Cogito, ergo sum


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Cogito ergo sum'?

Other

Usually translated from the Latin as ‘I think, therefore I am’.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Cogito ergo sum'?

Possibly the best known of all philosophical quotations; this is from the French philosopher René Descartes in Discourse on Method, 1637, where he attempted to prove his existence as a thinking being, by thinking. ‘I think, therefore I am’ comes to us in English via two translations.

Descartes’ original statement in French was “Je pense, donc je suis”.

This is such a well-known line that it has spawned humorous alternatives, not least:

“I’m pink, therefore I’m spam”
“René Descartes was a drunken fart – I drink therefore I am”.

Trend of cogito in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.