11 Answers

  1. Good question! First of all, a lot of nonsense has been said about this “philosophical formula”. Even during Descartes 'lifetime, people objected to him:” In order to think, one must first exist” (as if Descartes did not know this).

    The answer of philosophers (I mean literate philosophers) is usually: “Gentlemen, this is not what we are talking about.” Secondly, let's listen to the opinion of intelligent and competent philosophers about this statement (about this formula) Descartes.

    I. Kant said that this is a tautology. A tautology is a logical fallacy. But Kant does not criticize Descartes (and even more so does not reproach the excellent mathematician and metaphysician for the lack of logic).

    He quite correctly captures the special kind of tautologies that philosophers use (in Descartes, using the procedure of doubt) when they want to express the fundamental (underlying human life) properties of the ultimate foundations of human life. Or being grounds (from the term “being”).

    Limit values are spoken in a different language, although well-known terms are used. Terms are also read (understood) cum grano salis( with a pinch of salt), not literally.

    Let us assume that the term “divine” does not refer to God, but is used to denote that in man which is not created by him (man), but is. Example: love.

    Limiting grounds are self-basic (self-causal).

    That is why we speak of the state of being “I think and I am as a thinker.” “I think” gives rise to a “state of thought.” Or in short: thought is the cause of thoughts. But special, existential.

    By the way, sometimes philosophy is defined as “thinking about thinking”. Here in Aristotle we read: “The mind has for its object beginnings, and is itself the beginning of knowledge” – Deut. Analytics).

    To denote existential thought, philosophers turn to the terms “as such”, ” thought/consciousness in general”, “pure thought”.

    That is why Descartes ' utterances are usually not seen as being and metaphysical.

  2. What will remain if you doubt everything? Only the fact of the doubt itself. The doubt itself is unquestionable. Doubt, on the other hand, is a moment of cogito, that is, of mental activity (it is not quite accurate to translate it as “thinking”). Doubt presupposes the doubter. Hence, ” I doubt-it means I exist.” Dubito ergo sum. Or “I think (experience, feel) – it means I exist.” Cogito ergo sum.

  3. Descartes “forgot” to add the essential ending: “… so I exist AS a HUMAN BEING.” Then the meaning of the aphorism becomes more clear – after all,it is thinking, creativity, that distinguishes a reasonable person from other species. Many people can simply “exist” (eat, drink,reproduce). Only those who think, continuously improve, and move the human race forward can exist as a HUMAN BEING. Descartes 'thought was echoed by his fellow science fiction writer, Jules Verne:” When I don't work, I don't feel any life in me.”

  4. “I can doubt everything, but not what I doubt, for by the very fact of doubt I only confirm that I doubt. Doubt is an act of thought. I doubt, therefore I think. But I couldn't think if I didn't exist. I think, therefore I exist. Therefore, my own existence is an unquestionable truth. But if my confidence in my own existence 2 Cogito ergo sum is based on the fact of thinking, then I am a thinking being. “(Yandex .Yandex Zen )

    Umberto Sergino (answer above ) expressed doubts about the correct translation of “I think”. He considers the translation “I doubt it “to be correct.

    I specifically quote from Descartes , which brings absolute clarity . Here are excerpts from it : “Doubt is an act of thought . I doubt, therefore I think .But I couldn't think if I didn't exist .

    I think, therefore I exist.”

    Here Descartes himself gives an absolutely clear and understandable answer to the question posed . In my opinion, the key thought here is: “…I could not think if I did not exist.” ( !)

  5. The key word in this phrase is “I”. In order to understand that a person exists, he must at least do two things. Understand what he thinks and understand it to analyze, drawing conclusions about himself that he is alive. This cannot be done if a person is not aware of himself as a person, i.e., does not have an “I”. Then he is a “vegetable” or dead.

  6. The world is based on movement. Everything in the world moves in time. Quarks moving formed protons and neutrons, protons and neutrons combined into nuclei, electrons joined the nuclei-atoms appeared. The atoms moved to form clusters, which in turn moved and combined to form stars. Thanks to the reactions in the stars, planets and everything that surrounds us appeared. All substances were formed due to the combination of atoms. And so are we. We are made up of what the stars have produced. In addition to the body, we have a mind. Without intelligence, we'd just be meat sacks. The mind also moves in time. The movement of the mind consists in the thought process. If we stop thinking, then the mind has stopped. And if it stops, then we won't be there either.

    Therefore: I think, therefore I exist.

  7. For me, this “hackneyed phrase” refers to the tendency of sapiens to make superficial judgments. In the place of Descartes ' considerations, where this phrase is taken from, it is valuable for me to emphasize the awareness that the proof of reasonableness is not thinking itself, but the presence of doubts in consciousness.

  8. This phrase is often (and erroneously) given as a logical conclusion (by the type of implication: if I think, then I exist). Here, however, being is not deduced from thinking, but rather the opposite. Not the one who thinks exists, but the one who thinks exists. In other words, it exists as a thinker. This is the most reliable of all the propositions from which philosophizing begins. If it is understood as an inference, then a paradox necessarily arises: if I cease to think, then I cease to exist. Already in the first paper where this phrase appears (“Reasoning about the method”) Descartes was aware of this contradiction. Therefore, in his next work “Reflections on the first philosophy”, he removes “I think” and leaves “I exist”, emphasizing “I am”.

    Since Descartes ' method was based on radical doubt, it also influenced his maxim of existence. In his later work, The Beginnings of Philosophy, being and doubt are connected in an elegant construction: “We cannot doubt that while we doubt, we exist.” Hence later interpreters of Descartes deduced: “I doubt, therefore I think, and therefore I exist.” Although this did not eliminate the new paradox in this position: I can doubt everything, thus confirming my existence, but I cannot doubt that I doubt, because this destroys the whole structure. The postulate of existence remains primary, accepted as a self-evident truth, when everything else may turn out to be illusory. At the same time, Descartes made a reservation, stating that the fact of doubt indicates the imperfection of human existence, and the idea of perfection in an imperfect being can only appear from outside, from someone more perfect, that is, ultimately-God. Descartes was not yet an atheist.

  9. First, you need to understand the phrase itself.
    The term “consequently” indicates that the FORMER is impossible without the LATTER. I.e., all those who claim that Descartes did not see existence without thinking, simply do not own mat. by logic. And, here, this phrase denies the possibility of thinking without existence.
    Accordingly, this statement serves, first of all, as a confirmation of the existence of any thinking subject. And, most likely, at the time of the utterance, it was just an objection to some solipsist (I exist, which means that your claims to uniqueness are not justified).

  10. Around this phrase of Descartes, you can build up a mountain of supposedly philosophical nonsense and complicate its understanding to the point of impossibility.

    In fact, everything is simple. Descartes was trying to create a theory about the universe and wanted to find a “cornerstone” on which this teaching could be built. Such a basis should have been something indubitable. However, before Descartes, the idea of the universe (if we discard the obviously religious, that is, doctrines that are not related to science) was based on”naive materialism”. It was assumed that the world around us exists exactly in the form in which we perceive it. But such a naive view was criticized already in the time of Ancient Greece. The external world exists for us only in our senses. And who can say with confidence that these feelings do not deceive us? Stone – hard and heavy? But this is how we perceive it. And what is it really? Our perception is a screen that separates us from reality. And that is why nothing in the universe around us can be accepted as something certain. So what should we start from in building our idea of the world? Descartes found this “something”: it is our individual consciousness, which we are aware of, and which is for us something that undoubtedly exists. I think-therefore I exist. Our individual consciousness is the only thing that we can be sure exists.

    Then – starting from this “base” – you can build various philosophical speculations. Descartes was the founder of a whole branch of philosophy: idealism. There is no point in understanding the peculiarities and subtleties of the teachings that grew up on this basis. But here's what's interesting. No one doubts Descartes ' formula itself: no one can think of refuting it. But the teachings that grew out of this formula caused frenzied discussions and a real squabble (which has not yet subsided).

  11. the phrase is not correctly translated: I doubt, therefore, I exist. If you can doubt your existence ,then you exist. Just as critical thinking makes you a person, not an image in a simulation

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