Dr. Elaine Cassel
April 20, 2013
In Discourse on Method by René Descartes, the author starts by expressing his methodology and thought process in the effort to determine his own existence. While the topic of this piece starts by focusing on Descartes and the truth he was searching for about his existence, it quickly turns to the topic of the truth or existence of something more perfect than himself. That more perfect example being God.
This surprise is first revealed after three paragraphs of Descartes debating the truth of his own existence between the conscious awake times and the unconscious dream times and the relationship to things in nature. According to Descartes (1636), “In thinking it is necessary to exist” and “that all things which we very clearly and distinctly conceive are true.” It is at that point that his focus turns to describing the proof of existence of God as the creator of all imperfect things.
I believe that Descartes set the stage effectively for a surprise ending with his approach to the opening of this piece. He began, not by insinuating that God did exist, but by using the thought of God’s existence as a point of comparison between things that he determines exist imperfectly. He points out that an imperfect mind could think of object like the sky, sun & stars but that the “imperfect mind” is not capable of creating such things (Descartes, 1636). He concludes that a perfect being, such as God, must be responsible for the existence of all imperfect things because one cannot exist without the other.
Descartes, R. (1636). Discourse on Method. Part 4. Retrieved from Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/34/1/.