Cogito ergo sum
Cogito ergo sum (French: "Je pense donc je suis"; English: "I think, therefore I am") is aphilosophical Latin statement proposed by René Descartes. The simple meaning of the phrase is that someone wondering whether or not he exists is, in and of itself, proof that he does exist – at the very least, there must be an "I" who does the thinking. The phrase became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it can form a foundation for all knowledge. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception or mistake, the very act of doubting one's own existence serves as proof of the reality of one's own existence, or at least that of one's thought. The statement is sometimes given as Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (English: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am"), although this extension was never used by Descartes himself and it is potentially misleading, as it suggests that Descartes' argument is based on doubt, whereas it is inherent in any mental activity whatsoever. A common mistake is that people take the statement as proof that they, as a human person, exist. However, it is a severely limited conclusion that does nothing to prove that one's own body exists, let alone anything else that is perceived in the physical universe. It only proves that one's mind exists (that part of an individual that observes oneself doing the doubting). It does not rule out other possibilities, such as waking up to find oneself to be a butterfly who had dreamed of having lived a human life. Descartes's original statement was "Je pense donc je suis," from his Discourse on Method (1637). He wrote it in French, not in Latin and thereby reached a wider audience in his country than that of scholars. He uses the Latin "Cogito ergo sum" in the later Principles of Philosophy (1644), Part 1, article 7: "Ac proinde hæc cognitio, ego cogito, ergo sum, est omnium prima & certissima, quæ...