Many philosophers will say that God plays an important role in a person’s mental being. Others will argue that he doesn’t and that we decide by our own mentality. The three thinkers that will be discussed in this paper made a large impact in the philosophical world with their theories and reasons. Descartes, Kant, and Hume are all important players in the world of philosophy, but according to other philosophers, so is God. Rene Descartes, a noted French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, coined the Latin phrase “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am).
He “refused to accept the scholastic and Aristotelian traditions that had dominated philosophical thought throughout the medieval period” (www. iep. utm. edu). He frequently contrasted his views with those of his predecessors. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God’s act of creation. In 1641, he wrote Mediations on First Philosophy, which he employed a method called methodological skepticism; where he doubts any idea that can be doubted.
God, in Descartes’ metaphysics, is the bridge from the subjective world of thought to the objective world of scientific truth. “The mind, owing its existence to God, is innately programmed with certain ideas that correspond to reality; hence the importance, in Descartes’ system, of proving the existence of God, the perfect guarantor of our ideas, so that the mediator can move from isolated flashes of cognition to systematic knowledge of the nature of reality” (Cottingham, 31).
In Meditations, he mentions the idea of a benevolent God. “Because God is benevolent, he can have some faith in the account of reality his senses provide with a working mind and sensory system and does not desire to deceive him; however, this is a continuous argument, as his very notion of a benevolent God from which he developed this argument is easily subject to the same kind of doubt as his perceptions” (www. wikipedia. com”).
Descartes sought to retain the belief in the existence of innate ideas together with an acceptance of the values of data and ideas derived from an experience. Next up is Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher that held that there is an objective moral law. Most philosophers view morality very differently. Some think there is an objective moral law, but that it depends on God’s will. “Others thought morality was to do with reason, but that the reasoning was all about how to promote some objective, like one’s own happiness of welfare of society” (Walker, 5).
Kant rejected these ideas, because morality is depending on something outside itself- God’s will. Kant inquired whether it could be possible to ground synthetic ? a priori’ knowledge for a study of metaphysics, because most of the principles of metaphysics from Plato through Kant’s immediate predecessors made assertions about the world or about God or about the soul. Kant’s works of 1755 reveal more of his originality and his enduring themes.
Universal Natural History, deriving the present state of the planets from postulated initial conditions by reiterated applications of the laws of Newtonian mechanics, manifests not only Kant’s commitment to those laws, for which he was subsequently to seek philosophical foundations, but also his commitment to thoroughly naturalistic explanations in science, in which God can be the initial source of natural laws but never intervenes within the sequence of physical causes. Kant still holds that the existence of God can be proved as a condition of the possibility of any reality.
Finally, Kant further develops his argument that scientific explanation cannot allow divine intervention in the sequence of events, and that God must be seen only as the original ground of the laws of nature. The existence of God is therefore to Kant a necessary assumption for what he sees to be an objectively valid morality. Lastly, David Hume, British philosopher, is considered one of the most influential religious philosophers. Hume questioned the process of inductive thinking, which had been the hallmark of science.
He criticized the standard proofs for God’s existence, traditional notions of God’s nature and divine governance, the connection between morality and religion, and the rationality of belief in miracles. He also advanced theories on the origin of popular religious beliefs, grounding such notions in human psychology rather than in rational argument or divine revelation. For Hume, all objects of human reason are divided into two kinds: Relations of Ideas and Matters of fact. All reasoning of matters of fact is founded on Cause and Effect.
Cause and Effect play a big role in Hume’s philosophy. Hume wrote The Natural History of Religion in 1757. Its main theme is the causes and consequences of the religious development of mankind from polytheism to monotheism. “Belief in a god or gods is not natural like belief in an external world, since there are races in which it is not to be found” (Quinton, 52). Contrary to many critiques Hume does believe that there is a God, however he does not believe that God is all greatness like society commonly assumes and accepts.
Hume argues that because one sees an effect that doesn’t mean that we can automatically know or assume its cause. This argument can be used to explain the creation of the world. As influential as Hume was, he remains an academic skeptic, making the reasonable judgments of an ordinary life, regardless of lack of academic knowledge. God played an important role in every philosopher’s thinking. They either tried to provide proof that he does or does not exist, or tried to decipher why so many people followed a man whom they have never even met.
Nevertheless, God played an important role in Kant’s, Descartes’, and Hume’s philosophical thinking. Works Cited Burnham, Douglas and James Fieser. “Rene Descartes (1596-1650). ” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005. < http://www. iep. utm. edu/d/descarte. htm>. Cottingham, John. Descartes. New York, Rutledge: 1999. Quinton, Anthony. Hume. New York, Rutledge: 1999. “Rene Descartes. ” http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Descartes. Walker, Ralph. Kant. New York, Rutledge: 1999.