Fifth Meditation

What does Descartes Philosophical system require?
The existence of God. Third Med first attempt @ proving existence.
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What has Descartes arguably shown so far?
(1) Exists as a thinking thing. (2) CDP, what he thinks is true.
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What is the aim of the Ontological Argument?
Prove God's existence necessarily follows from definition of God. If argument valid = a priori proof
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How does the Ontological Argument begin?
Triangles - determinate nature (essence) - even though no triangles outside my thought, this imposes itself on my understanding - do not invent triangles properties - God imposes Idea, we don't invent it.
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How does he move from Triangles to God?
God determinate nature/essence - Supremely perfect being possessing perfection, not my invention, concept imposes itself upon me - Can't think of God without thinking of supremely perfect being....
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Contradictory think of a supremely perfect being lacking perfection - Existence is Perfect - God exists
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What illustrations does Descartes use?
Mountains and Valleys and Winged Horses
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Explain the Mountains and Valley example
Invalid to argue (1) cannot think of a mountain without a valley (2) therefore a mountain and/or valley exists - valid to argue (1) cannot think of mountain without valley (2) mountain is inseparable from a valley - But doesn't mean either exist
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How does the Mountain and Valley example relate to God?
Existence inseparable from God - in this case, and only this case, it means God exists. Cannot think of God without existence, Existence is inseparable from God, God exists.
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Explain the Winged Horses example
Free to think of horse with/without wings.
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How does the Winged Horses example relate to God?
Not free to imagine God without existence because existence is part of is essential nature.
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What's the Ontological Argument in its simplest form?
(1) Premise - supremely perfect being has all perfections. (2) Premise - existence is perfection. (3) Conclusion - therefore a supremely perfect being exists.
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What does Descartes conclude from this?
Only one being (God) of which existence belongs to its essence. Only one God and he has existed and will abide for eternity. He has other attributes that are essential to his nature e.g. omnibenevolence.
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Because God exists and is not a deceiver, what does this mean?
Can conclude everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive is true.
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Critique of Fifth Meditation - What critiques of the Ontological Argument are there?
Consistency, Gaunilo, Kant's Objection (1), Kant's Objection (2)
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Explain the Consistency Argument against the Ontological Argument
Cogito works on basis that if there is a property, must be substance it belongs to - Ontological Argument accepts may be properties, even though triangles don't exist....
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What is the problem here?
If what does not exist can have properties, Descartes attempt to prove existence of God might be successful but damages Cogito - If what does not exist cannot have properties, then the Cogito is okay but cant prove God existence without begging the Q
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Explain Gaunilo's Argument against the Ontological Argument
Ontological Argument has absurd consequences - overloads the world with perfect things that necessarily exist - Can use argument to define anything we like into existence as long as we can claim it is 'greatest' or 'most perfect' exemplar of somethin
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What example does Gaunilo use?
Perfect Island - Said somewhere in ocean and island, more excellent than others, since it is more excellent, to exist both in the understanding and in reality, for this reason, it must exist.
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Expain Gaunilo's Argument applied to Descartes Proof, rephrasing Descartes Argument:
Whatever I perceive clearly and distinctly to belong to the nature/essence of a thing can be truly affirmed of that thing - I CDP existence to belong to nature/essence of a most perfect island - most perfect island exists.
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Is this a fair critique of Descartes Formulation of the Argument?
No - Descartes begins argument by pointing out that certain ideas (being triangular) have 'true and immutable' natures which don't depend on him - God has true and immutable essential nature which only in God includes existence...
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Where does this leave the perfect Island example?
Perfect Islands fictitious creations - do not possess true and immutable essential natures and cannot be proved to exist.
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Explain Kant's first objection to the Ontological Argument
Proposition God necessarily exists is true by definition = an analytic truth that existence inseparable from God. Doesn't follow from the fact that this proposition is true by definition that God exists in reality
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All that follows is that we cannot separate the subject from its predicates - but we can still deny existence of both subject and predicate.
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What example does Kant use?
Unicorn = one horned animal resembling horse. Anything without horn not unicorn, anything doesn't resemble horse/with horn not unicorn.
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Explain the use of this Example
Doesn't follow from this that a unicorn exists - definition of unicorn no implications for reality - Most we can infer if they did exist =necessarily have horns.
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What relation does this example have to God?
Similarly if there is a God that exists necessarily - but none of this has any implications for what does exist in reality.
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What is Kant's Second Objection to the ontological argument?
Assumption behind ontological argument is that existence is a property because perfection is property. Kant argues 'being' obviously not real predicate, merely the positing of a thing.
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What does Kant claim about the word 'existence'?
Not a real descriptive predicate - descriptive predicates advance our knowledge of a subject. e.g. if we say "some students leave revision until last minute", say something about them. but if we say "some students exist" = not said anything.
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What relation does this have to God?
Similarly, if we say "God is omniscient" describing a property. But if we say "God exists" not saying anything about what he is like. Therefore existence not a real predicate.
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If existence is not a real predicate, then what is it?
A grammatical predicate - God exists means there is something in reality that fits the description of God.
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What Implications does this all have for Descartes?
Nether argument for existence of God successful = should have stopped writing at Meditation two.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What has Descartes arguably shown so far?


(1) Exists as a thinking thing. (2) CDP, what he thinks is true.

Card 3


What is the aim of the Ontological Argument?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How does the Ontological Argument begin?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How does he move from Triangles to God?


Preview of the front of card 5
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