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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


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>>But the cogito certainly does prove that something exists, even if this is only an act of thinking or a momentary bundles of acts of thinking. Thus I know with certainty that my present doubting is not a nonexistent object.

Its hard to see how the cogito would decide the question of whether one is an existent vs a non-existent object.

If you're inclined to think its not even possible that there are non-existent objects, then Descartes argument doesn't add anything you don't already know: "of course I'm not a non-existent object, there are no such things as those". Nor am I a married bachelor, or a grandson of the number eight.

On the other hand, if you're even remotely sympathetic to any intelligible distinction between existent and non-existent objects, and suspect you may be numbered among the latter, its hard to see how the cogito demonstrates otherwise. The argument would need more fleshing out.

Perhaps your act of doubting (and being sure of it) allows you to infer that you're *something*, but *something existent* seems to be stretching it (and begging some questions).

Is there something special about the activity of doubting (and being indubitably sure about it) that is existence-entailing whereas similar performance of other activities is not?

Sherlock Holmes is as indubitably sure he's doubting his own existence as any of the rest of us, but does this show him he exists?

The golden mountain goldenizes, and the cogitator cogitates. But once lost in meinong's jungle, its hard to see what action you can perform that will assist your escape.


Thank you for the excellent comment.

What I posted is only an excerpt. In the wider context I go on to say more and consider an objection.

But your objection is a powerful one, and given only what I said above, I would have to concede that the issue cannot be decided on the basis of the cogito alone.

Perhaps the only way out of the Jungle is by dogmatic insistence. But if one is allowed this, then one can raze and defoliate the Jungle in its entirety:

1. I know (in a sense of 'know' that entails objective certainty) that I am not a nonexistent object.
2. I could not know this if there are nonexistent objects.
3. There are no nonexistent objects.

The resolute Jungle dweller can reasonably claim that the argument begs the question at line (1).

By the way, if you would like a copy of Routley's *Exploring Meinong's Jungle and Beyond,* a copy can be made via Amazon for a mere $500. I got my copy for free years ago when a former colleague got rid of most of his library.

Another blasted typo! A copy can be HAD via Amazon.com for a paltry 500 USD.

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