to recognize than the body.[33] Because the thinking substance does not need a place or anything material in order to be.

Instead, it is completely different from the body and, like everything else, does not need it.

In addition, Descartes cannot see how it is possible for a god or the like to create a soul, even if he considers it more likely that souls must be created rather than develop into which.[34] But the soul, although it was created, must not arise from something material. But it has an intimate connection to the body.[35] Unlike him, however, she is immortal.[36]

Descartes imagines it to be made of "[...] some fine material, as something comparable to wind, fire or ether, which is distributed in a coarser component."[37]

4.) The origin of the doubt about one's own power of knowledge

After this fundamental knowledge of himself, Descartes also notes that he could only come to this through doubt. Since he claims that it is more perfect to know than to doubt, he ponders how it can be that he can nevertheless think something more perfect than he is himself.[38]

4.1.) The origin of the thought of one's own perfection is God

This perfection, Descartes said, must come from something much more perfect than himself.[39] For while he claims that some thoughts, such as that about warmth or the sky, may well depend on his own nature, since he has sufficient perfection for them, but some thoughts do not depend on his nature, he even depends on the Can't create anything, he is also of the opinion that it is not possible for him to create the idea of ​​a perfect being out of himself or out of nothing. Because something that produces something else must be at least as perfect as that which is produced. According to Descartes, what constitutes this perfect being is God, who is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, omniscient, omnipotent and also in possession of all other perfections. If one were to draw the idea of ​​such a god from oneself, one would also be a god who would have to possess all properties, such as omniscience, etc.[40] However, according to Descartes, this is not possible, since it is God who ensures that man is and continues to exist.[41] While God's thinking imposes necessity on things, man does not.[42] Since God is perfect, it is not his own right to have a material body, for this is a sign of imperfection.[43] Since Descartes has an idea of ​​an infinite substance, but is himself finite, God not only has to see to it that things are necessary, he himself necessarily exists.[44]

In addition, it is not possible for God to deceive people, since nothing imperfect like deception can be present in a perfect being like God.[45]

Furthermore, the statement that God exists is just as certain as any statement of geometry can be, because in such statements, according to Descartes, as will be explained in chapter "4.12.) Mathematics and Philosophy II", we cannot be mistaken.[46] Descartes justifies the existence of God as follows: while one can imagine a wing horse, regardless of whether it actually exists, one cannot imagine a mountain without a valley. But it only follows from this that if there were a mountain there would necessarily have to be a valley for it. In the case of God, however, this is different. Because, since existence is a perfection for Descartes, this is not conceivable without existence and if something can be thought exclusively with existence, then it must necessarily exist.[47]

4.2.) The origin of the thought of one's own perfection is not God

One possible reason for the origin of the doubt about one's own power of knowledge is God. But this is not the only possible origin.

In his work “Discours de la Méthode”, Descartes sets up a thought experiment with which he probably wants to prove that God is infinite perfection and thus also omnipotent. However, the thought experiment is intended to show that God could not be the only possible origin of everything.

In this, God creates enough matter in an imaginary space to create a new world that harbors chaos. But just by introducing the laws of God and supporting nature through him, it is possible that the things of this new world could be similar to the things of the real world, provided that God intended it.[48][49]

First of all, it is questionable where God gets the imaginary space in which he creates this world and why he needs a space that houses a world at all. After all, even souls do not need any space to exist. So only the more imperfect part of the human being, the body, seems to need a space.

Here the question arises, where does God get the matter with which he creates this world?

He has two options. Either he draws from nothing or from himself. However, it cannot actually be possible for him to create out of nothing, since in doing so he would have a share in an imperfection which something as perfect as God cannot achieve. So he has to create from himself.

In addition, God cannot have arisen from nothing, since a perfect being cannot have arisen from imperfect non-being, as Descartes claims. God can therefore never come into being, but must always have been. In addition, it must have been created outside of time, otherwise it would have to have started at some point. This is not possible, because it would either have arisen from something less perfect or there would have to have been something more perfect than himself, which in turn is not possible if God has always had all perfection in himself and has not first developed himself towards it. Descartes argues that God has always actually possessed all perfections, since an initial development would make God imperfect.[50]

Besides, God may be[51] able to create a space, but not forced to exist in space itself, because something like a space seems, as already discussed, to only need a body that God does not have, since this would make it imperfect.

Furthermore, it is questionable how matter can arise from something non-physical, like God.

That God cannot duplicate himself should have emerged from the foregoing considerations. For this second God thus created could not be as perfect as the first, not because he would be brought about by God, for since a cause must be at least as perfect as its effect, it would be possible that he would be as perfect as God would be, but because this God would only be created temporally after the first God and consequently would have to be in time. This would make him less perfect than a first god.

In the following it must be noted that the sole thought of the inseparability of God and existence does not establish the actual existence of God.Because just as a mountain cannot do without a valley, but still has the possibility of not existing, neither can God be thought of without existence and yet there is still the possibility that he does not exist. This is due to the fact that people can be wrong, as will be explained in more detail in chapter "4.10.) The error".

Because when a person thinks God exists, he only thinks about his possibility. However, if there is a god, then he actually exists. But since a person, as described above, according to Descartes, cannot actually possess all perfections, but only potentially, there is also the possibility of error in him, so that his thinking about the inseparability of existence and God can also be wrong. The way people think does not force things to be necessary[52] and just as little does man's thinking necessarily impose existence on a god.

Furthermore, it is questionable whether God can be posited as absolute perfection, the cause of all other perfections to a certain degree, because, as is to be proved as follows, another cause would also be possible, which, however, presupposes the assumption of solipsism. Therefore it should be explained briefly what solipsism is and to what extent it can offer an alternative basis for absolute perfection.

4.3.) Solipsism

The term solipsism comes from the Latin terms “solus” and “ipse”, ergo they can be translated with the German terms “alone” and “self”.[53] Solipsism is an epistemological and ontological standpoint of an "individually subjectivist idealism"[54]which presupposes that only one's own ego and its mental states have real existences.[55] The I or the subject of knowledge is therefore only the knowing being in its consciousness. Everything else except the ego, consequently other "I's" or subjects, as well as the entire external world are pure ideas.[56]

Because whether other living beings[57] Having an inner life, i.e. thoughts, needs or feelings, is controversial.[58] The outside world and other “I's” are only the content of the individual consciousness and appear in it, but also disappear again.[59]

This type of solipsism means that, from a practical point of view, no other self than your own needs to be taken into account in actions. So-called practical solipsism is the "unrestricted self-assertion of the ego as the only valid and obligatory reality."[60]

However, another ego besides one's own cannot be posited as a mere content of consciousness, but can also be thought of as something that itself has a center of consciousness and thus also thinks independently.[61]

At this point, solipsism can be broken down into two subspecies.

In the metaphysical and the epistemological.

The metaphysical solipsism can be characterized by the following sentences: "" Only I exist "or" Self is the whole of reality "".[62]

Hence, existential claims can never truly, and perhaps never with full intelligibility, claim more than the existence of the experiencing self and its states, and indeed perhaps never claim more than this as of the moment of the experience. "63

Metaphysical solipsism is regarded by philosophers as implausible, but irrefutable.64

At the point at which, however, another thinking ego is already posited, as already described above, epistemological solipsism, which is advocated by far more philosophers, can be posited.

[...]



[1] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 5.

[2] Ibid ..

[3] Ibid., P. 7.

[4] Ibid., P. 19.

[5] Ibid ..

[6] Ibid., P. 27.

[7] Ibid., F ..

[8] Ibid., 16.

[9] Ibid ..

[10] Ibid., P. 23.

[11] Ibid., P. 49.

[12] Ibid., P. 118 ff.

[13] Ibid., P. 13.

[14] Ibid., P. 35.

[15] Ibid., P. 37.

[16] Ibid., P. 15.

[17] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 65.

[18] Ibid., P. 71.

[19] Ibid., F ..

[20] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 125.

[21] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 69.

[22] Ibid., P. 163.

[23] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 59.

[24] Ibid ..

[25] Ibid., P. 57 f ..

[26] Ibid., P. 59.

[27] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 83.

[28] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 59.

[29] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 83.

[30] Ibid., P. 87.

[31] Ibid., P. 99.

[32] Ibid., P. 97.

[33] Ibid ..

[34] Ibid., P. 81.

[35] Ibid., P. 101.

[36] Ibid., P. 103.

[37] Ibid., P. 81.

[38] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 61.

[39] Ibid ..

[40] Ibid., F ..

[41] Ibid., P. 63.

[42] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 167.

[43] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 63.

[44] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 121.

[45] Ibid., P. 141.

[46] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, p. 65.

[47] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 167.

[48] Descartes, René, 2011, Discours de la Méthode, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, pp. 75 ff.

[49] If God wanted it that way, after Descartes they could certainly also be completely different.

[50] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 125.

[51] A criticism of this claim should be presented in chapter "4.5.) Duplicating a world".

[52] Descartes, René, 2010, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia - Meditations on the First Philosophy -, Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, p. 167.

[53] Halder, Alois, Müller, Max, 1988, Philosophical Dictionary, Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 284.

[54] Halder, Alois, 2000, Philosophical Dictionary - Completely revised new edition -, Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 296.

[55] Halder, Alois, Müller, Max, 1988, Philosophical Dictionary, Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 284.

[56] Kirchner, Friedrich, Michaëlis, Carl, 1998, Dictionary of Philosophical Terms, Meiner, Hamburg, p. 612.

[57] From the English "creature"

[58] Honderich, Ted, 2005, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy - second Edition -, Oxford University Press Inc., New York, p. 883.

[59] Eisler, Rudolf, 1922, Concise Dictionary of Philosophy - Second Edition -, E.S. Mittler & Sohn, Berlin, p. 610.

[60] Halder, Alois, Müller, Max, 1988, Philosophical Dictionary, Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 284.

[61] Eisler, Rudolf, 1922, Concise Dictionary of Philosophy - Second Edition -, E.S. Mittler & Sohn, Berlin, p. 610.

[62] Edwards, Paul, 1967, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Volume seven -, Macmillian Publishing Co., Inc. & The Free Press, New York, p. 488.

[63] Ibid ..

[64] Ibid ..

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