Cogito ergo sum


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Cogito ergo sum

  1. 1. Katey Snihur December 2nd, 2010 Humanities 20-1COGITO ERGO SUM "FOR, AFTER ALL, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT TWO AND TWO MAKE FOUR? OR THAT THE FORCE OF GRAVITY WORKS? OR THAT THE PAST IS UNCHANGEABLE? IF BOTH THE PAST AND THE EXTERNAL WORLD EXIST ONLY IN THE MIND, AND IF THE MIND ITSELF IS CONTROLLABLE – WHAT THEN?" ~GEORGE ORWELL~ The phrase “Cogito ergo sum” means, quite simply, I think, therefore I am. It is a Latin phrase that was translated from the French version, Je pense donc je suis. This famous and intuitive idiom developed by René Descartes, a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer. Descartes came up with this in 1637, as part/ of his “Discourse on Method”, (The full title is “Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking in the Sciences”) which is a philosophical and autobiographical treatise. I know that I exist because I have the ability to question whether or not that I do, that is the basis of this topic. I believe that, that is true. Though it is only a theory and cannot be proven, I would like to believe that I am not someone’s “Sim” or “Avatar” and that I actually have control of what I am doing. To think otherwise is very scary. For me it is anyways. The questions that can be equated with this Cogito ergo sum and its meaning are endless. Some people develop questions of technology. Others associate this phrase with religion and a parallel cosmos. They question whether or not our existence is real, or fake. Many philosophers spend much of their lives pondering over this simple concept some even reject it. One of these philosophers was Pierre Gassendi. He disagreed with the clarity of the criterion and did his best to undermine the reasoning that Descartes used to come up with the cogito. Using his own sense of logic and knowledge, Gassendi attacked the ontological argument. I, however, do not agree with Gassendi. I think that any computer programmer that was creating artificial life and didn’t want that life to know that it was unreal, would make it impossible for us to doubt that we are. We can assume that if we were fake than we were meant not to know that we were due to the fact that we do not know. Taking this into consideration, we can then determine that we are not artificial because we can, and do doubt our existence as being real or make believe.
  2. 2. Katey Snihur December 2nd, 2010 Humanities 20-1 The preceding explanation is one of the many perspectives Descarteslooked at when coming up with his philosophical phrase. I think that he isright, if we can think, and doubt, then we must be real. We must beourselves, and in the end, that’s all that matters."THE SEARCHING-OUT AND THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF TRUTH OUGHT TO BE THEPRIMARY STUDY OF MAN." ~CICERO~