Part A: Pragmatic Paradox and Pragmatic Tautology

Part A: Pragmatic Paradox and Pragmatic Tautology

A paradox is described as a conclusion that despite being puzzling, our minds are drown to it as a matter of reasoning, which is commonly counterintuitive.  As a result, there are various types of paradoxes which have been perceived as logical by professional logicians for centuries. Logical paradoxes are isolated and classified as a heterogeneous collection. Whereby they are a group of antimonies based on the perception of “self reference” thus, commonly referred to as classical times. Despite this, they only became prominent at the beginning of the last century. Antimonies were a distinguishing factor by Quine on types of paradoxes.

Descartes, famously recognized for “cogito ergo sum” as a philosophical conclusion translated in English as “I think, therefore I am”. Descartes was convinced the body and mind were two separate entities, asserting that “cogito ergo sum “illustrated the presence of any mind conceived it- but failed to consider the body of the mind or the perceptions of the mind. Descartes arguments were not isolated neither were they new as a Plato had also speaks of possessing knowledge of knowledge commonly referred to as the “justified true belief” .Aside from Plato, Aristotle further supported the argument through “Nimochean Ethics” arguing that when a person perceives, thinks or sees and is conscious of the experience of thinking as well as their own existence. At a time when Plato’s Academy had turned into skeptic radicals, Philosopher Augustine arose. Initially Augustine had been consumed by academic skepticism but late turned a new leaf when converted to Christianity.  Augustine’s new beliefs were the foundation of his criticism of Academics in form of an argument that had striking resemblance to Descartes ideologies. The main argument of the skeptics being that one cannot be certain of anything. Augustine accepted the claim of uncertainty by applying “argumentum ad hominem” as was as refuting the same argument by asserting that it is impossible for one to be mistaken and not be mistaken at the same time. Augustine states that; “If I am mistaken, I am “. Furthermore “ By not positively affirming that they are alive, the skeptics word off the appearance of error in themselves, yet they do make errors simply by showing themselves alive; one cannot  err who is not alive . That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well”.


On the other hand a “Tautology” is perceived as a term describing an argument in which the only possible truth condition is “true”. In addition “Tautology” stems from philosophy. Thus “Tautology” asserts that the argument is always true on the basis of its form. For instance in the statement “the moon will rise tomorrow or the moon will not rise tomorrow, in such a case depending on the reality one will be true.  As a result Tautological utterances are perceived as questions for pragmatics, as they are true on the basis of form alone in addition they appear to offer no  viable and helpful information hence on the surface they appear to have no meaning. Regardless, the use of the utterances provides meaning for instance;


A:” I don’t know what kind of shoe to get, there are shoes with laces, there are shoes will zippers….”


B: “oh, a shoe is a shoe”


Part Two: Descartes Cogito


The Evil Demon hypothesis is introduced in the first meditation and it serves to provide Descartes with a reason to doubt the existence and presence of a variety of believes and perceptions. In addition he describes a “malicious demon of the utmost power and cunning” that has the primary purpose of deceiving Descartes. Descartes hypothesis is strong due to the fact that the cogito provides a method to trick or frustrate the evil demon.

It is critical to note that the Evil Demon is a significant component of the doubt methods. According to Descartes, the doubt method was the most effective approach to identifying what is true by withholding from all perceptions and belief s that can be classified as dubitable.


In essence the doubt method is not constructive hence it is perceived as destructive d as it aims at destroying as well as rebuilding knowledge acquired and built on strong foundations. The application of the Evil Demon Hypothesis enabled him to eliminate all prior perceptions and beliefs thus leaving him with a starting point from where he would acquire and develop true knowledge. The Evil Demon hypothesis was not developed with the aim of proving the existence of the Evil Demon but rather to illustrate and assert the skepticism of our senses as well as our understanding of various concepts such as a science and math. The Evil Demon hypothesis can also be described as a counterweight of our common beliefs. The argument is strong due to the hyperbolic assumption, hence enabling it to question even the strongest beliefs.  It is apparent that the Evil Demon has various roles based on numerous perceptions. One role of the demon is to create the possibility that mathematical judgements would be erroneous.  Therefore the Evil Demon hypothesis falsifies mathematical knowledge by creating room for doubt on mathematical objects. Nonetheless, there is a possibility that the importance of mathematics to the demon theory would simply be a side track from the first mediation. Whereby the focus is on the argument that the role of the Evil Demon is to create doubt about various aspects of the external world. Descartes had reached a point of total deception towards the end of the First Meditation. As a result it is apparent that there is no certainty in his experiences.  The role of the Evil Demon is critical to Descartes as the whole aspect of doubt is unending as it makes one question virtually everything they know. Doubt creates numerous questions and provides a wide variety of possibilities thus making it challenging for one to determine what is real and what is false. In the case of Descartes, by creating the aspect of doubt through the Evil Demon he questioned the existence of virtually everything. Thus making it challenging to separate truth from falsehood. In addition, the questions created as a result of the Evil Demon lead us to question the viability and reality of everything we know a belief as it requires one to assume that their beliefs could be possibly false as there is no certainty in knowledge. The Evil Demon could also be perceived as a way of creating self-awareness as it causes one to question validity of various thinks. The questioning of various aspects of life and beliefs leads to self-development.

Part Three: The Mind Body Problem

Mind body dualism is one of the most common legacies of Descartes’ philosophies. The theory argues that the body and mind are two distinct entities hence the mind-body dualism theory. Descartes comes to this conclusion through his arguments that mind and body are different as a matter of nature. The nature of the mind is thinking and as a result it is a non-extended thing, on the other hand the body is a non-thinking entity and is an extended thing. Thus the conclusion that it is possible for either the mind or the body to exist without the other. The mind –body dualism theory gave rise to the mind-body causal interaction problem that is commonly debated; “how can the mind cause influence some of our bodily limbs to move” for instance when one raises his hand to ask a question in class. How is it possible that the boys senses organs and causes various sensations in the mind when the nature of the body and mind is different? According to Descartes, “Real distinction” is a term used to denote the distinction between two or more substances.  It is critical to note that a substance is describes as something that does not require the existence of other creatures to exist; hence it exists only through God’s Concurrence. Therefore acting as a mode of affection or quality of that substance. Therefore the conclusion that a mode requires a substance to exist and not simply by the basis of God. For instance in order for an item to be considered as a sphere, it requires the object to be extended in three dimensions in order to exist: Thus an unexpended sphere cannot be conceived without any objecting arguments. It is critical to note that a substance can be understood to be present on its own without the need to have any other creature exist. For instance a stone does not require any other substance to exist hence it exists on its own. Therefore, the stone’s existence does not depend on the distance of other bodies or minds. In addition, the stone can exist in multiple shapes and sizes, thus there is no specific requirement for a stone to exist.  Thus indicating that Descartes that God would create a world out of stone by itself, further asserting that a substance “really distinct” from all other things expects God. Thus the conclusion that the Body and Mind thesis are distinct as each could exist without the presence of the other. Both the Body and Mind do not require the existence of other creatures to exist. Despite this, it is critical to note that the substance s exist separately. None the less the issue of their existence separately is different from the argument that they are two separate entities. Body and Mind dualism theory argues the existence of two entities but ignores the reliance of those two entities to function. For instance the body relies on the mind to function; similarly the mind relies on the body for various functions. The functionality and the existence of the entities are described and perceived as two different arguments hence they are perceived differently. It is apparent that Descartes mind and body dualism theory gives rise to numerous questions.