Descartes ontological argument. Ontological Argument for God (Descartes & Anselm) 2019-02-27

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SparkNotes: Principles of Philosophy: I.13

descartes ontological argument

In particular, there is some reason to think that the Gödelian ontological argument goes through just as well—or just as badly—with respect to other sets of properties and in ways which are damaging to the original argument. The crux of the difficulty lies in the claim that the respective natures of mind and body are completely different and, in some way, opposite from one another. The analogy underscores once again the argument's supreme simplicity. To convince us of this point, Kant observes that there is no intrinsic difference between the concept of a hundred real thalers coins common in Kant's time and the concept of a hundred possible thalers. Thus, Descartes' commitment to the principle of clear and distinct perception allows him to elude another objection that had haunted Anselm's version of the argument. The Ontological Argument is a proof for polytheism not monotheism.

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Ontological Argument for God (Descartes & Anselm)

descartes ontological argument

However, the debate rages on and as elegant and well conceived as ontological arguments are, they will always be under certain scrutiny. This objection is related to the previous one in that the point in both cases is that Descartes' argument restricts us to claims about the concept of God and lacks existential import. First, the ideas of geometry are clear and distinct, and therefore they are easily understood unlike the confused and obscure ideas of sensation. According to this principle, for which he argues in the Fourth Meditation, whatever one clearly and distinctly perceives or understands is true — true not just of ideas but of things in the real world represented by those ideas. Earthly creatures are composites of matter and form the doctrine of hylomorphism , but since purely spiritual beings are immaterial, Aquinas located their composite character in the distinction between essence and existence. This also means that each substance can have only its kind of modes.

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Ontological Argument

descartes ontological argument

Yet contact must occur between two or more surfaces, and, since having a surface is a mode of extension, minds cannot have surfaces. The purpose of this defense of Descartes is not to render a verdict as whether he has the correct account of existence, but to show that he has a rather sophisticated and systematic treatment of what has been one of the great bugbears in the history of philosophy. In the first instance one is attending to the existence that is contained on every clear and distinct idea, and in the other instance one is ignoring the thing's existence without actively excluding it. But the idea must have come from something. Rather, these considerations indicate to some that only the whole, physical universe is a substance, while particular bodies, for example, the wine bottle, are modes of that substance. It shows merely that if God's existence is possible or non-contradictory, then God exists. Objections to ontological arguments take many forms.

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The Ontological Argument: God is Perfect and Thus Exists

descartes ontological argument

Therefore, what I am is an immaterial thinking thing with the faculties of intellect and will. References to this work are by volume and page, separated by a colon. These are two different kinds of extended things, but they are extended things nonetheless. It is not easy to give a good characterisation of ontological arguments. Recall the view discussed in section 2 that there is merely a rational distinction between a substance and its existence, or between the essence and existence of a substance. G 1, G 2, … are further properties, of which we require at least two.

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What is the Ontological argument for the existence of God?

descartes ontological argument

Therefore, according to his nature, God must exist. A natural rejoinder to this reply would be to ask about the idea of a lion having not possible but wholly necessary existence. In this way, Descartes called all of his previous beliefs into doubt through some of the best skeptical arguments of his day But he was still not satisfied and decided to go a step further by considering false any belief that falls prey to even the slightest doubt. I will first explain what is the ontological argument for the existence of God. We are endowing the concept with an additional predicate, i. It is a branch of philosophy that seeks to answer such questions as: What is knowledge? From here Descartes sets out to find something that lies beyond all doubt. We can not understand, in any meaningful way, what exactly is meant by such words.

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Is Descartes' ontological argument unsuccessful? Why or why not?

descartes ontological argument

The two main arguments used today are the ontological argument and the cosmological argument. To think of such a being as existing only in thought and not also in reality involves a contradiction, since a being that lacks real existence is not a being than which none greater can be conceived. The first, and best-known, ontological argument was proposed by St. Accordingly, the mind can control them so that they can be examined and set aside at will and their internal content can be changed. When presenting this version of the argument in the First Replies, Descartes sets aside this first premise and focuses our attention on the second. In the second rebuttals, each debater defends their opening arguments against the criticisms of the other in the first rebuttals.

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Ontological Argument for God (Descartes & Anselm)

descartes ontological argument

It should, of course, be noted that neither Meinong, nor any of his well-known modern supporters—e. But the issue did not become a major philosophical problem until it was taken up by Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Whenever a bunch of things exist, their mereological sum also exists. As it is a creation of our mind, we know it is not a god and not perfect. Last, predicating the existence of God as a divine attribute seems to be unhelpful in addressing His actual existence. These ideas can be examined and set aside at will but their internal content cannot be manipulated. This is especially true of objection that the ontological argument begs the question.

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Essay on The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

descartes ontological argument

Philosopher are still divided as to whether or not existence is a predicate. This, however, does not pertain to mathematical beliefs, since they are not based on sensation but on reason. There has been one recent monograph devoted exclusively to the analysis of ontological arguments: Dombrowski 2006. We can produce an ontological argument for God, and not for finite substances, because the idea of a supremely perfect being uniquely contains necessary — or ontologically independent — existence. But, suffice it to say that the textual evidence is also in favor of the claim that Descartes, despite the unforeseen problem about surfaces, maintained that particular bodies are substances.

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Descartes' Meditations Ontological Argument

descartes ontological argument

Anslem's argument is sound but it's a little more complex to present, but it's not as presented by the west and is not that simple to dismiss with predicate nonsense. Therefore: as per item seven, God exists. We can better understand his replies and, in some cases, improve upon them by appealing to discussions from previous sections. This is a logical impossibility remember criterion 3 ; 4. Ontological argument tries to prove the existence of God from a priori… 1696 Words 7 Pages The question of the existence of God has troubled mankind for thousands of years. It is difficult to see how this statement on its own addresses Mersenne's criticism, but here again we can gain a better grip on what Descartes has in mind by appealing to our earlier discussion in section 2. Critics of ontological arguments often appeal to uncertainty in the face of logic.

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