Chapter 4: The Reality of the Eidem

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Epistemic certainties regarding awareness and its particulars will be presented in Part II. However, some of the givens these epistemic certainties specify lack proper terms by which to be addressed. Because of this, new terminology for givens of awareness will be presented when required.

To this effect, and in summation of §4.2, the present chapter commences enquiries into awareness by addressing the reality of first-person points of view—alternatively expressed, of first-person points of awareness. These specify neither physical bodies, nor total minds, nor, where entertained, souls. Neither is a first-person point of view here in any way insinuated to be an entity, a process, both, or neither—despite the argued for reality of its being under specified conditions. Hence, in part so as to unequivocally differentiate this referent as specified from all other notions of self—including those of body, of mind, and of soul—a first-person point of view as specified will within this treatise be more succinctly addressed by the term an eidem.

Upon validating the epistemic certainty that oneself as an eidem is when one perceives, senses, or understands, subsequent chapters of Part II will further provide epistemic certainties regarding attributes of awareness pertaining to all eidems concerned, culminating in two possible denotations of consciousness.

4.1. Defining Awareness

The term awareness can connote a multitude of metaphysical characteristics. For current purposes, let awareness simply entail the state of being privy to perceptions, sensations, or understandings of any type and to any degree—hence, the state of perceiving, sensing, or understanding.

Likewise, let being aware be understood as the process of actively perceiving, sensing, or understanding.

4.2. Defining Eidems

The first-person point of view can in English be referenced by ready available terms such as I, me, self, and by the Latin equivalent of ego. However, use of these same terms in current English can connote a plethora of givens extraneous to the occurrence of a first-person point of view—as previously mentioned, including those of a personal body, of a personal total mind, and, sometimes, of oneself as a soul. Furthermore, the phrase a first-person point of view literally addresses the perception obtained via strictly one physiological sense: that of sight. This rather than addressing the experientially evidenced first-person nexus, or locus—allegorically termed point in the phrase point of view—which is privy to perceptions obtained via all physiological senses, privy to any number of sensations (sometimes referred to as non-tactile feelings), and privy to understandings (such as of meaning). Alternatively, terming this same referent via nouns that provide agency to some verb—for example, via the term experiencer—almost unavoidably adds the unwanted connotations of personhood to that addressed, thereby easily becoming misconstrued as referencing a homunculus.

To avoid all such unwanted implications, and for improved ease of expression, what is commonly understood to be a first-person point of view will within this treatise be termed an eidem.

For the sake of disclosure, the term eidem has been appropriated from the Latin term eidem, which signifies “the same”. It has been arbitrated by the author to be a pragmatic term for the following two reasons: Firstly, due to the commonsense understanding that, despite the changes of awareness it undergoes, a numerically identical first-person point of view will nevertheless hold continuity over time in its essential characteristics, thereby remaining deemed the same relative to itself—for example, it is a commonsense notion that the me of ten minutes past and the me of the present are the same first-person point of view despite the changes that have occurred throughout. Secondly, due to the inference that all numerically different first-person points of view—regardless of how different in their unique characteristics, forms, contents of awareness, and degrees of awareness—will yet hold the same underlying, shared, qualitative identity in their so being first-person points of view: all first-person points of view will be the same in so being first-person points of view.

Notwithstanding, irrespective of the author’s motives for this particular term’s usage, let the term eidem as used within this treatise be understood to strictly signify a first-person point of view—or, more properly, the first-person point of awareness which apprehends perceptions, sensations, and understandings—with no other attribute currently implied or insinuated.

For emphasis, it will remain open-ended whether eidems are entities, processes, both, or neither. Likewise for emphasis, whatever the relation between eidems and their total selves of body, mind, and, possibly, of soul might be, it is to remain understood that eidems neither specify the personal bodies of which they are aware; nor the personal minds of whose thoughts, for example, they are aware; not the abstract concept of personal souls which they might be aware of and further believe themselves endowed with.

In summation, eidems will in all instances strictly reference first-person points of awareness which apprehend perceptions, sensations, or understandings—without any other attribute implied or insinuated.

4.3. The Epistemic Certainty of One’s Own Being as an Eidem While Aware

The arguments that ensue will concern the occurrence of first-person experience. Notwithstanding, these arguments are deemed equally applicable to all here concerned when enquiring into the reality of their own being as an eidem.

The following experientially evidenced verdict can be appraised by any sapient eidem: “I as an eidem—irrespective of the specifics concerning whether an eidem is an entity, a process, both, or neither—am whenever I as an eidem actively engage in the processes of perceiving, sensing, or understanding—i.e., I as an eidem am whenever I as an eidem am aware of anything whatsoever”. Expressing the same more succinctly, “I (as an eidem) am while aware.”

For this verdict to not be an epistemic certainty the verdict will either need to be evidenced unjustifiable or, else, a justifiable alternative to it will need to be produced.

Were any reasoning to be used to show how this verdict is unjustifiable, it will nevertheless be experientially evidenced to me that I as an eidem will necessarily need to be in order to hold any awareness of this reasoning—thereby evidencing the reasoning against my being as an eidem while aware to be inaccurate and, thereby, erroneous.

Likewise, it will be experientially evidenced to me that for me to presume any alternative to this verdict justifiable necessitates that I as an eidem am while aware of this very alternative. Me as an eidem being while aware of this alternative—as an occurring, personal, and immediate experience—will hold no justifiable alternative I can discern, thereby entailing that this state of affairs will, at the very least, be an unfalsified epistemic certainty for me. The experientially evidenced epistemic certainty of my being as an eidem while I am aware of the alternative to my being as an eidem while aware will, then, evidence this offered alternative to be unjustifiable: the alternative cannot be justified experientially by me; furthermore, any inference used to substantiate the alternative will to me be experientially evidenced inaccurate and, thereby, erroneous.

Hence, for all eidems here concerned, we can each individually validate the following in the first-person: It is experientially demonstrable that I as an eidem am whenever I am aware of anything whatsoever and, furthermore, that I can find no alternative to this verdict to be justifiable by virtue of me as an eidem needing to be in order to hold awareness of any such alternative.

Three caveats might be worthy of mention:

Firstly, unlike the typical interpretations of the Cartesian, “I think, therefore I am,” that, “I as an eidem am while aware,” does not base the reality of the given “I” upon cogitations. Rather, wherever cogitations are concerned, the latter bases the reality of the given “I” upon its awareness of these cogitations. Therefore, while it is fathomable that the thinking addressed might in fact not pertain to the given “I” which claims the thought to be its own via the affirmation of “I think”[1], it will be impossible to disassociate an eidem’s awareness (including its awareness of thoughts) from itself as the eidem which is so aware. If a first-person point of view—an eidem—holds awareness of anything whatsoever, then the given first-person point of view—the given eidem—will necessarily be.

Secondly, the verdict here addressed is intentionally given as, “I as an eidem am while aware,” rather than, “I as an eidem am aware, therefore I as an eidem am,” in attempts to not insinuate unintentionally that the eidem’s being is somehow eternally safeguarded by those moments in which it is aware. It, for example, is experientially evidenced to all those here concerned that we as eidems vanish during periods of dreamless sleep—just as we as eidems reappear during REM dreams and upon awakening from periods of sleep.

And thirdly, because no one here concerned has a perfect awareness of all future events that have yet to transpire for all time that is yet to come, we cannot evidence in manners perfectly secure from all possible error that at no point in the future will a justifiable alternative be discovered for the verdict of, “I as an eidem am while aware.” Our inability to evidence in manners perfectly secure from all possible error that this verdict thereby lacks justifiable alternatives in principle then precludes us from affirming this verdict to be of infallible certainty. Notwithstanding, it remains the case that no one here concerned can find a justifiable alternative for this verdict in practice—thereby making it a viable possibility that this verdict is an as of yet undemonstrated unassailable certainty. Hence, because no justifiable alternatives for this verdict can be obtained in practice—though we as of yet cannot evidence in manners perfectly secure from all possible error that it likewise lacks justifiable alternatives in principle—this verdict shall be upheld to be of unfalsified certainty and, in this manner alone, of epistemic certainty.

• References

  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, November 27). Cogito, ergo sum. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:41, December 26, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cogito,_ergo_sum&oldid=928134715

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