Comparing Aquinas And Descartes Arguments For The Existence Of God

Decent Essays

Aquinas and Descartes both have arguments for the existence of God, with some similarities and a multitude of differences. Descartes presents two major premises in his argument with his degrees of reality principle and his casual adequacy principle. It is possible for Descartes to be influenced by Aquinas, but the arguments for the same thing differ greatly that even if any inspiration Descartes could have pulled from Aquinas' work is minimal, to say the least.
Comparing Aquinas and Descartes they both in a way have arguments for cause in proving the existence of God. Aquinas in that "nor indeed it is possible, that anything is the efficient cause of itself" (The Second Way, 2) and there needs to be a first cause that is the cause of all …show more content…

To Aquinas things either exist or they do not, to Descartes things can be on levels of existence. One of Descartes' main reasons for the existence of God is that, God put the idea of himself in Descartes' head "Hence there remains only the idea of God, concerning which we much consider whether it is something which cannot have proceeded from me myself," (Third Meditation, pg 16). Aquinas' Five Ways are trying to prove the existence of God to others, while Descartes is trying to prove the existence of God to himself.
The major premises in Descartes' Third Meditation are his degrees of reality principle and his causal adequacy principle. Descartes' degrees of reality come from his ideas of more or less real, things can fall under properties being less real, like colors, to finite substances, to infinite substances being the most real, like God "But I understand God to be actually infinite, so that he can add nothing to His supreme perfection" (Third Meditation, pg 17). Something like a table can be a finite substance but the color of the table, its brownness, is something considered to be less real to Descartes, a less real property. Descartes' casual adequacy principle which goes like "Now it is manifest by the natural light that there must be as much reality in the efficient and total cause as in its effect," (Third Meditation, pg 15) meaning that something is not created from nothing, like the stone. The casual adequacy principle can

Get Access