I Think, Therefore I Am

I had long before remarked that, in relation to practice, it is sometimes necessary to adopt, as if above doubt, opinions which we discern to be highly uncertain, as has been already said; but as I then desired to give my attention solely to the search after truth, I thought that a procedure exactly the opposite was called for, and that I ought to reject as absolutely false all opinions in regard to which I could suppose the least ground for doubt, in order to ascertain whether after that there remained aught in my belief that was wholly indubitable. Accordingly, seeing that our senses sometimes deceive us, I was willing to suppose that there existed nothing really such as they presented to us; and because some men err in reasoning, and fall into paralogisms, even on the simplest matters of geometry, I, convinced that I was as open to error as any other, rejected as false all the reasonings I had hitherto taken for demonstrations; and finally, when I considered that the very same thoughts (presentations) which we experience when awake may also be experienced when we are asleep, while there is at that time not one of them true, I supposed that all the objects (presentations) that had ever entered into my mind when awake, had in them no more truth than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately upon this I observed that, whilst I thus wished to think that all was false, it was absolutely necessary that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that this truth, I think, therefore I am (COGITO ERGO SUM), was so certain and of such evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged by the sceptics capable of shaking it, I concluded that I might, without scruple, accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I was in search.

In the next place, I attentively examined what I was and as I observed that I could suppose that I had no body, and that there was no world nor any place in which I might be; but that I could not therefore suppose that I was not; and that, on the contrary, from the very circumstance that I thought to doubt of the truth of other things, it most clearly and certainly followed that I was; while, on the other hand, if I had only ceased to think, although all the other objects which I had ever imagined had been in reality existent, I would have had no reason to believe that I existed; I thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that it may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing; so that "I," that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am, is wholly distinct from the body, and is even more easily known than the latter, and is such, that although the latter were not, it would still continue to be all that it is.


The first paragraph is sound, but then the conclusions drawn in the second are not.

Folksonomies: philosophy metaphysics

/law, govt and politics (0.712582)
/society/unrest and war (0.692382)
/religion and spirituality (0.674825)

Concepts in metaphysics (0.966177): dbpedia_resource
Reasoning (0.857526): dbpedia_resource
Mind (0.852173): dbpedia_resource
Epistemology (0.833066): dbpedia_resource
Philosophy (0.766461): dbpedia_resource
Thought (0.748657): dbpedia_resource
Critical thinking (0.702419): dbpedia_resource
Truth (0.690421): dbpedia_resource

 Discourse on Method and Meditations
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Descartes , Rene (2012-03-06), Discourse on Method and Meditations, Courier Dover Publications, Retrieved on 2014-01-22
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: philosophy