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Rene Descartes And His Perspective On God`s Existence (Essay Sample)



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Rene Descartes is the last-born son of Jeanne and Joachim who lived in La Haye, France. He was born in the 16th century where he studied many courses under the philosophical, rhetoric and grammar classes while in La Fleche town. The courses dwelt mostly in the liberal arts which were also his discipline of interest. He grew up to be a prominent icon in the discipline of philosophy where he was referred to as the father of all nation after he refrained from the traditional models of philosophy. His philosophical work and arguements is based on physics, mathematical aspect, and his background theoretical knowledge which is evident in his work “medication on first philosophy” where he argues that the issue of God and mortality should not only be argued in theological aspect, but it can also be discussed using philosophical theory (1). He argues that the idea of people to have faith in the existence of God and eternal life is not enough to substantiate the evidence that can be used to assimilate theists into religion. The concept that he used to approach his work “medication on first philosophy” is that people can get to believe a situation or an object by first doubting its existence. However, Rene does not give his opinion or reason for his doubts so that he can remain firm in his belief about the existence of God and eternal life. In the article, Rene first defines about how he believes in his origin before giving his perspective on God`s existence.
Descartes method of universal doubt begins with the first meditation where he claims to have the concept that an individual can employ to attain a firm decision in the field of science basing on the diversity of knowledge (6). He argues that even though he may now something or have an idea about someone, he should not reject others idea by stating that they are false but rather avoid having faith in thins or situation whose origin cannot be traced or are not certain. Descartes work on meditation is based more on skeptics because he concentrates on doubting the existing knowledge rather than rejecting his knowledge (6). He understands the knowledge of a situation or an idea by determining its need for doubt and certainty. He establishes certainty by first doubting his belief about what is existing or others perception of the same situation. Doubt and certainty are two parallel things that cannot go hand in hand with each other, so the moment that Descartes doubt a belief means that the knowledge is not certain.
Many philosophers working in line with Descartes highly criticized his work on meditation and his idea of understanding knowledge. The philosophers argued that Descartes over did his work on knowledge, he ought not to have doubted the existing work of other philosophers which were framed according to the traditional philosophy. He over raised the standards of knowledge to the extreme levels that could be accepted by the philosophers such as Socrates. According to Descartes, his idea about knowledge was so firm and certain that could not be doubted or questioned by anyone or even the prominent philosopher. He argued that if the knowledge is true, then it is automatic that the belief is true and accurate. However, the concept seems to work in the first section of his work on meditation, but towards the end of the meditation, Descartes claims that he has the idea of what is clear and distinct about knowledge (7). Descartes does not give his stand about his beliefs. He contradicts himself when he agrees that an idea is prone to doubts and mistakes but depending on clarity and making distinct clarification we can attain a certain idea. The issue of clarity and distinction of an idea is evident when he argues that what happens when he is sleeping does not appear clear or distinct. However, he later thinks about the situation in which he finds out that what he experiences while sleeping are all deceptions and there is no clear evidence revealing the difference between sleep and wakefulness.
The idea about certainty in Descartes work on meditation was also criticized by the same philosophers who criticized his idea about knowledge. The philosopher claimed that the idea of Descartes on certainty is more of psychology than philosophy because he only believes in what is certain and free from doubts or questions. They argued that it is not necessarily true that all that his believe are certain, clear, or distinct. Human beings are all prone to error, and anyone can make mistakes in his or her thinking thus not all his beliefs are certain. Something may appear true, but when you engage yourself in deep thinking, then an individual will clearly distinguish the certain ideas. Descartes declares that the fact that anybody can make mistakes is the primary reason for doubting ideas or knowledge because of the ideas and knowledge that we are supposed to believe originate from the same human being who are prone to making mistakes. Descartes argues that many people are fond of making quick conclusion thus only a few individuals who keenly analyze a situation will be able to differentiate what seems to be certain and what is certain (4). This is evident in his work of meditation where he claims that many people’s judgments are feeble and are not logic because they tend to stick by their first opinion and they are rigid to change.
Descartes argues that in his point of view, he perceives certainty to be the ability to understand the logic of an idea rather than depending on your feelings about the idea. He claims that ideas and knowledge that are certain and which can be relied on must be clear and distinct to the mind of an individual. In his third Meditation, Descartes argues that what he perceives are the thigs that he can see clearly ad distinguish from the other things (11). He claims that certainty is more than just having the first perception of an idea but the ability to incorporate the idea in his mind and clearly understand its meaning. He agrees that certainty is the actual truth about an idea or concept. Descartes in his work “imagination” doubts only his perception about life and uses the approach of doubting his belief to determine certainty. He uses doubt as a technic/tactic rather than a tool for critics whereby he uses doubt universally to trace the root for his beliefs. According to Descartes, doubting your beliefs will assist in clearly understand the belief and confirm its certainty. He clarifies that doubting approach should not be controlled by psychology.
Arguments from Perception
In the theme of perception, Descartes starts his imagination by accepting the fact that he was once deceived by his senses to the extent that he made his judgment from what he perceived without determining their certainty. He uses the examples of refraction where a rod halfway dipped in water appears to be bent in water to clarify that there is no need to doubt everything. Situations such as perceptual illusion cannot be explained; thus, they can only be perceived as they occur. Descartes suggests that doubts can aris...
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