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Rene Descartes Ontological Argument.

The differing formulation of ontological arguments presented by French philosopher; Rene Descartes.

Danielle McGrath

on 26 November 2010

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Transcript of Rene Descartes Ontological Argument.

Rene Descartes Ontological Argument. Descartes composed a number of ontological arguments,
which differed from Anselm's formulation in important ways. Descartes wrote in the 'Fifth Meditation': Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number. And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature. The theory above can be formally described as follows:
1. Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
2. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God.
3. Therefore, God exists. The perfection of God logically requires existence, Descartes says, in the way a mountain logically implies a valley. Descartes Ontological Argument is often criticised by other philosophers, one being Immanuel Kant. CRITICISMS FROM KANT.

Kant believed that we could accept something as true by definition but denied that it refers to actually exists in the world. MORE CRITICISM FROM KANT.

'God necessarily exists' is ANALYTICALLY true, it does not follow that God exists in reality. However, Descartes has argued that we don't yet know what causes our experiences. Descartes argues that we can establish the existence of the mind, the physical world and God through a priori reasoning. Suppose all our sensory experiences are produced in us by an evil demon who wants to deceive us - everything you think you experience is false. Descartes theory is discussed at length in 'Meditations'. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the "Father of Modern Philosophy", and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In a modern version, replace the evil demon with a supercomputer. Au Revoir! :)
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