Descartes Philosophy

Why and How Descartes Doubts the Existence of External Objects

Descartes advanced this argument with the notion that the human mind is the only thing that can perceive external objects. He held this belief because he believed in God whom he asserts that cannot deceive. Descartes also believed that God created him and gave him a reason that provides him with information regarding his ideas, which find their basis from the external objects. That explains why Descartes was categorical in alluding that these are only the human senses that can perceive an external object such as the ‘sun’ or the ‘stars’ because the mind knows that the stars are in existence, but in the real sense, these objects that are perceived by our mind do not have a basis for their existence. However, Descartes is also categorical to note that if his ideas do not emanate from external objects, this makes God a deceiver because as he gave him a reason that indicated his ideas derive from the objects he views around him. It should also be noted that Descartes’ argument in this context derives from his belief regarding the properties of an object. According to his argument, he is categorical in indicating that for an object to be in existence, it has to depict some qualities, which include extendedness, flexibility, and should be able to be moved. From Descartes’ argument, it can be deducted that an object, which does not possess the three qualities (extended, flexible, and movable) does not constitute an external object.

The Ontological Argument and Counter-argument

The ontological argument focuses on providing a proof that God exists. Several reasons are presented in the argument to substantiate God’s existence. Firstly, the argument presents a basis for reasoning, which substantiates God’s existence without the provision of experience. The provision in this case is having an idea of a ‘perfect being’, which represents God. Secondly, the argument holds that for God to be in existence, perfection or reality is essential in the cause of anything or in terms of effect. This argument tries to give the ideas held some credence. Lastly, the ontological argument advances that the idea of God is so perfect that a common human being has no impact concerning its perfection. This means that only one person is able to effect the perfection of everything including himself; thus, God does truly exist.

On the other hand, the ontological counter-argument attacks the premise of the initial argument to prove that God does not exist. Firstly, counter-argument advances that something that can be asserted without the provision of a proof can also be otherwise refuted. This holds that in as much as those supporting the ontological argument choose to believe there is God, those advancing the counter-argument also have a right to believe what they choose. The counter-argument also believes “perfection” is not an objective quality, which those supporting the ontological argument deem as their basis for proof of God. This means that those supporting the counter-argument deem “perfection” as a subjective property. In addition, it is advanced “perfection” and is not the right term to assume the existence of God because some of his qualities of perfection have inconsistencies. Thus, those supporting the ontological counter-argument advance that every human being has an instinctive idea of a perfect, infinite being. The problem with this instinctive idea is that it has not been proven, which indicates God does not exist. Another reason why some people refute the ontological argument is that they indicate it commits a “fallacy”. Those refuting indicate that an idea cannot validate the existence of a being just because the idea is said to be genuine.

Existence of God and His Own self (Descartes)

Descartes utilizes ideas to argue for the existence of God and himself. He asserts that there are different types of ideas, which include those that are formed by our earthly experiences, those that originate from within ourselves, and those that are formed by our imaginations. Thus, from the three types of imaginations, Descartes assumes that God exists from the fact that his existence does not derive from nothing. In this context, he assumes that God exists basing on the idea that he has regarding God’s existence, which derives from formal reality. Aside from that, Descartes believes that his existence is manifested by the existence of a supreme being, which means that God exists. He also gives credence for his existence from five main points that include himself, his existence, parents, something that its perfection is not comparable to God’s perfection, and lastly, God. Regarding his existence, Descartes argues that he could have made himself less perfect if he was charged with creating himself. The fact that he has always existed means that does not solve the issue, as he is a continually dependent being that needs to be sustained by another. Thus, it brings about the concern regarding parents whom do not have the full potential to sustain his life without the help of another person again. This leaves one option under his argument, which is the idea of perfection, and since he is perfect, he alludes that fact of the existence of a supreme being who is perfect. Thus, this explains his belief in the existence of God.

The problem with Descartes’ thinking is that most of his premises commit a fallacy. For instance, he argues that he is perfect and the fact that he is perfect did not originate from without. There must be a person behind his perfection who is perfect that he is. This is fallacious because Descartes assumes that God is perfect. Another problem with his thinking is that he assumes that something cannot come from nothing. This is fallacious because if it is used in questioning the existence of God, it leaves a person wondering where God came from.

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