Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Descartes, famously, searching for one thing that he could absolutely and certainly call his own, lighted on his cogito. It was something he was sure no malicious demon could take away from him. But Philip K Dick, famously, is an anti-Descartes. He approaches ‘I think therefore I am’ (he dramatises that question) with the devastating and brilliant counter: why do you assume that the thoughts in your head are yours? It’s an index to the centrality of the Cogito to Western thought as a metaphysical cornerstone, or guarantee, just how unsettling this brilliant, penetrating question can be.