Have you ever heard the phrase “I think, therefore I am”?
The basic meaning of this phrase is that when we think about our existence, we prove our existence.
If we didn’t exist, we couldn’t think about it! The 17th century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes thought up this phrase, also known as a philosophical proposition. He was trying to figure out what we, as people, can know for sure to be true. Many philosophers believe that this proposition forms the basis for all knowledge. The phrase is widely known in its Latin form as “Cogito ergo sum” but Descartes actually wrote it first in French as “Je pense, donc je suis.”
Animals can think and learn, but in general, most rely on instinct which is behavior, thinking, and feeling that is not learned. It’s a natural desire or inclination to do something a certain way.
Discuss: What are some things that you have instinctual or natural skill for? In other words, what do you do without even thinking about it? Do you still exist when you are simply doing these things and not consciously thinking?
Discuss: What are some things you have to think about before you do them? What are some things that you think about when you have spare time?
Discuss: What are some things you are absolutely certain are true? Why?