At the beginning of Meditation three, Descartes has made substantial progress towards defeating skepticism. Using his methods of Doubt and Analysis he has systematically examined all his beliefs and set aside those which he could call into doubt until he reached three beliefs which he could not possibly doubt. First, that the evil genius seeking to deceive him could not deceive him into thinking that he did not exist when in fact he did exist. Second, that his essence is to be a thinking thing. Third, the essence of matter is to be flexible, changeable and extended.
The next very important step for Descartes is to establish a criterion of certainty. By examining the truths which he discovered in the course of his second meditation, he decides that all of them have in common the properties of being clear and distinct. Descartes says, “So, I now seem to be able to lay it down as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true.” Descartes adds another item to the list of things which he knows clearly and distinctly---ideas.
At this point Descartes has yet to completely remove the hyperbolic doubt. How is it that Descartes can remove what seems to be an un-removeable doubt? His answer---he is going to prove that God exists and that God is not a deceiver. In other words, in order to get rid of the evil genius, Descartes must show that such a being could not exist. The only way to do this effectively, holds Descartes, is to prove that another being, namely a God who is not a deceiver, does exist. If such a God exists, then an omnipotent Evil Genius is not possible.
How is it that Descartes goes about proving that God exists? His means are limited. He...
... middle of paper ...
...t length about how it is possible that we imagine things and ‘create’ things in our mind. Descartes sees imagination as a recombination of prior experiences but is it not possible that we can imagine something that we have not previously experienced? I can imagine an alien creature which I have never experienced through any medium, be it literature, film or comic, that is in no way a recombination of such prior experiences. Can not God be such an imagination? Even when I do imagine God there is no strict correlation between that objective reality and any formal reality involving God. If God did exist it would seem that he would not have formal reality because, due to his infinite nature, he would transcend such a reality. God’s domain would be the objective where infinitude is a likely possibility not the formal where infinitude is a definite impossibility.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Descartes' Proof of the Existence of God in Meditation Three This paper is intended to explain and evaluate Descartes' proof for the existence of god in Meditation Three. It shall show the weaknesses in the proof, but also give credit to the strengths in his proof. It will give a background of what Descartes has already accepted as what he truly knows. The paper will also state Descartes two major points for the existence of God and why the points can easily be proven false. The paper will also show that if a God does exist that God can in fact be an evil deceiver.... [tags: Papers]
1027 words (2.9 pages)
- 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.... [tags: God, Exploring Notions]
869 words (2.5 pages)
- “Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am.” A mathematician, scientific thinker, and metaphysician Rene Descartes used this term in his “Meditation on First Philosophy.” This term has become famous especially in western philosophy. However, this term was not Descartes only legacy. His legacies include the development of the Cartesian coordinates, philosophical books, and theories. Even though the distinction between mind and body can be traced to the Greeks, Descartes account of the mind and body relationship has been considered the first and the most influential.... [tags: god, greek, mind, body]
1212 words (3.5 pages)
- Descartes' Meditations In Descartes’ meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of ‘pure enquiry’ to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemological knowledge on an indubitable premise. Within meditation one Descartes subjects all of his beliefs regarding sensory data and even existence to the strongest and most hyperbolic of doubts.... [tags: Philosophy Doubt Meditations Descartes Essays]
2133 words (6.1 pages)
- Once Descartes has "proved" his existence by way of the Cogito argument, and has determined what it is that belongs to his essence of being a thinking thing, he must move to examining questions about the world around him. However, before doing this, he thinks it better to examine the question of the existence of God. If he can prove that he was created by a perfectly benevolent creator, then his innate ideas must carry some semblance of truth, as God is not a deceiver and has placed these ideas in Descartes.... [tags: Religion God Descartes Philosophy Essays]
1751 words (5 pages)
- Descartes’ first meditation, his main objective is to present three skeptical arguments to bring doubt upon what he considers his basic beliefs. Descartes believes this to be an intricate part of his complete epistemological argument. Descartes skeptical arguments are not intended to be a denial of his basic beliefs. On the contrary, he uses these arguments to help prove one of his main theses, which is the existence of God. One of the main premises that Descartes uses in his proof for the existence of God comes from the evil demon argument, which he proposed, in the first meditation.... [tags: essays research papers]
909 words (2.6 pages)
- Descartes overall objective in The Meditations is to question knowledge. To explore such metaphysical issues as the existence of God and the separation of mind and body, it was important for him to distinguish what we can know as truth. He believed that reason as opposed to experience was the source for discovering what is of absolute certainty. In my explication, I will examine meditation two in order to discover why knowledge was so important to Descartes. Meditation One The first meditation acts as a foundation for all those that follow.... [tags: The Meditations Essays]
2784 words (8 pages)
- In the Meditations, Rene Descartes attempts to doubt everything that is possible to doubt. His uncertainty of things that existence ranges from God to himself. Then he goes on to start proving that things do exist by first proving that he exists. After he establishes himself he can go on to establish everything else in the world. Next he goes to prove that the mind is separate then the body. In order to do this he must first prove he has a mind, and then prove that bodily things exist. I do agree with Descartes that the mind is separate from the body.... [tags: essays research papers]
1633 words (4.7 pages)
- Descartes' Meditations The way Descartes chose to write this piece literature captivated me. Descartes was a very intelligent man who wanted to make sense of the world he lived in. The format he used was unusual. It seems to me that he may have used this format, which is a replication of the book of Genesis in the Bible, to have a deeper and more profound impact on the reader. There are many similarities between Descartes' Meditations and the first book of the Bible, Genesis. For example, Descartes' Meditations was written one day at a time, just as God had created the world one day at a time.... [tags: Papers]
1157 words (3.3 pages)
- Rene Descartes was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of the philosophy. Born in 1596, he lived to become a great mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. In fact, he became one of the central intellectual figures of the sixteen hundreds. He is believed by some to be the father of modern philosophy, although he was hampered by living in a time when other prominent scientists, such as Galileo, were persecuted for their discoveries and beliefs. Although this probably had an impact on his desire to publish controversial material, he went on to devise works such as the Meditations on First Philosophy and the Principles of Philosophy Aside from these accomplishments, his most... [tags: essays research papers]
1126 words (3.2 pages)