Descartes ontological argument for gods existence essay

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Descartes ontological argument for gods existence essay

Indeed, it reads more like the report of an intuition than a formal proof. Descartes underscores the simplicity of his demonstration by comparing it to the way we ordinarily establish very basic truths in arithmetic and geometry, such as that the number two is even or that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to the sum of two right angles.

We intuit such truths directly by inspecting our clear and distinct ideas of the number two and of a triangle. So, likewise, we are able to attain knowledge of God's existence simply by apprehending that necessary existence is included in the clear and distinct idea of a supremely perfect being.

As Descartes writes in the Fifth Meditation: Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number.


And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature AT 7: Descartes does not conceive the ontological argument on the model of an Euclidean or axiomatic proof, in which theorems are derived from epistemically prior axioms and definitions.

On the contrary, he is drawing our attention to another method of establishing truths that informs our ordinary practices and is non-discursive. This method employs intuition or, what is the same for Descartes, clear and distinct perception. It consists in unveiling the contents of our clear and distinct ideas.

The basis for this method is the rule for truth, which was previously established in the Fourth Meditation. According to the version of this rule invoked in the Fifth Meditation, whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.

Descartes ontological argument for gods existence essay

So if I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence pertains to the idea of a supremely perfect being, then such a being truly exists. Although Descartes maintains that God's existence is ultimately known through intuition, he is not averse to presenting formal versions of the ontological argument.

He never forgets that he is writing for a seventeenth-century audience, steeped in scholastic logic, that would have expected to be engaged at the level of the Aristotelian syllogism. Descartes satisfies such expectations, presenting not one but at least two separate versions of the ontological argument.

These proofs, however, are stunningly brief and betray his true intentions. One version of the argument simply codifies the psychological process by which one intuits God's existence, in the manner described above: Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.

I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God. When presenting this version of the argument in the First Replies, Descartes sets aside this first premise and focuses our attention on the second. In so doing, he is indicating the relative unimportance of the proof itself.

Having learned how to apply Descartes' alternative method of reasoning, one need only perceive that necessary existence pertains to the idea of a supremely perfect being. Once one attains this perception, formal arguments are no longer required; God's existence will be self-evident Second Replies, Fifth Postulate; AT 7: Descartes sometimes uses traditional arguments as heuristic devices, not merely to appease a scholastically trained audience but to help induce clear and distinct perceptions.

This is evident for example in the version of the ontological argument standardly associated with his name: I have an idea of supremely perfect being, i. Necessary existence is a perfection. Therefore, a supremely perfect being exists.

While this set of sentences has the surface structure of a formal argument, its persuasive force lies at a different level.

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A meditator who is having trouble perceiving that necessary existence is contained in the idea of a supreme perfect being can attain this perception indirectly by first recognizing that this idea includes every perfection.

Indeed, the idea of a supremely perfect being just is the idea of a being having all perfections. To attempt to exclude any or all perfections from the idea of a supremely being, Descartes observes, involves one in a contradiction and is akin to conceiving a mountain without a valley or, better, an up-slope without a down-slope.

Having formed this perception, one need only intuit that necessary existence is itself a perfection. It will then be clear that necessary existence is one of the attributes included in the idea of a supremely perfect being.

While such considerations might suffice to induce the requisite clear and distinct perception in the meditator, Descartes is aiming a deeper point, namely that there is a conceptual link between necessary existence and each of the other divine perfections.

It is important to recall that in the Third Meditation, in the midst of the causal argument for the existence of God, the meditator already discovered many of these perfections — omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, eternality, simplicity, etc.Sep 26,  · The ontological argument, originally developed by St.

Anselm, purports to demonstrate the existence of God using logic alone. The weakness was exposed almost immediately, when Gaunilo of Marmoutier, a contemporary of Anselm's, demonstrated that the existence of a thing cannot be simply defined into reality (he used the example of the “perfect island”).

St. Anselm, an Archbishop of Canterbury, first proposed the Ontological Argument in his book ‘Proslogian’, according to Anselm, both theists and atheists have a definition of God, if only for atheists to dismiss his existence. Misc thoughts, memories, proto-essays, musings, etc.

And on that dread day, the Ineffable One will summon the artificers and makers of graven images, and He will command them to give life to their creations, and failing, they and their creations will be dedicated to the flames.

In this blogpost I will compare and contrast my argument for the nature of Existence being omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite and eternal with Descartes’ cosmological and ontological argument for the existence of God.

I will then argue that Existence is perfect. In a nutshell, Descartes’. Rene Descartes - Existence of God Essay. Words | 8 Pages. Meditations on First Philosophy, examines Descartes' arguments for the existence of God. The purpose of this essay will be to explore Descartes' reasoning and proofs of God's existence.

The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God The ontological argument is an a priori. The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" It implies that if moral authority must come from the gods it doesn't have to be good, and if moral authority must be good it does not have to come from the gods.

Baruch Spinoza (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)