Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An OK snippet?

I use these blogs to write about whatever I am thinking about, and often - now that I am quite involuntarily retired and amusing myself by watching college lectures - I'm think about academic stuff. However, much of that, in a blog, would come off as booooring. But sometimes, maybe it isn't.

For instance, this afternoon I watched cool lectures about Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, and Thomas Hobbes. Interesting stuff. But, in terms of a blog, who wants to sit down to read some half-baked, third-hand little snippet of philosophy? Sheesh.

Still, there was something in there that almost all us of know very well, but that almost all of us get rather fundamentally wrong. That is Descartes' famous quote in Latin: "cogito ergo sum," or "I think, therefore I am."

Understandably, that "I am," sometimes translated as "I exist," leads us to think that Descartes was trying to prove his existence. Not so.

Instead, he was talking about his fundamental thought that while ALL data from ALL our senses could be faked (by some evil-genius imp, say), the fakery still would have to be directed at some thinking entity that it is trying to fool. And that thinking entity is none other than him! A first step away from total skepticism! A first step toward reaching toward truth!

Not a bad snippet, I like to think.

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