Descartes, Pascal, and the Rationalist Credo Pascal asserts that we can know only by the heart, whereas Descartes would have us believe through his truths that we can know with certainty
of Gods existence. The factors that go into their views on reason will be compared and accented within this essay. The order of the universe is knowable to Descartes. He proves these by
using certain truths. To arrive at these truths Descartes doubted everything and especially could not trust authoritarian knowledge. This was known in the four "D's" as doctrine. The other three "D's" included the deceiving senses (empiricism), dreams (intuition), and demons (innate putting wrong ideas into our minds). Originally he doubted empirical thought because he could not even trust his senses. He used his senses only as a tool for doubting. Through doubting he felt that he could clear prejudices, which would allow him to arrive at certain truths. The goal of this destructive process was to find one clear and evident intuition that could be 100 percent certain. What he originally arrived at for a conclusion, was that everything could be doubted except doubting. However, to arrive at a truth he had to begin with a clear, evident intuition (an innate idea). This would be followed by moving from universals to particulars through deductive reasoning. He moved from the simple onto the complex incrementally, or step by step. He discovered the "I" to be the only certain truth, as his mind had to exist for him to be able to doubt. As stated earlier, Descartes truths had to begin with intuition, or an innate idea. This was the beginning of his constructive program of certainties. The first certainty wa...
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...hrough certainty. Personally I would have to agree with Pascal. There is simply a huge fault in the logic of Descart. His logic jumps to God exists without actually proving it. To say that we cannot conceive God without existence, and so we cannot exist without God is lacking any real logical basis. This leads to the Cartesian Tragedy and this destroys all further credibility to all further assumptions contained in his logical process. Pascal I can agree with a little more. He is straightforward in saying that we just have to follow our heart. He shows how proving through reason whether God exists would be difficult one way or another, which it
is. I can appreciate his wager of faith. This is a truth that is undeniable, the worst that could happen to those who believe is absolutely nothing, with a good chance that there is something more waiting for us out there.
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