I Doubt Therefore I Exist (Si Fallor Sum) What Does It Mean?

I Doubt Therefore I Exist (Si Fallor Sum) What Does It Mean?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

One of the most extreme skeptics, Pyrrhon (360-270 BC), said that sensory experiences can never provide information.

All you can know is your personal sensations. You never know whether your sensations are compatible with the object being sensed. For example, when we see a silver coin, you might say: “The coin looks like silver to me.” But you never know if it is. This example refers to the sense of sight; but the same applies to the sense of selling. You might say: “Honey looks or tastes sweet to me.” But to be sure, “Honey is sweet.” You cannot say. As such, the prudent approach for the skeptic is to suspend judgment and not assume anything at all. The same is true for moral judgments. Since you can’t know anything for sure, you shouldn’t worry about absolute moral correctness, and you should probably be more tolerant of various points of view.

Augustine’s Confessions is a landmark in the spiritual literature. It is the first autobiography in the West and is an honest record of Augustine’s own spiritual and intellectual journey. Besides exposing Augustine’s bouts of spiritual anxiety and doubt, the book is also a confession of his hedonistic lifestyle before his conversion to Christianity.

Augustine responded to skepticism by showing that there is at least one thing you can know with certainty, as he illustrates the principle of non-contradiction. Skeptics may suspect that the coin is silver or that the wine is bitter, but they cannot doubt the existence of perception itself. Therefore, anyone who doubts all truths and truths will find himself in a logical dilemma. For even the very act of doubting is a form of certainty. In every act of self-doubt, the individual remembers what he has been doing. If you doubt that it is seven o’clock in the evening, you can at least not doubt that you are. Of course, in order to doubt, you have to exist. In other words, you can prove the absolute reality of your own soul. In Augustine’s words, Si Fallor Sum: if one can doubt, then there certainly is. You cannot doubt and reason at the same time that you are living. Thus, Augustine showed that skepticism could be defeated.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook