2. What Does “Cogito Ergo Sum” Mean?

There’s a joke between philosophy students. It starts off with Descartes walking into a bar. He asks for a Bourbon, and the bartender asks him if he’d like it on the rocks. Descartes says, “No, I think not.” Then, he disappears. To explain this joke, we have to talk about, “Cogito, ergo sum” or, in English, “I think, therefore I am.” Chances are you’ve heard this before, whether you’re into philosophy or not. However, the trick to understanding it is, ironically, to not overthink it. Descartes set out on a journey to try and discover some wholly universal truth that not a single person could doubt. The only truth he found was that the act of having doubt requires thought which required him to have those thoughts. Therefore, it was true that he existed. In other words, he was his own ultimate proof.

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