Philosophy Phrases That Sound Existentially Exciting but Aren't
How's that for a file folder? I have just two items to put in it today.
"To be is to be perceived." Surely this is about today's "look at me" way of life. If you just did something--planted a garden, hiked up a mountain, read a novel--and didn't tell the world on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or by texting someone (etc) it didn't really happen, wasn't really worth doing. That's what we're coming to ... fret, fret, kids today! Except sorry, no, it doesn't mean that at all. This of course is Bishop Berkeley's famous way of stating the view that a thing like a table is really a bundle of perceptions.
"I think, therefore I am." No, I don't have to be perceived! I can tend that garden, read that novel, hike up that mountain on my own. I did it, it mattered, who cares if anyone knows about it! Just being here in this room thinking makes me who I am--so there! But no, sadly enough, this isn't the Solitary Person's reply to "to be is to be perceived," it's just (of course) Descartes' reply to skepticism. He's just saying I can't doubt that I exist, not saying anything at all about "life and all that."
If you have one to contribute, be my guest.