An analysis of the argument from illusion in meditations on first philosophy a book by rene descarte

He begins his meditations by rejecting all his own opinions and relying on basic principles which can form any belief. He does so to find a reason for doubt. Doubt is required when forming a theory in order to be sure that one is not being deceived.

An analysis of the argument from illusion in meditations on first philosophy a book by rene descarte

His proof for the existence of God in the fifth meditation is an example of one of his invalid and therefore unsound arguments.

Throughout the meditations Descartes refers to clear and distinct ideas. Descartes first introduces doubt to the reader by saying that one cannot trust these clear and distinct ideas.

An analysis of the argument from illusion in meditations on first philosophy a book by rene descarte

Descartes, 60 He introduces doubt through the senses, dreams, and through the possibility of an evil genius at work. If there are no sure signs that I can tell that I am awake then there is reason to doubt I am awake.

Therefore there is reason to doubt I am awake. So then there is reason to doubt that I am sitting by a fire even though I see and feel a fire. Descartes believes that there may be the presence of this evil genius because he knows that he is an imperfect being and rationalizes that if there was a God that he would be perfect and therefore make only perfect things, so clear and distinct ideas cannot be fully trusted due to the fact that a powerful and clever evil genius may be at work.

Descartes then uses clear and distinct ideas in order to justify scholastic metaphysics. Scholastic Metaphysics deals primarily with reality. There are two kinds of reality, formal which everything must possess and objective. There are also three levels of these realities; God, substance, and attributes.

The level of reality that something possesses is based on its ontological independence. God is completely ontologically independent therefore he needs nothing in order to exist and has the highest level of reality. Substance such as mind and body need God in order to exist, therefore have lesser levels of reality.

Attributes such as shape or extension need either a mind or body to exist in. These substances such as mind or body are then in turn dependent upon God which would then make an attribute possess the lowest level of reality.

Descartes Proof of God Example Essay

In order to determine the level of reality that something possesses Descartes turns to using clear and distinct ideas. The methodology for discovering the level of reality is based on four questions. What level of reality does it possess formally or as the thing itself?

An analysis of the argument from illusion in meditations on first philosophy a book by rene descarte

Does it represent something? If yes, what does it represent? If the represented did exist, what level of formal reality would it possess? This deals with the objective reality for a scholastic, but for Descartes objective reality deals with the representational content of an idea. So it only deals with these ideas and so ideas will represent things.

The problem is that Descartes does not trust his clear and distinct ideas so whatever ideas he acquires from Metaphysics cannot be completely trusted because he has previously rejected them. During meditation five Descartes attempts to prove the existence of God. He uses an example of a triangle to demonstrate the idea of essence.

A triangle cannot be thought of with out having three sides, angles that add up to one hundred and eighty degrees, and so on.

From the SparkNotes Blog

These ideas are the essence of the triangle and if taken away will no longer make the object a triangle. Descartes explains that he cannot think of God without thinking of him as existing, like one cannot think of a triangle without having three sides and angles adding up to two right angles.

This shows that existence is a predicate to God, it is always thought of in conjunction with the idea of God. Descartes states from Scholastic Metaphysics, that God needs nothing, is supremely perfect, and ontologically independent because he is the highest level of reality and needs nothing for existence.

God must possess all perfections since he needs nothing. Existence is a perfection. So therefore God must exist. Descartes then uses his proof of God in order to prove the validity of clear and distinct ideas. The entire proof of God that Descartes provides at first seems to work and also be logical.

Upon closer inspection of this proof though we see that Descartes makes an assumption in the very beginning that clear and distinct ideas are true in order to gain Scholastic Metaphysics and ultimately prove the existence of God.

This assumption about whether clear and distinct ideas are true and that they can be trusted is later then justified by his proof of God. The assumption that he makes about clear and distinct ideas creates a circular argument. His whole argument is never based on a truth to start with only an assumption.

This makes the argument invalid and also therefore unsound.In Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, he is trying to explain and theorize that humans are more than just a shape with mass. He does so by creating the concept of the ‘I’ – or ego. René Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes, Indre-et-Loire), France, on 31 March His mother, Jeanne Brochard, died soon after giving birth to him, and so he was not expected to survive.

Descartes' father, Joachim, was a member of the Parlement of Brittany at Rennes. René lived with his grandmother and with his great-uncle. "A Discourse on Method: Meditations and Principles" is more than a book, it is a challenging and rewarding mental experience.

It is a tough read but well worth it just to read "I think, therefore I am" in its proper context (the simple statement that Descartes considers his first principle of philosophy). The book is divided into three parts.5/5(5).

Descartes Meditations – 1: What can be called into Doubt

The evil demon, also known as malicious demon and evil genius, is a concept in Cartesian schwenkreis.com the first of his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of "utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me."This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, "I .

The evil demon, also known as malicious demon and evil genius, is a concept in Cartesian schwenkreis.com the first of his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of "utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me."This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, "I .

Rene Descartes’ arguments in “Meditations on First Philosophy” are questionable to exactly how valid and sound they really are.

His proof for the existence of God in the fifth meditation is an example of one of his invalid and therefore unsound arguments.

Summary & Explanation of Rene Descartes' Meditations - SchoolWorkHelper