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Descartes' First Proof of The Existence of God Essay

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The 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes believed that God exists. His proof of an all perfect being’s existence was explained by having an idea of God that had to have been caused by God. But simply having an idea of God is not enough for there to necessarily exist such a being. This paper will critically examine Descartes’s causal argument though its premises and conclusion.
Descartes makes an attempt to prove God’s existence throughout his third meditation. In his first premise he states that he has an idea of an infinitely perfect being. He uses the Principle of Sufficient reason to advance his argument; it states that everything must have a reason or cause. This put forth his second premise; that the idea of god must have a cause.
Another claim that goes alongside the previous principle is that the cause of an idea must contain at least as much reality as the idea. Descartes calls this the Principle of Adequate reality. This makes up his third premise in his argument. The additional principle implies that if X has less reality than Y, then Y could not have been caused by X. Descartes considers this principle to be self-evident. The principle of adequate reality is applied to objective reality which will be described in detail later in the composition.
Descartes believed that there were varying degrees or levels of reality, to put simply, certain things have more reality or are more real than others. He explains that properties or modes have less reality than substance; this is because the existence of a property relies on the existence of the substance. Descartes defines a substance as any particular thing, also called a material substance. Modes are described as the characteristics of substances. Another type of ...


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...hat having two distinct forms of reality were necessary to show that lacking a degree of formal reality would result in finite beings not being able to have the idea of God independently of the being and therefore deems them both necessary for proving Gods existence.
In conclusion, Descartes first Argument for the existence of God relied too heavily on principles that were easily manipulated into disproving that God necessarily exist. And although it was masterfully written all it took were one faulty principle and a lack of uniformity of the property of reality to prove an argument invalid.



Works Cited

Thompson, Garrett, ed. Bacon to Kant. second. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2002. 30-31. Print.
Beardsley, Monroe, ed. The early European Philosophers From Descartes to Nietzsche. second. New Yorkcity, New York: random house, inc, 1960. 56. Print.


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