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3 pages/≈825 words
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APA
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Literature & Language
Type:
Reaction Paper
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English (U.S.)
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Topic:

Do You Think the Statement, 'I Think, Therefore I Am' By Rene Descartes is True? Why? (Reaction Paper Sample)

Instructions:

the task was to discuss whether in my opinion the famous cogito by rene Descartes "i think, therefore, i am" was valid or not. In the sample paper i attempt to explain the reasoning behind rene's proposition and conclude that he was right to state so.

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Content:

Do You Think the Statement, “I Think, Therefore I Am” By Rene Descartes is True? Why?
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Do You Think the Statement, “I Think, Therefore I Am” By Rene Descartes is True? Why?
Rene Descartes’ famous Cogito, “I think, therefore I am,” has been subject to intense scrutiny. The famous French philosopher formulated this hypothesis in his quest to establish whether anything was indubitable and would serve as a perfectly certain foundation for other existing knowledge. Psychologists contend that human beings are intelligent creatures, inferring the existence of things, mostly from their sense perception. Their high cognitive functionality allows them to perceive and fathom their surrounding environment. However, Descartes realized that when subjected to scrutiny, such postulations could be challenged. Therefore, he decided to embrace a skeptical stance towards all knowledge. His inference was that since he doubted his existence, then it meant that he indeed existed, as it would have felt preposterous to be able to doubt and not exist (Dicker, 2013). Descartes’ certitude holds true since it underscores the fact that thoughts exist and that they are distinctive to the thinking being. The perceptive aptitudes of this thinking being help to determine their character, conduct, and actions. This paper will offer supporting arguments in an attempt to validate Descartes’ Cogito.
To begin with, this formulation by Descartes has been widely criticized as lacking logical validity. Several prominent philosophers, for example, Soren Kierkegaard, contend that his logic only proves the existence of thoughts but fails to substantiate the existence of the thinking subject. Echoing similar sentiments are Russel and Nietzsche (Sullivan, 2009), who debunk the conclusion that the subject that does the thinking and thus exists is the “I” in the statement. Their rationale is that such metaphysical arguments are marred by grammatical limitations, which in this case leads to the inference of the thinking agent as the “I”. Instead, the only logical certainty in Descartes' reasoning is the indubitable existence of thoughts, but not "a self". While all the above arguments are cogent, it is necessary to discern that Descartes’ Cogito requires no separate entity to remain coherent. According to Solari, Smith, Minnett & Hecht-Nielsen (2008), a concept of self manifests itself in human beings during early infancy when one begins to perceive himself or herself as an autonomous being able to experience. It is from this awareness and perspective of one’s self that a person starts to experience the world surrounding them, justifying the deduction that the self indeed does exist.
In his aphorism, Descartes does not claim that he, Rene, thinks, and therefore, he, Rene, exists. Instead, he wittingly questions what he is: he discovers that he is a “thinking entity”. In light if of this perspicacity, Russel acknowledges the presence of thoughts, which assume the subject, and the agent of the experience. An obvious impossibility, as he further notes, would be to think but not exist (Sullivan, 2009). Correspondingly, Nietzsche holds a similar stance in his proposition. Albeit criticizing Descartes’ contention is their strong suit, their criticisms help elucidate his argument. The existence of the agent of the experience is revealed by the experience of the thoughts, which could be triggered innately or externally. Following his logic, it can be seen that even if one were to assume that only thoughts existed, those thoughts would simply be experiencing themselves and, therefore, relevant to represent the “self” (Sullivan, 2009). As a result, Descartes proves the existence of the self even if that self would be purely nothing but its own thoughts.
In the modern philosophical spheres, Descartes hypothesis has been validated by psychologists who apply the theory in their epistemological studies. In the neonate period of human growth and development, mental capacity seems to be an insignificant contributor to human development. However, in the later stages of life, a person’s comportment and actions become reliant on their mental capacities (Solari, Smith, Minnett & Hecht-Nielsen, 2008). In a number of prospective longitudinal studies, psychologists have noted that a significant proportion of individuals who turn out to be social delinquents possess normal brain functionality. Such individuals are capable of fathoming th...
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