Descartes Proof of God's Existence - the Place of Our Beginning
The whole building of Descartes' knowledge is based on the existence of God, so if this does not exist the whole building collapses. Descartes believes that a method based on truths is needed to reach true knowledge, and God would be the basis of this method. This is Descartes proof of God's existence essay in which the topic is discussed.
The point of departure is the reason or good sense that all men have in common, but each one takes a different path without considering the same things, so this would be the only way to deceive us, because God does not want us to deceive ourselves but we are wrong when interpreting wrongly. The ways of knowing the reason admitted by Descartes are intuition, a kind of 'natural light' by which no doubt or error is captured true ideas, and deduction, which is the orderly succession of evidence reaching clear ideas.
The method of Descartes is the result of the application of the mathematical method to philosophy. This method is formed by four precepts. The first, is the evidence, we must avoid precipitation and prevention, not accepting as evident the confusing or accept as true what is clear. It formulates the criterion of truth between clarity (clean knowledge of the mind) and distinction (which has nothing in common with other things). To arrive at this first precept, methodical doubt is necessary, since in order to achieve something true we must start doubting and we need to base ourselves on a truth to build the building of knowledge.
This first truth is the 'cogito ergo sum', a truth known by intuition and possesses two essential characteristics of the whole truth: clarity and distinction. There are three reasons for doubt: doubt about the reliability of the senses, the hypothesis of sleep, inability to distinguish between sleep and wakefulness, and the hypothesis of the evil genius.
The precept is the careful analysis of the problems until they are reduced to clear ideas. The third is the synthesis, succession of clear and distinct ideas to reach knowledge, deduction. And, finally, the enumeration of both analysis and synthesis.
The final pretense of these enumerations is to extend the evidence of intuition to deduction. But for this method it will not help but explain the existence of God, because then there may be an evil genius who enjoys seeing how I deceive myself, and to prove his existence is based on three arguments.
The first is the argument of causality applied to the idea of infinity: God, this means that the idea of being infinite must be inculcated by an infinite being, since men are finite and we can not have that idea if it is not put in us for someone infinite.
The second is the argument of God as the cause of my being, if in my mind there is the idea of perfection it is because a perfect being has put it in me and this can only be God. The third argument is the ontological, used first by San Anselmo, in which it is based on the idea of God to prove its existence, so if everyone has an idea of God, as the greatest, it is impossible to get an idea of another greater, God can not only exist in my thought but in reality. Arriving at the evidence, mentioned above 'cogito ergo sum', I as a thinking being have ideas. So Descartes makes a distinction between three types of ideas, adventitious that do not come from the thought itself but from the senses. Facts, which are created by the imagination, and, finally, the innate ones, which are possessed by the thought itself.
Thus, the idea of God is an innate idea and with the idea of God aims to demonstrate the existence of the world and the material sciences. If God exists is infinitely good and truthful, therefore, he will not want me to deceive myself by believing that the world exists, so the world exists. Once Descartes has discovered three areas of reality: God, me or thinking thing and material things. It uses the term substance to refer to these. Being understood by substance as that thing that exists in such a way that it does not need anything else to be able to exist, that is, that exists by itself. In this way only God is a substance but this term also uses it in those who perceive with clarity and distinction, and only need God to exist, those beings are: me or soul and material bodies. Thus God would be infinite substance, the self thinking substance and material things extensive substance.
In conclusion, for Descartes God is the beginning of existence, without God we would not exist, but how do we know that God exists? For its existence is demonstrated in us, since He has given it to us all we are and if we have doubts about its existence it is because we are neither infinite nor perfect and everything real and true does not come from Him, since He is infinite and perfect