The Cartisian Circle

Topics: René Descartes, Cartesian circle, Meditations on First Philosophy Pages: 2 (793 words) Published: March 26, 2007
René Descartes, a modern era philosophical genius, documented many of his personal revelations which in turn influenced the world around him. Whether one knows it or not, from birth, one is infused with Cartesian ideas of the existence of form, being, mind, and God. Although written so long ago, Descartes' ideas are still taught, argued, and debated on many levels. Though Descartes broke through conventional society creating new ideas and revolutionizing the world through thought, he did much to contradict himself time and time again. The most taught, and most highly debated contradiction to speak of is the famous Cartesian Circle. Embedded in the body of Descartes' Meditations, Descartes uses God to establish the Criterion of Truth, but also use the Criterion of Truth to prove that God exists. Thus, the Cartesian Circle is created.

The first half of the circle is created by Descartes establishing the Criterion of Truth. This criterion states that whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived is true. As Descartes stated: "it is impossible that God should ever deceive me. … I know by experience that there is in me a faculty of judgement which, like everything else which is in me, I certainly received from God. And since God does not wish to deceive me, he surely did not give me the kind of faculty which would ever enable me to go wrong while using it correctly." "There would be no further doubt on this issue were it not that what I have just said appears to imply that I am incapable of ever going wrong. For if everything that is in me comes from God, and he did not endow me with a faculty for making mistakes, it appears that I can never go wrong"(Med 4:53-54). Descartes establishes that whatever he perceives must be true because the perfect God that gave it to him could not deceive him, or God would not be perfect, for deception is an imperfection. Notice here, how Descartes uses God to establish this Criterion of Truth, without yet proving that God...
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