The Move From Doubt To Certainty A — страница 2

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Descartes uses to prove his existence. Descartes realizes that if he is able to doubt then he does indeed exists. He take the approach that, “I think therefore I am” to establish a certainty that he exists. This idea also known as the cogito becomes the central point that Descartes will use for the remaining of his meditations. Descartes affirms his existence every time he thinks, doubts, or is persuaded(Descartes 103). Descartes affirms that if there is an Evil Deceiver then Descartes must exist because in order for God to deceive, Descartes he must first exist. Although, Descartes has proved his existence he can only prove it in the mental capacity. He does not know for certain that he exists in the physical form. The only way, at this time, that Descartes can prove the

existence of his body is through his senses. He has already established that his senses are dubitable and therefore cannot tell him with certainty that his body exists. In order to get a better understanding of his relationship between his body and mind, Descartes melts a piece of wax. He observes the wax in two different states, the first in a solid form and the second in a melted form. He questions how his senses can show him two entirely different forms of the same substance; yet he knows that the substance, in both states, although completely different, is wax. The mind was able to understand the essence of the wax. Although the senses were not entirely capable of making the connection between the two forms of wax, the senses assisted the mind in determining what the

substance was. This experiment proves to be important to Descartes because he is able to make a link between the senses and the mind. Using his experiment, Descartes enters his Third Meditation using his general rule of truth that “…all things we conceive very clearly and distinctly are true”(Descartes 113). However, there is one flaw to his thoughts. If God is an evil deceiver than this cannot be true. Descartes proceeds to establish that God is good and does not deceive. Descartes uses three points to establish the existence God. These points are ideas. The first one is adventitious ideas; those ideas that come from outside experiences. The second is invented ideas; those that are derived from the imagination such as sirens and chimera. The final is innate ideas; those

that are within one when they are born. Descartes uses two more points to further establish that God exists. He uses the ideas of “infinite” and “perfect”. These two ideas, Descartes cannot account for. The only way for such things to come about would be from an infinite and perfect being such as God. These ideas have a direct relationship with God. In order for a finite beings such as Descartes to have a concept of infinite it must have been planted there by an infinite being such as God. Descartes concludes this idea to be true because one cannot derive the idea of infinite by negating the finite(Descartes 125). An example of this would be the use of a number line. The number line will never be able to illustrate infinity. One could negate every number on a number line

and still not arrive at infinity. Therefore, Descartes concludes that God does exist and therefore is not an evil deceiver. Because God has supplied us with the innate ideas of perfection and infinity, God, therefore, must be infinite and perfect. Descartes states that, “Whence it is clear enough that he cannot be a deceiver, for the natural light teaches us that deceit stems necessarily from some defect”(Descartes 131). Since God is perfect he is not an evil deceiver. It is important to realize that by the time Descartes has reached his Fourth Meditation he has proved three important things. The first is that doubt is not universal. The second is that there is a general rule of truth. The third is that God exists and cannot be an evil deceiver. However, Descartes raises a

question: If God exists and cannot be an evil deceiver then why are humans imperfect and perpetually making errors? Descartes explains this through the explanation of free will. Descartes states that God has given all humans free will. This is the cause of human error. Because we have free will, humans are able to make choices and decisions free from the influence of God. Sometimes free will interferes with God’s ability to help humans and therefore humans sometimes make poor decisions. If God did not give humans free will than God would play a direct role in every decision made by humans. It is because God gives humans free will that allows for human error. Descartes Fifth and Sixth Meditations begins with the establishment of his remaining doubts and the application of what