Joined: July 2003
Hi to all,
I'm a new member and an amateur philosopher.
I think therefore thinking is. Minimally, I know that I brought it forth and it exists in that sense. I experience it's existence. To know that anything is then it must be experienced in some sense. Whether it is real or not may be another matter. I can doubt that I exist but can it be doubted that thinking exists?
If thinking does not exist then it cannot produce knowledge of nor have any true relation to reality and, since all hypothesis is produced by thinking, then all science is dead in the water - at best it could describe but not predict. Successful prediction guarantees the genuine hold by science upon reality itself.
Science is the application of thinking to observation. Then if thinking exists then, ultimately, knowledge and reality must coincide. Granted this is already highly contentious - we are exactly at De Anima III.5 (430a10-26), the most heavily disputed 16 lines in all Western philosophy:
"But since in all nature one thing is the material for each kind (this is what is in potency all the particular things of that kind), but it is something else that is the causal and productive thing by which all of them are formed, as is the case with an art in relation to its material, it is necessary in the soul to that these distinct things be present; the one sort is intellect by becoming all things, the other sort by forming all things, in the way an active condition such as light does, for in a certain way light too makes the colors that are in potency be at work as colors. This sort of intellect is separate, as well as being without attributes and unmixed, since it is by its thinghood a being-at-work, for what acts is always distinguished in stature above what is acted upon, as a governing source is above the material it works on. Knowledge, in its being-at-work, is the same as the thing it knows, and while knowledge in potency comes first in any one knower, in the whole of things it does not take precedence even in time. This does not mean that at one time it thinks but at another time it does not think, but separated it is just exactly what it is and this alone is deathless and everlasting (though we have no memory, because this sort of intellect is not acted upon, while the sort that is acted upon is destructible), and without this nothing thinks." - On the Soul, Joe Sachs, Green Lion Press, 2001, p142-3.
Greek - Scholastic vocabulary - Sachs
hyle (timber) - matter - material
dynamis - potential - potency
energeia - actual - being-at-work
ousia - substance - thinghood
(This last is "a way of being that belongs to anything which has attributes but but is not an attribute of anything, which is also separate and a this (Metaphysics 1028b 38-39, 1029a 27-28)." Sachs p201.)
The dynamis of knowledge is observation, the energeia is thinking. Traditional dispute over the passage is whether the activity is something merely human or extra-human. If thinking exists whether or not 'I' do then the answer is both.
Assume for a moment that thinking is the permanent, deathless and everlasting being and therefore this generates all reality, simultaneously with the possibility for finite knowers to cognise that reality. How could the creation of the world possibly proceed?
There is no dynamis, nothing, no material to be designed. It has to be creation from absolute ignorance. Thinking on its own is ignorant. The only thinghood is that of thinking itself.
If thinking puts forth its own being into a many, who have the possibility to be knowers because there are others to be known. This many form a community around the hub of thinking. Now this next point is the most speculative that I'm putting forth here. Let a community be a relation between mutually dependent existents, i.e. one die, the community dies - the very existence of each is dependent upon the existence of the others (you'll see why soon).
Now break the communal relation. Either the existents become separately independent or they become mutally exclusive but remain dependent (I can think of no other possiblities). The idea of separation between independent existents is better known as space and mutually exclusive dependency is necessarily a sequence or the idea of time.
This is sure to sound too far-fetched but you may well have read last december's Scientific American with the cover story on Fotini Markopoulou. She generates space and time by placing human beings upon the nodes of a network. A network is the mathematical abstraction of community.