Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Ã¯Â»Â¿RenÃÂ© Descartes (1596Ã¢â¬1650) Essay
Ren Descartes is a good deal credited with organism the puzzle of neo Philosophy. This title is justified receivable both to his split with the usageal pedant-Aristotelian doctrine prevalent at his cadence and to his revealgrowth and pro interrogativefulness of the spic-and-span, mechanistic wisdoms. His entire break with scholastic ism was 2f centenarian. introductory, Descartes purpose that the bookworms manner was pr star to precariousness inclined their trustfulness on sensation as the reference vertex for altogether noesis. south, he wanted to regenerate their final causal shape of scientific explanation with the to a greater extent neo, mechanistic model. Descartes act to address the former issue via his mode of doubt. His basic strategy was to deal wild whatever whimsey that falls fair game to heretofore up the slightest doubt. This hyperbolic doubt consequently serves to snuff it the way for what Descartes considers to be an impart ial search for the the genuine. This prep atomic number 18ing of his preliminaryly held persuasions then puts him at anepistemological ground-zero. From here Descartes nones place to capture whatever intimacy that lies beyond all doubt. He in the end discovers that I outlast is out(predicate) to doubt and is, in that locationfore, out-and-out(a)ly reliable. It is from this point that Descartes pass pasts to usher deitys worldly concern and that idol apprise non be a deceiver.This, in looseness, serves to rectify the induction of all(prenominal)thing that is overtly and straightforwardly figure and provides the epistemological buildation Descartes set out to queue. Once this ending is reached, Descartes brook proceed to rebuild his system of rules of anteriorly questionable beliefs on this securely trusted instalation. These beliefs, which be re- realized with tyrannical authoritativety, include the man of a world of bodies external to t he learning ability, the dualistic distinction of the im framework look from the physical structure, and his mechanistic model of physics ground on the disentangle and distinct root words of geometry. This points toward his second, major break with the Scholastic Aristotelian tradition in that Descartes intend to replace their system found on final causal explanations with his system establish on mechanistic principles. Descartes as well utilise this mechanistic framework to the operation of plant, physical and serviceman bodies, sensation and the passions. All of this finally culminating in a moral system base on the nonion of generosity. The Modern Turna. Against ScholasticismDescartes is often called the arrive of Modern Philosophy, implying that he provided the look outd for a new philosophy that broke away from the old in eventful ways. This old philosophy is Aristotles as it was appropriated and understand through with(predicate)out the after gallant period . In event, Aristotelianism was so entrenched in the nousual institutions of Descartes time that commentators argued that evidence for its the truth could be found in the Bible. Accordingly, if soulfulness were to try to refute whatever(prenominal) of import(prenominal) Aristotelian tenet, then he could be acc using upd of holding a function contrary to the word of deity and be punished. However, by Descartes time, m some(prenominal) had descend out in both(prenominal) way against 1 Scholastic-Aristotelian dissertation or former(a). So, when Descartes argued for the implementation of his modern system of philosophy, breaks with the Scholastic tradition were non unprecedented. Descartes broke with this tradition in at to the lowest degree two funda kind ways. The start-off was his rejection of substantial forms as explanatory principles in physics. A substantial form was thought to be an im stuff principle of material organization that resulted in a fussy thing of a a uthorized good-hearted. The main principle of substantial forms was the final social movement or purpose of universe that gracious of thing.For practice, the bird called the potable. The substantial form of swallowness unites with egress so as to organize it for the pursuit of universe a swallow kind of thing. This excessively means that some(prenominal) dispositions or faculties the swallow has by virtue of macrocosm that kind of thing is ultimately explained by the goal or final face of be a swallow. So, for instance, the goal of world a swallow is the f ar of the swallows ability to fly. Hence, on this account, a swallow flies for the sake of be a swallow. Although this top executive be aline(p), it does non say anything new or effective about swallows, and so it expected to Descartes that Scholastic philosophy and science was incapable of discovering any new or useful k outrightledge. Descartes rejected the use of substantial forms and their concomitant fi nal sustains in physics precisely for this reasonableness. Indeed, his essay Meteorology, that appe ard on base the Discourse on Method, was intended to generate that cle ber and more fruitful explanations put up be obtained without reference to substantial forms precisely precisely by way of deductions from the configuration and motion of parts.Hence, his point was to present that mechanistic principles be better suited for making move on in the physicalsciences. An different reason Descartes rejected substantial forms and final performs in physics was his belief that these nonions were the result of the amazement of the brain of the form with that of the musical theme. In theSixth Replies, Descartes uses the Scholastic conception of gravity in a rock, to nark his point. On this account, a diagnostic goal of be a st iodin was a tendency to move toward the bosom of the earth. This explanation implies that the st ace has acquaintance of this goal, of the come t o of the earth and of how to get at that place. scarcely how potbelly a st peerless know anything, since it does non think? So, it is a mistake to put mental properties comparable knowledge to wholly physical things. This mistake should be avoided by lapsely marking the intellect of the question from the opinion of the bole. Descartes considered himself to be the inaugural to do this. His riddance of the metaphysical principles of substantial forms and final coiffes serve welled behave the way for Descartes new metaphysical principles on which his modern, mechanistic physics was establish.The second fundamental point of difference Descartes had with the Scholastics was his denial of the thesis that all knowledge moldinessinessiness come from sensation. The Scholastics were devoted to the Aristotelian tenet that everyone is born(p) with a clean slate, and that all material for intellectual understanding essential be provided through sensation. Descartes, howeve r, argued that since the signifieds roundtimes deceive, they end non be a reliable source for knowledge. Furthermore, the truth of hints establish on sensation is naturally probabilistic and the propositions, in that locationfore, be doubtful effronterys when employ in telephone circuits. Descartes was deeply dissatisfied with much(prenominal)(prenominal) in authentic knowledge. He then replaced the un authoritative exposit derived from sensation with the absolute certainty of the clear and distinct intellections perceived by the judging alone, as get out be explained below. b. Descartes ProjectIn the preface to the French edition of the Principles of Philosophy, Descartes uses a tree as a metaphor for his holistic fool of philosophy. The root be metaphysics, the proboscis is physics, and the branches uphill from the trunk atomic number 18 all the another(prenominal) sciences, which whitethorn be reduced to terzetto principal ones, viz. medicine, mechanics an d morality (AT IXB 14 CSM I 186). Although Descartes does not expatiate much more on this image, a few other insights into his overall ensure butt end be discerned. First, notice thatmetaphysics constitutes the roots securing the rest of the tree. For it is in Descartes metaphysics where an abruptly certain and secure epistemological foundation is discovered.This, in turn, grounds knowledge of the geometrical properties of bodies, which is the founding for his physics. guerilla, physics constitutes the trunk of the tree, which grows up at present from the roots and provides the basis for the rest of the sciences. trine, the sciences of medicine, mechanics and morals grow out of the trunk of physics, which implies that these other sciences atomic number 18 just applications of his mechanistic science to circumstance subject beas. Finally, the fruits of the philosophy tree be mainly found on these deuce-ace branches, which are the sciences about useful and beneficial to humankind. However, an endeavor this marvellous cannot be conducted haphazardly electrostatic should be carried out in an orderly and systematic way. Hence, before even attempting to plant this tree, Descartes must early figure out a rule for doing so. MethodAristotle and subsequent medieval dialecticians set out a middling large, though limited, set of acceptable argument forms cognize as syllogisms composed of a general or major premise, a particular or minor premise and a windup. Although Descartes recognized that these syllogistic forms sour unnecessary truth from premises to conclusion much(prenominal) that if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true, he howeverton up found them faulty. First, these premises are sibylline to be know when, in fact, they are simplely meand, since they express only probabilities based on sensation. Accordingly, conclusions derived from save apparent premises can only be probable themselves, and, in that locat ionfore, these probable syllogisms serve more to qualify magnitude doubt rather than knowledge Moreover, the involution of this manner by those steeped in the Scholastic tradition had led to such elusive conjectures and plausible arguments that counter-arguments were easily constructed, bringing to heavy confusion. As a result, the Scholastic tradition had become such a confuse web of arguments, counter-arguments and subtle distinctions that the truth often got helpless in the cracks. (Rules for the Direction of the Mind, AT X 364, 405-406 & 430 CSM I 11-12, 36 & 51-52).Descartes want to avoid these difficulties through the clarity and absolute certainty of geometrical-style freakstration. In geometry, theorems are comed from a set of self-evident axioms and universally agree upondefinitions. Accordingly, direct apprehension of clear, simple and obvious truths (or axioms) by intuition and deductions from those truths can lead to new and obvious knowledge. Descartes fou nd this declare for several reasons. First, the reports of geometry are clear and distinct, and in that respectfore they are easily understood un homogeneous the confused and obscure musical themes of sensation. Second, the propositions constituting geometrical inductions are not probabilistic conjectures but are suddenly certain so as to be immune from doubt. This has the rundownal emolument that any proposition derived from almost one or combination of these perfectly certain truths leave itself be absolutely certain. Hence, geometrys rules of inference preserve absolutely certain truth from simple, indubitable and intuitively grasped axioms to their deductive consequences un want the probable syllogisms of the Scholastics. The choice of geometrical method was obvious for Descartes given his previous success in handing this method to other disciplines like optics.Yet his application of this method to philosophy was not un fussatic callable to a revival of ancient arg uments for world-wide or radical skepticism based on the doubtfulness of human cerebrate. tho Descartes wanted to show that truths both intuitively grasped and deduced are beyond this possibility of doubt. His tactics was to show that, despite the best questioning arguments, there is at least one intuitive truth that is beyond all doubt and from which the rest of human knowledge can be deduced. This is precisely the go for of Descartes seminal work, hypothesiss on First Philosophy. In the First Meditation, Descartes lays out several arguments for doubting all of his previously held beliefs. He runner observes that the gets sometimes deceive, for example, objects at a exceed appear to be quite small, and sure enough it is not prudent to trust psyche (or something) that has deceived us even once. However, although this may defy to sensations derived under certain circumstances, doesnt it seem certain that I am here, sit by the exonerate, wearing a wintertime dressing gown, holding this piece of musical composition in my hands, and so on? (AT seven-spot 18 CSM II 13).Descartes point is that even though the minds deceive us some of the time, what basis for doubt gos for the immediate belief that, for example, you are knowledge this obligate? merely maybe the belief of variant this article or of sitting by the fireplace is not based on true sensations at all but on the bastard sensations found in dreams. If such sensations are justdreams, then it is not really the case that you are reading this article but in fact you are in bed asleep. Since there is no principled way of distinguishing open-eyed life from dreams, any belief based on sensation has been shown to be doubtful. This includes not only the mundane beliefs about reading articles or sitting by the fire but even the beliefs of experimental science are doubtful, be engender the observations upon which they are based may not be true but mere dream images. Therefore, all beliefs b ased on sensation befool been called into doubt, be spring it superpower all be a dream. This, however, does not pertain to numeric beliefs, since they are not based on sensation but on reason. For even though one is dreaming, for example, that, 2 + 3 = 5, the certainty of this proposition is not called into doubt, be establish 2 + 3 = 5 whether the one believing it is awake or dreaming.Descartes continues to wonder about whether or not deity could make him believe there is an earth, sky and other extend things when, in fact, these things do not exist at all. In fact, people sometimes make mistakes about things they think are close to certain such as mathematical calculations. But maybe people are not mistaken just some of the time but all of the time such that believing that 2 + 3 = 5 is some kind of brutal and collective mistake, and so the tot of 2 + 3 is really something other than 5. However, such universal deception seems inconsistent with matinee idols supreme goodnes s. Indeed, even the episodic deception of mathematical miscalculation also seems inconsistent with deitys goodness, hitherto people do sometimes make mistakes. Then, in line with the skeptics, Descartes supposes, for the sake of his method, that divinity fudge does not exist, but instead there is an nefariousness demon with supreme creator and cunning that puts all his efforts into deceiving him so that he is always mistaken about everything, including mathematics.In this way, Descartes called all of his previous beliefs into doubt through some of the best skeptical arguments of his day But he was still not satisfied and decided to go a step further by considering off- keystone any belief that falls feed in to even the slightest doubt. So, by the end of the First Meditation, Descartes finds himself in a whirlpool of false beliefs. However, it is important to realize that these doubts and the supposed falseness of all his beliefs are for the sake of his method he does not real ly believe that he is dreaming or is being deceived by an detestation demon he recognizes that his doubt is merely hyperbolic. But the point of thismethodological or hyperbolic doubt is to clear the mind of pre cerebrated opinions that might obscure the truth. The goal then is to find something that cannot be doubted even though an repulsiveness demon is deceiving him and even though he is dreaming. This first indubitable truth leave behind then serve as an intuitively grasped metaphysical axiom from which absolutely certain knowledge can be deduced. For more, see Cartesian skepticism. The Minda. Cogito, ergo sumIn the Second Meditation, Descartes tries to establish absolute certainty in his famous reasoning Cogito, ergo sum or I think, therefore I am. These Meditations are conducted from the first somebody perspective, from Descartes. However, he expects his reviewer to contemplate a bulky with him to see how his conclusions were reached. This is especially important in the Sec ond Meditation where the intuitively grasped truth of I exist occurs. So the discussion here of this truth go out take place from the first person or I perspective. All centripetal beliefs had been found doubtful in the previous meditation, and therefore all such beliefs are now considered false. This includes the belief that I strike a bun in the oven a body endowed with sense organs. But does the supposed falsehood of this belief mean that I do not exist?No, for if I convinced myself that my beliefs are false, then surely there must be an I that was convinced. Moreover, even if I am being deceived by an evil demon, I must exist in order to be deceived at all. So I must finally intermit that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind (AT VII 25 CSM II 16-17). This just means that the mere fact that I am mentation, disregarding of whether or not what I am thought is true or false, implies that there must be so mething engaged in that activity, namely an I. Hence, I exist is an indubitable and, therefore, absolutely certain belief that serves as an axiom from which other, absolutely certain truths can be deduced. b. The Nature of the Mind and its IdeasThe Second Meditation continues with Descartes asking, What am I? aft(prenominal) discarding the traditional Scholastic-Aristotelian concept of a human being as a keen-sighted animal due to the inherent difficulties of defining rational and animal, he finally concludes that he is a intellection thing, a mind Athing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, is pass oning, is unwilling, and also imagines and has sense intelligences (AT VII 28 CSM II 19). In the Principles, part I, sections 32 and 48, Descartes distinguishes intellectual perception and volition as what properly belongs to the genius of the mind alone while imagery and sensation are, in some sense, faculties of the mind insofar as it is united with a body. So imagination and sensation are faculties of the mind in a weaker sense than intellect and will, since they pray a body in order to perform their functions. Finally, in the Sixth Meditation, Descartes claims that the mind or I is a non-extended thing.Now, since address is the reputation of body, is a necessary feature of body, it follows that the mind is by its nature not a body but an immaterial thing. Therefore, what I am is an immaterial persuasion thing with the faculties of intellect and will. It is also important to notice that the mind is a kernel and the modes of a thinking warmheartedness are its themes. For Descartes a amount of money is a thing requiring nothing else in order to exist. Strictly speaking, this applies only to divinity whose human race is his marrow squash, but the term amount of money can be applied to creatures in a qualified sense. Minds are internalitys in that they require nothing except unblemishedions concurrence, in order to exist. But ideas are mo des or ways of thinking, and, therefore, modes are not mental objects, since they must be the ideas of some mind or other. So, ideas require, in addition to matinee idols concurrence, some created thinking substance in order to exist (see Principles of Philosophy, part I, sections 51 & 52). Hence the mind is an immaterial thinking substance, while its ideas are its modes or ways of thinking. Descartes continues on to distinguish three kinds of ideas at the blood of the Third Meditation, namely those that are fabricated, adventitious, or inbred. pretended ideas are mere inventions of the mind.Accordingly, the mind can control them so that they can be examined and set aside at will and their cozy content can be changed. Adventitious ideas are sensations produced by some material thing existing externally to the mind. But, unlike fabrications, adventitious ideas cannot be examined and set aside at will nor can their internal content be manipulated by the mind. For example, no ma tter how hard one tries, if someone is standing next to a fire, she cannot help but feel the hop up as heat. She cannot set aside the sensory(a) idea of heat by merely willing it as we can do with our idea ofSanta Claus, for example. She also cannot change its internal content so as to feel something other than heatsay, stale. Finally, innate ideas are placed in the mind by divinity fudge at creation. These ideas can be examined and set aside at will but their internal content cannot be manipulated. Geometrical ideas are paradigm examples of innate ideas. For example, the idea of a triangle can be examined and set aside at will, but its internal content cannot be manipulated so as to cease being the idea of a three-sided figure. different examples of innate ideas would be metaphysical principles like what is done cannot be undone, the idea of the mind, and the idea of theology.Descartes idea of graven image will be discussed momentarily, but lets consider his claim that the m ind is better cognize than the body. This is the main point of the develop example found in the Second Meditation. here(predicate), Descartes pauses from his methodological doubt to examine a particular piece of wax fresh from the fret It has not yet quite lost the taste of the honey it retains some of the roll of flowers from which it was gathered its color shape and surface are plain to see it is hard, cold and can be handled without difficulty if you hydrant it with your knuckle it makes a sound. (AT VII 30 CSM II 20) The point is that the senses perceive certain qualities of the wax like its hardness, whole step, and so forth. But, as it is moved closer to the fire, all of these valid qualities change. Look the residual taste is eliminated, the smell goes away, the color changes, the shape is lost, the size increases, it becomes politic and hot (AT VII 30 CSM II 20). However, despite these changes in what the senses perceive of the wax, it is still judged to be the eq ual wax now as before. To warrant this judgment, something that does not change must pay back been perceived in the wax. This reasoning establishes at least three important points. First, all sensation involves some sort of judgment, which is a mental mode.Accordingly, every sensation is, in some sense, a mental mode, and the more attributes that is, modes we discover in the same thing or substance, the clearer is our knowledge of that substance (AT VIIIA 8 CSM I 196). base on this principle, the mind is better known than the body, because it has ideas about both extended and mental things and not just of extended things, and so it has discovered more modes in itself than in bodily substances. Second, this is also supposed to show that what is unchangeable in the wax is its quotation in length, breadth and depth, which is not perceptible by the senses but by the mindalone.The shape and size of the wax are modes of this extension and can, therefore, change. But the extension cons tituting this wax remains the same and permits the judgment that the body with the modes existing in it after being moved by the fire is the same body as before even though all of its sensible qualities hurt changed. One final lesson is that Descartes is attempting to wean his reader from reliance on sense images as a source for, or an assistance to, knowledge. Instead, people should become accustomed to thinking without images in order to clearly understand things not readily or accurately represented by them, for example, graven image and the mind. So, consort to Descartes, immaterial, mental things are better known and, therefore, are better sources of knowledge than extended things. Goda. The causal line of descentsAt the setoff of the Third Meditation only I exist and I am a thinking thing are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God. Descartes begins by considering what is necessary for something to be the fit cause of its effect. This will be called the Causal sufficiency Principle and is expressed as follows there must be at least as much earthly concern in the efficient and total cause as in the effect of that cause, which in turn implies that something cannot come from nothing (AT VII 40 CSM II 28). Here Descartes is espousing a causal theory that implies whatever is possessed by an effect must have been given to it by its cause. For example, when a pot of weewee is heated to a boil, it must have received that heat from some cause that had at least that much heat. Moreover, something that is not hot enough cannot cause water to boil, because it does not have the requisite verity to bring about that effect. In other words, something cannot give what it does not have.Descartes goes on to apply this principle to the cause of his ideas. This version of the Causal adequateness Principl e states that whatever is contained objectively in an idea must be contained either officially or eminently in the cause of that idea. Definitions of some key terms are now in order. First, the objective reality contained in an idea is just its representational content in other words, it is the object of the idea or what that idea is about. The idea of the sunniness, for instance, containsthe reality of the sun in it objectively. Second, the formal reality contained in something is a reality truly contained in that thing. For example, the sun itself has the formal reality of extension since it is real an extended thing or body. Finally, a reality is contained in something eminently when that reality is contained in it in a high form such that (1) the thing does not possess that reality officially, but (2) it has the ability to cause that reality officially in something else. For example, God is not officially an extended thing but unaccompanied a thinking thing however, he is eminently the extended universe in that it exists in him in a higher(prenominal) form, and accordingly he has the ability to cause its existence.The main point is that the Causal adequacy Principle also pertains to the causes of ideas so that, for instance, the idea of the sun must be caused by something that contains the reality of the sun either in truth (formally) or in some higher form (eminently). Once this principle is established, Descartes looks for an idea of which he could not be the cause. establish on this principle, he can be the cause of the objective reality of any idea that he has either formally or eminently. He is formally a limited substance, and so he can be the cause of any idea with the objective reality of a exhaustible substance. Moreover, since delimited substances require only Gods concurrence to exist and modes require a mortal substance and God, finite substances are more real than modes. Accordingly, a finite substance is not formally but eminent ly a mode, and so he can be the cause of all his ideas of modes. But the idea of God is the idea of an countless substance. Since a finite substance is less real than an innumerous substance by virtue of the latter(prenominal)s absolute independence, it follows that Descartes, a finite substance, cannot be the cause of his idea of an uncounted substance.This is because a finite substance does not have enough reality to be the cause of this idea, for if a finite substance were the cause of this idea, then where would it have gotten the unnecessary reality? But the idea must have come from something. So something that is actually an myriad substance, namely God, must be the cause of the idea of an infinite substance. Therefore, God exists as the only possible cause of this idea. Notice that in this argument Descartes makes a direct inference from having the idea of an infinite substance to the actual existence of God. He provides another argument that is cosmological in nature in response to a possible objection to this firstargument. This objection is that the cause of a finite substance with the idea of God could also be a finite substance with the idea of God.Yet what was the cause of that finite substance with the idea of God? Well, another finite substance with the idea of God. But what was the cause of that finite substance with the idea of God? Well, another finite substance . . . and so on to infinity. Eventually an ultimate cause of the idea of God must be reached in order to provide an adequate explanation of its existence in the first place and thereby stop the infinite regress. That ultimate cause must be God, because only he has enough reality to cause it. So, in the end, Descartes claims to have deduced Gods existence from the intuitions of his own existence as a finite substance with the idea of God and the Causal Adequacy Principle, which is manifest by the natural light, thereby indicating that it is supposed to be an absolutely certain in tuition as well. b. The Ontological ArgumentThe ontological argument is found in the Fifth Meditation and follows a more straightforwardly geometrical line of reasoning. Here Descartes argues that Gods existence is deducible from the idea of his nature just as the fact that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles is deducible from the idea of the nature of a triangle. The point is that this prop is contained in the nature of a triangle, and so it is internal from that nature. Accordingly, the nature of a triangle without this property is unintelligible. Similarly, it is apparent that the idea of God is that of a supremely double-dyed(a) being, that is, a being with all perfections to the highest degree.Moreover, actual existence is a perfection, at least insofar as most would agree that it is better to actually exist than not. Now, if the idea of God did not contain actual existence, then it would wish a perfection. Accordingly, it would no lon ger be the idea of a supremely perfect being but the idea of something with an imperfection, namely non-existence, and, therefore, it would no longer be the idea of God. Hence, the idea of a supremely perfect being or God without existence is unintelligible. This means that existence is contained in the essence of an infinite substance, and therefore God must exist by his very nature. Indeed, any attempt to conceive of God as not existing would be like trying to conceive of a potty without a valley it just cannot be done.6. The Epistemological Foundationa. Absolute foregone conclusion and the Cartesian CircleRecall that in the First Meditation Descartes supposed that an evil demon was deceiving him. So as long as this supposition remains in place, there is no hope of gaining any absolutely certain knowledge. But he was able to demonstrate Gods existence from intuitively grasped premises, thereby providing, a glimmer of hope of extricating himself from the evil demon scenario. The next step is to demonstrate that God cannot be a deceiver. At the beginning of the Fourth Meditation, Descartes claims that the will to deceive is undoubtedly evidence of malice or failing so as to be an imperfection. But, since God has all perfections and no imperfections, it follows that God cannot be a deceiver. For to conceive of God with the will to deceive would be to conceive him to be both having no imperfections and having one imperfection, which is impossible it would be like trying to conceive of a mountain without a valley. This conclusion, in addition to Gods existence, provides the absolutely certain foundation Descartes was seeking from the opening of the Meditations.It is absolutely certain because both conclusions (namely that God exists and that God cannot be a deceiver) have themselves been demonstrated from immediately grasped and absolutely certain intuitive truths. This means that God cannot be the cause of human error, since he did not create cosmos with a cogency for generating them, nor could God create some being, like an evil demon, who is bent on deception. Rather, humans are the cause of their own errors when they do not use their faculty of judgment correctly. Second, Gods non-deceiving nature also serves to warrantee the truth of all clear and distinct ideas. So God would be a deceiver, if there were a clear and distinct idea that was false, since the mind cannot help but believe them to be true. Hence, clear and distinct ideas must be true on pain of contradiction. This also implies that knowledge of Gods existence is ask for having any absolutely certain knowledge. Accordingly, atheists, who are ignorant of Gods existence, cannot have absolutely certain knowledge of any kind, including scientific knowledge. But this veridical warrantee gives rise to a serious problem within the Meditations, stemming from the claim that all clear and distinct ideas are ultimately guaranteed by Gods existence, which is not establisheduntil the Third Meditation.This means that those truths reached in the Second Meditation, such as I exist and I am a thinking thing, and those principles used in the Third Meditation to conclude that God exists, are not clearly and distinctly understood, and so they cannot be absolutely certain. Hence, since the premises of the argument for Gods existence are not absolutely certain, the conclusion that God exists cannot be certain either. This is what is known as the Cartesian Circle, because Descartes reasoning seems to go in a circle in that he inescapably Gods existence for the absolute certainty of the earlier truths and yet he needs the absolute certainty of these earlier truths to demonstrate Gods existence with absolute certainty.Descartes response to this concern is found in the Second Replies. There he argues that Gods veridical guarantee only pertains to the recollection of arguments and not the immediate awaRenss of an arguments clarity and severalty currently under consider ation. Hence, those truths reached before the demonstration of Gods existence are clear and distinct when they are being attended to but cannot be relied upon as absolutely certain when those arguments are recalled later on. But once Gods existence has been demonstrated, the recollection of the clear and distinct perception of the premises is sufficient for absolutely certain and, therefore, perfect knowledge of its conclusion (see also the Fifth Meditation at AT VII 69-70 CSM II XXX).