The question of God is a perennial subject of debate in the history of philosophical scholarship and can be located in nearly all the epochs of philosophy. The subject however occupies a central space in the medieval epoch that was characterized by religious thinkers. The debate is largely between two schools of thought. There are those who opine that there is no such entity as God. To such thinkers, the question of God does not amount to anything but is largely a product of human imagination. On the other hand, there are certain group of thinkers who insist that God is a reality that exist and must be given due consideration. Thus, the onus lies on the one who affirms the existence of God to explain who or what this God is and to prove his existence. The subject of God may have being difficult to explain because the term God does not refer to any physical entity in the universe. Rene Descartes who is widely revered as the father of modern philosophy affirmed the existence of God and proffered two arguments for the existence of God. Many scholars have bore their minds on the question of God, but our aim in this paper is to examine the various ramifications of Descartes’ proof of God’s existence. To achieve this aim, our exposition shall follow this outline:
Life and works of Descartes
Who is God?
The historical trajectory of the problem of God
The cogito: a background to the Cartesian prof of God’s existence
Descartes’ proof of God’s existence
Criticisms of the Cartesian proof of God’s existence
Life and works of Rene Descartes
Descartes is the first major philosophical thinker of the modern period and the father of modern philosophy. He was born in La Haye, a small town near Tours in France on the 3rd of March he received a Jesuit education at the Jesuit college of La fleche in Anjou, one of the best schools of his time. Upon completion of his studies, he went to Holland where he joined the army in 1618. The following year, he travelled to Germany where he began to develop his ideas concerning how knowledge should be acquired. Descartes returned to France in 1628 but soon returned to Holland where he remained until 1649, when he went to Sweden at the request of Queen Christina to come and tutor her in philosophy and knowledge in general. He is said to have died of pneumonia on the 11th of February 1650. Descartes has many achievements to his name, he invented the analytic geometry and the Cartesian coordinate system named after him. His major works include: The Rules for the Direction of the Mind (1628), the world (1629), Discourse on Method (1637), Optics (1637), Meteorology (1637), Meditations on first Philosophy (1641), Principles of Philosophy (1644) and Passions of the soul (1649). Who is God?
Much of the disagreement about "proofs" of God's existence is due to different conceptions of God. Classical theism, for instance, characterizes God as a supreme metaphysical being. Despite extensive writing on the nature of God, these classical theists did not believe that God could be defined. They believed that it would be contradictory to the transcendent nature of God if mere humans are able to define him. By contrast, much of Eastern religious thought (chiefly pantheism) presents God as a force inherent in every accessible and conceivable experience. In modern times, the concept of God typically entails a monotheistic, supreme, ultimate, and personal being, as found in the Islamic, Christian and Hebrew traditions. A historical trajectory of the problem of God
Since the ancient epoch of philosophy, philosophers have always grappled with the problem of the existence of God. Thus we shall examine the general posture that the discourse of God assumed before and after the advent of Descartes. This would properly position us to understand the background from were Descartes emerges. The ancient Western tradition of philosophical discuss of the existence of God...
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