Friday, August 14, 2009

A logical question

A little (pre-arranged) conversation between myself and "Avatar". "I think you" means "you are the subject of my thoughts".

Good day all,

If I write this proposition: I think you, therefore you are. Can I logically deduce the following one : I don't think you, therefore you are not?


The answer is YES, I can logically deduce the second affirmation from the first, but I must add "in my mind" in both cases. The sequence is therefore "I think (of) you, therefore you are (exist) in my mind. Consequently, if I don't think (of) you, you are not (don't exist) in my mind."

However, if one does not precise "in my mind" the first proposition is already false because there is no necessary link between the fact that I think something (necessarily in ones mind) and the existence of this thing elsewere than in ones mind.

If you agree with this cursory analysis, you must conclude that any reality which is not in your mind transcends your mind. If you do not agree, then there is no difference for you between "to exist" and "to exist in your mind".


Your answer has hit me in the face to a point you can not imagine. Now I understand that Descartes in fact said "I think, therefore I am in my head". This changes everything. I now feel freed from my cartesian chains!



I am pleased to hear your Harry Houdini type evasion has been successful. Without a doubt there is something akin to prestidigitation in Descartes formula, which starts in full immanence (I think) and dreams of spewing out a transcendence (therefore I am).


Credit image: Fritz at


  1. I think we all exist because you have broadcasted this article to us therefore we exist the one ypu ate broadcasting. Am I right?

  2. The proposition "I think you, therefore you are" is a proposition but it is neither logically nor phenomenologically valid. I can address my coffee mug as "you" all I like and while my coffee mug exists it will not make my coffee mug anymore sentient as "you" signifies more than an existent thing, but a particular type of existent thing with a particular ontological status-- a thing that is addressed and cognizant of itself as being addressed by another.

  3. This reminds me small childrens who puts their hands on their eyes and say " I am hidden, can you find me?"....^_^.

  4. Sounds like Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal logic to me.

  5. @Nodami,
    Indeed, B+Qs broadcastees exist, but so do the non B+Qs readers ;)

    If another human beign is (or isn't) a subject of my thoughts, he may not be cognizant of this fact. The Cartesian tends to cut out of reality the idealized shape drawn in his mind.

    Thats' funny! Although, children tend to still have a spirit of admiration and questionning which most adults have lst sight of.

    I will have to look tht up! :)

  6. Consciousness cannot know unconsciousness. The content of unconsciousness (or lack of it) will always be unknown to the conscious mind.So, awareness is the nature of consciousness; everything else is thought.
    One could as well say: I am awareness...therefore
    I exist. Then again I thought, Who let the dogs out?
    My best

  7. I love this post! Wow that was a really refreshing thought for my morning coffee! Thank you
    And also coincidentally I was just contemplating about this odd quote I found, I'm ticklish therefore I exist, I can't tickle myself therefore you exist - which is a more physical sense but still replayed in my head as I was reading your post! haha

  8. tell me something, how would you know if i'm there in your mind until unless you have me in your mind, u know of my existence, u know of something that distinguishes me from other things u've had in your mind, the moment you question my existence i'm introduced in your mind and there i'll be so u could recall me in your head. Its just like if u read my post i get in your head, even if u dont think of me later u cant deny my existence , not even in your mind.I'm just undergrad in philosophy so probably its just stupid.

  9. @Count and Kaorispoon,
    Actually, Descartes sets his own thought as the foundation of his philosophy - as it is the only thing he cannot doubt. Contrary to Aristotle, who sets external experience (through the fice senses) as the starting point of his philosophy. Big difference :)

    This is not stupid at all. This post is also a bit of fun. With an idealistic philosophy, like Descartes - which sets ideas before reality - one tends to cut out of reality what does not fit into one's preconceived (a priori) ideas. What has been forgotten is the judgment of exitence: THIS IS. Good luck with the studies.

  10. Awareness without thought proves that I exist. Awareness alone proves I exist. Adding thought is like loading a CD into a GPS system. Everything we have seen and experienced from birth is then accessible and everyone we meet is added. The CD is updated continuosly. If you are recorded on my CD, then for me you "exist" and I go from there to continue to add my impressions or thoughts of you and consequently you become real to me whether I have met you in person or not.This CD can be erased or ejected and the person is left in mostly awareness. Descartes probably meant that I think, and therefore, my awareness has allowed my mind to construct an "I am." This has been a most interesting discussion and I'm glad Avatar raised it. My best

  11. very nerdy :*) nice one :) can i re-post this one? ahii..

  12. @CountSneaky,
    Yes, although to be able to say that I suppose you need to think. I think René is Avatar's punching ball - rightly so! :) Best. :)

    You may be mistaking Geek and Greek ;) Commenting yourself with quotes and/or a link would be the way to go. :)

  13. I'm not sure I got confused. :(

  14. Descartes wanted, like most thinkers of his day, to ground the world on God and soul.The world though was changing rapidly before his eyes. So, he was left with a mishmash of classical and religious ideas and tried to resolve them by turning people into observers rather than participants. At least this is the way Crraig Eisendrath saw it in his excellent book, "At War with Time." So ol' Rene suffers another blow.My best.

  15. If I clarify my previous ramblings: Awareness is pure conscious. It is the tank of water into which the fish called thought is thrown at birth. I trust this serves to obscure the thought further.

  16. My understanding of "I think you therefore you are" is little different from what is interpreted above. The "you" here refers to an imaginary being or an object, meaning it doesn't exist in reality. Most of the time, what we see is through the eyes of our mind, We don't do the pure seeing. For example when we see someone, we may just see a human being may be with different or same color, little short or tall but we don't stop here. We start imagining that this person is very confident, he looks ambitious he may harm me, he is getting frequent phone calls may be he is engaged or married and so on...So actually, we never see, we always imagine. The object or a person may have a completely different reality than what we imagine. However, in our world of imagination "I think him therefore he is".