noun(usually the cogito) Philosophy
The principle establishing the existence of a being from the fact of its thinking or awareness.
- This missing element is the self, or subject: the focal point of Descartes reasoning, whose existence was established by the cogito.
- It is because of this that Descartes erroneously took the cogito to be the foundation of certainty in human knowledge, and our knowledge of body to be less clear and less immediate.
- Even the most forcefully experienced insights - save the cogito - become open to doubt once the immediacy of the intuition passes.
Mid 19th century: Latin, literally 'I think', in Descartes's formula (1641) cogito, ergo sum 'I think therefore I am'.
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