Rene descartes ontological argument. Ontological Arguments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) 2019-02-22

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Descartes’ Ontological Argument: A Critique

rene descartes ontological argument

With his algebraic method universal language of solving for any unknown variable, whatever we do not know can be known. God is not a contingent being, i. The most significant of these pieces is Millican 2004, the first article on ontological arguments in recent memory to appear in Mind. The conclusion relies on a form of , which states that if something is possibly true, then its possibility is necessary it is possibly true in all worlds. Suppose that we agree to think about possibility and necessity in terms of possible worlds: a claim is possibly true just in case it is true in at least one possible world; a claim is necessarily true just in case it is true in every possible world; and a claim is contingent just in case it is true in some possible worlds and false in others. This of course is fallacious, as intrinsic fictional things can be conceived by the mind just as extrinsic existent things can.

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Ontological Arguments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

rene descartes ontological argument

The problem with this objection, in this instance, is that it assumes that Descartes locates the difference between God and creatures in the relation each of these things bears to its existence. It should, of course, be noted that neither Meinong, nor any of his well-known modern supporters—e. It consists in unveiling the contents of our clear and distinct ideas. Setting aside the possibility that one might challenge this widely accepted modal principle, it seems that opponents of the argument are bound to challenge the acceptability of the premise. God is in our image according to our needs and wants and would not exist without the individual who creates it. Descartes was instrumental in bringing about the Age of the Enlightenment in Western Europe. However, Descartes goes a step further and delves into God's nature or quality of being.

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Descartes’ ontological argument essay

rene descartes ontological argument

This proves, in Descartes eyes, that he must have been created by some first principle, which he names as God, and since he was created by this first principle it is necessary that it exists as something that does not exist could not create something that does, thus God exists through necessity. Let us return for a moment to the objection that the ontological argument slides illicitly from the mental to the extramental realm. Ontological arguments revolve around the state or nature of being. I shall first explain what Descartes's argument for God's existence is, and then present his argument in propositional form. Even though this does propose that God is unnecessary it does raise the question why choose to be something less perfect? His writings challenged conventional beliefs which were still based upon Church teachings. Here he puts forward his own version of an ontological argument.

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Descartes' Meditations Ontological Argument

rene descartes ontological argument

In other words, just saying something exists logically cannot make it so. One attribute Descartes assigns to his concept of a perfect God is existence, but since God might possibly be imperfect then it is plausible to claim that it is possible that God fails to hold the attribute of existence in which case we can conclude that God does not exist. It appears several times in his output, most notably in the fifth of his Meditations on First Philosophy and also in the Philosophical Investigations. Now, when Descartes says that a substance be it finite or infinite is merely rationally distinct from its existence, he always means an actually existing substance. Kant's formulation of the objection was later refined by Bertrand Russell in his famous theory of descriptions. God is not a contingent being, i.

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Ontological Arguments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

rene descartes ontological argument

Some of the details of Aquinas' account will emerge from our discussion below. Often, these operators have two readings, one of which can cancel ontological commitment, and the other of which cannot. Some readers have thought that Descartes offers yet a third version of the ontological argument in this passage Wilson, 1978, 174—76 , but whether or not that was his intention is unimportant, since his primary aim, as indicated in the last line, is to enable his meditator to intuit that necessary existence is included in the idea of God. This just goes to show that religious people don't support just any old argument for God's existence - and atheists shouldn't support just any old argument against God. He is trying to understand more fully what he already believes. Premise, to which even the Fool agrees.

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Descartes’ Ontological Argument: A Critique

rene descartes ontological argument

A triangle's interior angles must add up to 180Âş; we cannot imagine a triangle of 100Âş or a triangle that is part circular. There are a couple of red flags that pop up when we consider Descartes' ontological argument from the modern perspective. This seems to us like a sleight of hand, since though Descartes sets out in the Meditations by claiming to take nothing for granted in his quest to find out what is true, he pretty clearly is willing to take God for granted from the starting gun. But this is not the case. The argument was criticised in his own time and centuries later by philosophers such as Aquinas and Kant. Consequently, the notion of a supremely perfect God who does not exist, Descartes argues, is unintelligible.

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Ontological argument

rene descartes ontological argument

Perhaps it is worth adding here that there is fairly widespread consensus, even amongst theists, that no known ontological arguments for the existence of God are persuasive. This argument gives Anselm everything that he wants, and very much more briefly. Gödel wants us to conclude that there is just one intuitive, theologically interesting set of properties which is such that the property of having as essential properties just the properties in that set is exemplified. And the force of this realization would apply equally to all the many different modes of the person's thinking. His ontological argument is seen as one of the most concise and elegant in history.

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Ontological argument. Flashcards

rene descartes ontological argument

Therefore, the greatest possible being must have maximal excellence in every possible world. Cartesian Metaphysics, Cambridge University Press. This is how he puts the argument: 1. This distinction appears useful to Descartes' aims, some have thought, because it allows him to specify God's essence without begging the question of his existence. The same logic concludes that this perfect island must exist, because there would be a logical contradiction if it didn't. However what this first principle is remains unnamed, Aquinas only argues that it is what we call God he does not claim that it is God.

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Ontological Argument for God (Descartes & Anselm)

rene descartes ontological argument

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. From a Cartesin-based perspective, the central issue is the possibility of having a personal experience of thinking activity that can cease to occur and can go out of existence versus the impossibility of having a personal experience of thinking activity that can never cease to occur and can never go out of existence. In other words, we must be able to have the concept of, or entertain the idea of, a smallest really existing Martian without believing that there really are any smallest Martians. A natural rejoinder to this reply would be to ask about the idea of a lion having not possible but wholly necessary existence. This, I submit, is the genuine way in which I arrive at an understanding of the idea of necessary thinking activity an infinite and perfect activity. . Both closing statements focus on the purported deficiencies of the other debater's overall case.

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Essay on The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

rene descartes ontological argument

While the ambitions of these review discussions vary, many of them are designed to introduce neophytes to the arguments and their history. Chambers 2000 works with the analysis of Adams 1971. St Anselm was a catholic saint born in Italy in 1033 and one of the first to come up with the ontological argument. Initially, the main goal is to introduce the lay reader to one of the most perplexing arguments for the theistic conception of God. Understanding this view requires a more careful investigation of the distinction between essence and existence as it appears in medieval sources. Last, predicating the existence of God as a divine attribute seems to be unhelpful in addressing His actual existence. Anselm wrote a second version of his ontological argument, in which he focused on the distinction between necessary existence and contingent existence to show the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the nature of God.

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