2 Answers

  1. Descartes ' logic is that if there is a phenomenon, then there must be something behind it. Descartes not only asserts the existence of consciousness, but also the existence of matter (as the substance underlying things).

    Descartes ' consciousness, the “I”, appears because Descartes believes that matter is insufficient to explain thinking. He tries to think strictly logically, moving from the more obvious to the less obvious. The most obvious thing to him seems to be his own thoughts as something immediately given. And since the concept of “thinking” does not contain the logical necessity of “things” (we can talk about ideal objects in isolation from concrete things, as, for example, in mathematics; in thinking there may be things that do not exist in the material world), it means that it should not be deduced from things.

    To understand Descartes, it is important to understand that his argument is purely logical, not empirical. Descartes offers a fundamentally different methodology (compared, for example, with the empirical sciences). Of course, this argument will not be so convincing if we start from a different epistemology; another thing is that the question of which epistemology is better also deserves attention. Compared to the empiricists of his time, Descartes has both strengths and weaknesses.

    Descartes ' problem is not so much that he postulates an “I” as that in this “I” he implies unity and a substantial character. Both statements are problematic, although Descartes makes them with good reason.

    The postulation of the unity of the self, for example, may be justified by considerations of simplicity, but psychologists of later centuries would question the thesis of the unity of consciousness. After all, the psyche can be represented not as a single thinking entity, but as a conglomerate of different elements (for example, Freud's ego, super-ego and it-this is a different view from Cartesian).

    As for the substantiality of individual consciousness, one might argue, for example, with Buddhists who consider the flow of thoughts to be an illusion, rather than an obvious reality that cannot be questioned.

    But Descartes ' argument in this aspect was convincing for its time. Both the active acquaintance of Europeans with Eastern philosophy, and new discoveries in psychology (and in general the appearance of pishology) occurred after the time of Descartes. But if someone were to defend a similar idea today, they would have to think through many more alternatives than Descartes did in his time. This, by the way, shows how progress is being made in philosophy.

  2. Events in the world happen to something. If thought is such an event, then what does this event happen to? What does it contain? It happens to me and contains me. Or, which is the same thing, what it happens to and what it contains is called me. And even more specifically: not everything that thought happens to is me. And not all that it contains is me. The ” I “is the” place”, the topos, where the subject and object of thought coincide.

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