René Descartes' Argument on the Existence of God Essay

René Descartes' Argument on the Existence of God Essay

Length: 1537 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

René Descartes' Argument on the Existence of God


The problem with René Descartes' argument about the existence of God has to do with his rationalist deductive reasoning. Descartes deduces that truth about the existence of God lies within his idea of a perfect God and God's essence (as a perfect being who must exist in order to be perfect). A rationalist philosopher, Descartes discounts human knowledge as a product of our sensory data (our senses) but supports the epistemological stance that our knowledge is obtained through the reasoning processes of our own minds. Because Descartes believes deductive inference is the only path to absolute certainty, he endeavors to use logical arguments and principles (a mathematically natured process of reasoning) to validate the existence of God. But how can principles of logic be used to prove the existence of God? Descartes' attempts to stay deductive when attempting to prove the existence of God are indeed laudable, but some of his arguments are lacking. In proving the existence of God, his two main arguments are as follows: the idea of a perfect, infinite being in his own head could only have been created by God Himself, and God's existence cannot be separated from His essence .

Descartes must first prove that he exists. He writes, ?For example, during these few days I was examining whether anything in the world exists, and I noticed that, from the very fact that I was making this examination, it obviously followed that I exist? (84). Essentially, a being can be certain of its existence if it can think. Descartes also adds that ideas (thoughts, imagination, etc.) are objectively real: ?For whether it is a she-goat or a chimera that I am imagining, it is no less true that I imagine ...


... middle of paper ...


...ply does not stand. Descartes loses his grasp on certainty by failing to prove God's perfection and that God was the only creator of his idea of perfection. By unsuccessfully proving the existence of God through pure deductive reasoning, Descartes' system may sadly be forever doomed to uncertainty in this particular endeavor. And because Descartes' project of certainty about the existence of God was unsuccessful, the same would follow for his deductions about the sense world. But there is always hope. Perhaps the existence of God was never meant to be proved through deductive reasoning and logic. There is always something to be said about believing in the existence God with nothing more than pure faith.

Work Cited

Descartes, René. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy . Trans. Donald A. Cress. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Dream Argument By Rene Descartes

- “I know for certain that I am standing up; it is absolutely certain that I am; there is not the smallest chance that I am not.”-G.E Moore. Rene Descartes, introduced the Dream Argument, where he believed that we cannot trust our senses because at some point in an individual’s life they might be dreaming and believe that what was occurring during that dream was reality. This argument, was opposed to by G.E Moore where used evidence and knowledge to flip over the dream argument. He finds that Descartes, argument was very inconsistent....   [tags: Mind, Epistemology, Metaphysics, René Descartes]

Powerful Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

Descartes ' Natural Light By Rene Descartes Essay

- Descartes’ Natural Light Rene Descartes’ natural light is his saving grace, and not Achilles’ heel. Descartes incorporates the concept of natural light within his epistemology in order to establish the possibility of knowing things completely without doubt. In fact whatever is revealed to the meditator via the natural light is considered to be indefeasible. The warrant for the truth of these ideas does not rely on experience or the senses. Rather the truth of the idea depends on viewing the concept through clear and distinct perception....   [tags: Mind, Epistemology, Perception, René Descartes]

Powerful Essays
1695 words (4.8 pages)

Essay on Descartes ' The Coffee House By Rene Descartes

- It was a warm morning in an Austrian Coffee-house. The building was bustling with conversation and brimming with activity. However all I could focus on was a pale, bearded man sitting across from me, writing in a dishevelled notebook. I took a glance and found this mysterious man’s name on the cover: John Macmurray. Suddenly, there was a crash as the shops’ doors opened, and a well-kept man with flowing hair made his way down to the counter. As he passed a hush fell on the coffee-house. It was then that I recognised this mysterious customer from my philosophy class- it was Rene Descartes....   [tags: Mind, Thought, René Descartes, Soul]

Powerful Essays
1379 words (3.9 pages)

Descartes And The Mind And Body Essay

- Descartes states that the mind and body are two separate substances. I will argue against this claim for there are three reasons to not believe Descartes. The first reason is that we generally come to know things through our senses. Second, there is no empirical evidence to support other minds. Third, there is a close connection between the mind and the body. Descartes theory of substance dualism states that there is a difference between the mind and the body; your mental state is not affected by your physical state....   [tags: Mind, Philosophy of mind, René Descartes]

Powerful Essays
1288 words (3.7 pages)

Appraisal of René Descartes Essay

- In his works, Meditations on First Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul, René Descartes lays out his views on the mind. Descartes is a dualist, specifically an interactionalist, which is someone who believes that mental states and physical states are distinct from one another, yet still affect each other. This view, however, faces significant obstacles, to which Descartes believes he has an answer for. In this paper I will outline Descartes’ argument for the distinctness between the mind and body, explicate the problems his theory faces, and conclude that his dualist account cannot survive the objections....   [tags: Dualism, Argumentative Essay]

Powerful Essays
1201 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Human Existence and Human Suffering

- All throughout our history, we humans have constantly evolved and developed to an extent where we can give an account to the world we live in. From Epicurus to Thomas Aquinas, from Aristotle -who taught one of the greatest kings namely Alexander the Great- to Sartre and Camus were all for the search of why we are on this planet. What drives us to live or perhaps to die, even if it is by one’s own hand. When arguing about the meaning of life, one has to take into account that every doctrine, thesis, antithesis, thought and emotion can only be explained and defined through the human perspective....   [tags: Human Existence]

Powerful Essays
1904 words (5.4 pages)

René Descartes Essay

- René Descartes René Descartes was a French philosopher and also mathematician. His method of doubt led him to the famous "cogito ergo sum" when translated means "I am thinking, therefore I exist". This cogito was the foundation for Descartes' quest for certain knowledge. He explored doubt and how we can prove our own existence, by taking the first steps of scepticism. His book "Meditations On First Philosophy", was written in six parts. Each representing the six days that God took to create the world....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
744 words (2.1 pages)

René Descartes and Thomas Hobbes : A Dialogue Essay

- René Descartes and Thomas Hobbes: A Dialogue As one embarks on the incredible journey through Descartes’ meditations, a plethora of doubts, criticisms and seemingly fundamental problems arise and block one’s progress. No doubt, many of these can be attributed to the fact that we of the twenty-first century come more than three and a half centuries after the brilliant mind of Descartes (or shall we say, ‘that was Descartes’) spawned the immense framework of philosophy that is contained within The Meditations....   [tags: Politics Philosophy Sociology]

Powerful Essays
1588 words (4.5 pages)

René Descartes Does Not Reject Sense Perception Essay

- René Descartes Does Not Reject Sense Perception Some have suggested that René Descartes argues that sense perception relies on the mind rather than on the body. Descartes asserts that we can know our mind more readily than we can know our body. In support of this idea he gives the example of a piece of wax which is observed in its solid form and its liquid form. After pointing out the difficulties of relying on the senses of the physical body to understand the nature of the wax he makes this claim: [P]erception ......   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Powerful Essays
2400 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on Descartes 's Meditations On First Philosophy

- In his Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes seeks to prove that corporeal objects exist. This argument is put forth based on the principles and supposed facts he has built up throughout the Meditations. In order to fully understand his argument for the existence of corporeal things, one must trace his earlier arguments for effects and their causes, the existence of God, the nature of God, and his ability to never make mistakes. Descartes sought to establish some truths in the world that would never be proven false through his Meditations....   [tags: Ontology, Existence, Mind, God]

Powerful Essays
800 words (2.3 pages)