Monday, December 05, 2011

Cogito Ergo Sum

"I first met René Descartes’ famous aphorism, “I think, therefore I am”, when I was a young teen. Naturally I wasted no time in deciding that the Great Man’s thought was trite and glib, a maxim whose proper home was surely the tee-shirt. Later, at university, I took philosophy classes and was surprised to discover that there were people who thought they’d refuted Descartes. How on earth was that possible?

Monsieur Descartes spent his youth as a soldier, seeing action in many battles. Later, when he became an academic, he used to stay in bed ’til noon thinking deep thoughts. Doubt plagued him: how can anyone be sure of anything? As you look around, the things you see, hear and smell could merely be a dream or a staged virtual environment."

Continue reading at

This article touches centrally on the research I did on "First Order Intentional Systems" for my Ph.D. An example again of how artificial intelligence can shed new light on old philosophical puzzles.
In other news, we successfully assembled the new Dyson vacuum cleaner (this was by no means a given!) and today Clare vacuumed the car with it.

I'm down to do a retrospective review of Heinlein's Starship Troopers so I'd better get back to re-reading it.