The proofs of God's existence in Descartes' Meditations

Scott, David J. F. (1985) The proofs of God's existence in Descartes' Meditations. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Descartes’ Meditations have as their explicitly stated goals the proofs of the existence of God and the proof of the distinction between mind and body. A third goal, implicit in this work, is the setting of the mathematical sciences upon a firm foundation. This study endeavours to provide an account of the first of those goals, the proofs of God’s existence, with a view to showing their significance both within the analytic framework Descartes adopts in the Meditations and within the context of Descartes’ philosophy as a whole. -- In the first chapter, a general outline of Descartes’ method is presented. Within the context of this method, the particular method employed in the Meditations, i.e. analysis, is then discussed. -- The proofs for God’s existence in the third Meditation presuppose a level of abstraction from the world of sense perception that can only result from the doubt of the first and second Meditations. Chapter Two traces the extent of this doubt. -- In order to properly understand the proofs for God’s existence in Meditation Three, several important Cartesian doctrines must be noted. Chapter Three discusses, for example, the doctrines of representative perception, of objective reality in ideas, and of degrees of reality. -- In the fourth chapter, the proofs of God's existence in Meditation Three are treated. These proofs are shown to follow directly from the process of doubt and the method of analysis, and they are also shown to reduce to the same fundamental intuition. 'I exist, therefore God exists'. -- The final chapter of this study opens with the proof of the truth of clear and distinct ideas consequent upon God's veracity. It is then argued that this proof underlies the a priori argument for God's existence in Meditation Five. Finally, this proof of God's existence is shown to be present in the Meditations in order to undermine the 'natural' doubt arising from the mind's reflection upon its own clear and distinct ideas. With this proof, a science of the external world becomes possible.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9393
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references: leaves 203-207.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 1985
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Descartes, Rene, 1596-1650; God--Proof

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