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Cogito In Brief. Essay

942 words - 4 pages

Intr. to PhilosophyCogito in BriefIn his writings, Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes aims to provide a strong foundation for knowledge of the external world through many sections. Descartes, in the second section of his Meditations, subtitled: "The nature of the human mind, and how it is better known than the body" continues his search for truth, discarding any ideas that may be uncertain. He refers to Archimedes' famous line that given one immovable point, he could shift the entire earth. In the same way, Descartes' immovable truth, a truth on which he lays down his foundation of knowledge is the line, "Cogito ergo sum." I think, therefore I am.This is probably the most celebrated solitary line in all of philosophy, and is said to be the foundation for modern philosophy. An internet philosophy resource reports that "what Descartes is trying to say in this line is that every time he thinks something in his mind, he has proof that he exists. It is not possible to think without also existing. This proof, known as the Cogito, is Descartes first development towards his goal of perfect knowledge" (Mind and Body 3). This is why it is necessary to examine this proof so that one can have a better perceptive of the Meditations' meaning (3).Descartes previously gave an example dreaming and imagination, displaying that we infer based on experience. "For even if, as I have supposed, none of the objects of imagination are real, the power of imagination is something which really exists and is part of my thinking" (Descartes 180). If life is just a big dream, as some hypothesize, Descartes argues that then, I certainly exist. "I am, I exist is necessarily true whenever it is put forward to me or conceived by my mind" (178). He means that if you are thinking about it, you exist. Descartes again addresses the challenge of an evil genius that might be trying to trick him into thinking that the world exists. His argument against this theory is that if an evil genius is surely tricking him, he surely exists. "If I convinced myself of something, then I certainly existed. But there is a deceiver of supreme power...who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. In that case I too undoubtedly exist..." (180).The nature of this "I" in Descartes' writing is an essentially thinking thing (Funkhouser). An essential property is something that an object cannot fail to have. Descartes says that when we sleep, we have consciousness or we wouldn't exist during that time. Descartes believes that the fact that he is a thinking thing is his only essential property. The "I" and the body are two different things because by the Cogito, one can conclude that "I am," but not that "my body exists." The only thing he finds essential is that our nature is to be...

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