Re: Are First Person prime?

From: George Levy <>
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2006 17:07:13 -0700

Bruno Marchal wrote:

>I think that if you want to
>make the first person primitive, given that neither you nor me can
>really define it, you will need at least to axiomatize it in some way.
>Here is my question. Do you agree that a first person is a knower, and
>in that case, are you willing to accept the traditional axioms for
>knowing. That is:
>1) If p is knowable then p is true;
>2) If p is knowable then it is knowable that p is knowable;
>3) if it is knowable that p entails q, then if p is knowable then q is
>(+ some logical rules).

I like where this may be leading.... This may be the first step to your
roadmap. As you know I have been a supporter of first person primitive
for a long time. My roadmap was simple. It is a chain rule a la
Descartes. I mentionned it before. Let me repost it:

       1. I think therefore I am (Descartes)
       2. I am therefore the world is (Anthropic principle)
       3. The world is therefore the plenitude is. (Principe of
          sufficient reason: if something is observed to be arbitrary
          and without any cause, then all other alternatives must also
          be realized)

Let me make these statements more precise:

       1. I think what I think, therefore I am what I am. (Descartes
          augmented by defining my consciousness and being as a function
          of my thought process)
       2. I am what I am, therefore the world is what it is. (Anthropic
          principle augmented by defining the world in more precise
          terms as a function of exactly who I am - There is a strange
          echo from the burning bush in Exodus)
       3. The world is what it is, therefore the plenitude is.

Would it be possible to map your three axiomatic lines replacing
"knowable" by "think" and "true" by "exist." Then we have:

       1. If p thinks then p exists;
       2. If p thinks then it is thinkable that p thinks;
       3. If it is thinkable that p entails q, then if p thinks then q

The phrase "it is thinkable" is undefined possibly because of third
person (it?) inferencing. If we make it squarely first person then we have:

       1. If p thinks then p exists; (This maps nicely with Descartes as
          stated from a third person)
       2. If p thinks then p think that p thinks; (This is nice
          reflective statement essential to consciousness)
       3. If p think that p entails q, then if p thinks then q thinks.
          (The phrase "p entails q" reminds me vaguely of the Anthropic
          principle. I am not sure what to make of this. My children

George Levy

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Received on Fri Aug 04 2006 - 20:09:23 PDT

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