Sunday, November 17, 2019

Descartes on God Essay Example for Free

Descartes on God Essay Rene Descartes is a famous French philosopher and is considered as the â€Å"Father of Rationalism. † The aim of his philosophy was to arrive in a solid foundation for knowledge. In order to arrive in this, he used a method called the Methodic Doubt wherein he doubted the senses, mathematics, and even the existence of god. It was only until he arrived with a solid entity called â€Å"the cogito† was Descartes able to discover the center of his existence. Upon finding this center, he was able to use this entity as a means into explaining the existence of the things he previously doubted. In regards to proving the existence of god, we need to tackle first why Descartes needed to doubt the existence of god. This was a very important step in his philosophy because the theories in his philosophy would have a sounder foundation if he was going to use them to explain the existence of God. As what was stated above, Descartes used the Methodic Doubt in order to arrive with the cogito and say his phrase â€Å"cogito ergo sum† or I think therefore I am. This cogito exists in a metaphysical plane because Descartes believed that everything that existed in the physical world were not real. The reasons why he had to doubt the physical world include the fact that the senses deceive us. Examples of these are a pencil which gives the illusion of bending after placing it in a glass of water. Others include dreams which a person would consider to be so real until they wake up in bed. And finally, everything in this world is subject to change which he presented after burning a piece of wax and then asking if the residue of the wax is still considered as wax. After doubting the senses, he soon went to doubt the validity of the physical world. In order to do this, he asserted that there is a malevolent demon that would deceive us into believing that what we perceive is real. Now that he was able to discard god as the foundation of true knowledge, we now shifts his focus to the cogito. However, being left with the cogito could lead to solipsism, a view wherein a person believes that only the individual exists, since everything existed except the cogito. So Descartes needed to prove the existence of God in order to validate the existence of the physical world and free his philosophy from the perils of solipsism. Descartes gave some arguments that led to his proofs of the existence of god. His first proof dealt with the nature of ideas. He classified different kinds of ideas such as those that are innate in a person and those that were received through experience. Being rationalists, he considered ideas cause by the experience doubtful since they do arise from the senses, which he discarded as the means for a clear and distinct idea. So, he shifted his focus to innate ideas, or ideas that have been with a person since birth, and placed the idea of god under this classification. Now, Descartes asked from where these innate ideas came. It cannot be from nothingness since something cannot spring out of nothing. In addition, a perfect idea like that of god cannot come from a less perfect being and so he concluded that there was a first cause that placed the idea of a supreme being in my mind. This argument of Descartes can be compared with that of Saint Augustine’s first cause. However, the difference here is that the arguments of Saint Augustine dealt with motion and change within the physical world. Descartes arguments on the other had, tackle solely with ides and from where they came from. In addition to the argument of a first mover, Descartes was able to prove the existence of god through his own mortality. He asked himself how a person could think of an infinite being, such as god, if there is nothing to compare this form of existence with anything. It is from his own finite existence that he is able to create a distinction between the two modes of existence and prove the existence of an infinite and perfect being that is outside him. His next argument was derived from Saint Anselm’s ontological argument. Here, Descartes tries to justify his argument through describing a triangle. Whenever we would think of a triangle, the first thing that would enter our minds are its attributes, i. e. that it has three sides, all its angles have a total of 180 degrees, etc. Just like whenever we would think of the idea of god, we would usually first think of his attributes which are being omniscient, all-knowing, etc. The difference here is hat although we are able to think of a triangle, thinking about one does not necessarily entail it’s existence. On the other hand, to think of god as a perfect and infinite being must entail that he does exists for to say that a perfect being does not exists would mean that we are depriving god of one attribute and thus making him less perfect. So given this argument, Descartes asserts that existence is needed for perfection for there would be a major contradiction within the assertion of a perfect being that is lacking of any attribute. Finally, Descartes finally says that this god cannot be a deceiving god which he assumed in the beginning. This god cannot be a deceiver for this attribute cannot be found in a perfect being such as god because the act of deceiving someone arises from a certain defect. Upon proving the existence of god, Descartes was able to expand this philosophy by proving the existence of a separate world. He was able to do this by stating that the physical world exists since man was given a certain inclination in order to perceive the world. This inclination was given to us by god and we must believe that the world is true for god would not deceive us with this special inclination that he has given. After reading the proofs of Descartes, I would have to say that his arguments are very solid and logical that it would be hard to think otherwise. However, my only problem with Descartes philosophy is that he used the cogito as a scapegoat to all the problems that he encountered. What Descartes would do is that from the cogito he would begin to explain certain things such as god and the physical world. He would then explore these ideas but when he begins to run of way to explain his arguments he would go back to the cogito. AN example here would be when he tried to explain the existence of the physical world. He simply had to rely on the existence of god and that the inclination he gave man to believe that this world is true. This explanation, to me, seems more as a matter of faith in god as a non-deceiving being rather than a rational explanation.

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