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(The New York Times)   "Physicians and society are not ready for 'I have brain activation, therefore I am,' " Dr. Ropper wrote. "That would seriously put Descartes before the horse"   (nytimes.com) divider line 179
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11455 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Feb 2010 at 10:18 AM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-02-04 07:00:37 AM
*groans*

*applauds*

Punning physician presents pontentially ponderous pitfall...yeesh
 
2010-02-04 08:24:36 AM
The thought of being even somewhat aware in that state makes it all the more frightening.
 
2010-02-04 08:43:37 AM
Sybarite: The thought of being even somewhat aware in that state makes it all the more frightening.

Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.
 
2010-02-04 08:43:45 AM
Delicious pun notwithstanding, I've always had problems with that Descartes bullsh*t. His logic is simply flawed.

Let's change it a little:
"It is raining, therefore, it exists."

Has this proved that 'it' exists? If so, what is 'it'?
 
2010-02-04 09:02:07 AM
So, how long had the subject been a member of the GOP?

/Thank you! Goodnight!
 
2010-02-04 09:11:31 AM
FTFA:

The new report, posted online by The New England Journal of Medicine, does not suggest that most apparently unresponsive patients can communicate or are likely to recover.

This methodology worked on people who were young, and included in its subjects "minimally conscious" people (those who can occaisionally respond with blinks/etc when asked questions) as well as truly "vegetative" people (such as Schiavo). The test groups were SMALL.

It is a great step forward in opening up channels of communication with people who are trapped inside of their own bodies, but it should not remove the rights of family members to make medical decisions for them the same way family members make medical decisions for children or other mentally disabled family members.



hillbillypharmacist: Delicious pun notwithstanding, I've always had problems with that Descartes bullsh*t. His logic is simply flawed.

Let's change it a little:
"It is raining, therefore, it exists."

Has this proved that 'it' exists? If so, what is 'it'?


"It's raining, therefore, it exists" in no way follows from that same sort of argument and as an objection it is so completely off base that I don't think you've ever actually read how Descartes came to the conclusion "I think, therefore I am."

In short: Thought cannot exist without an agent to do the thinking. Even if the thoughts in your head are fabrications and lies put there by some sort of evil demon, the fact that you are aware of your thinking means, at the very least, there is some "you" (the one aware of the thinking) that exists (whatever you may be).

Just so long as you are thinking, the only thing you can be certain of is the fact that you are thinking. Hence, "I think, therefore I am."

Do you mind explaining just what the heck your raining thing means, and how exactly it discredits Descartes?
 
2010-02-04 09:14:09 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Delicious pun notwithstanding, I've always had problems with that Descartes bullsh*t. His logic is simply flawed.

Let's change it a little:
"It is raining, therefore, it exists."

Has this proved that 'it' exists? If so, what is 'it'?


1. Pulling one small bit out of the context of the supporting argument almost always makes that bit sound illogical.

If I said "that Jesus guy sure was violent...look at this: I am come not to bring peace on Earth, but the sword", I would clearly be wrong.

2. Descartes said more than cognitus ergo sum. Read him in context and you should find him to be quite logical.

3. Comparing the existence of a raindrop to the problem of identity is comparing apples and tuna, philosophically speaking.
 
2010-02-04 09:36:32 AM
GAHHHHH. There were so many better ways to set up that punchline, including the joke he stole it from.

You just know that from the moment he picked up the phone to talk to the New York Times about this major development in bioethics and neurology, he was trying to steer the conversation in a direction that would let him use that little knee-slapper.
 
2010-02-04 09:36:38 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Delicious pun notwithstanding, I've always had problems with that Descartes bullsh*t. His logic is simply flawed.

Let's change it a little:
"It is raining, therefore, it exists."

Has this proved that 'it' exists? If so, what is 'it'?


"I think, therefore I am" is the conclusion of a process of doubting everything. You can doubt the existence of every material thing including your own life...however...you cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting...therefore...because you think, you exist.
 
2010-02-04 09:41:37 AM
A philosopher pun thread? This could be humorous, but I can't think of any.
 
2010-02-04 09:42:56 AM
Ingaba: "I think, therefore I am" is the conclusion of a process of doubting everything. You can doubt the existence of every material thing including your own life...however...you cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting...therefore...because you think, you exist.

Except he hasn't doubted everything. He still assumes his own identity.

The only logical conclusion you can draw from thinking is that something exists. Not 'you' or 'I'.
 
2010-02-04 09:51:42 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Except he hasn't doubted everything. He still assumes his own identity.

The only logical conclusion you can draw from thinking is that something exists. Not 'you' or 'I'.


I've heard this criticism before. I'm not very convinced by it ultimately (notice that you wrote "The only logical conclusion you can draw"), but there is something to it. And it's too early for this.
 
2010-02-04 10:01:45 AM
ne2d: notice that you wrote "The only logical conclusion you can draw

Identity is a practical necessity, but not a logical one ;)

Certainly it is too early.
 
2010-02-04 10:03:11 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Ingaba: "I think, therefore I am" is the conclusion of a process of doubting everything. You can doubt the existence of every material thing including your own life...however...you cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting...therefore...because you think, you exist.

Except he hasn't doubted everything. He still assumes his own identity.

The only logical conclusion you can draw from thinking is that something exists. Not 'you' or 'I'.


Thought without an agency to do the thinking?

Thought is occurring. You are aware of the thought occurring. You are aware of the thought occurring, even if you can't know for certain if it it is your thought.

"I think therefore I am" becomes "I am aware of a thought, therefore I am."

Not much of a difference if you ask me.
 
2010-02-04 10:05:51 AM
Talon: "I think therefore I am" becomes "I am aware of a thought, therefore I am."

And both assume identity.
 
2010-02-04 10:17:13 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Talon: "I think therefore I am" becomes "I am aware of a thought, therefore I am."

And both assume identity.


So you are conjecturing a disembodied thought?

"This thought is happening, so it must exist, but nothing else can be infered from it"?

/curse you for starting this during coffeetime
//not really
 
2010-02-04 10:18:00 AM
hillbillypharmacist: And both assume identity.

You can doubt your identity as being a material product of the mind. You cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting your identity. That is the core of the Cartesian method. It's not intended to prove that I think therefore I identify myself as a fireman.
 
2010-02-04 10:19:18 AM
When I said mind I meant brain..
 
2010-02-04 10:20:19 AM
Ingaba: You cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting your identity.

I can have no doubt that thinking about doubting my identity is occurring. Everything further than that is quite doubtful.
 
2010-02-04 10:22:02 AM
Rene Descartes was a drunken fart "I drink therefore I am!"
 
2010-02-04 10:22:14 AM
He's using morse code. I think he must be a murderer, he just keeps repeating 'me kill me kill.'
 
2010-02-04 10:23:37 AM
Ingaba: You cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting your identity. That is the core of the Cartesian method.

Right, radical doubt can prove that the one engaging in it exists, due to the logical nature of being unable to doubt that you are doubting. Cogito Ergo Sum should be more properly taught as Dubito Ergo Sum.

However, on top of being a drunken fart, Renee Descartes philosophy was unable to get out of his own head. I'm sure I exist, but the rest could be an elaborate illusion.
 
Rat
2010-02-04 10:24:29 AM
Its a Bruce roll (new window)

© somebody had to
 
2010-02-04 10:24:49 AM
So are they implying that one day Glenn Beck might recover full cognitive faculties? That's great news!
 
2010-02-04 10:25:25 AM
A fate worse than death.
 
2010-02-04 10:27:25 AM
Ennuipoet: Sybarite: The thought of being even somewhat aware in that state makes it all the more frightening.

Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.


"Longer than you think, daddy! Longer than you think!"
 
2010-02-04 10:29:42 AM
What's the hardest part about eating a vegetable?

Getting around the wheelchair...
 
2010-02-04 10:30:24 AM
Now, according to a new report, he has begun to communicate: in response to simple questions, like "Do you have any brothers want to die?," he showed distinct traces of activity on a brain imaging machine that represented either "yes" or "no."
 
2010-02-04 10:30:26 AM
More than 20 posts and still no analogy regarding Obama or GOP supporters? You guys are slacking
 
2010-02-04 10:31:06 AM
Ennuipoet: Sybarite: The thought of being even somewhat aware in that state makes it all the more frightening.

Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.


They asked him questions like "Do you have brothers?" and were able to measure yes/no responses.

Now get to the scary stuff that we need to know. Ask the guy "Are you in pain?" and then, if yes, followup questions about it. And I think you ultimately have to ask "Do you wish you were dead?"
 
2010-02-04 10:31:44 AM
Talon: Just so long as you are thinking, the only thing you can be certain of is the fact that you are thinking. Hence, "I think, therefore I am."

Except that's not proof, it's the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.

When he makes the statement "I think" ("Cogito") he presupposes his existence, the very thing he's trying to prove.

Pick any other verb: "I Fark, therefore I am", for example.

The premise "I (am doing anything)" assumes the existence of the actor from the outset.

It ain't proof.

Now, had Descates said "Cogitans" ("There is thought") he could have concluded that there is a thinker, but nothing about whether he is in fact that thinker.

Really, all Descartes can say is "I think, therefore I am thinking" which is simply a tautology, with no conclusion other than its own assumption about the existence of the thinker.
 
2010-02-04 10:31:58 AM
I cum, therefore I jizz.
 
2010-02-04 10:32:28 AM
gosseyn: More than 20 posts and still no analogy regarding Obama or GOP supporters? You guys are slacking

Hell, everybody knows that republicans are fruits, not vegetables. Get a brain moran!
 
2010-02-04 10:32:46 AM
Fano: Ennuipoet: Sybarite: The thought of being even somewhat aware in that state makes it all the more frightening.

Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.

"Longer than you think, daddy! Longer than you think!"


That was probably among Stephen King's best short stories.
 
2010-02-04 10:32:47 AM
so... if you went letter by letter waiting for a yes-no on a topic -which could be done by computer- you could have people doing silly things... like tweeting that 'poop coming out; bedpan needs changed'
 
2010-02-04 10:33:33 AM
whistleridge: hillbillypharmacist: Talon: "I think therefore I am" becomes "I am aware of a thought, therefore I am."

And both assume identity.

So you are conjecturing a disembodied thought?

"This thought is happening, so it must exist, but nothing else can be infered from it"?

/curse you for starting this during coffeetime
//not really


That does appear to be what he is is conjecturing... But that is as illogical as saying "blue" can exist independent of light and an object to reflect the light - blue is a quality of light/objects, not an independent thing in and of itself (e.g. you can't point to "a blue" without also pointing to an object that is blue, even if that object is light itself).

You don't assume the identity, it follows from the given "thought." Just as you don't assume light/pigment, it follows from the given "blue." The existence of one necessitates the other.

EnderWiggnz: However, on top of being a drunken fart, Renee Descartes philosophy was unable to get out of his own head. I'm sure I exist, but the rest could be an elaborate illusion.

IIRC he tried... but it was rather circular. Something like "I can imagine an infinite and loving God, and I would not be able to do so if an infinite and loving God existed, therefore he exists. Because he exists I know what I am thinking is not put in my head by an evil demon."

Even though the "infinite loving God" could just be a thought produced by the evil demon, he knows it isn't because God wouldn't do that. And he knows there's God, because he has the thought of an infinite loving God. Repeat ad nauseum.
 
2010-02-04 10:33:50 AM
angstycoder: so... if you went letter by letter waiting for a yes-no on a topic -which could be done by computer- you could have people doing silly things... like tweeting that 'poop coming out; bedpan needs changed'

"I feel a turtle."
 
2010-02-04 10:34:10 AM
Ennuipoet: Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.

I not sure I'd be terrified, but even if I was mildly cognizant of what was going on, I would be ROYALLY pissed at my family if they decided to take me off life support and I couldn't communicate my displeasure.

It's enough to make me want an afterlife just do I could fark with them when they die. Or at the very least a haunting. I'd want a good, angry haunting for a couple of years.

Hey! I have an idea for a movie...Ghost meets The Ring with a little Death Wish mixed in.
 
2010-02-04 10:34:50 AM
Deucednuisance: Talon: Just so long as you are thinking, the only thing you can be certain of is the fact that you are thinking. Hence, "I think, therefore I am."

Except that's not proof, it's the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.

When he makes the statement "I think" ("Cogito") he presupposes his existence, the very thing he's trying to prove.

Pick any other verb: "I Fark, therefore I am", for example.

The premise "I (am doing anything)" assumes the existence of the actor from the outset.

It ain't proof.

Now, had Descates said "Cogitans" ("There is thought") he could have concluded that there is a thinker, but nothing about whether he is in fact that thinker.

Really, all Descartes can say is "I think, therefore I am thinking" which is simply a tautology, with no conclusion other than its own assumption about the existence of the thinker.


In addition to that, stuff like- 'I think my friend thinks you're (smart/hot/retarded/etc.)' is dividing by zero type shiat...
 
2010-02-04 10:34:57 AM
Talon: IIRC he tried... but it was rather circular. Something like "I can imagine an infinite and loving God, and I would not be able to do so if an infinite and loving God did not existed, therefore he exists. Because he exists I know what I am thinking is not put in my head by an evil demon."

FTFM
 
2010-02-04 10:36:17 AM
Ennuipoet: Agreed. I'm not afraid of death, I am scared shiatless of being a vegetable.

FTFM or maybe FTFY
 
2010-02-04 10:36:27 AM
I've always preferred Wittgenstein's private language argument.

What it implies goes something like this: "When I think, I use language. The idea of a private language only I understand is incoherent, since language is learned. Therefore, there must be a society from which meaning has been applied to the language I'm using." ergo, "I think, therefore society exists."

/Spectacular pun
 
2010-02-04 10:36:39 AM
Perhaps this is a good thing. Finally, people in a vegetative state can request to be taken off of life support and allowed to die peacefully. If only this technique were in use during the Terri Schiavo ridiculousness.

What's that? The sound of stampeding fundamentalist Christian lawyers?
 
2010-02-04 10:36:40 AM
hillbillypharmacist: Ingaba: You cannot doubt that you are thinking about doubting your identity.

I can have no doubt that thinking about doubting my identity is occurring. Everything further than that is quite doubtful.


The point of Descartes is to find one thing that he can be sure of, which happens to be that at the moment of thinking 'I' am the 'agent' of thinking. The issue of identity is a separate matter.

Apart from Descartes, even if I were to claim I know what my identity is, is there a way to grasp what identity is? Is my identity that which others perceive of me or how I perceive myself? Because if it's either of those, then, those are in constant change. If you're talking about some form of static identity outside of the philosophical, in the sense of being the son of my parents, the brother of my siblings, and the father of my children, well, then maybe that might be a way to identify oneself.
 
2010-02-04 10:37:28 AM
Descartes' "Meditations on First Philosophy" was the first thing I read in college for my philosophy minor.

I love this headline so much...
 
2010-02-04 10:37:31 AM
EnderWiggnz: I'm sure I exist, but the rest could be an elaborate illusion.

But you know nothing about the state of that existence. You could be a head in a jar, or a butterfly's dream.

And since that line of though gets you nowhere, I refute Berkeley, thus! [kicks rock]
 
2010-02-04 10:37:47 AM
Talon: That does appear to be what he is is conjecturing...

Not exactly. I'll expand shortly.
 
2010-02-04 10:38:19 AM
Interesting. I just had a relative pass away after a period of coma and it does make me wonder how much was registering.
 
2010-02-04 10:38:32 AM
Deucednuisance: Now, had Descates said "Cogitans" ("There is thought") he could have concluded that there is a thinker, but nothing about whether he is in fact that thinker.

He could have concluded there was a thinker... and the fact that he was experiencing that thought, even if they were not his own thoughts, indicates that he exists. He is aware of the thought, even if the thoughts are not his own.

And "I am thinking therefore I am thinking" is the point - "I am thinking therefore I am thinking."
 
2010-02-04 10:38:37 AM
I prefer the inverse;

"I am thinking, therefore I am not being." Its an eastern twist.

To the eastern mind, which has been pondering over these ideas for a bit longer than the western mind, "being" is the act of "not thinking". To be, is to be without needing anything other than the current moment. When you are fully invested in whatever is before you, free from thought and doubt, we are at our most alive. What does it matter to the person lost in his or her work if the universe is flat or round? That person is NOT thinking, but instead is operating in a more "natural" mode, or so the eastern mind tends to think.

To be to the eastern mind is to exist effortlessly. The people that are continually thinking, "I hate my life, this sucks, my job is no fun, I don't like my friends" etc etc. are not really a part of life or the external world, but are instead trapped int their own internal world. Sometimes these internal worlds can be very pleasant, but they are still not "being" worlds, they are thinking worlds.

A great example is politics. We all know someone who takes politics as if it is life and death every day. This person is typically not fully connected to reality, and that disconnect is typically a source of unhappiness, even if that person cannot or will not see it as such. The same can be said of fan boys who are just a little too invested in the current pop culture phenomenon. Thinking in and of itself is not the same as being; because being is somehow inter-related with the larger reality where as thinking is more isolated.

Now of course we all need to think, but I find more truth in this statement,

"I experience, therefore I am."
 
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