Rene Descartes’s Meditations
Descartes, in his third Meditation, conveys a powerful argument regarding the existence of God. The first concept that he outlines is that since every idea must be caused, and if he has an idea that he isn’t the cause of, then something other than him must exist. The next step of Descartes’s argument states that all ideas of material reality could have only originated within him, but the idea of God, a perpetual and flawless being could not have originated from Descartes since he himself isn’t perpetual and flawless like God. Furthermore, he goes on to state that the idea of God, could indeed only have spurred by God and not a human and therefore god exists. These points are the basis of Descartes’s argument that God indeed does exist.
The first concept that Descartes applied towards his argument that leads up to the proof that God exists is that every idea must be caused and the cause must indeed be as real as the idea, and if he has any idea of which he cannot be the cause, then something besides him exists. Descartes then brings upon the point that extraneous forces bring upon ideas, and usually these ideas do not depend upon his will. He points to these extraneous thoughts that enable him to understand God; who is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and the creator of all things other than himself; and has more objective reality within it than do the finite substances which Descartes describes as things generally on Earth, especially us humans since nothing is immortal.
To build more on the first concept, Descartes separates the ideas and thoughts into different kinds, as first there are simply ideas, and then there are judgments and lastly they can be adventitious. He reasons that ideas are easily identifiable, and that he cannot be mistaken with ideas independently, but can only make mistakes and errors in regard to judgment. He tries to describe how ideas in the mind are unique and that our biggest error with judgment is that we believe that our ideas mirror things outside the mind. He then goes on to describe the sources for ideas in that they are either absorbed by us from our outside environment, formulated independently by us, or they are adventitious; which is an idea that occurs by chance rather than design. Descartes feels that since an adventitious idea isn’t formed by our independent will per say, but that it is transcended to us by an outside source.
The second concept that Descartes uses to fortify his argument is that the idea of God, an infinite and perfect being could not have originated from him, or a matter of fact any others. This is because in contrast to God’s stature as an infinite and flawless being, individual humans only exist for a finite time and invariably are flawed. He is trying to depict that how could the perpetual nature of God is one of the reasons that God is flawless and our finite nature is a flaw. For example, how can an apple tree with a short lifespan blossom year after year, while an infinite apple tree could keep producing fruit forever. Descartes says that since all ideas are a form of thought, they have equality through the medium of thought and as a result contain an identical amount of formal reality. But the area in which they vastly differ is their objective reality, which in essence is the reality of the objects that they are wholly representative of. An example that distinguishes the two can be seen in a dream, if someone is dreaming of a space elevator, than the idea has formal reality since space elevators aren’t in objective existence. But, if someone is dreaming of a motorcycle, it has objective reality because it is a thought that can represent an actual object. It can be derived that no effect can have a greater amount of reality than its cause, and as a result, everything that comes into being consequentially must be created by something that has just as much or in fact greater reality. It is also stated in...
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