Rene Descartes's Principles Of Philosophy

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In Meditations IV, Rene Descartes defends God against the accusation that He is responsible for the errors and mishaps of human beings. Descartes argues that God granted human beings the ability choose, i.e., free will, and it is poor use of said free will that is responsible for human error, not God. In his later publication, Principles of Philosophy, he continues his vehement defense of God but includes a significant addition in that undermines this position. I will argue that although Meditations IV and Principles of Philosophy are mostly consistent, Descartes' explicit statement that God willed and preordained all that is and can be renders the texts inconsistent. In order to explain how a perfect and all-knowing God exists, Descartes…show more content…
At first glance God's relationship to human free will as described in Principles of Philosophy appears to be consistent with Meditations IV. Descartes describes the finite nature of human intellect and the wide breadth of human will (Principles of Philosophy, Part I, 36-37). He describes the ability to choose freely as one of the perfections of human creation (Principles of Philosophy, Part I, 37). He explains that human error is the result of misuse of free will and not the fault of God. (Principles of Philosophy, Part I,…show more content…
A mere sense of free will without actually possessing free will would be, by Descartes' definition, a case of being deceived by God. However, if we accept Descartes' argument that the mind of God is beyond comprehension, then we must also accept the possibility that we cannot understand the intensions of such a mind. It is therefore plausible, given Descartes' description of an incomprehensible God, that we have no way of God's true intentions. What we interpret as deception may not be deception at all but a grand plan of God that we are incapable of grasping. Just as the characters in a novel have no means of understanding the mind of the author who created them, human beings may be in a similar situation with regard to the incomprehensibleness of God. What we insist is free will may be nothing more than a well scripted, pre-programmed existence with a definite and unchangeable outcome. Therefore, the author of the script is responsible for all

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