So Descartes Walks Into a Bar…

I stumbled upon a philosophy joke a few weeks ago, and I think most people know this one already. The joke goes:

Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink. When he finishes his drink, the bartender asks him if he would like another. Descartes replies, “No, I think not,” and disappears in a puff of logic.

We haven’t formally studied Descartes in class, but most people should be familiar with his famous line, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes’ idea is that because he thinks and is conscious, therefore he exists. In this joke, he says “I think not.” This line would normally would be understood as turning down another drink, but in this context, we understand it as Descartes saying that he does not think, so he is not conscious and therefore does not exist.

I wanted to understand this philosophical proposition better, so I looked up a YouTube video on it. Here’s a very brief and simplified version of the already brief and simplified video: the key to understanding “I think, therefore I am,” (in Latin: “cogito ergo sum“) is by understanding how doubt plays into it. In Descartes time, there was a thing called “Global Skepticism” where everybody questioned the existence of everything. They thought that there was no actual guarantee that anything that they perceived actually existed (think The Matrix style brainwashing). Amidst this uncertainty, Descartes thinks that the only thing that he can be certain of is his own thoughts. Therefore, he is certain that he exists.

Of course, Descartes theory is a lot more complex than I make it to be. What do you guys think about it? Also if you guys know any good philosophy jokes, or puns in general, please share them with me!

A comic strip of Rene Descartes and his theory of doubt, taken from

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