Descartes' Proof of Existence of God

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Does God Exist? Descartes’ Argument and Proofs Rene Descartes considers what he can be sure to be true in his Meditations on First Philosophy. His meditations cover a vast variety of areas: the nature of the mind and body, the senses, the essence and existence of material things; but of all of these topics, one of his most thought-provoking and fascinating meditations is that on the existence of God. His argument is fairly well stated, but it is not flawless in its reasoning and logic. Through explanation and analysis of his position, this paper will set out his belief on the existence of God, the importance of this argument to his overall position, and to discuss several of the problems in his reasoning. The first proof Descartes considers God is the in the third meditation. By this point, Descartes has already concluded that the only thing thus far that he can be sure of is that he exists as some sort of thinking thing. He has considered the existence of a malevolent spirit that has set out specifically to deceive him at every turn, which has the effect of rendering any other belief spurious at best. In the face of the possibility that something is deliberately setting out to deceive him, he is left only with the knowledge that he is a thinking thing. From there, Descartes considers the possibility of the existence of God, and what precisely that would entail. (Beyssade) Descartes starts by pointing out that in order for any effect to occur, its cause must be in possession of the effect itself or at least an equal amount of ‘reality’. From this he concludes that “It follows from this both that something cannot arise from nothing, and also that what is more perfect – that is, contains in itself more reality – cannot arise from what is less perfect.” (Baird and Kaufmann 32) His example here is that a rock cannot be created by anything that does not contain
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