Descartes Finds Firm Philosophical Ground on “I Think, Therefore I Am”
A resident of Toledo, Ohio, Griffith Robert “Griff” Littlehale has diverse professional and personal interests that include art and philosophy. One of Griffith Littlehale’s favorite philosophers is Rene Descartes.
Despite its confident declaration, Descartes monumental yet often misunderstood statement “I think, therefore I am” has its roots in disbelief and uncertainty. Descartes was struggling with the fact that many of his firmly held beliefs had ultimately been proven untrue. He even acknowledged that his very senses may be reporting false information at the behest of some sort of “deceiver of supreme power and cunning.”
However, Descartes found a single “sticking point” that cannot be denied: the very act of thinking (even thinking thoughts that are false) assures his essential existence. Even if a supernatural “deceiver” is filling him with false beliefs, Descartes must exist to be deceived.
Assuming that Descartes is no different from other human beings in an existential sense, “I think, therefore I am” becomes a powerful philosophical tenet. Although humankind lives in a universe that is full of uncertainty, true knowledge is still possible.