What is the Munchaussen trilemma?
The Münchhausen trilemma (after Baron Münchhausen, who allegedly pulled himself and the horse on which he was sitting out of a swamp by his own hair), also called Agrippa's trilemma (after Agrippa the Skeptic), is a philosophical term coined to stress the purported impossibility to prove any truth even in the fields of logic and mathematics.Trilemma
If we ask of any knowledge: "How do I know that it's true?", we may provide proof; yet that same question can be asked of the proof, and any subsequent proof. The Münchhausen trilemma is that we have only three options when providing proof in this situation: * The circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other (i.e. we repeat ourselves at some point) * The regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof, ad infinitum (i.e. we just keep giving proofs, presumably forever) * The axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts (i.e. we reach some bedrock assumption or certainty) The first two methods of reasoning are fundamentally weak, and because the Greek skeptics advocated deep questioning of all accepted values they refused to accept proofs of the third sort. The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options.As such, what is pragmatic?
The failure of proving exactly any truth as expressed by the Münchhausen trilemma does not have to lead to dismissal of objectivity, as with relativism. One example of an alternative is the fallibilism of Karl Popper and Hans Albert, accepting that certainty is impossible, but that it's best to get as close as we can to truth, while remembering our uncertainty.The personal identity problem For instance, when we say I, what is the I we are referring to and how can we prove it exists and be approximately true? From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_identity
In philosophy, the issue of personal identity concerns several loosely related issues, in particular persistence, change, sameness, and time. Personal identity is the distinct personality of an individual and is concerned with the persisting entity particular to a given individual. The personal identity structure appears to preserve itself from the previous version in time when it is modified. It is the individual characteristics arising from personality by which a person is recognized or known.Apparently, it is not as simple as it seems:
Generally, it is the unique numerical identity of persons through time. That is to say, the necessary and sufficient conditions under which a person at one time and a person at another time can be said to be the same person, persisting through time. In the modern philosophy of mind, this concept of personal identity is sometimes referred to as the diachronic problem of personal identity. The synchronic problem is grounded in the question of what features or traits characterize a given person at one time.With such problems, how about the no-self theory?
This is because the no-self theory rejects all theories of the self, even the bundle theory. On Giles' reading, Hume is actually a no-self theorist and it is a mistake to attribute to him a reductionist view like the bundle theory. Hume's assertion that personal identity is a fiction supports this reading, according to Giles. The Buddhist view of personal identity is also a no-self theory rather than a reductionist theory, because the Buddha rejects attempts to reconstructions in terms of consciousness, feelings, or the body in notions of an eternal, unchanging Self. According to this line of criticism, the sense of self is an evolutionary artifact, which saves time in the circumstances it evolved for. But sense of self breaks down when considering some events such as memory loss, split personality disorder, brain damage, brainwashing, and various thought experiments. When presented with imperfections in the intuitive sense of self and the consequences to this concept which rely on the strict concept of self, a tendency to mend the concept occurs, possibly because of cognitive dissonance.If the self does not exist, what is the I we are referring to when we say I and how can we prove something which does not exist to be either true or false? :cheese: