there is to the matter. Perhaps there are also dissimilarities
betweenDescartes and Augustine importantenoughto justifyor
at least toexplainthe one'sreluctance toacknowledge the extent
oftheother's anticipation. But we cannot tell whether thereis
more to Descartes's cogito,
ergosumthan there is to St.Augustine's
similar argumentbefore we can tellexactly what thereis to the
Ifthere are importantdifferences between Descartesand
his predecessors, the question will alsoarise whether some of
theanticipations are closer than others. For instance,Descartes
could have found the principle in St. Thomas Aquinas as well
as inSt. Augustine. Which of the two saints comes closer to
3.Whatisthe relationof cogitoto sum? What kind of topical
questionsdoescogito, ergosum giverise to? One of the most
importantquestions is undoubtedly that of thelogicalform of
Descartes's inference. Is it a formally validinference?Ifnot,
what is logically wrong aboutit?
But there is an even more fundamentalquestion than these.
Does Descartes's dictum really express an inference? Thatit
does is suggestedbythe particleergo.According to Descartes,
however, bysaying cogito,ergosum he does not logically(syllo-
gistically)deducesum from cogitobut ratherperceives intuitively
("byasimple act of mentalvision") the self-evidenceofsum.3
Similarly,Descartes occasionally says that one's own existenceis
intuitively obvious withoutbringing in cogito asa premise.4
Sometimes he intimates that his "first principle"isreally the
existence of his mind-and not theprinciple cogito,ergosum,by
means of which this existenceisapparently deduced.5 Once he
published by C. Adam and P. Tannery (Paris,i897-
trans.by E. S.Haldane
and G. R. T. Ross (London,I931),
II, 38. In the sequel, these editionswill
be referred toas AT and HR,respectively, with Romannumeralsreferring
to volumes.Normally I shall not follow Haldane andRoss'stranslation,
however;Ishall make us of the existingtranslations(notably of those by
N. KempSmith and by Anscombe andGeach)rathereclectically.
4ATX,368; HRI, 7.
5 AT IV, 444; AT VII,12; HR I,140.