Meditation On First Philosophy By Rene Descartes

1545 words - 6 pages

“Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am.” A mathematician, scientific thinker, and metaphysician Rene Descartes used this term in his “Meditation on First Philosophy.” This term has become famous especially in western philosophy. However, this term was not Descartes only legacy. His legacies include the development of the Cartesian coordinates, philosophical books, and theories. Even though the distinction between mind and body can be traced to the Greeks, Descartes account of the mind and body relationship has been considered the first and the most influential. Descartes was born in 1596 in France, from 1628 to 1649 Descartes remained in Holland, during this time he composed multiple works that set the scene for all later philosophical study of mind and body. (René Descartes and the legacy of mind/body dualism) “Meditation on First Philosophy,” is one of Descartes famous treatises. First published in the 17th century, it consists of six meditations. In the first meditation Descartes eliminates all belief in things that are not certain, basically he removes everything from the table. Then one by one he examines each belief and determines whether any of these beliefs can be known for sure. Meditations three and five focus on the existence of God. This ontological argument is both fascinating and poorly understood in the philosophical community. Descartes tries to prove God’s existence by using simple but influential foundations. (Nolan). Descartes innate ideas proof and ontological proof of the existence of God is going to be assessed through the summarization of meditation thee and meditation five, while his work is also going to be compared to Anselm’s ontological argument on the existence of God.
The first and second meditation lead to the third meditation, which is the first proof of the existence of God. In the first meditation Descartes wipes away all of his pre-conceptions and begins to rebuild his knowledge from the bottom up, starting with the foundation of everything, which are the senses. In the end, Descartes decides that all of his beliefs are doubtful and none of them serve as a starting foundation. In the second meditation Descartes comes to the conclusion that he must exist, and coins the famous term “I think therefore I am.” At the end of the second meditation he does not doubt that he exists. In meditation three, Descartes begins examining whether God exists. Now for a second follow these instructions, close your eyes, plug your ears, and just stop using all of your senses. Next eliminate all thoughts of physical objects, and now that you are in your thoughts look within yourself, and examine your beliefs. This is the process Descartes used to establish if he believes in the existence of God. Now you might say that, that is fairly easy and you know yourself well enough to know that God does or does not exist. Now if you do not doubt God’s existence you might wonder if God is deceiving you. However, as Descartes points out...

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