Reason as the Leading Motive

Musings on Metaphysics

Posted by Jerry on November 14, 2005

I’ll be painfully obvious here: It is a matter of fact that every thing that lives has existence.
But not every thing that exists has life.

We are all conscious beings. When people think of being conscious, they typically think of the fact that they are aware of things as existing. When the concept of “self-awareness” is brought up, people typically understand it to mean that they are aware of their own existence. However, I think a more fundamental, and therefore more important, aspect of self-awareness is not just being aware of your own existence, but also being aware of the fact THAT YOU ARE AWARE, and being aware of the process of awareness itself!

In other words, I think true introspection should be this analysis of one’s own awareness, of the process of one’s own thinking, a kind of meta-consciousness. I think that sheds so much light on many questions of one’s own identity and the reasons for one’s beliefs.

Now, moving on to a different but related topic:

Everything that exists, we can imagine, at least in principle. And everything that exists, we have concepts for them (our knowledge or ignorance of these concepts are irrelevant here). For example, we can imagine a tower because it does exist. We have the concept of a tower.

Also, there are things that can be purely imagined and we can have concepts for them, but they possess no real existence (i.e., they have only abstract existence). We can imagine a unicorn or Batman or Centaur (or God, for that matter) and we can have well-developed concepts for them, but they have no real existence.

However, those things that we CANNOT imagine AND those for which we have no concepts for, necessarily DO NOT exist. (Note, however that this does not mean that certain things cannot come into existence in the future. For example, cavemen had no concept of a computer, probably never imagined of the existence of one, and it did not exist at that time; however, it has now obviously come to exist).

Now, I have deliberately used the conjunction “AND” to qualify my statement because I believe both of the clauses (imagination AND concept) are a requirement in order for this syllogism to be true. Now, as far as I have been able to use my mental abilities to think about it, I think it has proven to be true in all cases.

For example, one CANNOT imagine what would it look like for a circle to have 4 corners. And we have no concept as such to describe such a figure. Moreover, it is an apparent analytical truth that such a figure does not exist.

However, I’m open to correction if anyone can think of something that cannot be imagined (that itself is a contradiction, isn’t it?) and for which we currently do not have any concepts for but which exists or could exist.


12 Responses to “Musings on Metaphysics”

  1. Your blog posts reflects the theme of our course.

  2. Ergo Sum said

    What is the theme of what course? Hmm… I wasn’t aware of any explicit theme I was putting forward in this post. What do you think is the theme?

  3. Laura said

    “Dang disah strao geforr kiny yner vobesziel! zu pro als nur earkden qaur so und United States!?!? 😉 ”
    what does it mean?? that´s what I´m guessing: Dank dieser ?? ?? keine einer ??! ! … sorry, i don´t get it. but I´m curious!! 🙂

  4. Ergo Sum said

    Hahahaa! I don’t know! I thought it something would make SOME meaning…!! Haha! But no, I have no idea what it means. 🙂

  5. Laura said

    SEHR witzig!! did you try to quote something or did you make it up?

  6. Ergo Sum said

    Oh.. just made it up. 😀

  7. patrick said

    Huh? What just happened?

    Well… a circle with four corners might just be a square right? ‘Cause if a circle keeps some of its defining properties, but has four corners, then the translation of the idea of equi- …

    Ow, geometry hurts. My head is nauseated, and I’m definintely getting too old for this.

  8. patrick said

    Great. I managed to misspell definitely. What an ass.

  9. Ergo Sum said

    You’re funny!

    But umm… a circle is only a circle… if it has any corners — let alone four — it ceases to be a figure that can be called a circle. Now, a corner is not the same thing as an edge.

  10. patrick said

    No doy, Mr. Man. I’m sure you noticed I was trying only to be silly.

    But seriously, geometry hurts. Don’t be square.

  11. Brilliant! I like the circle/corners analogy…

  12. […] It also seems to me that we in fact succumb almost entirely to the epistemic limitlessness of our consciousness. By that I mean, our consciousness is unlimited in its epistemic reach: there are no limits or boundaries to what we can think about, what we can dream about, what we can imagine or recreate, what we can speculate about, etc. (provided of course, that existence exists–which is the very fact I argue we most often ignore or forget). [For qualifications to this fact, see Musings on Metaphysics.] […]

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