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The Cogito: Indubitability without Knowledge?

Author(s): Stephen Hetherington

Journal: Principia : an International Journal of Epistemology
ISSN 1414-4247

Volume: 13;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 85;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Descartes | Cogito | indubitability | knowledge | Slezak

How should we understand both the nature, and the epistemic potential, of Descartes’s Cogito? Peter Slezak’s interpretation of the Cogito’s nature sees it strictly as a selfreferential kind of denial: Descartes cannot doubt that he is doubting. And what epistemic implications flow from this interpretation of the Cogito? We find that there is a consequent lack of knowledge being described by Descartes: on Cartesian grounds, indubitability is incompatible with knowing. Even as the Cogito halts doubt, therefore, it fails to be knowledge.
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