Rene Descartes Analysis

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René Descartes - Meditations on First Philosophy: The Certainty of Faith An atheist is unable to have the same certainty as Descartes regarding the existence of material things because for all of his knowledge Descartes relies on the pure light of reason, or “natural light”, supported by God, that an atheist can thus not rely on (152). All certainty comes through this natural light, and its veracity is dependent on a real benevolent God. Descartes proves this God mainly through the use of the ontological argument, but also offers checks against counterclaims that an atheist may have. Descartes ultimately knows that material things exist because he can sense them (144). He proves that corporeal reality’s existence is distinct both from his…show more content…
Normally idea and reality need not automatically align, just as one can have the idea of a mountain without that actual mountain having to exist somewhere in the world - but God is an exception (163). The idea and reality of God are inseparable because He is perfect and one quality of perfection is existence (163). In other words, an existing thing is more perfect than a non-existing thing, and since God is necessarily perfect He must necessarily exist. However, an atheist may have objections to God’s necessary existence based merely on the idea of Him which could undermine the certainty of Descartes’ argument.
One strong atheistic argument in favour of material existence but opposed to God’s existence is the Big Bang Theory, since corporeal reality can exist in corroboration with this theory without appealing to God. The answer to this challenge is that the Big Bang Theory explains the cause of corporeal things but not their subsistence. This is to say that even if the Big
Bang created all material at some point billions of years in the past, this does not explain what supports reality now. Creation is a continual process in every moment or point in time, including right now, which is not explained by something that existed in the past, but rather something that exists now - namely
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Descartes relies on the natural light of reason for all his knowledge which cannot fail him since God is the support of said reason through His benevolence. God’s existence is proven since His idea and actuality are necessarily indistinguishable from each other on account of His unity, and His everlasting sustaining power of reality is evident due to his omnipotence. Having overcome the obstacle of doubt with God, Descartes can have safe and secure certainty about the existence of material things that an atheist
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