Descartes and Plato Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 November 2016

Descartes and Plato

Explain both of descartes Arguments for the existence of God Descartes proof of God’s existence comes from his third meditation and is based on three ideas. He argues that innate idea exists within us, the fictitious or invented ideas are a result of our own imagination and adventitious ideas result from our experiences in the world. Descartes said, the idea of God is innate and cannot be invented. Descartes presents some arguments that lead to his conclusion.

The first argument is that nothing can result to something and the cause of an idea will always have a formal reality because the idea must have an objective reality. He argues that if an individual have God, then the idea has an infinite objective reality and therefore, the individual cannot be the cause of the idea, because he is not infinite or a perfect being or he doesn’t have enough formal reality. It’s only a perfect and infinite being who can be the cause of the idea. Therefore, God as an infinite reality must exist. A perfect being, is benevolent and good; implying that God is benevolent and would not deceive or allow making errors without giving a way of correcting the errors.

The second argument Descartes gives is based on the premise that I exist, and my existence must have a cause. He gives the only possible causes are: my existence, existence of something less perfect than God and existence of God. Out of this Descartes argues that if I had created myself, I would have created myself perfect and that if my existence have a cause, then it doesn’t solve the problem. If I’m not an independent being, then I would need the sustenance of another being. And that the perfection in me could not originate from a less perfect being.

Therefore God exists. Descartes second proof of God’s existence is based on the fifth meditation on essence of material objects and it’s called the ontological argument. Descartes identifies external objects that can either be distinct and clear or obscure and confused. Descartes argues that without any sure knowledge of existence of a supreme and perfect being it would be impossible to have any assurance of any truth. Descartes defined God as an infinitely perfect being and that perfection will include existence. Meaning therefore, God exists.

Explain the Allegory of the Cave and relate it to Platos metaphysical and epistemological theory The allegory of cave is about prisoners who have spent their lives chained to the wall of a cave and facing the wall. The prisoners are watching shadows cast on the wall by objects passing in front of the fire behind them, and they start to attribute the forms of these shadows. It is a figurative show of how a man is trapped in the illusion of material existence and how he can free himself from such trappings by philosophical thoughts of personal and social awareness through constant self examination.

These shadows are the close the prisoners can get to reality. When the one who actually is able to free himself from the cave, returns back to the cave to tell his fellow man about the world outside the cave he is ridiculed for his free thoughts by the ones not knowing the real truth yet. Thats how a philosopher feels, he is like the prisoner who has freed himself from the cave and realizes that shadows on the wall are not the reality of things in life but merely shadows.

This allegory of the cave is related to Plato’s theory of Metaphysics and Epistemology. Seen as an epistemological account, it attempts to determine the importance of ideas which we can only comprehend through reason resulting from our experiences from the physical world. The allegory of the cave is a philosopher’s effort to enlighten the society which can be seen as prisoners, imprisoned by their dark ignorance. The cave could represent our daily experiences and how we always accept the dictates of the society without questioning them.

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