Notes on self and values in REBT
Modem philosophy and the Enlightenment are often dated from Descartes, and they can be further traced back to a break with priestly and other authority during the Dark Ages. The break offered the opportunity to make each person his or her own authority, and with that goal in mind Descartes tried to doubt everything. He thought that most of what he had learned had been proven wrong by the prevailing spirit of the times when he lived. But, Descartes clearly was convinced that he could not doubt his own existence. Since he could not doubt that he doubted, Descartes concluded, 'I think, therefore I am'. Unfortunately, his maxim, in turn, resulted in more doubt while he attempted to place each person as ground or source of his or her own ontology and epistemology with consequent capacity to reason, to observe an objective world, and to seek the truth. Because Descartes argued that thoughts were incorporeal, a thinker could not logically and rationally conclude that his or her body existed. So, the best conclusion Descartes could coherently offer to posterity in his turn to a person as subject was, approximately, 'I think, therefore 1 think'.