Lichtenberg’s Point

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien
Boris Hennig Ryerson University,

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The author argues that when Lichtenberg recommends saying “It is thinking” instead of “I am thinking”, he is not suggesting that thought might be a subjectless occurrence. Lichtenberg’s point is, rather, that we are often the passive subject or medium of our thoughts. The author further argues that Descartes’ cogito argument is not affected by this point, because Descartes does not claim that we must be the active subject of all our thoughts. Moreover, the author suggests that the cogito argument operates with the notion of a qua-object: it consists in the move from “I am thinking” to “I-qua-thinking am”. Seen in this way, the cogito argument by itself leaves entirely open what might be true of me insofar as I am not thinking.

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