Thursday, January 3, 2008
'Cogito Ergo Sum' I think therefore I am.
Rene Descartes famously mistranslated words of 'Cogito Ergo Sum' - 'I doubt therefore I exist' are commonly phrased as 'I think therefore I am' and in short do not justify why this man tied up modern philosophy for 200 years.
His search was for certainty and to seemingly join the esoteric with the exoteric. The inner world with that of the outer.
To attain a statement that he could be sure of as certain he realized that he had to separate the subjective from the objective, thought from matter. The thought of a table and even the word 'table' has no physical appearance of the object table. And so he had to use the senses to join the two.
This may seem easy but to be actually certain one needs to be sure that no mistakes can ever be made. When one sees a car pass it may be seen as a red Mazda when in actual fact it could be red Nissan. When one sees an old old friend and it turns out to be a look alike we can realize certainty can not be gained through the senses.
So he was aware that he doubted.
Thus in the search for certainty it is ironic he was sure of doubt.
Thus 'Cogito Ergo Sum' means I doubt therefore I exist, and is classed as a romantic philosophy.
As always there are 2 ways of looking at any statement and the English such as John Locke looked at the external measurable world and held to the Empirical philosophy.
From these bipolar concepts one needed to find an interaction between the physical and the non physical. This has been called the 'ghost in the machine' and can also be seen in the idea of the father, son and the holy ghost.
I feel that Rene Descartes describes the esoteric and exoteric concept with great simplicity.