Descartes Cogito Argument Essay Sample

Cogito Ergo Sum Essay

"I think, therefore I am," said Descartes. But the ordinary man does not stand and wonder how he knows he exists. He assumes his own existence and claims to know physical things as they exist independent of his perception of them. A philosopher may look upon this innocent acceptance as an 'audacious piece of metaphysical theorizing' not at all based on what he calls 'sense data'. The philosopher cannot accept the knowledge of his existence unless it is logically deduced.

Descartes undertook the task of doubting everything that could be legitimately be doubted. The desire to know the true nature of reality, was invoked in Descartes' mind early in his time. Before long he had resolved "no longer to seek any other science than the knowledge of myself or of the great book of the world."

His process was a process of doubt, which doubted the existence of everything. He wished to adopt the mathematical criterion of certtainity in philosophy. Only a scientific method could free philosophy of dogma and unreason.

Descartes said in his Discourse on Method - "When I consider that some thoughts which we experience when awake may also be experienced when we are asleep, while there is at the time not one of them true, I suppose that all the objects that has ever entered into my mind when awake had in them no more truth than the illusions of my dream. 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 I observed that this truth, I think therefore I am, was so certain and of such evidence, that no ground of doubt no matter how extravagant could be alleged by...

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Essay about Descartes’ Cogito

1542 Words7 Pages

Descartes’ Cogito

It is the purpose of this essay to examine both Descartes’ Cogito argument and his skepticism towards small and universal elements, as well as the implications these arguments have on each other. First, I will summarize and explain the skepticism Descartes’ brings to bear on small and universal elements in his first meditation. Second, I will summarize and explain the Cogito argument, Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore I am” (it should be noted that this famous implication is not actually something ever said or written by Descartes, but instead, an implication taken from his argument for his own existence). Third, I will critique the line of reasoning underlying these arguments. Descartes attacks…show more content…

Descartes attacks the possibility of certainty with regards to the existence of small and universal elements with the possibility of our thoughts being altered by an omnipotent deceiver. In paragraph nine, he states, “How do I know that he did not bring it about that there be no Earth at all, no heavens, no extended thing, no figure, no size, no place, and yet all these things should seem to me to exist precisely as they appear to do now.” His point is that this omnipotent evil deceiver could create in our minds an understanding of mathematics and logic that is at odds with reality, causing us to construe everything wrongly. Thus Descartes ends this final and devastating doubt with the preliminary conclusion that everything he perceives can be called into doubt.

Descartes answers his seemingly hopeless skepticism from the first meditation with the Cogito. The basic point of his Cogito argument is that for me to either perceive awry, or even to doubt my own existence, I must exist. It is, as Descartes says, “’I am, I exist’ is necessarily true every time it is uttered by me or conceived in my mind (Med2, par3).” He makes two arguments for the Cogito in his second meditation. Descartes arrives at the Cogito through the notion of an omnipotent deceiver actually. He starts to question his own

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