Discusses Descartes' Statement Cogito Ergo Sum (I Think Therefore I Am)

1240 words - 5 pages

Cogito ergo sum. Scholars would recognize this issue of high debates even today, almost five hundred years after the words were uttered; though in the present most people in the world wouldn't understand what it refers to. In 1641, René Descartes published his "Meditations on First Philosophy," in which his first meditation dismisses everything that he perceives as reality and posits that he is nothing more than a disembodied brain being manipulated by some outside source. In his second meditation, he questions if he is real. And the fact that he is able to ponder his reality leads him to the conclusion that "I think therefore I am": Cogito ergo sum.His first meditation came to an ...view middle of the document...

Here we have an instance that perfectly demonstrates that erroneous belief of Descartes', Cogito ergo sum. If this psychiatrist is only figment of the protagonist's imagination, then is the psychiatrist not being deceived? But if he is only the figment of an imagination, then how can he exist? There are no answers to these questions in Descartes' second meditation.To further support my inclination, studying the Hindu dogma would lead us to believe that we are all manifestations of Brahma in a dream as he sleeps; as soon as Brahma is to wake up, we would all stop to exist. If we are to still believe Descartes' theory, then we must discuss the question: What does it mean to have a real existence? To draw on my first example, does the psychiatrist exist? The psychiatrist was a manifestation of some part of the protagonist and existed in his dream, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the psychiatrist has a real existence. The psychiatrist must contemplate Descartes' belief if he fights so hard for his own existence.In the movie Spider, a man rediscovers his past after spending the last 30-40 years in a mental institution. He relives his past when he is sent to a halfway house in his hometown. We are able to see his spiral into madness as his memories are perverted by himself. He decides that his father has killed his mother and replaced her with a local bar whore. He ends up figuring out that the woman he envisioned (and killed) was in actuality his mother with a mental masque that he projected onto her. In this situation, we must ask Descartes, who exists? The mother or the bar whore? To the protagonist, the bar whore exists and his mother is killed. However, to the protagonist's father the woman his son sees as a bar whore is the same woman that he has been married to for almost fifteen years. But to the mind of the boy, it is no longer his mother.Furthermore, in another movie, eXistenZ, an entire universe is created for a game by plugging yourself into an organic computer. All the characters and people unique to that organic computer are now in question; do these characters exist? Are these characters real? To the gamer (the one plugged in), these people exist for the moment and only as long as they can be interacted with. This brings into question another philosophical debate of old: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around...


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