“Therefore I am” — Billie Eilish

Bille Eilish’s new song ‘Therefore I am’ was released on November 12th 2020. Around about 380 years before that, René Descartes released the ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’, in which he eliminated all doubt about his own existence by recognising that he himself had to exist in order to be doubting or thinking at all: ‘I think, I exist’ or ‘I think therefore I am’.

Here, I’ll explore the Cartesian themes in Eilish’s new song. But first, it’s important to note that these two have a lot in common. They’re both rebellious souls (yes, souls). Descartes caused quite a stir when…

‘Detach your mind from your body’ — Little Dean

Academics think for a living (or, at least, that’s supposed to be a part of it). You might think that, for this reason, their work can be done anywhere, at any time. Since academic work takes place in an abstract realm — the realm of thoughts — it is eternally accessible, no matter the bodily backdrop. That’s why, during this global pandemic, academics are among the lucky ones. ‘Working from home’ is of no consequence when your work takes place in the world of thought.

Actually… no.

Never mind those of us with children or family to take care of…

Aliza Nisenbaum, Kayhan reading the New York Times (Resistance Begins at Home) (2017). Courtesy the artist, Anton Kern Gallery, and Mary Mary. ©Aliza Nisenbaum.

The spread of Coronavirus has created a colossal amount of uncertainty: uncertainty about the outlook for economic growth, uncertainty about our employment, uncertainty about whether we are equipped to teach our children from home, uncertainty about what is safe and what is not, uncertainty about how long this will go on for, & uncertainty about what our lives will look like when it’s all over.

We like answers. Certainty makes us feel safe. The uncertain is scary, especially for those of us who tend to expect the worst. Perhaps you’d rather get a ‘no’ now than having to wait a…

Lauren Slater

Philosophy PhD Student writing on 17th Century theories of mind and language.

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