“I Think, Therefore I Am” in 10 Languages

i think, therefore i am

Portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals. Descartes coined the famous phrase I think, therefore I am.

I think, therefore I am is probably one of the most famous philosophical propositions in the Western world. You might even know the man behind it: French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650).

But did Descartes really utter the phrase in English? No.

I think, therefore I am in French—je pense, donc je suis—appeared in his famous work Discourse on the Method, published in 1637. Writing in French made it possible for a wider audience to understand than if he had published in Latin.

But cogito ergo sum is only part of a fuller form that Descartes had written: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum. This translates as “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am.”

“I think, therefore I am” Around the World

The fact that Descartes’ famous declaration was translated into so many languages is a testament to his influence. Below are just 10 different ways to say “I think, therefore I am.”

  • Ek dink, daarom is ek. (Afrikaans)
  • Je pense, donc je suis. (French)
  • Ich denke, also bin ich. (German)
  • Penso dunque sono. (Italian)
  • Cogito, ergo sum. (Latin)
  • Myślę, więc jestem. (Polish)
  • Penso, logo existo. (Portuguese)
  • Мыслю, следовательно, существую. (Russian)
  • Pienso, luego existo. (Spanish)
  • Jag tänker, alltså finns jag. (Swedish)

Sources and additional reading:
“Cogito ergo sum,” Wikipedia.
“Latin,” Wikipedia.
“René Descartes,” Wikipedia.

If you want to show your friends how cultured you are, then share this page. (C’mon, they’ll think you’re a philosopher and multilingual!)

Speaking of other languages, do you know how many languages there are in the world? Or which ones are the most commonly spoken? Or how many languages aren’t represented online?