Tightly associated is a second phenomenological point: as thinking, thoughts, and experiences occur, they transition to memories, leading to the very secure belief that “my memory records my actual prior experiences.”
I also appear to be able to change thoughts on my own volition– thinking of a random number or recalling past memories, thus free will is implied in the ability to migrate thought with no apparent outside influence or credible physically sufficient cause (e.g. it seems unbelievable that an asterism, causal chain, chemical reaction, or quantum flux makes me choose to think about the number 7 rather than 12 or 17,849,205 and not 17,849,206?).
The last of the most certain ten references language – most of my thoughts are in words that form a recognizable language with meanings (for example ‘time’ or the number 5), therefore “language is a valid mode for thinking.”
These propositions and some which follow are so nearly certain (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that common sense suggests they need no demonstration. Still a powerful justification can also be asserted – they are the very axioms that must be accepted in order for any meaningful internal or external discourse to take place. In fact their denial negates all truth and action completely devastating human existence.
We can take these ten ranked principles and formulate a table as below based on the degree of certainty (100 point scale). To it we can add progressively less confident beliefs with estimated ranking for later use. It is also revealing and instructive to place some common metaphysical affirmations of lower certainty in the table for comparison purposes such as “God exists” or “I have a soul.” A partial table follows:
|PROPOSITION||DEGREE OF CERTAINTY||COMMENTS|
|1||Something exists.||99.9+||Alternatively – There is thinking.|
|2||Basic logic is valid.||99.9+||Includes simple mathematics and geometry.|
|3||Nothing is certain||99.9||Other than perhaps the first two listed.|
|4||I think, therefore I am.||99.8+|
|5||Time passes.||99.8||First phenomenologic principle.|
|6||I have identity.||99.7+|
|7||I have experiences.||99.7||Second phenomenologic principle.|
|8||My memory records my prior experiences.||99.6|
|9||I have free will.||99.5|
|10||Language is a valid mode of thought.||99.4|
|11||I had a beginning.||99.1||Alternatively – I have not always existed.|
|There is a God.||50||God defined as conscious creator of the universe. Equal to: There is no God.|
|I have a soul.||5||Better: I have no soul. (95% certain)|
Next time we will apply this formulation to empirical principles of highest degree of certainty.