Monday, February 25, 2008

I am, therefore I think

In his Meditations, Descartes defended the thesis “Cogito ergo sum” ,”I think, therefore I am”, and reasoned that mind and matter are two different things. However, isn’t it the wrong order, I think, therefore I am? For if I wouldn’t be, I couldn’t think, for a non existing thinking being is impossible. Thinking is only possible for me if I exist and if this existing of me has developed that way that the existing being that I am can think. Therefore, my existing is a precondition for my thinking. For this reason it is not correct to say “Cogito ergo sum”, but rather one should say “Sum ergo cogito”, “I am, therefore I think”. But then it is not so that there is a thinking that happens to be my thinking, but my thinking is a consequence of my being as it happens to have developed. And this has consequences for my thinking, for my thinking cannot be separate of my being, as Descartes reasoned, but it is an inextricable part of my being, whatever that may involve.


j. a. walker said...

To be is not to have the capacity to think, even if to think is to think in the manner of the way one is. It is not included in being that one thinks; it is, however, included in one's being able to state one's existence that one does indeed exist.

HbdW said...

Hello Mr. Walker,
Thank you for your reaction. However, I did not say that being included the ability to think. I said or rather implied only that being is a necessary condition for thinking. It is quite well possible that there exist entities that cannot or do not think. In fact, this is so for most of what exists in this world.