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I was puzzled not to find any mention of "emptiness" (as expounded upon by

I was puzzled not to find any mention of "emptiness" (as expounded upon by Nagarjuna and Chadrakirti, not the feeling one blogger has when his relationships end.) Is that not an issue that our learned philosophical crowd seriously contemplates these days?

I have to say I think about nothing all the time, both in the sense of not thinking about anything, and in the sense of contemplating the concept nothing. P.L. Heath has a very fine piece on "Nothing" in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

On the other hand I suspect that śūnyatā is not really emptiness or literally nothing - śūnyatā is a kind of non-substantiality, certainly, but in Western metaphysics that does not mean a non-entity. The point is that śūnyatā is emptiness, but of the detritus of external influence, or void or outside dependence. It has its own quality. It is also like a kind of expectant fulness, empty as the rich expectation of a joyous future event is in an obvious sense empty (of the event) compared with the experience of the event itself. A quality however is an entity, though not a substance.

I have to say I think about nothing all the time, both in the sense of not thinking about anything, and in the sense of contemplating the concept nothing . P.L. Heath has a very fine piece on "Nothing" in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy . On the other hand I suspect that śūnyatā is not really emptiness or literally nothing - śūnyatā is a kind of non-substantiality, certainly, but in Western metaphysics that does not mean a non-entity. The point is that śūnyatā is emptiness, but of the detritus of external influence, or void or outside dependence. It has its own quality. It is also like a kind of expectant fulness, empty as the rich expectation of a joyous future event is in an obvious sense empty (of the event) compared with the experience of the event itself. A quality however is an entity, though not a substance.

The philosopher, Rene Descartes, has said that it is possible to doubt all

The philosopher, Rene Descartes, has said that it is possible to doubt all things except the existence of oneself (cogito ergo sum); that it cannot be doubted, despite how hard one endeavors. However, I am often questioning if that proposition is "truly" "indubitable". I desire to know if there have ever been any well-known or ancient philosophers who had not "concurred" with Rene Descartes regarding the cogito ergo sum; or if there are modern philosophers with great reputation, prestige, or respect within the philosophical community, who believe that the cogito ergo sum is "not" indubitable? Otherwise stated, it is "possible" to "doubt" the existence of oneself.

There are plenty of philosophers who have not agreed with Descartes' line of thought here, though they are not "ancient" philosophers, as Descartes did not propound the "proof", if that is what it is, until 1637, in the Discourse on the Method and, in a slightly different form, in 1641 in the Meditations. You can find some interesting material in the "Objections" to the Meditations , for example the Fifth, by Gassendi, or the Fourth, by Arnauld. Hobbes too, in the Second Objection, makes of Descartes' argument a triviality. How (he asks) can I know that I am thinking? 'It can only be from our ability to conceive an act without its subject. We cannot conceive of jumping without a jumper . . .'. Through the centuries Descartes' dictum has come under even more fire from different directions, for example from A.J. Ayer in Chapter 2 of Language, Truth and Logic. Descartes was only entitled to say that 'There is a thought now,' not 'I think', i.e. 'There is an I and it thinks', because this proposition would make his conclusion a tautology; or it does not follow from 'There is a thought now.' Lichtenberg writes in The Waste Books, K18, that 'We should say it thinks, just as we say it lightens. To say cogito is already to say too much as soon as we translate it I think. To assume, to postulate the I is a practical requirement.' I also think you should take care to separate the questions whether Descartes proof is any good from the question whether the existence of the self is certain or can be doubted. So the phrase "otherwise stated" in your last sentence is not right. The two questions are distinct. Similarly, it is not the question whether the "cogito ergo sum" is indubitable, but whether the existence of the self is.

There are plenty of philosophers who have not agreed with Descartes' line of thought here, though they are not "ancient" philosophers, as Descartes did not propound the "proof", if that is what it is, until 1637, in the Discourse on the Method and, in a slightly different form, in 1641 in the Meditations . You can find some interesting material in the "Objections" to the Meditations , for example the Fifth, by Gassendi, or the Fourth, by Arnauld. Hobbes too, in the Second Objection, makes of Descartes' argument a triviality. How (he asks) can I know that I am thinking? 'It can only be from our ability to conceive an act without its subject. We cannot conceive of jumping without a jumper . . .'. Through the centuries Descartes' dictum has come under even more fire from different directions, for example from A.J. Ayer in Chapter 2 of Language, Truth and Logic . Descartes was only entitled to say that 'There is a thought now,' not 'I think', i.e. 'There is an I and it thinks', because...

Hello Philosophers!

Hello Philosophers! Can anyone defend the Ontological Argument against Kant's criticism that existence is not a predicate?

Some random suggestions: (1) David Pears pointed out that even if Kant's argument were wholly clear and wholly successful, which it is not, it could only show that existence is not an ordinary predicate, if it is a predicate. His view is that it is a predicate, just a very peculiar one; (2) There is also the view of the celebrated logician, mathematician and philosopher Bolzano, who writes in the Theory of Science ("Kinds of Propositions") that 'I take being [Sein] or actuality [Wirklichkeit] to be precisely what language makes it out to be, namely an attribute; whoever denies this confuses (I believe) actuality with substance. By substance I mean an actuality which is not an attribute of another actuality; hence I admit that we cannot truly predicate the putative abstractum of the substance (substantiality) of any object. For it is part of the concept of substance that there is no property of this kind. But it is not the same with actuality, which I consider to be a mere attribute, not only of substance itself but of each of its attributes, since every attribute of an actual thing is itself actual. And since every attribute of an object can be ascribed to it in a judgment of the form 'A has b', why not the attribute of actuality?' (3) There is a related argument deriving from Russell's Theory of Descriptions in my own Philosophical Propositions, despite the fact that Russell himself took the implication of the theory to be that the ontological argument is no good; (4) There is a defence of a stripped-down version of the ontological argument by the late Gary Matthews and Lynn Baker Rudder in Analysis for 2010.

Some random suggestions: (1) David Pears pointed out that even if Kant's argument were wholly clear and wholly successful, which it is not, it could only show that existence is not an ordinary predicate, if it is a predicate. His view is that it is a predicate, just a very peculiar one; (2) There is also the view of the celebrated logician, mathematician and philosopher Bolzano, who writes in the Theory of Science ("Kinds of Propositions") that 'I take being [Sein] or actuality [ Wirklichkeit ] to be precisely what language makes it out to be, namely an attribute; whoever denies this confuses (I believe) actuality with substance. By substance I mean an actuality which is not an attribute of another actuality; hence I admit that we cannot truly predicate the putative abstractum of the substance (substantiality) of any object. For it is part of the concept of substance that there is no property of this kind. But it is not the same with actuality, which I consider to be a mere attribute, not...

Wittgenstein once said that the world is the totality of facts. It seems to me

Wittgenstein once said that the world is the totality of facts. It seems to me that at least in the case of color this theory doesn't apply. What facts can be said about the "redness" of a red object. Perhaps no facts can be said about "redness" precisely because what is being experienced in an encounter with red isn't a "fact". Do we apprehend that redness through a fact or through an experience of consciousness? It seems to me that the fact that red exists and the actuality of red are two different things since saying "red exists" doesn't say anything about what red is when it is experienced. So maybe Wittgenstein is wrong?

Why should the redness of a red object not be a fact? We say of this tomato here, "Look, it's red." We know this proposition is true because we can see that the tomato is red, just as we know that the tomato is heavy - heavy for a tomato, anyway - because we can weigh it in our hand. The same thing applies to shape, supposing that we come to know the shape of something by visual inspection rather than by measurement. Now if our red object is viewed in green light, it turns black, because the light with colours at the middle of the spectrum, the green light, is complementary to the red light that the tomato "reflects", if we can say this. (In what way is a tomato not like a mirror?) The red tomato "absorbs" the green light.

I think that your question goes deeper, however. This redness of the tomato might be thought not to be a physical fact, if you believe those philosophers who are impressed by the existence of an "explanatory gap", as it has come to be called, between physical and phenomenal phenomena, or by Frank Jackson's thought-experiment about Mary, the brilliant colour scientist who knows absolutely everything physical about colour that there is to know, but is confined to a grey-scale environment, and who, on her release from that environment, learns what the colours are like, or what they look like, if you like. But it seems open to argument whether the fact that the redness of the tomato is not a physical fact means that it is not a fact of any kind. You contrast a "fact" with "an experience of consciousness", but I wonder whether the "experience of consciousness" does not itself count as a fact. I think that philosophical analysis would have something to say here.

Furthermore, there are facts about colour, phenomenological ones, which came to interest Wittgenstein after he gave up the logical atomism of the Tractatus in which the world is the totality of facts, not things. (It's important to note the point of the contrast here - it is facts, rather than things, of which the world is said to be a totality.) So the later Wittgenstein thought that the earlier Wittgenstein was wrong about something, even though in the end even the later Wittgenstein rejected the idea that the phenomenological facts are facts in the same way as regular facts, such as the existence of an ugly heavy desk in front of me. An example of a phenomenological "fact": though some blues are lighter than some yellows, yellow is lighter than blue. There is no pure brown, and there could not be a brown traffic light. White is the lightest colour. Red cannot be greenish. All of these propositions feel as though they express facts, and Wittgenstein really has to struggle to make the fascinating claim stick that "there is no such thing as phenomenology, but there are indeed phenomenological problems" (_Remarks on Colour_, I-53). There are problems expressed by claims such as "Green can be transparent, but white cannot" (although Wittgenstein also observes that the opacity of white is no more a property of white than the transparency of green glass is a property of the colour green), but are there no facts to resolve these problems, even if not phenomenological ones?

On the whole, I do believe that the easy distinction you make between facts on the one hand, probably physical facts, and ineffable experiences on the other, with no factual aspect to them, does not quite square with the facts!

Why should the redness of a red object not be a fact? We say of this tomato here, "Look, it's red." We know this proposition is true because we can see that the tomato is red, just as we know that the tomato is heavy - heavy for a tomato, anyway - because we can weigh it in our hand. The same thing applies to shape, supposing that we come to know the shape of something by visual inspection rather than by measurement. Now if our red object is viewed in green light, it turns black, because the light with colours at the middle of the spectrum, the green light, is complementary to the red light that the tomato "reflects", if we can say this. (In what way is a tomato not like a mirror?) The red tomato "absorbs" the green light. I think that your question goes deeper, however. This redness of the tomato might be thought not to be a physical fact, if you believe those philosophers who are impressed by the existence of an "explanatory gap", as it has come to be called, between physical and phenomenal...