René Descartes' Argument on the Existence of God Essay

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René Descartes' Argument on the Existence of God

The problem with René Descartes' argument about the existence of God has to do with his rationalist deductive reasoning. Descartes deduces that truth about the existence of God lies within his idea of a perfect God and God's essence (as a perfect being who must exist in order to be perfect). A rationalist philosopher, Descartes discounts human knowledge as a product of our sensory data (our senses) but supports the epistemological stance that our knowledge is obtained through the reasoning processes of our own minds. Because Descartes believes deductive inference is the only path to absolute certainty, he endeavors to use logical arguments and principles (a mathematically natured
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or exist. He writes, ?What about thinking? Here I make my discovery: thought exists; it alone cannot be separated from me? (65). Descartes' deductive arguments about his own existence seem valid and convincing.

Once Descartes proves his own existence, he attempts to prove God's divine attributes by looking at his own creation and origin. Descartes discounts the idea that he created himself by writing, ?if I got my being from myself, . . . I would have given myself all the perfections of which I have some idea; in so doing, I myself would be God? (78). But if Descartes was not responsible for his own creation, who was? He writes, ?because I am a thinking thing and have within me a certain idea of God, it must be granted that what caused me is also a thinking thing and it too has an idea of all the perfections which I attribute to God? (79). He makes this assumption on the basis that ?there must be at least as much in the cause as there is in the effect? (79). This cause-and-effect principle is similar to laws of energy in Chemistry or equal and opposite reactions in Physics. Energy never totally vanishes; it just transforms from one form to another (like kinetic energy to heat energy, etc.). If Descartes' parents created Descartes through sexual reproduction, some thinking being must have created them and so on and so on until there is no other being than God, the ?supreme deity, . . . creator of all things other than himself? (73). This logic
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