But some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. 'I think, therefore I am' says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we were quite sure of being the same person today as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense.

[Problems of Philosophy - Bertrand Russell, Chapter II]

What does "says rather more than" mean? I don't understand that expression. Could you explain it to me?

  • It could mean that "it does have more deep meaning than what you assume when you hear it. Therefore, you should contemplate it and be careful about when you use it."
    – Mrt
    Sep 27, 2018 at 13:08
  • I don't understand why the author used two verbs there "says" and "is". Could I understand the sentence as: It is stricky certain that "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than? Sep 28, 2018 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


In this context, "rather" means "to a somewhat large degree", as in "It is rather warm today." In other words,

'I think, therefore I am' says somewhat more than is strictly certain.

The sentence means that Descartes' quote makes a claim that exceeds what is definitely true.

It could also mean (as Mrt commented) that the quote has a deeper implied meaning than what the words literally express.

  • Does "'I think, therefore I am' says rather more than is strictly certain" have the same meaning as "'I think, therefore I am' says rather more than what is strictly certain". I am confused because the sentence has two verbs ("says" and "is") Sep 28, 2018 at 1:17
  • @TrungstXVII Yes, that is what it means.
    – Tashus
    Sep 28, 2018 at 1:55

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