Essay about Descartes’ Cogito
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It is the purpose of this essay to examine both Descartes’ Cogito argument and his skepticism towards small and universal elements, as well as the implications these arguments have on each other. First, I will summarize and explain the skepticism Descartes’ brings to bear on small and universal elements in his first meditation. Second, I will summarize and explain the Cogito argument, Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore I am” (it should be noted that this famous implication is not actually something ever said or written by Descartes, but instead, an implication taken from his argument for his own existence). Third, I will critique the line of reasoning underlying these arguments. Descartes attacks…show more content…
Descartes attacks the possibility of certainty with regards to the existence of small and universal elements with the possibility of our thoughts being altered by an omnipotent deceiver. In paragraph nine, he states, “How do I know that he did not bring it about that there be no Earth at all, no heavens, no extended thing, no figure, no size, no place, and yet all these things should seem to me to exist precisely as they appear to do now.” His point is that this omnipotent evil deceiver could create in our minds an understanding of mathematics and logic that is at odds with reality, causing us to construe everything wrongly. Thus Descartes ends this final and devastating doubt with the preliminary conclusion that everything he perceives can be called into doubt.
Descartes answers his seemingly hopeless skepticism from the first meditation with the Cogito. The basic point of his Cogito argument is that for me to either perceive awry, or even to doubt my own existence, I must exist. It is, as Descartes says, “’I am, I exist’ is necessarily true every time it is uttered by me or conceived in my mind (Med2, par3).” He makes two arguments for the Cogito in his second meditation. Descartes arrives at the Cogito through the notion of an omnipotent deceiver actually. He starts to question his own
I am. If nobody else in the world existed I would have no need for a name I would have no need for words I would have no need for language. I only bother to identify myself as I relate to you. I am me because you exist and can seeming. I am the because other people exist. I am nothing but the reflection of myself I see off of you. I do not see myself I exist because of the way you see me. You do not need to knowledge my existence for me to exist. Not so that they think I'm a good person but so that I think they think I am a good person. I define myself on what I think you see me as and you define yourself as what you think I see you as. We never really know what other people see we never truly connect only our version of our connection is the reality that I see. There is a theory that says something is solid because we haven't reached the level mentally or spiritually that would enable you to pass through it not because it indeed is impossible. What if a wall is solid because if I pass through the wall it would invalidate my own existence. The wall is solid I am solid the wall exist so I exist.
Self-verification theory 
Main article:Self-verification theory
This theory was put forward by William Swann of the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 to put a name to the aforementioned phenomena. The theory states that once a person develops an idea about what they are like, they will strive to verify the accompanying self-views.
Two considerations are thought to drive the search for self-verifying feedback:
- We feel more comfortable and secure when we believe that others see us in the same way that we see ourselves. Actively seeking self-verifying feedback helps people avoid finding out that they are wrong about their self-views.
- Self-verification theory assumes that social interactions will proceed more smoothly and profitably when other people view us the same way as we view ourselves. This provides a second reason to selectively seek self-verifying feedback.
These factors of self-verification theory create controversy when persons suffering from low-self-esteem are taken into consideration. People who hold negative self-views about themselves selectively seek negative feedback in order to verify their self-views. This is in stark contrast to self-enhancement motives that suggest people are driven by the desire to feel good about themselves.
- Many attributes are not measurable in the physical world, such as kindness, cleverness and sincerity.
- Even when attributes can be assessed with reference to the physical world, the knowledge that we gain is not necessarily the knowledge we are seeking. Every measure is simply a relative measure to the level of that attribute in, say, the general population or another specific individual.
- This means that any measurement only merits meaning when it is expressed in respect to the measurements of others.
- Most of our personal identities are therefore sealed in comparative terms from the social world.
Reflected appraisalsoccur when a person observes how others respond to them. The process was first explained by the sociologist Charles H. Cooley in 1902 as part of his discussion of the "looking-glass self", which describes how we see ourselves reflected in other peoples' eyes. He argued that a person's feelings towards themselves are socially determined via a three-step process:
"A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principled elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance; and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or mortification. The comparison with a looking-glass hardly suggests the second element, the imagined judgment which is quite essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not the mere mechanical reflection of ourselves, but an imputed sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon another's mind." (Cooley, 1902, p.153)
In simplified terms, Cooley's three stages are:
- We imagine how we appear in the eyes of another person.
- We then imagine how that person is evaluating us.
- The imagined evaluation leads us to feel good or bad, in accordance with the judgement we have conjured.
To existentialists, human beings — through their consciousness — create their own values and determine a meaning for their life because, in the beginning, the human being does not possess any inherent identity or value. By posing the acts that constitute him or her, he or she makes his or her existence more significant.
Understand that other people are your mirror. A simple concept, yet one that many people are either unwilling, or unable, to grasp. Summed up, it is simply that other people reflect you. Your emotions, your traits, and your feelings are reflected back at you from other people either through in-kind responses or through predictable reactions to the emotions or feelings that you're issuing.
How can my thinking exist before my existence and cause my existence. Therefore, I must exist first, then I can think about “I exist”
I am existing in this world, If my body physically is existing. For example, a person whose body functionally works but loss his conscious. He is still alive but he cannot think, we cannot say he is inexistent, because he is not dead. In other word, I can exist without “I think”, but “I think” cannot be without I exist.
South African principle, ubuntu, or ‘A person is a person through other persons.’ As Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes this perspective, ubuntu ‘is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather: “I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share.”’ In essence, I am because you are.
Deformed children were said to be possessed by evil spirits. The community only deemed it fit to kill the “evil children”. This tradition is still carried out in most parts of Ghana.
Human sacrifice has been practiced in various cultures throughout history. Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased,
In ancient Japan, legends talk about hitobashira ("human pillar"), in which maidens were buried alive at the base or near some constructions to protect the buildings against disasters or enemy attacks,
The ancient Chinese are known to have made sacrifices of young men and women to river deities, and to have buried slaves alive with their owners upon death as part of a funeral service. This was especially prevalent during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.
Just as your thoughts about unicorns do not mean unicorns are real, your thoughts about yourself are nothing more than thoughts.
People fed you lies. They fed you names and labels. Thoughts recursively became your thoughts. You are a creation of the mind.
“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”
— Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“You can never know about about your own destiny: are the people you meet there to play a part on your oun destiny, or do you exist just to play a role in theirs?”
— Libba Bray, Going Bovine
Descartes in Meditation II concludes that he is in essence a thinking thing (res cogitans), and that it is possible that he exists without a body. He recognizes, however, that to conclude from this that his mind is really distinct from his body would be fallacious. The Stoic paradox of the masked man illustrates the fallacy. If a person sees their father, they will very likely recognize him. If the same person is then shown a masked man, they may doubt that this is their father. Still, the masked man might be their father. So, to conclude that the father and the masked man are really distinct because one cannot doubt in one case but can in the other is clearly fallacious. The case is precisely the same for Descartes in relation to his mind and his body in Meditation II.