Philosophy Of Descartes
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In the New Merriam Webster Dictionary, sophism is defined as a plausible but fallacious argument. In Rene Descartes Meditation V, he distinguishes the existence of God, believing he must prove that god exists before he can examine any corporeal objects outside of himself. By proving that the existence of God is not a sophism, he also argues that God is therefore the Supreme Being and the omnipotent one. His conclusion that God does exist enables him to prove the existence of material things, and the difference between the soul and the body.
Ideas, innovations, and inventions are all created from brilliant minds. Than how did these ideas come to be? Descartes believes that God is the cause of new innovations adding, therefore God instilled in us the idea of his existence. Explaining, in order for us to draw an idea from a presumption or thought, than an object must have been derived not by us but rather God. An example of his presumption of the existence of God would be the fact that if one cannot imagine a bookshelf without books. Whether one exists or not, it is true than that they cannot be separated from each other. Descartes follows by stating that “he cannot conceive God without existence, existence is inseparable from him.”
After settling that God exists in his first few passages, Descartes adds that God is the perfect being. Due to the fact that he understands what a perfect being is, than God must be a sovereign being. Similar to his triangle theory that it is not a necessity to imagine a triangle. It is not a necessity to imagine a perfect being rather a thought that has run through our mind. The triangle as imagined and conceived has three sides and a hundred and eighty degree angles as always. It is imperative that these characteristics are always attributed to the triangle, likewise the attributes of a perfect being are placed on God.
In order to prove an argument or premise Descartes states, “we must be able to conceive clearly and distinctly of the cause in order to truly believe the argument.” Descartes clearly and distinctly believes the existence of God stating that, “all things are dependent on God’s existence, and God is not a deceiver.” Due to this premise we must than conclude that without a Supreme Being to incite knowledge than it is not possible to ever know anything perfectly.
Hence, we would than not be able to comprehend that a triangle has three sides and a hundred an eighty degree angles. By recognizing the existence of God we can conceive that he is a sovereign Being, therefore not a deceiver likewise believed before in Descartes other Meditations. Hence, by clarifying his existence we are able to acquire a perfect knowledge, and further understand the existence of material things.
In Descartes Meditation VI, he believes that the only material things that may exist are the ones that he can clearly and distinctly perceive, therefore he only considers the objects of pure mathematics as true material things. At the commencement of his Meditation he tries to conceive the difference between imagination and pure intellection. As an example he uses a triangle to delineate his theory by stating that, “a triangle is a figure that may be comprehended by three lines and apprehended by the power and inward vision of my mind, is an imagination created by my mind.” But what if one desired to comprehend a chiliagon? It would be easy to understand, clearly knowing that a chiliagon has a thousands sides but the question is, do we have the ability of imagining it in our minds? The answer is clearly a most definitive no, and concludes that imagining has a contrasting perspective than that of a pure intellection.
An imagination is not only of corporeal things but can also be of feelings, sounds, colors, and scents. We cannot derive some proof of the existence of corporeal objects until we can perceive the difference between the nature of feelings, sounds, colors, scents, and material things. Descartes first perceives that he has a body, which at the beginning he considers as a whole of himself as composed. The reason was the fact that pain accompanied anything detrimental to the body. But if one were to have his arm amputated, the body would be missing an ingredient while the mind would still work the same with an arm or without. Hence, Descartes concludes that the body and the mind are not whole.
Since perception leads us to believe in the nature of senses derived from god, than many of our senses are true. But than how can we differ dreams from reality and a tall building seen from far away compared to seen up close? With our senses we are able to differ a dream from reality because we can apprehend and clearly and distinctly separate the difference for God is not a deceiver. Since we can recognize things and produce ideas of these things than we must allow that corporeal things do indeed exist. As Descartes believes, as long as an object can be mathematically computed than it does exist. Buildings and objects can be comprehended in the object of pure mathematics, and are recognized as “external objects”.
Nature may titillate or cause extreme pain but is a teaching of the sensations of gratification and pain. Nature helps us differentiate what is to be avoided and what we desire. The idea of being thirsty allows us to look for and drink liquid of some sort. Fire is a dangerous natural disaster that should not be reckoned with. But can we assume that fire has a body and we should stay away from it? We cannot assume that is has a body rather it is nature that perceives us to stay away from fire because it will be detrimental to our body. It is the mind that allows us to stay away from the fire, so that the body may be prevented from harm. Therefore again insisting that the body and mind are two different parts.
The mind does not receive any reactions from all the parts of the body but rather its brain. The nature of a body cannot be moved by another part of a body besides the brain, just as a chord ABCD will not be changed if D is removed. ABC will stay at the same position, stagnant and unaffected by the disposition of D.
Descartes ends his Meditations by discussing dreams and reality. He believes that our memory and mind cannot connect our lives to the dreams. Adding that an image that appears in our dreams are phantoms or ghosts of some sort, and not human. Therefore the dreams cannot be a recollection of you past, rather a figment of your imagination. The reason is that we cannot clearly and distinctly conceive dreams, and of course the fact that God is not a deceiver.
The word disagreement is far from what I feel about Descartes. Indeed I do believe in God but his reasons urge me to believe they are sophisms. The idea that God exists because we thought of a God that exists is frivolous. He may exist in essence, he may not, in fact he may not even be a supreme being. We cannot assume that God exists in terms of mind nor mathematically. Than we must assume that the Devil, Superman, and Batman exists. They were all creations of the mind so therefore it must have also been instilled in us that they exist.
His theory of dreams is very confusing but I believe it is false. A dream may not be real but how can you differentiate the difference between reality and dreams? How can you say that God is this Supreme Being and depend on the belief that he is not a deceiver. His reasoning and premises are all very well connected but it seems like a story tale. To assume and acknowledge that God is this and that may not be correct, I believe he needs better reasoning. Unfortunately I cannot come up with a better reason for my beliefs but I strongly feel that he is incorrect.
If God is this Supreme Being and not a deceiver than why do incidents like that of Colorado, where many teenagers were shot for an unknown reason? Mathematical reasoning cannot be understood by everybody, we cannot understand why planes fly, only the technicians do. So therefore I believe that everyone is different and that other peoples views of life will be different, therefore Descartes reasoning that he has God instilled in his mind is the reason why he believes God exists is a sophism.