Logic of Reality: Historical Anticipations

I2 offer the first law of reality as a first principle of psychophilosophy; but, it is not without historical precedent. psychophilosophers of the past have anticipated the logic of reality in general and the first law of reality in particular; but, have not attempted to present it free of the vernacular languages in which they wrote.

my commentary on the passages I2 quote is prefaced by translating them into humanese english

§1: Augustine: si fallor, sum!

In respect of those truths I have no fear of the arguments of the Academics [ie skeptics]. They say, 'Suppose you are mistaken'. I reply, 'If I am mistaken, I exist'. A non-existent being cannot be mistaken; therefore I must exist, if I am mistaken. [Augustine. City of God, Bk XI, Ch 26. p. 459-60]

§1.1: commentary

Augustine seems to be using 'being' as his root predicate; and, 'A non-existent being cannot be mistaken' may be interpreted as 'no being (nothing) is non-existent (unreal) and mistaken (self-aware). he then continues, in effect: I am mistaken; therefore, I exist (have being in some sense).

Augustine may or may not have originated the habit of treating conflating amness, existence and being; but, he certainly indulges this unfortunate practice here. he slips from using 'being' as his root predicate to using it as the name for a reality type; and, his conclusion has the sense of 'I am mistaken; therefore, I am a being; where this use of 'being' suggests that I2 have claimed a place in the great chain of being that leads from total non-being on up to the supreme being.

from the fact that I2 am mistaken, I2 may conclude that I2 am -- not that I2 exist or even that I0 exist. in the phrase 'a non-existent being', Augustine is either using names for two reality types (existence and being) interchangeably or conflating his root predicate with the name for a reality type.

given 'no being (nothing) is non-existent (unreal) and mistaken (self-aware)', Augustine may argue from the fact that I2 am mistaken to the conclusion that I2 am a being of some sort. however, he implies that he already knows that 'I0 am more than the I1 that exists the way that a rock exists'. that would be the skeptical position (just as it is today).

§2: Descartes: I am thinking; therefore, I am

I will suppose then, that everything I see is spurious. I will believe that my memory tells me lies, and that none of the things that it reports ever happened. I have no senses. Body, shape, extension, movement and place are chimeras. ... Does it now follow that I too do not exist? No: if I convinced myself of something then I certainly existed. But there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. I that case I too undoubtedly exist, if he is deceiving me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. So, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind. [CSM II, 16-17]

§2.1: commentary

I2 have elsewhere presented a more detailed critique of Descartes thinking and, especially, his language. here I2 will only add that, after translating both Augustine and Descartes into humanese english and finding the same confusions, it appears quite likely that Descartes was inspired by Augustine.

§3: Campanella: I cannot be deceived if I am not

I am most certain that I am. If you admit it, I have this certitude; if you deny it and say that I am deceived, you plainly recognize that I am; for I cannot be deceived if I am not. What is not can neither know truly nor be deceived. Hence, I am not deceived in knowing that I am. [Bonansea, Bernardino M. (1969). Tommaso Campanella: Renaissance Pioneer of Modern Thought.Catholic University of America Press. p. 57]

§4: Locke: doubt makes me perceive my own existence

If I doubt of all other things, that very doubt makes me perceive my own existence, and will not suffer me to doubt of that. [Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy, Volume 5. New York. Doubleday/Image Books. p. 114.]

§5: Samkara, 9th Century Vedantic Scholar/Mystic: the doubter himself cannot be doubted

All means of knowlege exist only as dependent on self-experience and since such experience is its own proof there is no necessity for proving the existence of self.

Everyone is conscious of the existence of (his) Self, and never thinks 'I am not'.

[Sarvepalli Radhakrishnam and Charles A Moore. A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 506.]