Descartes Knowledge

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 248
  • Published : October 8, 1999
Open Document
Text Preview
Descartes Knowledge

The question of
our existence in reality is a question which philosophers have tackled throughout time. This essay will look at the phrase, cogito ergo sum or I think therefore I am, a phrase brought about by Rene Descartes. This phrase is the backbone of Descartes whole philosophy of our existence in reality. As long as we are thinking things, we exist. When we look at this approach to our existence we must first deny that any sensory data that we receive is believable or it is conceivable that it is false. This means that we can't really know that anything we perceive through our senses is actually an accurate interpretation of reality. After we've established that our senses aren't totally reliable we then have to look at what we know of without our senses. Descartes says that the only thing that we can be sure of is that we are thinking things. Even in denying that we are thinking things we are affirming the actual point that we look to deny. The thought that we are not thinking things is still a thought and therefore proof that we are thinking things. For it is not conceivable for one to think of a point at which we are not thinking. We can try to persuade ourselves that there are times when we are not thinking but in doing so we see that we do exist. For it is impossible to persuade nothing of something, so our existence is solely dependent on the fact that we are things, thinking things that can be persuaded. Even though the fact that we are thinking things doesn't necessarily prove that we are human beings, it does prove that we are beings. At this point Descartes would say that we don't know what we are just that we are. A thinking thing really has a very vague description and cannot really be applied to us as beings which we perceive. So what is the connection between what we believe to be us and what is us?...
tracking img