Cogito?: Descartes and Thinking the World

Hardcover | April 4, 2008

byJoseph Almog

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Decartes' maxim Cogito, Ergo Sum (from his Meditations) is perhaps the most famous philosophical expression ever coined. Joseph Almog is a Descartes analyst whose last book WHAT AM I? focused on the second half of this expression, Sum--who is the "I" who is existing-and-thinking and how doesthis entity somehow incorporate both body and mind? This volume looks at the first half of the proposition - cogito. Almog calls this the "thinking man's paradox": how can there be, in the the natural world and as part and parcel of it, a creature that... thinks? Descartes' proposition declares thatsuch a fact obtains and he maintains that it is self-evident; but as Almog points out, from the point of view of Descartes' own skepticism, it is far from obvious that there could be a thinking-man. How can it be that a thinking human be both part of the natural world and yet somehow distinct andseparate from it? How did "thinking" arise in an otherwise "thoughtless" universe and what does it mean for beings like us to be thinkers? Almog goes back to the Meditations, and using Descartes' own aposteriori cognitive methodology--his naturalistic, scientific, approach to the study of man--triesto answer the question.

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Decartes' maxim Cogito, Ergo Sum (from his Meditations) is perhaps the most famous philosophical expression ever coined. Joseph Almog is a Descartes analyst whose last book WHAT AM I? focused on the second half of this expression, Sum--who is the "I" who is existing-and-thinking and how doesthis entity somehow incorporate both body and...

Jospeh Almog is a Professor of Philosophy at UCLA.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:144 pages, 5.79 × 8.39 × 0.79 inPublished:April 4, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195337719

ISBN - 13:9780195337716

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Synopsis - The thinking-man paradox2. Thinking about the sun I - having an idea of the sun3. Thinking about the sun II - having-in-mind vs. knowing-which4. Thinking about God and nature-as-a-whole5. Thinking about material things6. Descartes' cosmological invariants I - thinking7. Descartes' cosmological invariants II - knowing8. Skepticism