Something which is more perfect – in other words, that which contains more reality in itself – cannot be made from that which is less perfect. (Meditation III) How does Descartes use this principle to prove the existence of God? Does his proof work?
In the 3rd mediation of Descartes Mediations and other Metaphysical Writings, Descartes provided us with The Trademark Argument, a both cosmological and ontological argument, in order to attempt to prove the existence of God. The a priori (something that comes before) argument gains its title from the concept that God has left a ‘trademark’ or stamp in our minds to prove his existence. Descartes saw there to be three different types of ideas. The difference in each, being the idea’s source.…show more content… Within logic, there must be as much reality in an efficient and total cause, as there is in the effect of that cause. The effect cannot have gained reality from anything other than the cause, and the cause wouldn’t be able to give the effect of that reality without having reality itself. Following on from this then, obviously something cannot come from nothing and something that is more perfect, or contains more reality in itself, cannot come from something less perfect. Descartes used the example of a stone. It is impossible for a stone that did not exist beforehand to come to existence, without being made from something that has ‘formally’ or ‘eminently’ the reality the stone produces. The same can be applied to heat, which cannot come from something that isn’t already hot.
Descartes continues by observing that, if I was to have a thought or idea that I know for sure contains a larger, greater reality than any reality I have inside myself, there is no way I can be the cause of it. Therefore there must be a greater cause, the greater cause being God. Descartes argued that God could never be a fictious idea as he is a ‘necessity’ and the idea is ‘clear and distinct’ God can also not be an adventitious idea, since no one has witnessed or experienced God. God is outside of human understanding and human senses and is known to be immaterial.
Descartes claimed that the more perfect something is, the more real it is. He analyses this theory of