General Question

bpeele's avatar

How do you know you exist?

Asked by bpeele (9points) December 8th, 2008

And please no pablam answers reality to your beliefs, perception, sense or because someone said so. How do you know for certain?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

35 Answers

eambos's avatar

I think, therefore I am.

shockvalue's avatar

Honestly , I don’t.

IBERnineD's avatar

As long as someone can see me and be able to touch me.

cdwccrn's avatar

How can you post a question and then limit how it is answered?
I love, therefore, I am
I am loved, therefore, I am.

aidje's avatar

This question has, in my opinion, been put to rest.

PupnTaco's avatar

I don’t, but if I didn’t it wouldn’t make a difference anyway. Nice delusion, I like it around here.

Jeruba's avatar

It doesn’t matter whether I know or not. It doesn’t matter whether I exist or not. I continue to behave as though I existed. That seems to me to be the most rational way to proceed.

bythebay's avatar

My perception is my reality. Pablam enough for you, bpeele?

seVen's avatar

I fell down from a scafold once and it hurt.

mangeons's avatar

I don’t believe I exist. I don’t believe Chuck exists either ;d

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

When I drink, I get drunk. I exist.

When I use my vibe, I have an orgasm. I exist.

When the Brewers lose, I agonize. I exist.

When I see mistreatment, I cry. I exist.

When I cook on my charcoal grill, I smell wonderful things. I exist.

When I plant the seed and it grows, I reap the fruit. I exist.

PupnTaco's avatar

I like that, Sueanne!

wundayatta's avatar

I was going to try to facetiously say that I am quite certain that I don’t exist. Then I thought, if I don’t exist, how can I do all these things? I guess that falsifies the non-existence hypothesis, which leaves me existing. Unfortunately, not for long enough (I don’t want to not exist).

KatawaGrey's avatar

Am I a man dreaming that I am a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

I exist because I do.

Jeruba's avatar

@Daloon, that’s basically how Descartes arrived at the same conclusion. He set about doubting everything and then said that if there is a doubt, there’s a doubter. VoilĂ : existence. Yayy!

bluemukaki's avatar

Well I don’t really care. If I don’t exist I’m still having a pretty good time with my non-existence.

goldilocks2394's avatar

I exist because Im not the only one who can hear what I say.

I exist because I can make a difference that effects other people besides me.

If I don’t exist, how could you be reading this?

JohnRobert's avatar

A student asked the professor, “how do I know that I exist?”

Professor’s response: “Who wants to know?”

Kay's avatar

Je pense que je suis.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I watched Waking Life and I figure I couldn’t make that shit up.

Foolaholic's avatar

I’ve read a lot of literature in which a antagonist character defines his/her existence by taking the lives of those around them, in order to prove the amount of influence they have over the world. It’s brutal, but I think it makes sense in a twisted way.

wundayatta's avatar

I know a lot of people spend time thinking of such things, especially when a teenager, but I’m wondering: why do we care?

This is a kind of “it depends what ‘is’ is” issue. It’s merely defining the term. Anyway, I like my pablum warm, with dried fruit and a bit of maple syrup.

eambos's avatar

Descartes was the man

bpeele's avatar

We care about this, because without existential certainty, everything we say cannot be taken seriously, and life therefor can be nothing but a dream. Ergo, the wise man takes nothing seriously.

Just to restate for those intent on validating their existence rather than demonstrating knowledge thereof – senses, perception, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. do not yield knowledge of existence, just perception of existence. How do we know we’re not brains in a vat, or plugged into some multisensory I/O media contraption? How do we know we exist?

wundayatta's avatar

@bpeele: We are brains in a vat. We are mere perception contraptions. We are zombies. We are moldy blue cheese floating in space. We don’t know we exist. At least, not what I’m guessing you mean by existence.

We can postulate all kinds of things to be true, and even if there is absolutely no evidence to say they are true, we can’t rule out the possibility that they are true.

So we behave. We go on behaving. We believe we are communicating with others. We act as if existence existence will exist or not, no matter what we do, or believe is important.

Our theories explaining our existence are irrelevant to our existence or non-existence. Even if we can influence existence at the quantum level, the effect of desire is undetectable.

Serious is as serious does.

bythebay's avatar

To be completely ignorant I must ask; what difference does it make anyway? If we do or don’t really exist, what changes? I don’t think there’s anything we can really know for certain, other than our feelings. And even feelings are subject to change without prior notice.

wundayatta's avatar

Jeez, bythebay. That’s what I was trying to say. Only you did it so much more elegantly, clearly, and above all, briefly!

bythebay's avatar

daloon: thanks I’m taking your compliment well, did you notice?

wundayatta's avatar

@bythebay: Not until you pointed it out, but then, how could I? In any case, it’s perfectly obvious that it’s true, by any measure you propose, so any effort to dodge it would be an obvious confabulation (sorry, couldn’t think of the real word, so I made one up).

tinyvamp's avatar

When I don’t pay my bills I get letters, phone calls and personal visits! that’s how I know I exist!

Jeruba's avatar

Rene Descartes walks into a bar. Bartender says, “You want something to drink?”

“I think not,” says Descartes, and promptly disappears.

Happy New Year, guys!

Reesale's avatar

If I lived completely alone and there was no one around me I would know that I exist.
You don’t need to prove it.
This fact proves that we have a soul – a life source – whatever you want to call it – that we are connected to life.

fathippo's avatar

i dont really…
i could (i guess) be a hologram in some experiment into the future or something strange, or could be someone completely different dreaming about being me…

disenchanted_poisongirl's avatar

I don’t know. But I don’t care anyway.

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