Descartes Belief in God

1507 words 7 pages
Descartes and God
In his groundbreaking work, Meditations on First Philosophy, the French philosopher Rene Descartes lays the groundwork for many philosophical principles by attempting to “establish a bold and lasting knowledge” (171)1. The foundations for knowledge Descartes established would go on to influence a plethora of other philosophers and philosophical works. Descartes argues in his meditations first from the point of view of complete skepticism, using skepticism as a tool in order to discover what is real. Through this method, Descartes explains the existence of man as a “thinking thing,” the capacity for human error, the overall trustworthiness of our senses, the existence of a physical world, the mind and body as separate
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This time, Descartes uses mathematics to back up his case. Descartes brings up the example of a triangle. Although he cannot see the triangle physically, Descartes can “demonstrate various propositions about the triangle”, such as the fact that “its angles equal two right angles” (186). Although Descartes’ triangle is not tangible, he claims that the “truths of arithmetic geometry, or pure mathematics” are “more certain than any others” (186). Descartes knows these mathematic principles are “clearly and distinctly true”, the same way he feels about his idea of God. Thusly, Descartes idea of God is as secure as the principles of Geometry and arithmetic. By ingeniously relating the intangible principles of geometry and the existence of an ethereal God, it is no longer necessary to expect any physical proof of God’s existence from Descartes.
There are several potential objections to Descartes’ proof of the existence and perfection of God. Descartes’ argument for the existence of God relies almost solely on his own distinct perception of God as “eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and the creator of all things” (178). This is an idea vast amounts of people do not share. Descartes claims that the idea of God is “self-evident” and “innate” (182, 187) Descartes made these claims at a time in France at a time where church controlled many aspects of life, money, and power. Descartes is also known to have lived as a life-long Roman Catholic. Is it not possible that his


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