To think, therefore, to exist. Rene Descartes: "I think, therefore I am"

The idea that Descartes proposed, "I think,therefore, exist "(in the original it sounds like Cogito ergo sum), is a statement that was first pronounced very long ago, back in the 17th century. Today, it is considered a philosophical statement, which is a fundamental element of the thought of modern times, more precisely, of Western rationalism. The statement remained popular in the future. Today, any educated person knows the phrase "to think, therefore, to exist".

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Thought of Descartes

Descartes put forward this judgment as truth,primary reliability, which can not be doubted and, therefore, with which it is possible to build a "building" of true knowledge. This argument should not be taken as an inference of the kind "thinks one who exists: I think, and therefore I exist." The essence of it, on the contrary, is in self-authenticity, the evidence of existence as a thinking subject: any mental act (and, more broadly, the experience of consciousness, the idea, as it is not limited to cogito thinking) reveals the person who is exercising, thinking in a reflexive view. In the act of consciousness, self-detection of the subject is meant: I think and find myself, contemplating this thinking, myself, standing behind its contents and acts.

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Formulation options

Option Cogito ergo sum ("think, therefore,exist ") in the most significant work of Descartes is not used, although this is erroneously stated as an argument with reference to the work of 1641. Descartes feared that the wording he used in his earlier work allowed a different interpretation from the context in which he used it in his conclusions. While striving to avoid the specific logical conclusion of the interpretation, which creates only a semblance, since in reality the immediate discretion of the truth, self-evidence is implied, the author "thinks, therefore, exists" removes the first part of the above phrase and leaves only "I am" ("I am" ). He writes (Reflection II) that whenever the words "I exist", "I am" are uttered, or they are perceived by the mind, the judgment will be true if necessary.

A habitual form of utterance, Ego cogito, ergosum (in the translation - "I think, therefore I exist"), whose meaning now, I hope, is clear to you, appears as an argument in the work of 1644 under the title "The Beginning of Philosophy". It is written by Descartes in Latin. However, this is not the only formulation of the idea "to think, therefore, to exist." There were others.

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The predecessor of Descartes, Augustine

Not only did Descartes come to the argument "I think,therefore, I exist. " Who said the same words? We answer. Long before this thinker, such an argument was proposed by Augustine the Blessed in his polemic with the skeptics. It can be found in the book of this thinker called "On the City of God" (11th book, 26). The phrase sounds like this: Si fallor, sum ("If I'm wrong, then, consequently, I exist").

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The difference between the thoughts of Descartes and Augustine

The fundamental difference between Descartes and Augustine, however, is the consequences, the purposes and the context of the argument "to think, therefore, to exist."

Augustine begins his thought with the assertion that,that people, looking into their own souls, will recognize the image of God in themselves, because we exist and know about it, and we love our knowledge and being. This philosophical idea corresponds to the so-called triple nature of God. Augustine develops his point of view by saying that he is not afraid of any objections to the above-mentioned truths on the part of various academics who might ask: "What if you are deceived?" The thinker would have answered that this is why he exists. Because one who does not exist can not be deceived.

Looking with faith in his soul, Augustine inThe result of using this argument comes to God. Descartes looks there with doubt and comes to consciousness, the subject, the thinking substance, whose main requirement is distinctness and clarity. That is, the cogito of the first pacifies, transforming everything in God. The second problematizes everything else. Since, after finding the truth about man's own existence, one should turn to the conquest of reality, distinct from the "I", while striving constantly for clarity and clarity.

Descartes himself noted the differences between his own argument and Augustine's statement in a response letter to Andreas Colviou.

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Hindu parallels "I think, therefore, I exist"

Who said that such thoughts and ideas wereare inherent only in Western rationalism? In the East also came to this conclusion. In the opinion of SV Lobanov, the Russian Indologist, this idea of ​​Descartes is in Indian philosophy one of the fundamental principles of monistic systems - Advaita Vedanta of Shankara, and also of Kashmir Shaivism, or Para Advaita, whose most famous representative is Abhinavagupta. The scientist believes that this statement is put forward as a primary certainty, around which one can build knowledge, which in turn is reliable.

The meaning of this statement

Saying "I think, therefore I am"belongs to Descartes. After him, most philosophers attached great importance to the theory of knowledge, and they owed it to him largely to this. This statement makes our consciousness more reliable than even matter. And, in particular, our own mind for us is more reliable than the thinking of others. In every philosophy, the beginning of which Descartes laid down ("I think, therefore I exist"), there is a tendency to the presence of subjectivity, and to the consideration of matter as the only thing that can be known. If at all it is possible to do this by deducing from what is already known to us about the nature of the mind.

In this 17th-century scholar, the term "thinking"Only implicitly includes what will later be designated by thinkers as consciousness. But on the philosophical horizon there are already themes of the future theory. In the light of Descartes's explanations, the awareness of actions is presented as a distinctive sign of thinking.

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