Humans are finite substances so they cannot come up with the ideas of infinite substances unless it were given to them by an infinite substance. Descartes continues that while we advance gradually each day these attributes could never exist within us because we are only potentially perfect whereas God is actually perfect. Furthermore, Descartes argues that only God could be the author of his being because if it were he or his parent’s other finite substances that authored his being then he would not have wants or doubts because he would have bestowed upon himself every perfection imaginable to a finite being. Therefore, God exists because Descartes could not have thought of God because he is a finite substance thus the idea of God must have come from an infinite substance.
I have an idea of a perfect being; it must contain in reality all the
In Rene Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes is seeking to find a system of stable, lasting and certain knowledge, which he can ultimately regard as the Truth. In his methodical quest to carry out his task, Descartes eventually arrives at the proverbial fork in the road: how to bridge the knowledge of self with that of the rest of the world. Descartesâ€™ answer to this is to prove the existence of God. The purpose of this essay will be to state and explain Descartes' Third Meditation: Proof of God's Existence by identifying relevant concepts and terminology and their relationship to each other and examining each premise as well as the conclusion of the proof and finally
In Descartes’s Meditations III, the Meditator describes his idea of God as "a substance that is infinite, eternal, immutable, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful, and which created both myself and everything else."(70) Thus, due to his opinion in regards to the idea of God, the Meditator views God containing a far more objective reality than a formal one. Due to the idea that of God being unable to have originated in himself, he ultimately decides that God must be the cause of the idea, therefore he exists. The meditator defines God as such, “by ‘God’ I mean the very being the idea of whom is within me, that is, the possessor
Descartes’ “Cartesian Circle” has come under fire from countless philosophers because it supposedly commits a logical fallacy with its circular reasoning. In his second Meditation, Descartes attempts to prove the existence of God. He states that clear and distinct perception leads to knowledge, and that God’s existence is apparent and obvious because of things we have come to perceive as knowledge. Furthermore, he asserts that we cannot turn these perceptions into knowledge without the assurance that God exists. Essentially, Descartes claims that God is a necessary condition for knowledge, which in turn requires the existence of God. This circular logic presents a problematic scenario similar to the “chicken
After giving his first proof for the existence of God Descartes concludes by mentioning that this proof is not always self-evident. When he is absorbed in the world of sensory illusions it is not quite obvious to him that God’s existence can be derived from the idea of God. So to further cement God’s existence Descartes begins his second proof by posing the question of whether he could exist (a thinking thing that possesses the idea of an infinite and perfect god) if God itself did not exist.
Descartes’s attempt to prove the existence of God begins with the argument that he has the clear and distinct idea of God as the “most perfect being and that there must be at least as much reality in the efficient and total cause in the effect of that cause” (40). Therefore, this idea of God can’t be from himself, but its cause must be God. So God exists. In what follows I’ll explain these terms and why the premises seemed true to him.
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.
My initial approach to René Descartes, in Meditations on First Philosophy, views the third meditation’s attempts to prove the existence of God as a way of establishing a foundation for the existence of truth, falsity, corporeal things and eventually the establishment of the sciences. When viewed in this light, Descartes is accused of drawing himself into a ‘Cartesian circle,’ ultimately forcing this cosmological proof of God to defy Cartesian method, thus precipitating the failure of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth meditations. This approach to the meditations, in the order with which they are presented, allows me to state that a proof of the existence of God cannot hold
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.
You can find Descartes’ proof of the existence of God in the Third Meditation. Although to understand this argument you have to look at his previous meditation where he begins to build his argument with the notion that in order for him to think, he must exist. From this observation, Descartes’ sees that the idea of his existence is very clear and distinct in his mind. Based upon this clarity and the fact that he has just determined his own
In the meditations, Descartes evaluates whether or not everything we know is a reality or a dream. Descartes claims that we can only be sure that our beliefs are true when we clearly and distinctively perceive them to be true. As the reader analyzes the third meditation, Descartes has confirmed that some of his beliefs are in fact true. The first is that Descartes himself exists. This is expressed in what has now become a popular quote known as the “Cogito” which says, “I think therefore I am. His second conclusion is that God exist and that he is not a deceiver. Descartes then presents his arguments to prove the existence of God. He argues that by nature humans are imperfect beings. Furthermore, humankind could not possibly be able to comprehend perfection or infinite things on their own. He writes, “By the name of God I understand a substance that is infinite, independent, all-knowing, all powerful, and which myself and everything else…have been created.”(16) Descartes uses this description of God to display the distinction between God and man.
Given the above arguments one can begin to understand the nature of the God Descartes is endeavoring to prove. For Descartes, God is infinite and perfect existence. God is “eternal, immutable, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful, and [the creator of] everything else". (Descartes 20) Not only does God possess this nature but it is necessary that He does so. If God is not infinite or perfect God could not exist as these attributes are essential to God's existence. Furthermore, if God is not the ultimate creator the innate idea of God we experience would cease to be innate but adventitious (externally caused) or imaginative (caused by the mind) which is again impossible given its content. Given these qualities one can draw a connection to the
In the Third Meditation, Descartes forms a proof for the existence of God. He begins by laying down a foundation for what he claims to know and then offers an explanation for why he previously accepted various ideas but is no longer certain of them. Before he arrives at the concept of God, Descartes categorizes ideas and the possible sources that they originate from. He then distinguishes between the varying degrees of reality that an idea can possess, as well as the cause of an idea. Descartes proceeds to investigate the idea of an infinite being, or God, and how he came to acquire such an idea with more objective reality than he himself has. By ruling out the possibility of this idea being invented or adventitious, Descartes concludes
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