Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Thought, Therefore I Was Right

Many years ago when I studied philosophy in UCD, I made the argument that Descartes' 'Cogito ergo sum' ('I think, therefore I am') was not strictly true. Rather than prove that I exist, it only proved that (a) thought exists, as the commonly held notion of self encompassed a past and future that the Cogito could never substantiate. I even used this argument in an exam question and was disappointed with my result. If only I'd read Bertrand Russell's 'The Problems of Philosophy' then (something I am reading now). In only the second chapter, Russell brings up the same issue. So I wasn't alone in my whacked out notions after all. And given the religious bias of my examiners at the time, I doubt the false notion of plagiarism would have damaged my exam results; Russell wouldn't have been held in high esteem by any lecturer outside of my second year Anglo-American philosophy lecturer, Maria Baghramian. Nice one, Bertrand.



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