In the Third Meditation, Descartes forms a proof for the existence of God. He begins by laying down a foundation for what he claims to know and then offers an explanation for why he previously accepted various ideas but is no longer certain of them. Before he arrives at the concept of God, Descartes categorizes ideas and the possible sources that they originate from. He then distinguishes between the varying degrees of reality that an idea can possess, as well as the cause of an idea. Descartes proceeds to investigate the idea of an infinite being, or God, and how he came to acquire such an idea with more objective reality than he himself has. By ruling out the possibility of this idea being invented or adventitious, Descartes concludes that the idea must be innate. Therefore, God necessarily exists and is responsible for his perception of a thing beyond a finite being. Descartes affirms that he is certain that he is a thinking thing. His reasoning, however, seems to be a circular argument. Descartes knows he is a thinking thing because “in this first instance of knowledge, there is nothing but a certain clear and distinct perception of what I affirm” (Descartes, 24). He concludes, “everything I very clearly and distinctly perceive is true” (Descartes, 24). Descartes could only know that what he clearly and distinctly perceives is true if he can be certain he is a thinking thing. Throughout this proof, Descartes is trying to use God’s existence as a way of affirming that which he clearly and distinctly perceives. However, he is also trying to prove God’s existence by claiming that the idea of God is a clear and distinct perception. Without inquiring into the existence of God, “it appears I am never capable of being completely ... ... middle of paper ... ...hat God too exists" (Descartes, 34). Descartes proof of the existence of God is derived from his establishment that something cannot come from nothing. Because God is a perfect being, the idea of God can be found from exploring the different notions of ideas. Descartes uses negation to come to the conclusion that ideas do not come from the world or imagination; because the world contains material objects, perfection does not exist. Descartes emphasizes the idea that his idea of God's existence does not originate from his senses. Rather than having created the idea himself, he states that God himself imprinted the idea on him. “Thus the only option remaining is that this idea is innate in me just as the idea of myself is innate in me” (Descartes, 34). If a person is to believe that innate ideas exist, it follows that the existence of innate ideas is a truth.
In earlier meditations Descartes proved that he existed through the Cogito argument. Descartes must now move on to examine and explore questions about the world around him, but instead of doing this he first stop to examine the question of whether or not God exists. Descartes wants to know that he was created by an all knowing, perfect creator that is good and wants to make sure that he was not created by an evil spirit or demon. If Descartes can prove that he was created by a perfect all knowing creator then his ideas must carry some semblance of truth, because God is not a deceiver and he must of placed these ideas in Descartes. Descartes has good reasons for searching for the answer to the question of God’s existence, now he has to come up with a good sound argument to prove it.
According to Descartes, “because our senses sometimes deceive us, I wanted to suppose that nothing was exactly as they led us to imagine (Descartes 18).” In order to extinguish his uncertainty and find incontrovertible truth, he chooses to “raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations (Descartes 59).” This foundation, which Descartes is certain to be the absolute truth, is “I think, therefore I am (Descartes 18).” Descartes argues that truth and proof of reality lies in the human mind, rather than the senses. In other words, he claims that the existence of material objects are not based on the senses because of human imperfection. In fact, he argues that humans, similarly to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, are incapable of sensing the true essence or existence of material objects. However, what makes an object real is human thought and the idea of that object, thus paving the way for Descartes’ proof of God’s existence. Because the senses are easily deceived and because Descartes understands that the senses can be deceived, Descartes is aware of his own imperfection. He
In this paper, I will explain how Descartes uses the existence of himself to prove the existence of God. The “idea of God is in my mind” is based on “I think, therefore I am”, so there is a question arises: “do I derive my existence? Why, from myself, or from my parents, or from whatever other things there are that are less perfect than God. For nothing more perfect than God, or even as perfect as God, can be thought or imagined.” (Descartes 32, 48) Descartes investigates his reasons to show that he, his parents and other causes cannot cause the existence of himself.
Up until the Third Meditation, Descartes arguments made sense with minor flaws, but not every argument is perfect. Trying to prove God’s existence… I believe that people should not being trying to prove whether or not God is real. As Pascal said, “If there is a God, he is infinitely beyond our comprehension, since, being indivisible and without limits, he bears no relation to us… That being so, who would dare to attempt an answer to the question? Certainly not we, who bear no relation to him” (Pascal
Rene Descartes meditations on the existence of God are very profound, thought-provoking, and engaging. From the meditations focused specifically on the existence of God, Descartes uses the argument that based on his clear and distinct perception that cannot be treated with doubt, God does exist. In the beginning of the third meditation, Descartes proclaims that he is certain he is a thinking thing based on his clear and distinct perception, and he couldn’t be certain unless all clear and distinct perceptions are true. Before diving into the existence of God, Descartes introduces smaller arguments to prove the existence of God. For example, Descartes introduces in his argument that there are ideas in which he possess that exists outside of him. Utilizing the objective versus formal reality, Descartes states “If the objective reality of any of my ideas turns out to be so great that I am sure the same reality does not reside in me, either formally or eminently, and hence that I myself cannot be its cause, it will necessarily follow that I am not alone in the world, but that some other thing which is the cause of this idea exists” (29). In other words, the ideas of objective reality that resides in Descartes can potentially only come from a supreme being, which is God; God possess more objective reality than he does formal reality. We as humans, as Descartes states, are finite substance, and God is the only infinite substance. The only way for us as a finite substance to think of an infinite substance is possible if, and only if, there is an infinite substance that grants us the idea of substance in first place. After these smaller arguments, Descartes states that while we can doubt the existence of many things, due to the fact that ...
Descartes’ first premise of the existence of God is “ I have an idea of God” which first means that he has an idea of an infinite perfect being. With this he realizes that the idea of God must have more objective reality than formal reality. As he thinks that God is infinite, than he knows he is finite, and through this he realizes that the idea of God being this way could not of been provoked through his mind but through God himself. And as concluded in Meditation II, Descartes now knows he exists through
He argues that if he does not solve God’s existence, he will not be certain about anything else. Thus, Descartes says that he has an idea of God and, therefore, God exists. However, in order to be certain of His existence, Descartes provides proofs that will illustrate his reasoning. The four proofs include formal reality vs. objective reality, something can’t arise from nothing, Descartes cannot be the cause of himself, and therefore, the bigger cause is God. Now that Descartes knows God is real, he must solve another aspect, which is if God can be a deceiver. Descartes believes “it is clear enough from this that he cannot be a deceiver, since it is manifest by the natural light that all fraud and deception depend on some defect” (89). In other words, God possesses all of the perfections that Descartes cannot have but those perfections that are in his thoughts, concluding that God has no defects whatsoever according to the natural
Descartes goes on to prove the existence of God in two different ways. His arguments rely on that fact that we have a clear and distinct idea of God. The first way is the cosmological proof where the idea that something cannot come from nothing because something has to exist in order to create something else. As a finite being, it would be impossible for us to come up with an idea for something or someone
The purpose of my essay will be to examine Descartes' argument for the existence of God. First, I will discuss Descartes’ proof for the existence of God then I will critique the argument of his existence. Lastly, I will point to some complications and problems that exist within the proof. Descartes’ proof of the existence of God is presented in the Third Meditation. He shapes his argument on the proof in the Second Meditation that in order for Descartes to think he must exist. From this specific examination he realizes his existence is very clear and distinct in his mind because of the fact he had just discovered his own existence. He then creates a rule that whatever things he sees are clear and distinct, are all true. Descartes begins his proof by splitting his thoughts into four categories, which consist of ideas, judgments, volitions, and emotions. He then further analyzes these categories to decide which thoughts might consist of error.
Descartes thinks that we have a very clear and distinct idea of God. He thinks God must exist and Descartes himself must exist. It is a very different way of thinking shown from the six meditations. Descartes uses ideas, experiments, and “proofs” to try and prove God’s existence.
... God is real. Descartes claims that if an evil god exists and that this evil power is always tricking him then he must be real. He thought since he is capably of thinking of a god then god must be real, yet he keeps the thought in mind that he is probably not the first to think of god. Descartes explains that he is not an infinite thing but god is infinite because the thought of him continues.
In conclusion Descartes, who may have been highly educated in his time, cannot compete with what modern science has shown for proof of evolution and the idea of spontaneous generation. Descartes perception and proof falls well short of bringing concrete evidence that God does indeed exist in the way as Descartes describes. Perhaps if Descartes wouldn't have so quickly jumped to the conclusion that God exists and accepted through the rest of his writings then he may have been able to find more solid proof that God indeed exists in one form or another. Although it is very easy to dismiss the existence of God there is truly only one way to know for sure, and I'm positive that by now Descartes knows for sure whether or not God exists.
Descartes believes God exists and plays a key role in his belief that he is a thinking thing residing in a material world. God’s existence is an innate idea we are born with. This idea explains how our clear and distinct reasoning leads us towards knowledge. Descartes believes God to be a perfect being, so he cannot deceive us. Since he has a perfect knowledge and supplies us with truth in this world, we must believe we reside in a material world.
Descartes claim of ‘Cogito ergo sum’ marked a sharp departure from what philosophy was in his time. He started from the basic principle of rationalism and he concluded that ‘I think, therefore I exist’. In his Meditation II, Descartes hits an epistemological ground zero. Here it is that Descartes begins his startling point, “And thus, having reflected well, and carefully examined all things, we have finally to conclude that this declaration, Ego sum, ego existo, is necessarily true every time I propound of mentally apprehend it.” In this statement he affirms his existence and later concludes that he was a res cogitans -- a thinking thing, “that is to say a mind, an understanding or reason-terms of significance of which has been hitherto been unknown to me. I am a real thing, and really existent.” Descartes broke with old philosophy and gave it a new beginning. In particular, because his system of truth originated from his own thinking and analysis, he no longer desires to rely on ideas of previous philosophers. He is clearly determined to find out the basis of intellectual certainty in his own reason. In proving Descartes ‘Cogito’ I will use to prove God’s existence.
He expands on this by explaining the notion that there is a divine, infinite being, such as God, that is innate. Among these statements, Descartes doubts everything he has ever been told in his life, and only keeps the belief that there is an infinite being out there. In Meditations, he explicitly states “Nevertheless I have long had fixed in my mind the belief that an all-powerful God existed by whom I have been created such as I am.”