Free «Rene Descartes» Essay Sample

According to Descartes, the idea of God is innate (idea innata). The notion of this idea regards, from the one hand, psychogenetic representation. Consequently, this conception of God appears accretive with a soul. In general, it is believed to be the trustworthy conception – the only notion that does not depend on the external world that can be found in our consciousness. Moreover, the idea of God includes not only an absolute substance and actual infinite but appears as a genuineness of perfect existence. The deception and illusion grow as a shortcoming. For this reason, the hypothesis about the evil spirit ruins. The genuineness of God assures the truthfulness of the world and its cognition.

Descartes, while investigating ‘I’ that was left after doubt testing, names it res cogitans – a thinking thing. This notion includes spirit, soul, intellect and mind. Therefore, res cogitans is the thing that doubts, understands, argues and denies.

1. Concerning the things of which we may doubt

In the first meditation, Descartes is trying to destroy his former judgment. He wants to understand what a dream is and how to perceive it, since Descartes sees the most incredible things, while sleeping. Reflecting on that, he confirms the absence of convincing evidences, or rather certain signs by which one can clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep.

Descartes notices that when he sleeps he can do the same things that he does when he is awake. For example, in the dream he can open eyes, rock his head and strike hands, etc., it is nothing but a deceptive illusion. However, he determines that the things that we see and do in the dream, appear as drawings and pictures that can be created in the real image.

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Descartes doubts in sciences. Physics, astronomy, medicine and other sciences that depend on the consideration of the complicate things are questionable and unreliable. Nevertheless, arithmetic, geometry and analogous sciences include something significant and undoubted. Even when we sleep or do not sleep, two plus three always equals five.

Descartes believed in the idea of the existence of God that can do everything. Then he thought, if God created him, He could intend that Descartes would make a mistake each time when he pluses two and three.

He further suggests that kind God does not exist. Nevertheless, there is some evil genius who meditates that Descartes does not see the world as it is. The philosopher imagines that sky, water, ground, air, colors, shapes and sounds is nothing else than the illusion that the evil genius used to catch Descartes on gullibility. However, this plan is complex and time-consuming, and laziness quietly draws him usual in the course of life. He is like a servant, who enjoyed the freedom of imaginary dream, and is afraid to wake up, when he begins to suspect that his freedom is only a dream.

2. Concerning the nature of the human mind and that it is better known than the body

Descartes concludes that the position ‘I am. I exist’ - is correct every time he speaks or understands his mind. Nevertheless, Descartes does not quite realize who or what he is. That is why he continuous to look out and perceive nothing except himself.

The example of wax helps Descartes to define himself. He makes the conclusion that he exist because he can think, he is ‘thinking thing’.

3. Concerning God and his existence.

At the beginning of this meditation, Descartes has made some progress towards defeating skepticism. He came to the conclusion that the idea of God contains infinite objective reality. That is why it could not be caused by Descartes. Therefore, God exists.

In his writings Descartes tries to prove the existence of everything that exists outside of consciousness. He succeeds to prove this after providing evidence that God exist. Cartesian anthropology is also based on the idea of dualism of physical and spiritual substances. Person includes parts of both worlds. Their harmony in man Descartes tried to explain by the doctrine of the vital spirits, which provide interaction with the spiritual and physical.

Rene Descartes and Thomas Aquinas in their work question the thought of God existence. Nevertheless, they used different methods to find the answer. Descartes used rational approaches. He doubts and searches using his own mind to find the truth. However, Aquinas used prior knowledge to apply to answer about God existence. For example, he used Aristotle’s argument as a back bone to his support. According to Aquinas we will never be able to understand who or what God is. We are finite, and that is why we cannot understand the infinity of God. We can only know He is and always will be because He has instilled that bit of knowledge within us. So when Descartes says we cannot have the idea of finite without the idea of infinite, he claims we understand what God is.

Descartes believes in classification, not by God or some other divine being, but by scientists and mathematicians. Nevertheless, Augustine accepts the Creation without doubt or dispute. It seems that Descartes is far more of a skeptic. He believes that the truth can be born only from the self-doubt.

Descartes regards that thinking is evidence of the existence. Unlike Socrates whose philosophy of ethics attempts to understand how man relates to others. Both philosophers believed that knowledge was an achievable aim, but Socrates claimed that it wasn't until after death.


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