Analysis Of René Descartes Mediations On First Philosophy

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Notre Dame ID: 902008117 In René Descartes' Mediations on First Philosophy, Descartes abandons all previous notions or things that he holds to be true and attempts to reason through his beliefs to find the things that he can truly know without a doubt. In his first two meditations Descartes comes to the conclusion that all that he can truly know is that his is alive, and that he is a thinking being. In his third meditation he concludes that the way he came to know that he is a thinking being is because he perceives it clearly and distinctly. This clear and distinct perception is an important component to the argument that Descartes makes in his fifth meditation for the existence of God. Descartes begins his proof for the existence of God…show more content…
Descartes concludes that he is able to clearly and distinctly imagine the dimensions of objects including their size, shape, position, and local motion. Investigating this further, Descartes understands that if he can imagine these shapes, sizes, positions and local motions, then he is able to imagine other shapes and motions that differ from the ones he has already imagined, and that they too can be perceived clearly and distinctly. Descartes reasons further that with the countless amount of shapes that he imagines in his head, whether they exist in the real world or not, must come a true and immutable nature for each and every one. Giving the example of a three sided figure, a triangle, Descartes is able to clearly and distinctly imagine it in his head. He argues that this triangle has certain properties, for example that the three internal angles of this triangle must add up to 180 degrees, that, whether he knew them or not, exist as part of the nature of a triangle. Descartes has previously concluded that he cannot trust his senses and he reasons that it may seem as though he gathered the shape of a triangle from objects of triangular shape in the outside world.…show more content…
Specifically, on pages 95 and 96 of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, a French philosopher by the name of Pierre Gassendi objects to Descartes' proof of God's existence. Gassendi disagrees with Descartes' reasoning because he believes that Descartes is comparing the existence of God with the property of a triangle. Claiming that it is acceptable to compare and essence to an essence or a property to a property, Gassendi find weakness in an argument that compares an essence to a property. Gassendi also finds issue when Descartes argues that existence is a perfection in regards to God, but not in regards to a triangle. He believes that it is as much of a perfection of God as it is of a triangle, and in fact claims that existence is a perfection of neither God nor anything. His reasoning for this is that without existence no perfections would be present in anything, because the thing simply would not

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