David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophia 38 (1):157-167 (2010)
Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream story can be read as a skeptical response to the Cartesian Cogito, ergo sum solution, for it presents I exist as fundamentally unprovable, on the grounds that the notion about “I” that it is guaranteed to refer to something existing, which Descartes seems to assume, is unwarranted. The modern anti-skepticism of Hilary Putnam employs a different strategy, which seeks to derive the existence of the world not from some “indubitable” truth such as the existence of myself , but from the meaning of some particular assertion I make. In this paper, I argue, however, that Putnam’s argument fails to deliver on the promise of showing the self-refuting nature of the skeptical hypothesis, as it relies on a double use of “I”, a fallacy of equivocation, reflecting an unsolved tension between the argument’s general premise, which is rather Zhuangzian in spirit, and his unwitting adoption of that unwarranted notion about “I”. I try to show further that the skepticism in Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream not only can be used to refute the proofs of the existence of the empirical I , but also is effective against accounts concerning the existence of the transcendental I.
|Keywords||Zhuangzi Butterfly Dream Descartes Cogito, ergo sum Hilary Putnam Brains in a Vat the Transcendental I|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Joseph Almog, John Perry, Howard K. Wettstein & David Kaplan (eds.) (1989). Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press, USA.
David Carr (1999). The Paradox of Subjectivity: The Self in the Transcendental Tradition. Oxford University Press.
Derong Chen (2005). Three Meta-Questions in Epistemology: Rethinking Some Metaphors in Zhuangzi. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 32 (3):493–507.
Ewing Y. Chinn (1997). Zhuangzi and Relativistic Scepticism. Asian Philosophy 7 (3):207 – 220.
Maximilian De Gaynesford (2003). Is I Guaranteed to Refer? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (2):109-126.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Marian David (1991). Neither Mentioning 'Brains in a Vat' nor Mentioning Brains in a Vat Will Prove That We Are Not Brains in a Vat. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (4):891-896.
Hans-Georg Möller (1999). Zhuangzi's "Dream of the Butterfly": A Daoist Interpretation. Philosophy East and West 49 (4):439-450.
Jung H. Lee (2007). What is It Like to Be a Butterfly? A Philosophical Interpretation of Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream. Asian Philosophy 17 (2):185 – 202.
Robert Elliot Allinson (2011). The Butterfly, the Mole and the Sage. Asian Philosophy 19 (3):213-223.
Mark Sprevak & Christina McLeish (2004). Magic, Semantics, and Putnam's Vat Brains. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (2):227-236.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1986). Brains in a Vat. Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):148-167.
Xiaomei Yang (2005). Great Dream and Great Awakening: Interpreting the Butterfly Dream Story. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 4 (2):253-266.
Xiaoqiang Han (2009). Interpreting the Butterfly Dream. Asian Philosophy 19 (1):1 – 9.
Added to index2009-04-20
Total downloads72 ( #22,338 of 1,139,990 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #48,755 of 1,139,990 )
How can I increase my downloads?