Descartes fallacy: "I think then I am"

First what is the difference between to be or to exist.

To be means to have an essence (which is consciousness).
To exist means to have the ability to experience.
Consciousness is the essence which can experience and affect mental states.

Now we can judge between right and false phrase:

I am consciousness. Right.
I think then I am. Wrong.
I think then I exist. Right.

I don’t think the point of “I think, therefore I am” is to say that I exist because I think. Rather, it is saying that I know I exist certainly because I directly experience what is understood as “me”.

Well, the bold part is a huge claim.

I think the point of “I think, therefore I am” is that if a person believes something to be true about themselves, they can and will make it so. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s very much like “ask and you shall receive.”
Or positive thinking, positive visualization.

Mainly, it’s about the power of the mind.


Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks him, “want a beer, Rene?” He responds, “I think not”, and vanishes. :smiley:

I really don’t know what you mean by this.

It is impossible to know consciousness since intellect with byproduct of thought is utility of consciousness.


You are saying that you don’t know if you are conscious, because it is a basic quality of yourself, and thought proceeds from consciousness? Why can you not conclude that the idea of consciousness producing thought, means that you have consciousness?

Good one.

Says the guy who quotes him, “I think then I am.” :confused:

No. I say that I know I am conscious because I can deduce it. I cannot however say what I am since thought is utility of I/consciousness.

He had it backwards: "I am, therefore I think " is the appropriate conclusion.

Well you got it wrong again. So what’s new. Descarte’s sthick was, " I think, therefore I am. " But he was full of beans, so why discuss him.


Are you sure?

You are having fun time trolling around! :smiley:

Dang, you beat me to it. :slight_smile:

OP, ISTM that trying to separate being from existence is a kind of in-head tail chasing.

As others have pointed out, the Cartesian statement does not mean that one has being because one thinks, but that one “knows” one has being because one thinks.

If one loses being (ie because one has died), one ceases to think, however, one can cease to think (because of head knock, drunkenness, anesthesia, etc) and still have being, although in this condition they do not know they have being.


That’s putting Descartes before de horse!

Why was he full of beans?

Is a nothing – a non-existence – capable of thought?


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