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<   No. 1812   2008-01-12   >

Comic #1812

1 {scene: The Infinite Featureless Plane of Death}
1 Adam: So. Got a myth?
2 Jamie: "Cogito ergo sum."
3 Adam: Right then. Well, we're currently thinking.
4 Jamie: And yet, technically speaking, we aren't.
4 Adam: Busted!!

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I'm not entirely convinced their argument here is completely sound. I'd like to see it examined in detail and its consequences tested for their economic impact, on a major financial market.

But that might be putting Descartes before the Bourse.

2018-08-29 Rerun commentary: I suppose technically the sentence has a comma in it: Cogito, ergo sum.

The famous phrase due to René Descartes means "I think, therefore I am", and is a summary of his answer to the philosophical argument over whether we actually exist or not. A little more verbosely, the argument goes: If we ponder the question of our own existence, then we are thinking, and therefore we must exist in order to do the thinking.

This makes a lot of sense to most people. I, for one, am pretty sure I exist, and I find Descartes' argument pretty convincing. After all, if I didn't exist, I strongly suspect that I'd find it pretty hard to contemplate whether I exist or not.

But in the best traditions of philosophy, this hasn't stopped several later philosophers from refuting Descartes' argument. A bunch of them have said, "Hold on, you're assuming too much, right from the first letter! This 'I' who you refer to - who is that? You're assuming that there is such a thing as 'I' before you even begin, and that's assuming the very thing you're trying to prove!"

Most leading philosophers claim that this argument isn't worth a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Friedrich Nietzsche making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his bestselling book, Well That about Wraps It Up for Descartes - Not to Mention Everyone Else.

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