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john cottingham

Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192589.1993.x


The name given to Descartes’ famous dictum ‘I am thinking, therefore I exist’ ( je pense, donc je suis ; Latin cogito ergo sum ). The French phrase appears in the Discourse on the Method (1637); the Latin formulation in the Principles of Philosophy (1644). The term ‘the Cogito’ is commonly used by commentators to refer not just to the dictum, but to the whole process of reasoning whereby the Cartesian meditator becomes aware of the indubitable existence of the thinking subject. The definitive account of that process occurs in the Second Meditation, where Descartes says that ‘I am, I exist ( sum, existo ) is necessarily true as often as it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind’. See also descartes ; self-knowledge and self-identity . : ‘ Cogito ergo sum: inference or performance?’. Philosophical Review 72 ( 1964 ), 3 – 32 ; reprinted in Descartes: A collection of. critical essays ed. W. Doney (London: Macmillan, 1968) . : ‘ The certainty of the Cogito’ , in Descartes: A collection of critical essays ed. ( London : Macmillan , 1968 ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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