Rene Descartes’ third meditation from his book Meditations on First Philosophy, examines Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God. The purpose of this essay will be to explore Descartes’ reasoning and proofs of God’s existence. In the third meditation, Descartes states two arguments attempting to prove God’s existence, the Trademark argument and the traditional Cosmological argument. Although his arguments are strong and relatively truthful, they do no prove the existence of God.
At the start of the meditation, Descartes begins by rejecting all his beliefs, so that he would not be deceived by any misconceptions from reaching the truth. Descartes acknowledges himself as, “a thing that thinks: that is, a thing that doubts, affirms, denies, understands a few things, is ignorant of many things” He is certain that that he thinks and exists because his knowledge and ideas are both ‘clear and distinct’. Descartes proposes a general rule, “that whatever one perceives very clearly and very distinctly is true” Descartes discovers, “that he can doubt what he clearly and distinctly perceives is true led to the realization that his first immediate priority should be to remove the doubt” because, “no organized body of knowledge is possible unless the doubt is removed” The best probable way to remove the doubt is prove that God exists, that he is not a deceiver and “will always guarantee that any clear and distinct ideas that enter our minds will be true.” Descartes must remove the threat of an invisible demon that inserts ideas and doubts into our minds to fool us , in order to rely on his ‘clear and distinct’ rule.
In constructing his argument for God's existence, Descartes analyzes several aspects of the nature of human thought. He begins by outlining the various types of thoughts we have, which include ideas, thoughts, volitions and judgments. Ideas, or images of ideas can only exist within the mind and are certain of existence. Volitions, or choices are firmly within the mind and are also certain. Emotions, such as love, fear, hate, all exist in the mind and are certain as well. Judgments involve reference to effects outside the mind and are subject to doubt. Therefore, judgments are not certain and distinct. Descartes believes that images, volitions, and emotions are never false but it is our judg...
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... God alone remains; and, given the truth of the principle that whatever exists has a cause, it follows, Descartes declares, that God exists we must of necessity conclude from the fact alone that I exist, or that the idea of a supremely perfect – that is of God – is in me, that the proof of God’s existence is grounded in the highest evidence” Descartes concludes that God must be the cause of him, and that God innately implanted the idea of infinite perfection in him.
Descartes second argument for proving God’s existence is very straightforward. He has four possibilities that created his existence. Through process of elimination he is left with God being his creator.
Descartes succeeded in some parts of his proof for the existence of God, but failed in proving God’s existence from a logical point of view. Most religions prove that anybody can be right in his own description of existence of God. So, Descartes is right in his own way, but to others to accept his idea is totally up to them. No one is certain that God exists. Although there are many causes that could make one believe God is for certain, those causes which might be perceived, does not necessarily make them true.
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