Discourse on Descartes Skeptical Method

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Sebastian Gumina
Paper Topic #1

Descartes’ Skeptical Method

Descartes’ method offers definitive conclusions on certain topics, (his existence, the existence of God)but his reasoning is not without error. He uses three arguments to prove existence (His and God’s) that attempt to solidify his conclusions. For his method to function seamlessly, Descartes needs to be consistent in his use of the method, that is, he must continue to doubt and challenge thoughts that originate in his own mind. He is unable to achieve this ideal state of mind, however, and his proofs are shown to be faulty. Descartes first establishes his position; the reasons and ideas that lead him to formulate the method. While observing architecture he …show more content…

To further validate his proof, he attempts to show God’s existence as an a posteriori claim. Descartes states that as humans we have the idea of God in our minds. We conceive God as a perfect being, that of perfect existence. As shown in the quote from page 37, this idea of God is beyond our reasoning to create, and must have come from God itself. Our idea of God certifies his existence. Descartes deviates from the method again, and his reasoning fails to provide an absolute proof. Descartes reasoning shows that as part of his a posteriori claim, God’s existence depends on our idea of God as a perfect being. However, he writes that “From this I knew I was a substance whose whole essence or nature is solely to think, and which does not require any place, or depend on any material thing, in order to exist” (Descartes, Discourse on the Method, page 36). As per Descartes, the existence of his mind is partially based on the notion that it’s (his minds) existence is independent of any other being. His causal proof of God, however, depends entirely on the human mind and its ideas of what God is. Aside from these flaws in his reasoning, Descartes also mistakenly links his proofs together, attempting to propagate them and champion their creditability. In a quote previously shown, Descartes claims that his idea of a perfect being comes from God. Descartes also believes that the idea

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