Descartes and God
Everywhere in this world there are debates on many things. Logic is often employed in order to understand and come to an agreement on these debated topics. One such topic, which is arguably the greatest topic of debate occurring in modern day, is the existence of God. Sure, many people believe in some sort of higher being, but how many of them try and use logic and rational thought to prove the existence of God. Many probably, however we will only look at one such person. Rene Descartes attempts to use his own logic to come up with the conclusion that a perfect being does exist and that being is in itself God in his book Meditations on First Philosophy. We must first look at the background of Descartes thought process in the first two meditations where he explores the existence of himself and the use of methodic doubt, in order to get a feel on his position of ideas. We must also look at the various problems with Descartes’ logic behind the existence of God to determine whether or not it is a workable and valid argument.
To gain a true understanding of Descartes and his logic process we must quickly examine his first two meditations. In these meditations he looks at the existence of himself and the use of methodic doubt. Descartes' meditations are created in pursuit of certainty meaning true knowledge. He cannot assume that what he has learned is necessarily true, because he is unsure of the accuracy of its initial source. In order to purge himself of all information that is possibly wrong, he subjects all he knows to methodic doubt. This results in a (theoretical) doubt of everything he knows. Anything, he reasons, that can sustain such serious doubt must be unquestionable truth, and knowledge can then be built from that base. Hence he uses methodic doubt, in order not to doubt, this leads him to doubt everything. The only true thing that cannot be doubted is that he himself doubts and thus exists (at the least as a thinking being), hence his "Cogito ergo sum". Through this rational, “cogito ergo sum” meaning, “ I think therefore I am,” and furthermore, “I am, therefore I exist”, Descartes rationalize his own existence. Thus his existence is that of an innate nature, however, Descartes also uses the idea of God as an innate idea as well. Is this possible, can he have an innate idea of an external being?
Descartes begins his argument, of the existence of God, with the only thing he knows to be true; that through doubting, he must exist. By knowing he doubts he therefore does not know everything. This makes him imperfect. However, to know that he is an imperfect being he must therefore have an idea of what is perfection. And by having that idea, because he is finite and cannot come up with such an idea himself, a perfect being must exist- God. Knowing that he has an idea of perfection, Descartes continues to prove God's existence by assuming everything must have a cause. This is known as the Principal of Sufficient...