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Assess whether Descartes succeeds in establishing the existence of God

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Introduction

´╗┐Assess whether Descartes succeeds in establishing the existence of God. Descartes? Trademark Argument appears in Mediations 3 and provides one of his arguments for the existence of God in order to allow for clear and distinct ideas. Although at the time of The Meditations Descartes? ideas would have been seen as genius and somewhat revolutionary we can now, in light of modern day though, come to see the errors in a previously well regarded piece of philosophy. As a result of modern readings and criticism of his work I shall continue to argue the failure of Descartes? attempt to prove the existence of God through the Trademark Argument. In order for Descartes to gain foundational knowledge he claims he must gain these truths through clear and distinct ideas however before doing so he must address the problems surrounding the security of such a claims. In order to enforce trust into the concept of clear and distinct ideas Descartes seeks refuge in an omnipotent God who can secure a reliability of Descartes? clear and distinct ideas and protect them from the possibility of the deceiving demon. ...read more.

Middle

In order to ensure the dependency of these ideas he looks to an omnipotent and benevolent God that would secure the validity of the truths in that surely such a God would not let Descartes be deceived. However whilst doing so he uses clear and distinct ideas to prove that God exists. That is that he relies on the inability of God to deceive as justifying the reliability of clear and distinct ideas whilst claiming that existence of clear and distinct ideas points towards God thus making the argument circular. As a result of the cyclical nature of this argument Descartes? entire push towards establishing the existence of God is weakened as before he can provide believable evidence he must provide and external justification or proof of either the existence of clear and distinct ideas or God. Furthermore, we could attack Descartes? use of the Causal Adequacy Principle and its premise that ?there must be at least as much reality in the efficient and total cause as in its effect?. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the answer were to be yes then His inability to do such a thing would be eliminate His omnipotence whilst if the answer were no then this limits His knowledge, no longer making Him omniscience. You could further this with the illustration of God creating a stone that He cannot lift. Should He not be able to create such a stone he wouldn?t have the power to create everything ridding him of his omnipotence. However if he can lift the stone that he is unable to create something that he can?t lift which once again strips God of his Omnipotence. It appears to us that Descartes? concept of a omnipotent God is flawed and riddled with incoherencies which only further destroys the credibility and success of his argument. In conclusion, despite the strength of Descartes? argument at the time and his clever use of the Causal Adequacy Principle - on the grounds of its destruction through modern day examples and various flaws in Descartes? concept of God along with incredibly damaging threat of the Cartesian Circle I must conclude that Descartes fails to provide justified evidence of God?s existence. ...read more.

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