Descartes and Skepticism

Topics: Metaphysics, Existence, Ontology Pages: 3 (888 words) Published: November 25, 2011
Descartes and the problem of skepticism|
Question: In Meditation III, Descartes argues that his idea of God could not have come from him, and so God must exist. How does this argument go? |


René Descartes was a great scientist, mathematician and philosopher. He was known for his extensive work on skepticism, and in particular a piece called “Meditations on First Philosophy” (written in 1641) which is still widely used by modern philosophers. In this publication, Descartes’ aim was to demonstrate that a persons’ soul is eternal and that God exists. He explains in Meditation One that it is possible to question the existence of all things; in Meditation two he goes on to give details regarding the existence of the mind and the soul. In the Third Meditation he gives arguments of proof of Gods’ existence; and in Meditation Four he explains the difference between truth and error. In the Fifth Meditation Descartes provides further arguments to prove the existence of God and in the Sixth and final meditation he brings it all together as he demonstrates how knowledge of the mind can be guided by God and therefore validates the knowledge we have of physical world. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010). This essay will explain Descartes argument of the existence of God with specific reference to the Third Meditation discussed in the class handout- ‘Descartes and the problem of Skepticism’.

Meditation Ш- God’s Existence

In the Third Meditation, subtitled "On God’s existence," Descartes is certain that he is a “thinking thing” (pg 142) and sets out to prove God’s Existence. There were two major standpoints noted in his argument, though they were found to be closely linked. Firstly, he tackles the idea that his own existence and thoughts must have come from somewhere or something. He goes on to explain that the thought he has of God is one of an "eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, creator of all things" (pg 143). As a result,...
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