Cogitations: A Study of the Cogito in Relation to the Philosophy of Logic and Language and a Study…

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byJerrold J. Katz

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The cogito ergo sum of Descartes is one of the best-known (and simplest) of all philosophical formulations, but ever since it was first propounded it has defied any formal accounting of its validity. How is it that so simple and important an argument has caused such difficulty and suchphilosophical controversy? In this pioneering work, Jerrold Katz argues that the problem with the cogito lies where it is least suspected--in a deficiency in the theory of language and logic that Cartesian scholars have brought to the study of the cogito. Katz contends that the laws of traditional logic have distortedDescartes's reasoning so that it no longer fits either Descartes's own account of the cogito in his writings or the role he assigns it in his project. Katz proposes that the cogito can be understood as an example of "analytic entailment," a concept in the philosophy of language whereby a statementcan be a formally valid inference without depending on a law of logic. Developing and defending his thesis, he shows us that by grappling with an historical philosophical problem it is possible to make an original contribution to the advance of contemporary philosophy.

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From Our Editors

Descartes's cogito ergo sum is at once one of the simplest and most puzzling of philosophical arguments. Although most philosophers agree that the argument is valid, they do not agree about why it is valid. And the most generally accepted account, on which the inference becomes a standard logical argument once a missing premise is supp...

From the Publisher

The cogito ergo sum of Descartes is one of the best-known (and simplest) of all philosophical formulations, but ever since it was first propounded it has defied any formal accounting of its validity. How is it that so simple and important an argument has caused such difficulty and suchphilosophical controversy? In this pioneering wor...

Jerrold J. Katz is at City University of New York Graduate Center.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:226 pages, 9.25 × 6.14 × 0.47 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195055500

ISBN - 13:9780195055504

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From Our Editors

Descartes's cogito ergo sum is at once one of the simplest and most puzzling of philosophical arguments. Although most philosophers agree that the argument is valid, they do not agree about why it is valid. And the most generally accepted account, on which the inference becomes a standard logical argument once a missing premise is supplied, contradicts Descartes's own statements about the cogito.

Editorial Reviews

"Challenging, and beautifully written. It makes us rethink the Cogito from yet another point of view, and in the process leads us through an updated version, and powerful defence, of the author's semantic theory."--Philosophy and Phenomenological Research