Descartes' Sixth Meditation
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Descartes' Sixth Meditation
Descartesí Sixth Meditation
In Descartesí Sixth Meditation, Descartes argues about the existence of material things. The base of his argument relies solely on the claim that God created himself and would never deceive him. According to Descartes, God being deceiving is absurd. In this paper, I will reconstruct Descartesí argument and explain why I believe his argument for the existence of material things to be valid, but not sound.
In Descartesí argument about the existence of material things, he argues that before he can argue that material things actually exists, he has to display that bodies could actually exists. Descartes believes that God can generate anything as long as it doesnít produce an inconsistency. He believed that God would not allow him to have ideas and not cause their other objects to also exist. This is what leads Descartes to believe that material things do exist.
The Sixth Meditation clearly displays Descartes reasoning for the existence of material things. The premises are disbursed starting with the first idea that one can grasp the meaning of themselves without having fancy thoughts, but they canít figure out their thoughts without giving them to something that comprehends those thoughts. He then goes on to say that he has the ability to move and only extended things have that power. This, therefore, would mean that he is an extended body. Essentially, this means that imagination is not a mandatory property of oneís mind since we can still exist without it and as we can experience different feelings, this mean that we are extended things. Descartes then goes on to explain passive and active sense.
According to Descartes, every sensory experience he has ever thought of while being awake, he can also think of while heís asleep. This leads us to his fourth premise that intuition is not required to experience something, because obviously the senses that are being experienced are not his decision. Therefore, he says that this faculty is something other than just himself, due to the fact that he clearly did not use any thought on his part. He also says that the senses that are being experienced must be created by a higher power of some sort that has some reality in the ideas that are being produced. This means that a high power has to be in charge of the senses that one is experiencing because the senses are beyond what he could actually imagine feeling. This then leads us to the last few premises.
Descartes believes that there is a higher power controlling as of his senses, which leads to the seventh premise that Descartes believes the high power to be God or some kind of external extended body. Then he goes on to say that God is not malicious enough to deceive someone and that God has actually never given him a way of recognizing this higher power, but God has strongly encouraged him to believe that bodies actually produce the senses. The explanation of this is that Descartes believes that he is not controlling the senses that he experiences. His belief is that a higher power is controlling the sensory perception that he experiences. But God does not want him to believe that a higher power is what is controlling this sensory, God wants him to believe that bodies control the sensory perception that they have. These premises lead to the last premise and conclusion of Descartes argument of material things existing.
The last premise before the conclusion is that if ones sensory perception does not come from bodies and bodies do not produce senses, then that would make God a deceiver. But Descartes does not see God as a deceiver, because there is no way that God could be a deceiver. The thought of God being a deceiver is berserk to say the least. A simpler way to interpret Descartesí suggestion that if bodies do not produce senses, then God is a deceiver is to look back at the previous premise that says God has inclined Descartes to believe that bodies produce sensory perception. This means that if it came down to bodies not producing senses, then God would have lied to Descartes. Following this premise is the conclusion. The conclusion to Descartes argument is that material objects do
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Epistemology, Ren Descartes, Belief, Thought, Existence of God, Reason, Philosophy of self, God, Meditations on First Philosophy, Cartesian doubt
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