Mark Shulgasser

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‘Aries is branded with the motto "I am”. And here comes perhaps rationalist modernity’s foundational philosopher, Rene Descartes, born March 31, 1596, with his reverberating motto: “I think, therefore, I am!” Some call it the birth cry of modernity. As Aries is the origin of the Zodiac, so all the natives of the sign carry reverberations of the originating Big Bang and the infant’s scream. Paul Valery called the cogito “a fist coming down on a table" and "the explosion of an act, a shattering blow . . . an appeal to [Descartes’] essential egotism . . . the clarion call to his pride and the resources of his being.”
We might also call the ‘cogito’ a great “performative” utterance, rather than a logical one, with a nod to the Speech-Act philosophy of J. L. Austin. Or we could liken the ‘cogito’ to the heroic sword that cut the Gordian knot of pre-scientific obfuscation.’

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