Descartes meditation

Descartes meditation

Not a. He can conceive of himself existing without a body, but cannot conceive of himself existing without thought.

Descartes meditation 6

For whether I am awake or asleep, two plus three makes five, and a square has only four sides. But is it still the same wax? However, someone who wants to know more than the common crowd should be ashamed to base his doubts on ordinary ways of talking. Various "theologians and philosophers" gathered by Descartes' friend and principal correspondent, Friar Marin Mersenne — second set of objections The theologian and logician Antoine Arnauld — fourth set The philosopher Pierre Gassendi — fifth set Descartes wrote that all of these could be easily dismissed. Some people would deny the existence of such a powerful God rather than believe that everything else is uncertain. Whenever I bring to mind my old belief in the supreme power of God, I have to admit that God could, if he wanted to, easily make me go wrong even about things that I think I see perfectly clearly. My errors, that is, depend on both a my intellect and b my will. The longer and more carefully I examine all these points, the more clearly and distinctly I recognize their truth. If I am a dependent being, I need to be continually sustained by another. These properties must be something, not pure nothing: whatever is true is something; and these properties are true because I am clearly aware of them.

So material things exist and contain the properties essential to them. But there is a supremely powerful and cunning deceiver who deliberately deceives me all the time! But before examining this point more carefully and investigating other truths that may be derived from it, I want to pause here and spend some time contemplating God; to reflect on his attributes and to gaze with wonder and adoration on the beauty of this immense light, so far as the eye of my darkened intellect can bear it.

descartes meditations summary pdf

In these misuses of freedom of choice lies the deprivation that accounts for error. If they are false — that is, if they represent non-things — then they are in me only because of a deficiency or lack of perfection in my nature, which is to say that they arise from nothing; I know this by the natural light.

Descartes meditation 4

But I used also to believe that my ideas came from things outside that resembled them in all respects. Nor can I reasonably complain that God gave me a will that extends more widely than my intellect. But any idea that has representative reality must surely come from a cause that contains at least as much intrinsic reality as there is representative reality in the idea. And this is what I call having a mental image. Does this show that my making mistakes is better than my not doing so? God exists. Since Descartes wishes to reject any belief that could be false, that he could be mistaken about, he rejects even these beliefs. Eventually we must reach the ultimate cause, and this will be God. First, he notes that it is very possible that his limited knowledge prevents him from understanding why God chose to create him so he could make mistakes. In other words, everything has a place on the hierarchy of reality. But it is also true that the idea of heat or of a stone can be caused in me only by something that contains at least as much reality as I conceive to be in the heat or in the stone.

And therefore, given that I am a thinking thing and have within me some idea of God, the cause of me — whatever it is — must itself be a thinking thing and must have the idea of all the perfections that I attribute to God.

When asking whether God's works are perfect, I ought to look at all of them together, not at one isolation. Similarly, the natural impulses that I have been talking about, though they seem opposed to my will, come from within me; which provides evidence that I can cause things that my will does not cause.

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Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes