Descartes Existence Of God

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I think that if 'cogito ergo sum ' is the foundation of Descartes ' project in the Meditations, the existence of God is the cornerstone that joins the internal and the external world, making knowledge possible beyond the sole account of the self. Therefore, God 's existence has a major role in the overall argument - it is that which enables the thinker to take the first steps towards the 'unification of sciences '. However, in my opinion, it is not employed correctly, as Descartes, in reasoning for it, relies on rather unsound arguments. I will next present Descartes ' overall argument and how the proof of God 's existence interlocks with the other points of the argument. Then I will introduce the causal and ontological arguments. Thereafter, …show more content…
Being aware that he exists in the form of a 'thinking thing ', capable, through the clear and distinct perceptions, of envisaging glimpses of sound knowledge (only to lose them when his attention wanders), the Meditator employs those perceptions into an articulate one-piece argument. Thus, he inspects the collection of clearly and distinctly perceivable ideas he possesses to find the idea of a 'infinite substance, which is independent, supremely intelligent and supremely powerful ' and by which everything was created - God (idem, p. 38). This idea, he argues, must derive from a cause with the same ( 'formally ', in Descartes ' terms) or greater intension( 'eminently '). If the effect has any properties that its cause does not incorporate, then the additional data comes from nowhere - was created from nothing. This would be absurd. Hence an infinite, supremely intelligent and powerful, perfect cause must exist. This cause is also extrinsic to the Meditator - he cannot be the cause of this idea of perfection, for he is a limited, imperfect being. It follows that the idea of God is an innate idea which has been implanted during the creational process by God himself, like 'the artisan 's trademark imprinted on his work ' - hence 'the trademark argument ' name. Before concluding the Third Meditation Descartes puts forward a slightly different, briefer …show more content…
John Cottingham, in his book Descartes, affirms that "The problem is given special piquancy by Descartes ' own statement (...) that 'the certainty and truth of all knowledge depends on my knowledge of the true God ' ". This suggests that the knowledge of God should be axiomatic - but it isn 't. Although all the knowledge depends on the knowledge of true God, Descartes ' does not have, at the starting point, any knowledge of God. He shouldn 't be able to give forth any certain and truthful judgment, yet he claims to do so. Apparently, Descartes employs 'clear and distinct ideas ' in demonstrating that God exists (when he perceives clearly and distinctly that 'existence ' is an essential attribute of God or when he puts forth the causal principle) and then justifies the truthfulness of the clear and distinct ideas by the existence of God. This contradiction is, however, falsified by Descartes himself: 'When I said that we can know nothing for certain until we are aware that God exists, I expressly declared that I was speaking only of knowledge of those conclusion which can be recalled when we are no longer attending to the argument by means of which we deduced them '(cited from John Cottingham: p.66). Descartes ' reasoning is fair, as it dismantles the charge of circularity. Nevertheless, it depends on the acceptance of the 'clear and distinct ' perception of ideas as a valid epistemological tool.

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