Why René Descartes said “I Think, Therefore I Am” [5:27]

Description

A great discussion of the philosopher Rene Descartes and his famous philosophical maxim “I think therefore I am,” or “cogito ergo sum.”  It discusses the classic Evil Demon problem, which has since been updated to the Brain in the Vat, a thought experiment similar to the Matrix movie, and then Descartes’ solution to this problem via his proof that God exists.  The video does not, however, discuss the circularity and other errors of Descartes’ solution.  For that, please also watch this short video by the same author.

Discussion Questions

  • Who was Rene Descartes and why was he important?
  • What is global skepticism?  And what role does Descartes’ Evil Demon play?
  • In your own words, what does “I think therefore I am” mean?
  • What is Descartes’ argument for God and how does he think it gets him to prove all the common sense things we believe?
  • What problems does Descrates’ solution to skepticism run into?

Keywords: philosophy, epistemology, skepticism, Descartes, God, metaphysics, personal identity, solopsism,

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