Descartes' Meditation III - Deepstash

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Source Of Ideas

Source Of Ideas

First, Descartes proposed that there are three sources of ideas:

Innate - Ideas that are within us 

Fictitious - Ideas that come from our imagination

Adventitious - Ideas that come from experiences of the world.


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Levels of Reality

Levels of Reality

Descartes proposed the Level of Reality, This hierarchy is based on the perfection of the Ideas in their own.

Objective reality - is the reality that something has as ideas or representation, or reality that an idea or representation exist.

Formal Reality or actual reality - are the reality that is actual and not just represent.

Eminent reality - is the reality of an idea that is not active but has a potential for its actuality (to formal Reality).


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The Hierarchy

The Hierarchy

Objective reality is on the top because we can perceive a Perfect triangle, but I'm actual reality and eminent there is no perfect triangle, as all triangles in reality is composed of material that can be curved, erase of something. A perfect idea of triangle only exist in Objective reality and it can be called Infinite-objectibe reality, were the idea of objective reality is extended to the infinity. So, this reality is in beyond the other ideas objective reality.


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The argument for God's existence of Rene Descartes are the Trademark Argument (Ontological) and The Causal Argument (Cosmological).


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The Trademark Argument

The Trademark Argument

Rene Descartes argues that our idea of God did not came from the Fictitious, Adventitious and Innate ideas, he insists that the Idea of God is came from God itself and he used the levels of reality to prove it.


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The Argument

Premise 1 : I have an idea of God as an infinitely perfect being.

The source of this ideas are:




Not Fictitious because fictitious ideas are imagination, and imagination is a combination of elements from sensory experience. Therefore, it lacks the quality for a certain, infinite and perfect idea of God.

Not Adventitious because Adventitious ideas are arises from external stimuli or experience. Therefore, it also lacks the quality for a certain, infinite and perfect idea of God.

The first two options may be subject to doubt (Meditation 1)


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Not Innate because innate ideas are generated by me. I, myself is a finite being. Therefore, I cannot create an infinite and perfect idea of God.


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Premise 2: If I have an idea of an infinitely perfect being, then some infinitely perfect being must exist.

There is no reasonable source for that infinite and perfect idea of God to exist. Then, the source of my idea of God must really be infinitely perfect being (Beyond objective reality).

Conclusion: Therefore, an infinitely perfect being called God, exists.

This argument is often called Descartes' ontological argument, asserting that the idea of God and his perfection implies His existence.


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Rene Descartes also concluded here that an absolutely perfect being is a good, benevolent being therefore God would not deceive him. It settles some of the unresolved problem of skeptical hypothesis from Meditation I.

(As of the moment of this meditation "I" or "a thinking thing" and "God" is the only thing that sure to exist)


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Causal Argument

Causal Argument

Premise 1: I exist (as a thinking thing, Meditation II).

Premise 2: My existence must have a cause.

The only Possible Ultimate Causes are:


I always having existed

My parents

Something less perfect than God



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Not "Myself"

If I had created myself, I would have made myself perfect. Also I'm a finite being.

Not "I always having existed"

This does not solve the problem. If I am a dependent being, I need to be continually sustained by another.

Not "My Parents"

This leads to an infinite regress from generation to generation and they are also dependent being.

Not "Something less than a God"

The idea of perfection that exists in me cannot have originated from a non-perfect being.


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Then, "God"

because he is an independent being and has the power to cause something to exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists

A perfect being could not have been caused by anything less than a perfect being.


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(At the end of Meditation III Rene Descartes prove the existence of God with the attributes of a perfect being.)


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Just doin Philosophy


In this Meditation III Rene is trying to prove the existence of God.

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