Descartes Formal And Objective Reality

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In order to understand Descartes’ argument, understanding the concepts he uses is very important. There are two key principles that his argument is based on; levels of reality and the idea that causes must be at least as real as their effects. The distinction between formal and objective reality should be laid out from the beginning in order to grasp Descartes’ argument. When talking about the forms of reality, Descartes is differentiating between two ways of existing; mostly being independent or dependent to exist. Formal reality reflects the degree of independence in something’s existence. In other words, the more formal reality something has, the fewer things it needs to exist. Formal reality can be applied to everything, in different degrees, however. As for objective reality, it can only be applied to ideas as it basically is a representation of something; an object of thought. With this being said, an objective reality of an idea is equal to the formal reality of the thing that the idea is about.
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First, ideas originate from causes; the latter must have as much or more formal reality as the objective reality of the idea. Second, Descartes has an idea about God, this idea has infinite objective reality because this idea, no matter what caused it has to have infinite formal reality; “because something can’t come from nothing, or the cause must have as much or more reality than the effect” (Descartes 31). Third, Descartes is finite and does not have infinite formal reality, therefore he cannot cause the idea of God because he, as a cause, would have less formal reality than the objective reality of what he produced, effect, which is the idea of God. Thus, God could have caused the idea of God in him, because only God has as much formal reality as the objective reality of his idea (Descartes 31), therefore, God
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