Essay On Descartes

1165 words - 5 pages

Proving It Isn't Believing ItThe question of whether God exists is an issue that has been debated by scholars, scientists, and philosophers for centuries. In his Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes ultimately attempts to prove God in fact does exist. By dismissing everything he has learned from the beginning of his life and rebuilding his belief structure through science and reason, Descartes is able to build groundwork to base his own arguments upon and refute non-believers. Likewise, he constructs all his arguments on the idea that a perfect being is present in the universe. If Descartes cannot confirm the existence of God, then all his ideas and conclusions can be criticized and disproven.The proof of God's existence is imperative to Descartes' Meditations. He tells us, "I should at the first opportunity inquire whether there is a God... For if I am ignorant of this, it appears I am never capable of being completely certain about anything else," (P 71). If Descartes cannot prove that God exists, he cannot be sure of anything. His idea that he exists is no longer clear and distinct. Descartes is insinuating that if God does not exist, then we may not truly exist and cannot declare any of our thoughts, beliefs, or desires to be true.Similarly, Descartes' testimony for the existence of God is extremely methodical and prudent. He begins by saying, ". . . never accept anything as true that I did not plainly know to be such . . . Include nothing more in my judgments than what presented itself to my mind so clearly and so distinctly that I had no occasion to call it in doubt, " (P 11). By doubting everything Descartes ensures that he will not be deluded by any fallacies, which could prevent him from reaching the truth, and is therefore able to prove his own existence. He tells us, "I have persuaded myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world... But doubtless I did exist, if I persuaded myself of something... It must finally be established that this pronouncement "I am, I exist" is necessarily true every time I conceive it in my mind," (P 64). Descartes realizes that by doubting all of his preconceived ideas he is thinking, which leads him to the conclusion that in order for him to think, he must exist, which he believes to be true and the first principle of philosophy that he is seeking. From this single observation Descartes is able to assume a rule, which becomes the foundation of his philosophy: The idea of his existence is very clear and distinct in his mind. Based upon this belief, and the fact that he has proven his own existence, he is able to surmise that whatever he perceives as being clearly and distinctly true is in fact true.Likewise, Descartes utilizes another fascinating decree for his philosophy. He tells us that an objective reality cannot exist without a formal reality, or that an idea cannot come about without a cause. Also, we are told that ideas can be less perfect than their cause, but...

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