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)
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!)