Rene Desacartes and David Hume

Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Mind Pages: 3 (948 words) Published: January 17, 2011
Rene Descartes and David Hume were two great philosophers during the modern period. Many of their issues focused on the existence of God. Hume’s writings on the existence of God are different to Descartes’. Descartes tries to prove Gods existence while Hume tries to show the foolishness of believing in God. However, both philosophers fail to solve the issue because they both hold many arguments. The major issue between Descartes and Hume is their conflicting methods on how the issue should be approached.

Rene Descartes was an Enlightenment philosopher. He was also a rationalist. This is the opposite of empiricism as this theory claims that some knowledge can be known a priori, independently of experience. This means that if God were to be proved then experience would not necessarily be needed as some truth. The explanation of oneself is essential to Descartes' thesis. That all "object relations except God are delusions promoted by the coherence of experience" (Weissman); that is, our everlasting subjective experience of the world could be false, although God is known to be true. Having decided that the empirical world and matter could be simply the creation of a devil, Descartes decides to follow his own consciousness, which is the only thing he could rely on. He is the type of person who only depends on himself and always thinks “I am” in situations. Descartes makes the unnecessary assumption that he is the carrier of his combined states. He states, "It is so self-evident that it is I who doubt, who understand and who wish, that there is no need to add anything to explain it". This, as well as the truths of mathematics, is perceived "clearly and distinctly". Clear and distinct ideas are very much relied on in the Cartesian philosophy of mind; for Descartes they are the necessary truths, grabbed by the intelligence. This central consciousness he claims equates to a "person"; the divisible body as an extended thing in space and time is finite, opposed to the...
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