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Rebuttal Of The Cartesian Circle Essay

1258 words - 6 pages

The whole idea of the “Cartesian Circle” is an interesting case to look it. The main premise is that Descartes presupposes something, such as the existence of the all-perfect God, to prove that the premise is true, the existence of the all-perfect God. Many critics argue that he creates a circular argument, hence “Cartesian Circle” and with a circular argument nothing concrete is really being proven. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Descartes argument can be broken down into two main steps (Newman). The first step sheds light in the Third Meditations, where Descartes makes arguments for the existence of an all-perfect God. The second step is where Descartes takes the now ...view middle of the document...

140). This is because an atheist can be deceived on matters and not realize this. Since they can be deceived they will always have doubt. An atheist could try and prove that God does not exist but “these proofs are quite unsound” and “will always be possible to point out their flaws to him” (Second Replies, DSW, p. 139-140). Essentially true knowledge only resides in those who believe in the existence of God.
Another objection is whether or not we can know for sure whether or not we are being deceived. How are we to know, as they say whether “their knowledge was as clear as the sunlight” (Second Objections, DSW p. 140). Some argue that this “clear and distinct knowledge” requires a sort of “clear and distinct explanation” (Second Objections, DSW p. 140). Based upon this how are we to know whether this is actual knowledge. For all we know it could be a very murky explanation thus creating a murky knowledge.
At the crux of Descartes response is the supreme being of God. He claims it is impossible for us to be deceived. If God is a supreme being as Descartes claims to have proved, then he “must be supremely good and true” (Second Replies, DSW, p. 140-142). A good and true God never would deceive us as people who believe in his existence. There is a reason God gives us this knowledge for he would not give it to us without a purpose. He would be a deceiver if it was his intention to cast some sort of doubt upon us. However, he has no such intention since he is an all-perfect and honest God.
A final objection is based off how we can be sure God exists because of our perception. Before we can even determine God exists, we need know what we perceive is actually true (Fourth Objections, DSW, p. 142). Essentially, Descartes argue that since what we perceive is true God exists. The critics would say that how are we sure what perceive is actually true in itself. For if God does not exist that is not true or if what we perceive is not true than God does not exist. In essence, Descartes argument is a circular one that uses the premise to eventually prove the premise itself.
Descartes claims that he is not making a circular argument. He claims to not be making the argument that because what we perceive is true that God exists. He actually is making the argument that only because what we perceive as true that the all-perfect God actually exists (Fourth Replies, DSW, p. 142-143). We are certain God exists because Descartes himself has proven this. He furthers his argument by saying that in...

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