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Meditation III

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God Exists (continued)
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Descartes’ Taxonomy of the Mind 2 .

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in virtue of its essence.. ‘Idea’ can be taken materially. it can be taken objectively. Alternatively. even if it is not regarded as existing outside the intellect. and this thing.. can still. there is an ambiguity here in the word ‘idea’.Descartes’ Theory of Ideas Descartes’ preface to the Meditations (not in your book): “. as an operation of the intellect. as the thing represented by that operation. in which case it cannot be said to be more perfect than me. be more perfect than myself.” 4 .

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Recall what Descartes Needs for Argument for God’s Existence • Descartes needs four things for his argument: • 1. theory of ideas. an account of what he means by “degrees of perfection” 6 . truth criterion: any clear and distinct perception is true • 3. causal principle • 2. especially idea as act and idea as object • 4.

His distinction between the infinite and the finite 7 .Degrees of perfection • Two crucial elements for his degrees of perfection: • 1. Recall his acceptance of the Aristotelian subjectattribute (or substance-mode) ontology: • substance/subject: independent • attribute/mode: dependent • 2.

size.Degrees of perfection highest degree of perfection middle degree of perfection defining features examples (1) substance: independent (2) infinite (1) substance: independent (2) finite God ??infinite matter?? souls matter (bodies) lowest (1) mode: dependent ideas degree of (2) finite motion. shape perfection 8 .

e.g.e. God idea-of-finite middle finite substances.Degrees of perfection of Ideas highest degree of perfection formal reality (of things and ideas) objective reality (of ideas only) infinite substance: God idea-of-infinite substance. i. mode: e. degree of substance. i. i. idea-asidea of ideas. color color 9 .e. idea of act. soul or soul or body perfection body lowest degree of perfection idea-of-mode: e.g.

Kinds of Arguments for God’s existence ontological versus cosmological arguments for God’s existence Descartes’ “ideational” argument for God’s existence: its relation with the cosmological argument how Descartes’ first argument for God’s existence works 10 .

versus knowledge merely remembered 11 . 139-143 in your text) Descartes’ response to the criticism: knowledge I am having here and now.One Problem in The Meditations: The Cartesian Circle One big worry with Descartes’ strategy throughout Meditations I through III: a vicious circle? (see pp.