Essay: Descartse belief in the existence of God

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  • Subject area(s): Religious studies and Theology essays
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  • Published on: January 16, 2020
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  • Descartse belief in the existence of God
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Descartse believe in the existence of God. His discussions on God can be found him his book the Mediations. Here he justifies the existence of a higher being by discussing how representations of God as an idea came to be manifested. He uses two principles as his proof. The first is the levels of Reality principle. This principle states that certain things that we perceive in the outside world are less real than others. The least real things for him are properties which depend on finite substances. For example, “sweetness” as a property is perceived when we eat a fruit-a finite substance- with that very same characteristic. Therefore, we know what sweetness is like having experienced that sensation through eating a finite thing. In contrast, infinite substances are the most real because they don’t depend on some fixed object for their perception. For Descartes, this invite substance is what he refers to as God. He writes, “God is the only true substance, that is, the only thing that is capable of existing on its own”. The seance principle he uses to justify God’s existence is the Casual adequacy principle. In short, this principle states that an effect must enjoy the same properties and characteristics as that which caused it. An example of this would be the material of a shirt. a cotton shirt would have the same texture and feel as the cotton used as its fabric. for Descartes, he perceived of the existence of an infinite God clearly. In the fifth meditations he writes: “certainly, the idea of god or a supremely perfect beings is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number”. applying the casual adequacy principle, Descartes concludes that god as the source of his perception of perfection must be in essence, perfect itself. This kind of argument informs us of Descartes view on truth. for him, the truth happens when our wills are inclined to believe without a doubt what our own intellect perceives. for him, ” the real criterion of truth is that the content of a proposition is so clearly perceived that the will is drawn to it in such a way that the will’s affirmation cannot be shaken even by the systematic and sustained doubts of the mediations” Descartes arguments are not convincing. may philosophers and commentators have rebutted his arguments for being simplistic and ontological. one problem is the questions of whether or not reality admits of a gradient between lesser or greater reality. something either has to exist or not, and it does not make logical sense to think of something that exists only slightly. therefore, finite substances such as a table cannot be less real than a conception of perfection, if we believe that the table is a manifest and real thing. Secondly, we can also contest the idea that the cause must have the same essential principles as the effect which springs from it. for example, all living things derive their source from the sun. the energy which the suns provides is the cause for all plants and animals to exist. however, it does not follow that an inanimate object like sun have the exact same elements as the features on earth. applying this to god, we may perceive an infinite perfection. it does not follow that there is some transcendent source of that perception with the same elements.

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