the following quote from Saint Augustine – “For if I am mistaken, I am”


*Quid, si falleris? Si enim fallor, sum. Nam qui non est, utique nec falli potest; ac per hoc sum, si fallor. Quia ergo* ***sum si fallor****, quo modo esse me fallor, quando certum est me esse, si fallor.*

**What difference, if you are mistaken? For if I am mistaken, I am. For he who is not, assuredly cannot be mistaken; and therefore I am, if I am mistaken. Therefore because I am if I am mistaken, how am I mistaken that I am, when it is sure that I am, if I am mistaken.’**

It’s a very complex piece of writing and would be very appreciative if someone could explain it to me.

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This is a very philosophical statement, and as such it’s kind of hard to digest at first glance.

It maybe gets a little easier if we fast-forward a thousand years to the French philosopher Rene Descartes, and his famous quote “Cogito, ergo sum” — “I think, therefore I am.”

Both of these statements are rejections of skeptical criticisms of their time that tried to say there was no way for someone to claim with actual certainty that they existed. Saint Augustine’s claim ran, roughly, that someone who doesn’t exist clearly can’t be mistaken, can’t be wrong — because they don’t exist to be wrong. So, it logically follows that in order to be wrong, one must first ***be*** — they have to exist.