Cogito, ergo sum vivens

I think therefore I am. By the same experience, and with the same certainty, I think therefore I am alive: because for me to exist means to be alive.

7 Comments

  1. Jeff G said,

    November 14, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    What do you mean by “alive”?

    Do rock exist? Are they alive?

    Do thoughts exist? Are they alive?

    This second question is important, for that is really all that Descartes can ever prove with certainty. Not “I think, therefore I am” but rather “I think, therefore thinking happens.” The former smuggles in the “I” as an assumption which is supposed to be proved, but in the end is not.

    In other words:

    1) I think, therefore thoughts exist.
    2) Thoughts exist, therefore they are alive.

    This sounds a little suspicious to me.

  2. shulamite8810 said,

    November 15, 2006 at 12:01 am

    Well, no to the rock question. Thoughts are not alive either, at least not as a man is, or even as a thinking thing is: but we might call them alive in the sense that a finger is alive, or a body is alive, namely, for being a part of man. A human body without life is not properly speaking human

    I claimed “I am alive” means I exist, and “I exist” means “I am alive”. A sign of this is that to negate either one is to negate the other. Another way to say it is that “is” or “exists” in his instance means “is alive” as when I say “That parrot no longer exists!” i.e it is not alive/ dead.

  3. Jeff G said,

    November 16, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Okay, but there is no logically deductive reason that thoughts must be part of something else. This is exactly where Descartes’ claim goes wrong.

  4. shulamite8810 said,

    November 16, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Since I have never had an interest in defending Descartes, I don’t mind letting the objection pass.

  5. Jeff G said,

    November 17, 2006 at 3:11 am

    Sounds good. However, Descartes’ method was that of achieving deductive certainty on these matters. That is what “I think, therefore I am” is supposed to be all about. If you aren’t concerned with deductive certainty then what is the purpose of this post. Is an inductive argument that I am alive really necessary?

  6. Shulamite said,

    November 17, 2006 at 10:00 am

    To explain what I want to do with the statement, and why it is necessary, I’d say this: in order for any argument to be certain, whether it is deductive or inductive, it must be based on something certain in itself. “I think, therefore I am alive” is such a basis. I see this as necessary because it is the first principle of a discussion of the soul, which is what I am working up to.

  7. shulamite8810 said,

    November 17, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    I’ll put up another post on this


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