Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obama:I Dollar,Therefore I Exist ,d'apres Descartes

drawing/collage by marguerita

“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflicts in our lifetimes,” Mr. Obama said, addressing the paradox of receiving an award for peace as commander in chief of a nation that is escalating the war in Afghanistan as it continues to fight in Iraq."

"I Think, therefore I exist"- Rene Descartes

Descartes was a geometrician. He found only in mathematics and geometry the certainty that he required. Therefore, he used the methods of geometry to think about the world. Now, in geometry, one begins with a search for axioms, simple undeniable truths – for example, the axiom that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. On the foundations of such “self-evident” propositions, whole geometrical systems can be built.

Following his geometrical model, Descartes proceeds to doubt everything – de onmibus dubitandum. He will suspend belief in the knowledge he learned from childhood, all those things “which I allowed myself in youth to be persuaded without having inquired into their truth.” Doubt will be his method, a deliberate strategy for proceeding toward certainty. (Descartes is a doubter not by nature, but by necessity. What he really wants is secure understanding so he can stop doubting.)

Descartes finds that he has no trouble doubting the existence of real objects/events – our senses too easily deceive us. And we can doubt the existence of a supernatural realm of reality – figments and fantasies are too often conjured by our native imaginations. But now his geometrical model pays off: in trying to doubt everything, he discovers something that he can’t doubt. What he can’t doubt is that he is doubting. Obviously, I exist if I doubt that I exist. My doubt that I exist proves that I exist, for I have to exist to be able to doubt. Therefore I can’t doubt that I exist. Hence, there is at least one fact in the universe that is beyond doubt. “I am, I exist is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it.

Descartes thus becomes the author of the most famous phrase in Western philosophy: Cognito ergo sum, or, in his original French, Je pense, donc je suis. – I think, therefore I exist. With roots in St. Augustine, this is certainly one of the catchiest ideas yet created by the human mind.www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/781932/posts



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