Print Сite this

A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36

Rene Descartes was not the first philosopher to show concern over dreaming as an epistemological issue. However, his treatment of the matter popularized it and occasioned its development, over the years, into a Cartesian argument. Today, epistemologists agree that people must defeat this argument for “knowledge of the external world” to be possible. Descartes’ skeptically epistemological argument challenges the unquestioned presumption that people can know the world, including their physical attributes.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Argument

For one to present any evidence to support or reject “the Cartesian Dreaming Argument for External – World Skepticism,” it is necessary first to consider its nature, transformation, and interpretation over the years. Following Descartes’s treatment of the matter in his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, contemporary epistemologists have formulated the argument more fully, helping it acquire the skeptical challenge’s paradigm form’s status (Bruce and Barbone 137). It is also the most famous piece of skeptical reasoning that modern philosophers use to defuse skeptical reasoning. Part of the reason is that people value and often seek knowledge of the world to use it for their gains. The Cartesian argument is also important because of its significant metaphysical ramifications, suggesting that humans exist only as thinking things inside their inner words of sensations and thoughts, not knowing if an outer world exists. Descartes’ argument reaches this stage by leveraging dreaming, whose possibility strikes as a vivid but deceitful experience.

When dreaming, people can be deceived into thinking that they are experiencing the world of their dreams. Thus, “the Cartesian Dreaming Argument for External – World Skepticism” challenges individuals to understand such does not happen every time they think they are having a physical world experience. From this, one wonders; if one can never be sure that the dream is unreal, how can they know that the world as presently constituted is not yet another dream? A skeptic will conclude that even when things seem normal, no way of proving that the world is what it is exists (Bruce and Barbone 137). At the same time, one has to remember their physical characteristics, including their gender, height, and skin color, among other things. Notably, an individual with a sleeping habit is bound to represent themselves in their dreams the same things, and occasionally, less probable ones than they experience during the wakeful moments.

Many examples of this state of affairs exist, depending on one’s imagination, as science now puts it. For example, a person can dream at night that they are seated by a fireplace, dressed and enjoying a cup of coffee, when, in reality, they are lying in bed naked. When an individual is awake, they can seem to discern their environment, including their physical characteristics. They can also notice whenever they take deliberate actions such as moving the hands or walking and the purpose for doing so. Unlike this “real-world” experience, whatever is happening when a person is dreaming is blurry. However, people “get deceived” on many occasions while asleep that whatever they experience is real when it is just an illusion. Descartes argued that after careful reflection, he did not see any clear signs or absolute indications that distinguished between the state of sleep and wakefulness (Bruce and Barbone 139). Indeed, Descartes was astonished that his further reflections on the matter seemed quite capable of convincing him that he was only dreaming.

From the statements above, if one randomly considers E, defined as an actual or probable experience feeling like the physical earth’s sensory one (the instantiation of the first probability, P1), then any such experience has information implying that earth is “thus-and-so” in some specific respect. In this regard, event E has information implying that earth is also “thus-and-so” in some specific respect; this is both the first consequence (C1) and a second probability (P2). For any actual or probable experience feeling like the physical earth’s sensory, if its information implies that earth is “thus-and-so,” in some respect, then it does not include any more content. The consequence (C2) for this, which is also the third probability (P3), would be that event E would not have any additional content if it already has information implying that earth is “thus-and-so” in some more or less specific terms.

Evident E does not include any additional content (modus ponens, C1, C2). If the sensory or actual event does not include any other content, then it does not contain a further or conclusive sign of not being a dreaming instance. It is probability P4 whose consequence (C4) is that the event E does not include any conclusive indications that it is not a dream, provided that it includes no other content (modus ponens, C3, C4). Consequence 5 (C5) reiterates the above. For a possible or real experience feeling like the physical earth’s sensory one, if it has no conclusive indications that it is a dream, it does not offer any evidence of not being a dream. It is the fifth probability (P5) whose consequence (C6) holds that event E does not provide conclusive proof of not being a dream (provided that it has no further and exclusive instance of not being a dream. The conclusion or consequence C7 is that E does not provide any decisive proof of not being a dreaming occasion (modus ponens, C5, C6).

Suppose the experience from the sessions above contains no definite proof of not being an occasion of dreaming. In that case, the person experiencing it “does not know with certainty that the experience is not a dream” (P7). It is the probability P6, and its conclusion C8 is that the person experiencing the event E does not know that it is an instance of dreaming since the event does not provide conclusive evidence of not being a dream. The conclusion or the consequence C8 would be that the person experiencing event E “does not know with certainty that what they are having is a dreaming instance (modus ponens, C7, C8)”. If a person who will be experiencing the event E “does not know with certainty that it is not an instance of a dream, then he does not know at all that is not an instance of dreaming”. It is the instantiation P7, which leads to the assertion that the person “does not know at all that event E is not an instance of dreaming” (C9). Therefore, C10 is that “the person does not know at all that” the event is not an instance of a dream (modus ponens, C8, C9).

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

The instantiation P8 is that if “the person does not know at all” that the event E that they are experiencing is not an instance of a dream, then he “does not know at all that the event is a sensory experience of the physical world”. Notably, like the rest of the cases above, this probability also assumes that the event E is any actual or possible physical world experience. Thus, instantiation P8, or conclusion C11 would be that the person “does not know at all that the event E is a sensory experience of the physical world” because they do not know at all that the event E is not an instance of dreaming. The conclusion C12 would be that the person experiencing the event E “does not know at all if the event is a sensory experience (modus ponens, C10, C11)”. If the person does not know if the event they are experiencing E is not a sensory experience of the physical world, then “the event is not giving the person any knowledge of the physical world”. It is the conclusion C13 and instantiation P9.

Here, conclusion C14 would be that the event E is “not giving the person experiencing it any knowledge of the world (modus ponens, C12, C13)”. The statement is also a universal generalization that can be a quantifier negation C16 taken to mean that no “actual or possible experience that does or would feel like a sensory experience of the physical world” is giving the person experiencing it knowledge of the physical world. Another instantiation, P10, is that if no real or possible “experience that does or would feel like a sensory experience of the physical world” to the person having or experiencing it, then” knowledge of the physical world” is impossible. Thus, the final conclusion (C17) is that “knowledge of the world is impossible (modus ponens C16, P10).” That is to say, an individual cannot possibly acquire “knowledge of the world” if the person lacks any way of proving that what he or she is experiencing is not a sensory experience of the physical world.

Defense of the Premises

The premises leading to the assertion that the “knowledge of the physical world” is impossible are quite reliable. The first one is that any actual or probable “experience that does or would feel like the physical world’s sensory experience” has information implying that earth is thus-and-so in some more or less specific respect. That is to say, the only content that the actual or probable event would have is that the physical world is thus-and-so in some specific respect. The statement means that the sensory experience would not include any further content, and if it does not do so, then the person experiencing it has no way of telling that it not an instance of a dream. Similarly, the person would have difficulties proving that what he or she is experiencing is not a sensory experience. Thus, unless the person roves beyond any doubt that what they are experiencing is not sensory, then they have no way of confirming that the experience is real; it could be just a dream.

The argument is based on proving that the experience is not a dream (rather than the experience is an actual or probable “knowledge of the physical world”). If the argument focused on proving that an event E is a real and probable happening on earth, then they would also need to find a way of showing that it is not a dream. Therefore, going straight and proving that the experience is not a dream, and eliminating this possibility, is the surest way of establishing the actual nature of the argument. The only problem is formulating the first premise and transitioning into the next one. Without a doubt, the statement “thus-and-so in some specific respect” is ambiguous and difficult to comprehend at first instance. From one angle, this statement seems to mean that the experience could be anything, including that it is a dream. From another angle, it seems to mean that the experience is only specific in the sense that it can neither be a dream nor a sensory one.

Notably, the specific respect of the experience refers to its real nature. For example, when a person is a wake, he or she can move his or her hand consciously and be aware of them. He can also engage in such physical activities as walking and running. In the dream world, however, these experiences are not clear or easily defined. They also tend to differ with the wakeful situation of the dreamer. An example would be that a person can dream about being out in the field playing soccer with friends when, in reality, he is fast asleep in his bed. It is the unquestioned presumption that people can know the surrounding world. Moreover, many people agree in the real life as compared to the dream world. In the physical world, people can have actual and flowing conversations, and some continuity exists between what happens today and what will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. In the dream world, events are short and fragmented, making it hard to clearly understand them or even see their origins.

Therefore, one can challenge the argument’s basis by stating that the only way of knowing that a person is not dreaming is by drawing upon the experiences of other in that community. If the events are known to all community members, then it means that some continuity exists, otherwise there would be no consensus about specific events. On the contrary, when a person is dreaming, he is the only one with that experience, and nobody else around him can confirm it. In some instances, the experiences of the dream world are the least probable ones, as they could include such unnatural occurrences as humans flying or possessing extraterrestrial abilities. A person’s dreams seem to emerge mostly from their thoughts and experiences as individuals. They are also inspired by events that transpire during the person’s wakefulness. The more eventful a person’s day is, the more likely they are to experience the same events in their dreams. As such, a way to distinguish between dreams and the non –dream world exists, and it is based on the existence of consensus on what events are.

Response to Objections

Still, one could argue that the existing consensus is the result of a giant dream by another super being. That is to say, the consensus building in the physical world is only possible because all humans and everything in the physical worlds are characters in another being’s dream world. Unfortunately, there is no way of proving that this cannot be the case. Therefore, this supports the statement that there is no way of proving that the present events that humans experience are not merely those of a sensory nature rather than real. After all, in the “normal” dreams, things appear deceitfully truthful that individuals have difficulty telling that it is just a dream at that moment. They can even talk, scream, and in some cases, walk around as if it was all normal and happening in the physical world. In this regard, Descartes had a point in arguing that there exists no way of telling that what a person is experiencing (and, indeed, the entire life), is just a dream.

We will write a custom
essays
specifically
for you!
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More

The Cartesian dreaming argument is one of the most interesting skeptical arguments of all time. IT questions the usually unquestionable thesis that people can know and use some “knowledge of the world.” Its premise is that for any event E that does or would feel like a sensory experience of the physical world has the information implying that the earth is thus-and-so in some more or less specific respect. Using deductive logic, one could proceed to note that such an event does not contain any further content, which means that it does not include any further conclusive information that it is not an instance of dreaming. Therefore, nothing can prove that the event is not a dream. In this regard, there is no possible way of telling that “knowledge of the world” is possible. Arguments against this skeptical one would only make sense if they can prove that its premise is untrue. Otherwise, what Descartes presented in his famous meditations is now an interesting paradox whose resolution requires critical observation and faulting of the premise.

Work Cited

Bruce, Michael, and Steven Barbone. Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2022, July 17). A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2022, July 17). A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36. https://studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/

Work Cited

"A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36." StudyCorgi, 17 July 2022, studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/.

* Hyperlink the URL after pasting it to your document

1. StudyCorgi. "A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36." July 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/.


Bibliography


StudyCorgi. "A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36." July 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2022. "A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36." July 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-modus-ponens-deductive-logic-in-defense-of-jta-argument-36/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'A Modus Ponens Deductive Logic in Defense of JTA Argument 36'. 17 July.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.